As promised, I’m back today with with a more detailed post on containers for seed starting!
The great thing about seed starting containers is you have a lot of options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Determining which one is right for you comes down to your personal preferences as a gardener: What’s your budget? How much time do you want to spend preparing? Do you prefer to do it yourself, or do you want to open a package and go? What’s your level of concern about environmental impact and sustainability? How much storage space do you have for the off season? And we haven’t even stopped to think about what you plan to start from seed yet!
To help you navigate through the many options, I’ve put together the following guide to seed starting containers. As you work your way through the list, evaluating the advantages and disadvantages, you’re sure to find at least one option that feels right and works well for you.
Plastic Cells + Pots
These familiar plant cells and small starter pots are readily available for purchase, reuse from previous greenhouse purchases, or even for free from the recycling pile at some garden centers. Plastic pots can be found in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but the individual cells are a standard size designed to easily fill an entire starting tray. These containers are designed for good drainage and have good depth for root development, though the smaller cells may require some up-potting to prevent the seedlings from becoming root bound. It is not the best choice if you are concerned about plastic consumption, though plastic pots can be sterilized and reused for multiple seasons, and recycling options for cracked and broken pots are becoming more readily available.
Peat, Coir, or Manure Pots
This option is also available in the form of individual pots in various sizes, as well as packs of multiple cells. The cost for these pots is about the same to slightly more than what you would pay for their plastic counterparts, depending on the material. Because they are designed to breakdown within the course of a year, they do not hold up for repeated use. These containers are easy to use; they are package-ready, so there’s no preparation necessary outside of filling them with starting medium, and they can be planted directly into the ground at the time of transplant.
Coir or Peat Pellets
These little pellets are composed of compressed coir dust or peat, contained by a fine mesh or paper-like casing that hold it all together. When water is added, they expand to about three or four times the height of the dry disk and reveal a convenient little hole to pop your seed into. They are a little fussy to prepare, but you do get a container and starting medium all in one. These pellets are also a one-time investment, and tend to be more expensive than other plantable pots. They are not particularly effective for seeds that prefer to be surface sown, and the small size almost ensures that up-potting will be necessary if seedlings are growing for more than a few weeks.
Reusable Plastic Containers
From yogurt containers to solo cups, there is quite a bit of seed starting potential already in your recycling bin. Find containers of a suitable size, clean them up, and add drainage holes with a drill or a hammer and nail. Because seed starting containers are exposed to a lot of water, light, and heat, it’s a good idea to note the recycling number on the bottom of the container. Numbers 3, 6, and 7 should be avoided; 1, 2, 4, and 5 are safer options. These plastic pots provide the good depth and width for root development, and could be washed and reused for multiple seasons. If you are using a mixture of different kinds of containers, it is a good idea to make them as uniform in height as possible, to make it easier to position the light at the appropriate distance above the seedlings.
Clam Shell and Lidded Containers
Again, this is another great reuse of something that would otherwise end up in the waste stream. The lids can double as a germination cover, and they usually already have holes for good drainage. The lids also make these containers a great option for winter sowing (more on that to come!).
Raise your hand if you started an egg carton garden at some point during your elementary school years! The individual cells are convenient and easy to fill, and the paper material is very efficient at wicking up water from the bottom of the tray (almost too efficient at times; when there isn’t enough water in the bottom tray, they can wick the moisture from your starting medium, so keep a close eye on that). Because they have a lower profile, they also do really well on a heat mat. The obvious disadvantage is that the cells are very small and not very deep, so you will need to up-pot your seedlings after a few weeks.
