Successful Seeds Are Great Garden Savings

Soil tilled and raked smooth in the garden and seeded with several lettuce types

Tomatoes seeded two days ago. Dark is potting soil and light is seeding soil. The planted tray was placed on a seeding mat that helps keep the soil warm for germinating.

Three week old tomato seedlings.

A lot of the things I grow these days are from seeds. This is especially true for my summer vegetable garden. About the only transplants I buy these days are peppers and eggplants, and even these are not hard to grow from seeds. Finally, after some sunny days I was able to till a spot in my vegetable garden to plant some lettuces. Once the soil was well tilled, lumps removed and raked smooth, I sprinkled lettuce over the prepared area and lightly covered them with loose soil. Since rain is expected tonight, I did not water at seeding, as I usually do. Now this is not how I would plant things like beans or squash. Once the seeds of the lettuce are germinated and the seedlings are micro-green size, I thin the plants, and we enjoy them in salads. I planted salad bowl, bib, and a gourmet blend. Reading the back of the package as I always suggest you do to know the particulars of the seeds you are sowing, one said plant 6 inches apart to make sure they head well. Funny thing, I think they should have said thin to six inches apart. My three pack of seeds cost less that one pack of 9 lettuce transplants, so if all goes well I will have lettuce until mid-June if the weather is not too hot and causes bolting. The key thing about seeding is to know when to plant, if you are direct seeding into the ground. If you do like me and grow many things like tomatoes and cucumber in flats or small pots, now is a good time to start because you can transplant most things into the garden after April 15 and be safe from a freezing frost. Also if you want things to come in at different times, do like I do my tomatoes, plant them several weeks apart. Remember for peppers, eggplant, and okra to grow well they need warm soil, so often times I wait until the first of May to plant them. It is easy to be successful with seeds, so give it a try and save some gardening bucks.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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