I’ve comprised a seed starting calendar for our area that I wanted to share with anyone who is wanting to try to grow their own food this year! If you don’t live in Tennessee, these specific dates won’t apply to you, but from what I’ve seen, our growing season starts about a month earlier than in the Midwest. So you may be able to start your seeds one month after what I have listed.
Last year was my first time having a garden large enough to feed our family of three all year long and I learned a ton through trial and error. One of the things I learned is that you don’t have to start all of your seeds at the same time and that you don’t have to wait until mid-April to transplant everything outdoors.
The other thing I learned was that the spring growing season is rather short. Since Tennessee winters are warm and summer temps settle in come May, certain cool weather crops (root vegetables, broccoli, greens, etc.) need to be in the ground come February and March if you want to get a good yield.
So now is a great time to start certain crops! But which ones?
CHECK OUT MY CALENDAR TO FIND OUT!
To Start Seeds Indoors: Fill clean egg shells or seed starter kit with organic compost or potting soil. Plant two seeds per shell according to planting depth on back of seed packet then water and store in a warm place. (On top of the fridge is great as most seeds do not need sun to germinate. If your kitchen is cold, try placing your starts on top of a heating pad.) Once seeds sprout, you can move to a warm sunny window.
To Transplant Your Starts Outdoors: Harden off (introduce to sun incrementally) before you transplant outdoors, then remove soil pod from your egg carton or seed starter kit and plant into the ground. Press down soil around transplant firmly and water. Water as needed until roots are established then water according to instructions on back of seed packet.
To Direct Sow Seeds Into the Garden: Prepare garden bed by amending soil (add compost and/or sand and other organic matter) then place seeds in the soil according to recommending spacing on the back of the seed packet. Cover with soil and gently pat down to secure seeds in their spot. Water gently as to not move the seeds. Water once a day until sprout then water according to recommendations on back of seed packet.
My calendar only contains crops that I grow myself. Your list of garden vegetables might be very different than mine, so please consult this comprehensive list to find out the start dates for dozens of other vegetables, herbs, and flowers!
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