While they might look super cute on Pinterest, that’s about all these little guys have going for them. In order to get much in the way of depth, you have to be a pretty stealthy egg-cracker. Even if you can remember that you need to crack off only the very top of the egg before it’s too late (don’t ask how many mornings of breakfast it took to get just these three eggs because it wasn’t my first instinct to crack the eggs that way), it’s just simply not worth the time. You will not end up with any more space than you would with the egg carton itself, which is a thousand times easier. Watering and drainage are also difficult, and despite Pinterest claims that that you can simply plant the entire thing in the garden (has that person actually ever planted a garden?), there is virtually no way that a tender seedling is going to develop the roots necessary to bust through that egg shell in the short time it will take to outgrow it. Your egg shells are better off in your compost pile or crushed in the bottom of the holes for your tomato transplants.
Toilet Paper + Paper Towel Tubes
If you’re looking for a much more practical Pinterest project, you can make starter pots out of the cardboard tubes inside a roll of toilet paper or paper towels (Minnesota Locavore has a great tutorial). While you can’t do much to adjust the width of these starter pots, you can opt to make them a little taller, which will give you a little more space for root development and buy a little time before up-potting is necessary. The cardboard does soften easily, but it doesn’t really breakdown enough to plant the entire thing without opening up the bottom of the pot or tearing into the sides a bit at the time of transplant to give the roots more room to spread out. Depending on the number of seeds you are starting and your household consumption of these products, you may need to plan ahead and start saving early to have what you need by seed starting time.
I’m going to go right out and say it: newspaper starter pots are my all-time favorite, personal go-to seed starting container. They are super easy to make and they can be made in any size you need. One Sunday paper has more newspaper than you will likely need for an entire season, and you probably have several suitable items in your home that can be used as a mold to shape the pots. The drawbacks are that the pots can become a little fragile as time goes on and the paper fibers start to break down (this can be especially true if you make very large newspaper pots as well), and on the other hand, if there are too many layers of newspaper, the paper won’t break down as easily or as quickly, and you may need to peel it off prior to transplanting.
Paper Pulp Pots
I experimented with these starter pots last year, thinking they would be a great option for a truly plantable starter pot. They are easy to make, but they are a little more time intensive and can also take up to a few days to completely dry. The muffin pan size has a lot of width, but not a lot of depth. I did have success in making deeper pots using a plastic wine glass as a form, but they were not as sturdy once they were filled and re-wet. For that same reason, they really are a much better option for a truly plantable starter pot and would be especially good for squash or cucumbers, which aren’t started that far in advance and do not like to have their roots disturbed. It’s also a good place to point out that just as not all plastic is safe for reuse, you may also want to look into what adhesives, inks, bleach, etc. is used in the paper products you use for seed starting.
If you’re looking to use as few materials as possible in seed starting, consider soil blocks as an alternative to seed starting pots and containers. Soil blockers are available commercially in several different sizes, or you can make your own with a few inexpensive pieces from your local hardware store (I made a simple one for about $2). While it may seem counterintuitive to saturate and then compact your starting medium, if it is composed of the right materials, your roots should still do well. These little plugs can then be transplanted into a larger container after the seedlings have a set of true leaves or outgrow the soil block, whichever comes first. You do need to watch your watering, as the only drainage provided is whatever indents might be in your drip tray.
Now that you’ve heard from me, add your voice to the discussion: Cast your vote by sharing your go-to container for seed starting. How have some of these options worked for you? What factor(s) drive your choice in a seed starting container?
The most common seed starting question I receive from readers is some variation of When should I start my seeds? Especially for those of us here on the frozen tundra of Minnesota, we tend to feel like we’re falling behind when our gardening friends in warmer zones are preparing for planting next month while we are still crossing our fingers that Monday was the last of the sub-zero temperature for the season and please, oh please, don’t let it snow in May again this year!
This of course, gets right to the heart of the mater: spring is so predictably unpredictable, that it’s completely understandable why gardeners sometimes struggle with when to start seeds. The optimist in me wants to start everything right away, because there’s always a chance that I might be able to get in the garden ahead of schedule (and also, who doesn’t like having cute little green seedlings to look at instead of the snow outside the window?), but the realist in me thinks about how deep the frost line must be after week after week of sub-zero weather since the beginning of December.
