10 Weeks of Vegetable Gardening: Week 1

by - January 28, 2011

Each Friday I will be posting a weekly guide for prepping your home vegetable garden. In Raleigh, the average last killing frost date is April 11 (give or take a week), so my first weekend for planting outdoors will be April 9. Check out this frost map to determine yours.

There are now ten weeks before our big outdoor planting weekend. If you buy all your vegetable plants for your home garden, this may not be very significant, but if you enjoy starting your plants from seed, this is a reason to scurry into action. Take time to dream of what your garden (and your dinner plate) will look like this year.

As you plan and select your seeds, ask yourself the following questions: 1) Will I eat it? 2) Does it grow well in my yard? 3) How can I simplify? I have a tendency of overcomplicating my garden, attempting to grow things I have never had luck in growing, and incorporating plants that I don't eat just because I think they would be fun to grow. Simplify by talking to your friends to find out what they grow well and agree to swap produce later. You can also simplify by limiting yourself to trying just a couple of new varieties each year and sticking to the tried and true.

Tasks:

  • Pull out your old seed packets and consider disposing of anything older than three years.
  • Make a list of what you want to plant and which seeds you need to purchase and hit up the local home garden centers or a friend who is willing to share.
  • Gather supplies for making your indoor greenhouses.
  • Plant your first batch of seed in your green houses. Set them in a sunny window or under a plant light.
Materials:
  • Small containers to plant your seeds in. Consider used paper cups, egg cartons, and empty trays from last year’s plant purchases. Domed seed-starting kits available at most home garden centers. There are also biodegradable cell trays and pots at most stores. For home-made greenhouses, you can use a ziplock bag to hold in the moisture and heat and let in sunlight.
  • Planting media. If you have the kits, the peat pellets work great in these. Seed starting mix is also great.
  • Plastic labels and permanent marker. Be sure to label everything you plant. Chances are you won’t remember what you have, which is important because each type of plant has its own set of requirements.
  • Seeds. The following can be starting 10 weeks before the last frost date: thyme, mint, chives, oregano, artichokes, onions, celery, leeks, and peppers.

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4 comments

  1. Just happened across this (we gots some mutual friends...) and i"m excited to follow your garden! I always plant a small plot at my house, but convinced my boyfriend to let me take over his sun-filled, fenced-in back yard last week so I'm planning, planning, planning! Started okra, pea, radish and carrot seeds this week!

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  2. Nice! Are you starting your carrots indoors or out? Does that usually do well for you? I've never tried indoors but have always sewn them into the ground in March.

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  3. This is actually the first time I've started carrots inside - I usually just directly sow the seeds, but since my boyfriend's yard is going to take a while to get ready, I thought I'd just start a bunch inside. Probably not a great idea (I'm gonna end up with crooked carrots!), but I'll let you know how it goes!

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