It’s Wednesday, that means it’s 5×5 Garden Challenge Day. As I was starting seeds this past weekend, I thought newbie gardeners might wonder if they should start from seed or buy plants from a local greenhouse instead.
I’d have to say that perhaps the best place to get seeds and plants is from a local gardener. If you happen to know someone that has a beautiful vegetable garden, chat with them. I’m always giving away seedlings to local friends for their gardens. You may end up with a great new friendship and a few lovely plants for your garden. They will also be a great resource for your new gardening efforts.
If you don’t have a friendly local gardener to get plants from, I’d recommend direct seeding a few things and buying a few plants as well. Some things, like beans, peas, and zucchini are easy to start from seed, so go ahead and buy seed for those. They are also direct seeded in the garden, so you won’t have to worry about buying seed starting supplies. The seedlings are also easy to differentiate from weeds, so you don’t really have to worry about accidentally pulling one of your seedlings while weeding!
Tomatoes are easy to start from seed, buy you might not get the timing quite right. Plus you might want to try a few different varieties in your garden. It’s much easier to buy a few plants at the greenhouse and purchase the seed and supplies to start your own. I’d recommend finding a small independent greenhouse nearby to see what kind of selection they have. Most likely you’ll be able to find tomatoes, peppers and herbs there.
Another reason to buy plants is because of the number of seeds in the packet. If you only want two tomato plants, you’ll end up with a bunch of unused seeds. They will remain viable for a while if stored in the right conditions, but you’ll have to find a place to keep them. You might also not end up liking the variety you grew or you might want to try a new variety the next year.
Another reason to buy seeds is because you can get a jump on the growing season. Most often greenhouse will have lettuce seedlings very early in the season. You can buy those, plant them in your garden and have lettuce ready to harvest in a few weeks. After you harvest the lettuce you can go back to the greenhouse and purchase tomato seedlings to plant in their place. Learning how to time starting seeds can be a bit trick for a newbie.
Starting from seed isn’t difficult, but there is a greater risk of failure if you have never done it before. You also need to purchase a few supplies to do it, soil being the most important. If you are interested in starting your own download my free Seed Starting 101 e-book (see the link in the sidebar).
I don’t want to discourage anyone from starting all their plants from seed the first year if they want to. Jump right in if you want, you can always find plants easily enough if things don’t go quite as planned, and you may end up with fabulous plants and a great gardening experience!
My first edible garden consisted of two 4×10 raised beds. All of the plants in them that first year were purchased at a local greenhouse. The following year all my seedlings were grown in my basement. Do what you want to do and what you have time to do.
As a newbie, are you planning on buying plants, starting from seed or both? As an experienced gardener, do you have any advice for newbies when it comes to finding plants for their first garden?Filed under 5x5 Garden Challenge | Comments (16)
Last year my choices for the 5×5 Challenge were easy, I was using the Rainbow Kitchen Garden Collection from Renee’s Garden. This year I plan on trying different vegetables. As a beginner, you may wonder how to choose which vegetables to grow when you only have a small space?
First, you have to look at what you like to eat. If you hate zucchini, don’t grow it. If you love using fresh herbs, fill your garden with fresh herbs. If you hate salad, don’t grow lettuce, plant basil instead.
Second, grow vegetables that mature quickly so you can make the most of your space. As a beginner, you’ll enjoy the garden much more if you’re harvesting vegetables often. Lettuces can be a great beginning vegetable, though they can be susceptible to slugs and other pests. Growing something like potatoes that are planted in spring and aren’t harvested until late summer isn’t the best option for your garden space.
Third, grow vegetables that maximize your space. For example, even if you love broccoli, it’s not really the best choice when you only have a small space. It takes a few months to reach harvest and only provides one head. Garden peas are the same, they mature in about 60 days, but it takes a lot of pods to make a bowl of peas. You’re better off growing something like lettuce and herbs that reach maturity faster and will provide more harvest from the same space. Some vegetables and herbs will also grow back after being harvesting, thus allowing two or three harvests from the same space.
Fourth, grow what will save you the most money. If you can buy a head of local broccoli for a few dollars there’s no point in growing it when you can grow a few pounds of lettuce or herbs that would cost you much more to buy. Zucchini is very inexpensive to buy when it’s in season, spinach is much more expensive to purchase. I grow a lot of cilantro because we really enjoy it and it’s expensive to buy. Growing it allows me to save lots of money, I also love that it grows back after cutting and will seed itself down from year to year.
Which vegetables would you recommend to a newbie as quick to mature?
Filed under 5x5 Garden Challenge | Comments (6)
The 5×5 Challenge is all about educating and encouraging new gardeners. I’ve received a lot of e-mails already about people excited to join the Challenge this year. I thought I should extend the floor to the newbies – what do you want to see in the how-to/educational portions of the challenge this year?
One recommendation is to grow climbing plants in the garden in order to show how to make/use supports for these types of vegetables.
For the newbie gardeners: what questions do you need answered in order to fell comfortable with your garden this summer?
For the experienced gardeners: what do you think are some of the important details newbies should know when it comes to growing edibles?Filed under 5x5 Garden Challenge | Comments (7)
My 5×5 garden is still sleeping, there’s a little snow on the ground now, but we’re forecasted to get a nice layer today. There will be no planting in my garden any time soon. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do, it’s planning time for the garden. Time to decide what you want to grow and plan out where they will go. For those of you that live in the southern areas it’s time to start thinking about getting started.
In case you’re wondering why there is short fencing in the garden – it keeps the chickens out. Last fall they kept scratching up my endive seedlings. Even though the garden is still asleep, I noticed my lemon thyme peeking out from beneath the snow. It will be ready to season delicious meals in a few months.
I’m undecided as to which vegetables I’ll be growing this year, most likely something different than the last. Lettuce is a sure thing, as are flowers of some sort and a tomato as well. The remaining sections of the garden are still up for grabs.
What do you think I should plant in the 5×5 garden this year?Filed under 5x5 Garden Challenge | Comments (10)
Well, it’s officially time to start talking about the 5×5 Challenge once again. I’ve had a lot of people excited about doing it again this year and more that watched last year and are ready to jump in and start a garden this year. I’ll be using my raised bed outside the front door again for this challenge, this year I’ll be growing different vegetables. I haven’t decided which ones, perhaps you’ll have suggestions.
This year we’ll hopefully be joined by a few members of the tiny house community, Tiny House Magazine will be running an article about the 5×5 in the next issue.
This year we’ll continue with the same schedule, Wednesdays will be the challenge days. The posts here on Chiot’s Run will focus on garden education, tasks to complete in your garden, and updates on my 5×5 garden.
Who’s in? Did you do the challenge last year? Are you a new to gardening?Filed under 5x5 Garden Challenge | Comments (11)