So let’s lay it all out and make some sense of it, shall we? The first thing you need to know is your average last frost date. This date is going to be your base for determining when you should start your seeds to ensure that they are, first and foremost, mature enough to plant out and produce within the growing season, but also not too overgrown or leggy that transplanting is stressful or difficult. Once you know your date, you simply have to count backwards, based on what you intend to start from seed:
14+ Weeks to Go:
Use this time to get your garden in order: finalize your garden plan, purchase seed, and round up the rest of your supplies. Mark your start dates on the calendar to hold yourself to sticking it out until the actual date. A few days before you start your seeds, prepare your seed starting containers and get them on a heat mat or other warm place to warm up the soil.
12-14 Weeks to Go:
Get the slowpoke artichoke seeds going along with the alliums (onions and leeks) and umbellifers (celery and also a number of herbs). These plants definitely need the extra weeks to reach maturity, so if you haven’t already planted them, start them NOW!
10-12 Weeks to Go:
Remember this group as the (mostly) green and leafy group. Start your brassicas: cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. If you would like to grow head lettuce, this is a good time to get that going, too.
8-10 Weeks to Go:
Unlike the other plant families, the solanaceae family is spread out over a slightly larger window of opportunity. Peppers and eggplant germinate and grow at a slower pace, so give them a little head start.
6-8 Weeks to Go:
Tomatoes and tomatillos are much faster growers than the other members of the solanaceae family, so it’s usually a good idea to wait just a little longer before starting those seeds, especially if spring can be a little unpredictable where you garden.
4 Weeks to Go:
Cucurbits can go either way: you can sow them indoors or direct sow them into the garden. Starting indoors gives them a little bit of a head start, which is nice if your garden season is short, and it can also be an effective means of out-squirreling the squirrels and other critters that find freshly planted pumpkin seeds irresistible. It’s important not to start these plants too early, as they can be difficult to transplant if they get too big.
2-4 Weeks to Go:
As the weather allows, start to harden off your seedlings by setting them outside for increasingly longer periods of time. Gradually introduce them to sunlight, wind, and even rain, if temperatures are warm enough. Once your seedlings have been properly hardened off and the threat of frost has passed, you’ll be ready to transplant them into the garden!
Keep in Mind:
Of course, there are few rules that are set in stone when it comes to gardening, and there are always some exceptions and variability from garden to garden. There is wiggle room in this timeline. If you move a week in one direction or the other because life got too busy, or you just couldn’t wait any longer, your garden isn’t likely to suffer. After all, your last frost date is an average date and not a guaranteed date, so it’s already a moving target! You might be able to put your seedlings out two weeks early, or you might have to wait two more weeks after that date has come and gone. If you stick close to the ranges above, you’ll be fine either way.
Happy seed starting!
There’s no way around it: this winter has been a doozy. I’ve kind of lost track of all of the stats that have been thrown around over the course of the last month, but I’m pretty sure that somewhere along the line I heard that this is officially the coldest winter of my entire life. If ever a statement called for a good old fashioned Minnesota “Uff da,” this is it.
Luckily, seed staring season is just around the corner, and at this point I can think of no better way to start thinking spring than to get my fingers in a little soil and plant the first seeds of the year. I have another week or two before I will begin planting, which means it’s time to get serious about ordering my seeds, rounding up supplies, and getting my seed starting set up ready!
I get a lot of questions about seed starting this time of year, so I’ve organized the most common questions into a week’s worth of seed starting posts, which I hope you will find helpful in your own seed starting preparations in the coming weeks and months (and if you have a burning seed starting question, hit me up and I’ll do my best to add it on!). Together, we’ll be ready for seed starting in no time! Up first: the all important question of what supplies are needed for seed starting. I’ll break down the list of essential supplies (as well as a few optional, but helpful supplies) and give you a run down of where to find what you’ll need. Whenever possible, I’ve included low and no-cost alternatives as well.
