In our previous garden post we went over tips to prep your soil. Now it’s time for a garden update on what I planted and why. Mainly why it’s beneficial that you should plant both seeds and seedlings.
Let’s start with what my garden is comprised of. While I used to have one large traditional garden that was becoming far too difficult for me, and I needed something more accessible and easier to maintain; so I switched to raised garden planters – which you can read about here. I have two large square planters that comprise more than 50% of my garden, and one very long rectangle wooden box that we built. There is also a smaller square wooden planter plus a hanging basket.
When deciding what to plant, you have to first decide if you are planting seeds or seedlings. I believe you should plant both seeds and seedlings. But why plant both? This way you get the best of both worlds. Seeds are more economical, as you get a whole packet of seeds for less than a container (usually 4 plants) of seedlings. This allows you to inexpensively plant an array of varieties. Also, you can often get more varieties of plants. While there might be only one type of basil plant at your nursery, there might be 3-5 variety of seeds. Also, if seedlings are sold out, you can always rely on seeds to be able to plant what you like- which is what happened last year (read more about planting from seeds here.) The downside to seeds is that they take longer, starting them indoors can be difficult, and sometimes some seeds don’t grow at all.
Seedlings, are easier to plant. Then you can see what you’ve planted right away. Also, you are getting a nice head start on your plants. Planting an older seedling means you will be able to enjoy your crop that much sooner. The downside is that you are at the mercy of your nursery or plant provider – for what you are able to buy. Also, seedlings are more expensive. Some larger tomatoe plants can be as much as $10 each, smaller plants can be $2.50-$4 for 4 plants.
So what did I plant you’re asking?
Let’s start with a hanging basket, a great idea which I saw at a local farmers market. Instead of flowers in the hanging basket (for an area that gets a lot of light – primarily a backyard area) they planted lettuce in the planter. Large, beautiful, leafy lettuce of various shades of green, red, and purple – looked great and you get lettuce out of the deal. Flowers are lovely, but you can’t eat them. So, that’s why I planted some spring mix lettuce seeds in that hanging basket. Now, none of these seeds have sprouted yet, and I’ve set a deadline of Sunday June 6th for them to show signs of life. By then it will be a few weeks since I planted; so, if I don’t see anything coming up or growing I’ll plant more seeds. The lettuce seeds I planted in my long wooden planter (at the same time) have already started sprouting – so I don’t know if those were just some bad or dried out seeds or not, but we will soon find out.
In one of the large square planter boxes, I have my chives, zucchini plants, and spinach. Now, just this week I pulled the spinach out because the weather is getting warmer and that means that the spinach will be going to seed, as spinach doesn’t like warm weather. This was the spinach from my late summer seed planting, last season- read about that here. I got one final cutting out of the spinach, and I pulled them out – leaving more room for zucchini. Zucchini needs a lot of space and they don’t really bother the chives, so it’s a good mix for the planter.
The zucchini I planted are from both seeds and seedlings. Last year was the first time that we planted zucchini seeds and they were only about two weeks behind my seedlings. Given how well it worked out last year, I once again planted a number of zucchini seeds, and I’m waiting to see what comes up. I may move some of them into that back corner that’s now empty, but that will have to wait until they are much bigger. I already see that some of my zucchini seeds have come up- so hopefully this will make for a bountiful zucchini crop. We shall see.
Happy gardening. Remember to stay hydrated and wear SPF.
In the other large square planter, I have 6 varieties of tomatoes. I grew some larger variety of tomatoes, like Beef Steak, Jet Star, and San Marzano from seedlings. Then there are the cherry tomatoes seedlings like Juliette and Sweet Olive. I planted Ornamental Cherry Tomatoes from seed- these apparently grow more like a bush, and I’m excited to see how this variety grows. I’ve never grown tomatoes from seed. I also have the parsley that came back from last year, some basil plants, and a few marigolds. Marigolds help keep pests away.
In the long wooden planter, I have a variety of lettuces from seedlings and seeds, basil from seeds and seedling, parsley from seeds and seedlings, Swiss Chard from seed, and an array of hot pepper plants seedlings (I may not eat them, but my family loves them). And of course a few marigolds to help keep bugs away.
The smaller wooden planter has the oregano and thyme that survived the winter, my new rosemary plant, and a few basil seedlings that needed a home.
One of the reasons why you should plant from both seeds and seedlings, like I did, of the same type of herbs and vegetables, is so you get a consistent crop. A great example is lettuce, it is something you can get many cuttings out of each plant. However, having seedlings allows you to pick lettuce sooner and having seeds always growing, allows you to constantly have a new crop coming up. Not only that, but I have more varieties of lettuce coming up than I would have if I only bought seedlings.
So why should you plant both seeds and seedlings? Because you can have a more vibrant, fruitful and bountiful garden.
Have you already planted your garden?
Do you have any tips or advice that works for you, in your garden?
Let me know in the comments below.
Happy gardening, as you soak up vitamin D and enjoy the wonder of growing your own fresh veggies and herbs!