The best seedlings come from seed that is viable, disease-free, and saved from healthy and vigorous plant stock. Seeds are available for order from a wide variety of reputable seed companies, or you can pick up seed packets locally from your garden center of choice, and just about every co-op, hardware, big box, or grocery store this time of year. With seed companies, you’ll find a wider selection than most stores, but with a careful eye and little shopping around, you can definitely score some unique varieties, heirlooms, and organic seed from these in-store seed displays as well. Determining which one is right for you comes down to what is on your grow list, and how particular you are about getting your hands on specific varieties or organic seed. Personally, I do a little of both, ordering more unique heirloom varieties online, and picking up the more commonly available varieties locally. Finding a seed company that produces its seed as close to your geographical region as possible can also be helpful to ensure the seeds are well-adapted for your particular growing conditions.
Another great option for finding seed is to join a seed swap. Keep an eye out for local events hosted by garden clubs, Master Gardeners, or community garden organizations, or join an online seed swap group. You do assume a little bit of risk in seed swaps, as not all seed savers are as meticulous about ensuring seed purity, viability, and disease-prevention, as you might like, but that is usually the exception, and not the rule. In general seed swappers are a very well-informed group of people who take a lot of care in saving seed, because they also grow the seed they save. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask questions prior to swapping.
The “dirt” you’ll need for starting seeds is not really soil at all, but usually a blend of different components that are well suited for growing delicate seedlings. These starter mixes are specifically for seed starting and are light, fine-textured, and ideally, contain slow-release nutrients. Avoid heavy and coarse-textured potting soils and anything that appears to have mold or fungus present. Garden centers, big box stores, and local hardware stores typically carry a small to moderate selection of organic and non-organic starter mixes. You can also purchase starter mix components individually and mix your own. For a wider variety of options, specialty mixes, or bulk quantities, you might have better luck with a reputable online source.
The most important things to look for in a container for seed starting are good drainage, appropriate size, and that the container is made of food-safe materials. Your local garden center or gardening section of the hardware store will carry a variety of seed starting containers. You’ll find plastic cells and plastic pots in a variety of sizes, as well as a variety of plantable starter pots made from peat, coconut coir, and even composted manure. Many gardeners opt to purchase an inexpensive package of paper or plastic cups from the dollar store to use for seed starting.
For a no-cost option, you can make your own starter pots from common household items, like newspaper or cardboard tubes, or reuse items that would otherwise end up in your recycling bin, like egg cartons and yogurt containers. It’s also worth hitting up garden centers at the big box home improvement stores at the end of the season. Local greenhouses will reuse their flats for the next season, but big box stores rarely send them back to the greenhouse, which means they have a large recycling pile somewhere nearby. If you ask, they’ll usually let you take whatever you can use.
There’s a lot more to say on the different options for starter pots, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, but I’m going to save that for this post!
Drip Trays + Germination Covers
No matter what you choose to use for seed starting containers, they will need to sit inside a drip tray of some sort. A good drip tray should obviously be waterproof, have a good lip to keep water from running out (but not such tall sides that it prevents the seedlings from receiving adequate light), and be sturdy enough that it can be picked up an moved around easily with the weight of the seedlings. Your local garden center or garden section of the hardware store will likely carry large, inexpensive plastic trays for this very purpose (get the sturdiest ones you can get your hands on). You can also improvise with dollar store finds, like aluminum baking pans, or any number of things you might already have in your home, like baking sheets, dish pans, and shallow storage bins or tubs.
When you’re browsing the seed starting section, you’ll also find clear plastic germination covers. They fit right over the drip trays, and help hold in heat and moisture to keep conditions inside the tray perfect for germination. Because they are only used until the seeds have germinated, you may decide that they are not worth the purchase, and that is just fine. Many people start seeds without them, or use one of these no- and low-cost alternatives: plastic wrap, a similarly-shaped plastic container from the produce section or bakery, or even a clear plastic cake pan cover. The most important thing to remember is to take the germination cover off as soon as the seedlings have emerged, to provide the air flow necessary to prevent damping off.
Unless you are fortunate enough to have a magnificently large south-facing window that gets at least 10-12 hours of direct sunlight a day, it is worth making an investment in lights for your seed starting set up. Seedlings need high intensity light, and the best way to get that intensity is to use florescent bulbs that can be placed about 2″ from the seedlings (incandescent lights will give off too much heat to be used in this same way). The most affordable option is to use “cool” white florescent bulbs, which definitely will provide adequate light for seed starting (experts agree on this). If you want to take it up a notch, you could opt for the more expensive full-spectrum bulbs, or even a combination of one cool and one (slightly more expensive) “warm” bulb (this middle ground is often called “fuller spectrum” light), both of which will give provide more red and blue wavelengths than the cool light. Ultimately, intensity is much more important than spectrum, so whichever bulbs you use, keep them close to your seedlings.
As you shop around, you’ll find that when it comes to grow lights, there is a wide variety of options in wide variety of price ranges. You’ll find the best selection and price at hardware and home improvement stores, but for specialty lights, you will likely have to look for an online seed or garden supply company. For the average gardener, pricey specialty grow lights are not worth it (don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to have one – and they probably are actually pretty fantastic, but unless you are growing greenhouse quantities, it doesn’t make sense to blow the budget when you can get good quality bulbs that will yield strong and healthy plants at a more reasonable price). Because the bulbs are what really matter, I would recommend finding the best price you can on quality bulbs, and then find the cheapest shop light fixture that will support the bulbs of your choice (you can also save a bit of money by buying your bulbs by the case, rather than individually or in pairs).
If you’re planning to start seeds, you need to think about where you’ll have space for them. Many homes already have a space that can double as a seed starting set up for a few months out of the year (a laundry room counter, a folding table in front of the patio door, a workbench in the basement). If you do not already have a suitable space for your seed starting set up, you might consider creating one. Seed starting racks can be found through most seed and garden supply companies, but there are also a variety of affordable shelving units that are perfect for seed starting (here’s a quick look at mine), or if you’re handy, you can build one with little more effort than rounding up some scrap wood and a handful of screws. The most important thing to remember when setting up for seed starting is to keep your seedlings away from strong drafts, which can make conditions too cold and cause problems with the seedlings’ ability to take up nutrients.
Plant Markers (optional, but worth it)
Unless you’re only starting one variety each of very easy to distinguish plants, it is enormously helpful to devise a plan to label your seedlings. This can be as simple as a quickly drawn map, or as involved as a creative DIY project. If you’re looking for something strictly utilitarian, you can find basic plastic plant markers wherever you find other seed starting supplies. You can also use craft popsicle sticks, plastic cutlery, or even simple printed labels that go on the outside of the pots or drip trays.
Timer (optional, but worth it)
While you can certainly start seeds without the use of a timer, it is definitely a tool that makes your job much, much easier. You don’t have to worry about remembering to turn the lights on early every morning, and off late each night. If you do not already have one packed away with the Christmas lights, you can find timers in the same aisle as the extension cords and power strips. If you’re planning ahead, the very best time of year to pick one up is the day after Christmas.
Heat Mat (optional, but worth it)
I was initially skeptical of the actual need for a heat mat, but after a few seasons of using one, I’m sold. Heat mats make a huge difference in those early days, especially if your house tends to be a little on cooler side. It used to be that it was difficult to find heat mats outside of the more expensive ones offered in seed catalogs, but I’ve noticed that they are starting to become more widely available (and more affordable, too). I picked up a couple of mats for around $20 each last spring at a home improvement store, and then came back later in the season when they started to close out the garden supplies and picked up another two for $10 each. The best no-cost alternative to a heat mat is actually to set your seed trays on top of the refrigerator or freezer.
Fan (optional, but helpful)
Aiming a low-running fan at your seedlings is a great way to strengthen the stems and prepare your seedlings to stand up to the wind when they move out to the garden. Again, this can easily be a double duty investment, using a fan you already have at home, but if you’re looking for a specific size or style that fits well in your seed starting set up, hit up your local home improvement store. If you don’t use a fan, you can simulate the same effect by regularly brushing your hand across the tops of your seedlings.
Watering Can + Spray Bottle (optional, but helpful)
Bottom watering is the very best way to water your seedlings, and you will be doing it often for the next several weeks, so rounding up a watering vessel that makes it easy to accomplish this is always a good idea. Depending on how your seed starting set up is configured, that might mean reusing the same basic water bottle or finding a cheap watering can for houseplants at your local dollar store. And speaking of dollar store finds, an inexpensive spray bottle is a great way to keep seeds from drying out (without the risk of washing away) until they germinate and take root.
Garden Journal (optional, but helpful)
Like marking your plants, you may think you’ll remember exactly when you started the seeds, or when the first true leaves set, but chances are it will gradually all blur together in your memory. If keeping track of these details is important to you, keep a garden journal or notepad near your seed starting set up where you can jot down notes on everything from days to germination and germination rates, to when you last rotated the seedlings under the lights or gave the seedlings a light feeding of fish emulsion.
Hand Tools (optional, but helpful)
And finally, here are a few hand tools that you might want to round up when you’re ready to start seeds: A scoop or old measuring cup is great for blending starter mix and filling starter pots; a pencil, chopstick, or skewer works great as a dibbler and to make sure that surface-sown seeds make good contact with the starting medium; and a scissors works great for thinning out seedlings without disturbing the roots of the plants you intend to keep.
When I was new to gardening on my own, I was a little bit intimidated by the idea of starting an organic garden. I felt like there was a whole world of knowledge, rules, and practices that I didn’t have a full grasp on, and wondered if my first attempt would be successful. Despite second guessing myself, that first garden turned out alright! As with all things, there’s a little bit of a learning curve, but overall, organic gardening is actually incredibly accessible. It’s all about following nature’s lead, and letting nature do what nature does best. This fact was definitely reinforced this week when I asked Facebook followers to share their number one reason for gardening organically. The answers were incredibly practical, focusing on the time and costs savings, and the ease of gardening organically.
Whether you’re in the same boat I once was, looking for a little reassurance as you get started, or an experienced organic gardener, looking for some good sources of organic gardening practices, I think you’ll enjoy this week’s selections (and as always, there’s even more inspiration over on the Organic Gardening Tips + Tricks Pinterest Board.
- Practice good companion planting and let your garden plan do a lot of the pest control work for you
- This is a great list of organic fertilizers, including the N-P-K ratings for each one
- There’s more to pest control than spray: these methods of organic pest control cover all the bases
- Great tips to prevent and treat disease in an organic garden
- These tried and true organic solutions have worked wonders in my garden: using mulch to prevent soil-borne disease, a recipe for powdery mildew control, and an all purpose pest spray
Other posts in this series:
DIY Garden Projects
Extending the Season
Share the Love of Gardening
Gardening with Kids
Organic Gardening (you are here)
Having a windowsill herb garden in my kitchen has been a huge sanity-saver this winter. I love that I have had something green growing through all of the cold and snow.
It’s been a tough winter, even by Minnesota standards. We’re all getting a little bit weary of the relentless cold and desperately hoping that March is kinder and gentler than its predecessors. Maybe it’s the residual effect of soaking up the sun in Mexico last week, or maybe it’s just my deep hope and longing for spring’s eventual arrival, but I’m bound and determine to find the positive in our latest stretch of negative temperatures. So far I’ve come up with the following list:
- This polar vortex isn’t quite so bad, so our low temps are only in the teens below zero (instead of the twenty-somethings)
- The sun is noticeably more powerful these days, cleaning off snowy surfaces despite the bitter cold
- There is now daylight until 6 p.m.
- We’re only a couple of days away from the first day of meteorological spring
- There are only a few more weeks until seed starting begins
So take comfort, fellow Minnesotans: spring IS starting to make itself known.
But what is one to do in the meantime, when you’re stuck in another polar vortex with a plethora of fresh mint?
Make mojitos, of course!
In the bottom of your glass (or half pint mason jar, because every garden cocktail is better in a mason jar), muddle a dozen or so fresh mint leaves with a generous teaspoon of sugar and the juice from a lime wedge. Add some ice, a shot of white rum, and top it off with club soda.
And then raise your glass to the warmer gardening days ahead. They are coming, I promise.
Leaving a beautiful, sunny vacation destination is never easy, nor is getting back into a “normal” routine (even more so when Mother Nature rolls out the welcome back mat with a good old fashioned blizzard!). Between trying to ease my mind off of vacation mode and having to adjust my to-do list items because of the weather, I feel like I’ve been playing a perpetual game of catch up since we landed back in Minnesota, but I’m bound and determine to do better this week!
Actually, it is quite fitting that this week’s topic is container gardening. While I was soaking up as much Vitamin D as I could last week, I made some serious progress in finalizing my garden plans, including the big decision to give up my community garden plot for the coming garden season. This means I will definitely be taking some inspiration from here and the all new Container Gardening Pinterest Board to make the most of my now smaller spaced garden!
- The sky’s the limit when it comes to creative re-uses for container gardens, but keep in mind these tips on how to select food-safe containers for edible gardens
- Keep your container gardens productive with these tips for fertilizing container gardens
- Get the best of both worlds by using containers IN the garden to contain perennials that spread, maintain flexibility, and allow for overwintering
- Container gardens don’t have to be strictly practical; incorporate some of these great design elements to create a visually stunning container garden!
- I would have never thought of setting up a drip irrigation system for containers - such a smart idea!
Other posts in this series:
Is it just me, or does it feel like we’re starting to rattle though these weeks a little more quickly these days? This is the time of year when spring starts to feel so close you can almost smell the fresh air! Of course, here in Minnesota we know better, but at the same time we can’t help but be irrationally hopeful that each snowstorm from here on out is the last one of the season. And after this winter, I know I’m not the only one!
These kind of hopeful thoughts remind me a lot of growing up on the farm, where the turn towards spring happened early regardless of how much snow was on the ground and the family garden started to take shape under the grow lights in the laundry room. These early experiences were fundamental in shaping my appreciation of not only gardening, but of the change of seasons, too. There no lack of inspiration when it comes to cultivating an appreciation of gardening in the next generation. Check out these great ideas, and then be sure to click over to the all new Gardening with Kids Pinterest Board for even more garden inspiration:
- Don’t miss this week’s guest post from Spy Garden on Cultivating the Love of Gardening in Children
- Encourage children to feel at home in the garden by integrating garden and play space
- Create garden play spaces with a pole bean teepee or a sunflower house
- Engage your older kids with this list of plants from the Hunger Games series
- Wondering what to plant in your kid-friendly garden? How about these easy edibles or these pick-and-eat selections
- Have some fun with your kid-friendly garden: plant low growing greens in formation and use bright colored supports
Other posts in this series:
As a general rule, when I am fortunate enough to stumble upon a great photo in the garden, I find a way to put it up on the blog as soon as possible. However, every now and then, there’s a photo that simply must be saved for the right moment, and this is one of those times. I found this little double Yellow Pear tomato sitting just as it is pictured here, on top of the mulch at the community garden last October while I was cleaning out the garden. The title comes from this little gem that I cam across a few weeks ago:
Happy Valentine’s Day, gardening friends! May you always find yourself with an abundance of true love and homegrown tomatoes!
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