Here is a list of the seeds I am planting in my new garden and how to start them. I am planting 12 fruits and vegetables with vital nutrients and suitable for a norther climate. Coronavirus may be with us a while. A garden is good for your health and essential to long term emergency preparation.
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As I live in a cold region I only just planted seeds indoors to start my garden once the ground thaws and the threat of frost is over. I am not experienced with THIS big of a garden so as I learn I want to share what I find. Included are links to more detailed information as this is meant to be a list of the seeds I am planting and basic instructions on getting them started. I have the philosophy that less is more. Instead of putting dozens of different foods in my garden I am focusing on 12 that I consider essential foods. Some are for eating in the summer and others can be canned or dried to store for winter.
Here is a list of what you will need.
NOTE: The seeds you chose may be different than mine as different climates cause us to chose different plants. Just make sure that if this is a garden you wish to continue each year, you will want to chose Heirloom seeds as they produce plants that can in turn produce more usable seeds. NOT all seeds do this. Many manufacturers use GMO seeds that have infertile offspring.
Seed starting cells
Soil-Use seed starter potting mix or an organically fertilized potting mix for fruits and vegetables
Large 14 inch pots for raspberry canes or potatoes.
3-4 inch pots for starting onions.
A bright full spectrum light source if starting seeds indoors where there is little natural light. I am using an overhead bulb in a room with a bright window. I leave the light on 12 hours a day. LED bulbs use less electricity than others so they are better for the enviroment and cheaper on your electricity bill.
Gloves to keep soil from getting jammed under your nails. The soil can get compacted and tear into the nail bed causing pain and an infection risk, particularly if you are handling fertilized soil.
Watering can or pitcher to water seeds. I am using a water glass for seeds, and a watering can for the larger pots.
Bowls for soaking some seeds overnight and 3% hydrogen peroxide if you are starting raspberries from seeds. I am reusing dishes from some of my Hormel Completes meals.
A way to mark the pots with the seeds you planted. I am using some older cloth tape and a pen.
DON'T use chlorinated water to water plants and seeds. Use filtered water or distilled water if you do not have an unchlorinated well like I do.
Rhubarb- Soak seeds overnight. Plant 3 inches apart or 2 seeds per seed starter cell/pot. I used peat planting cells. Rhubarb is perennial and will come back each year. Make sure to give them space in a corner of the garden so they have room for their large leaves. They come up early and continue to grow over the season. They love the cold so it is best to put the planted seeds outside or plant them into the ground as soon as the soil is workable. Starting them in a pot is just the quickest way to get them going.
Raspberry Canes-Raspberry canes are started bushes from the cutting of another already mature bush. They tend to be 1 year old when you buy them and look like a dry branch sticking out of the dirt. Plant directly into the ground in spring as soon as the soil is workable. You can also start them inside in early to mid April if you live in a zone that doesn't fully thaw until mid May. Plant canes 3 feet apart or 1 to each large planting pot. Raspberries are perennial. They come back each year. Make sure to prune them according to breed. Here is an article on pruning raspberry bushes. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/raspberry/pruning-raspberry-bushes.htm
Raspberry seeds: See article
Carrot seeds- You can plant them directly into the ground once risk of frost is over or start indoors and transplant once the risk of frost is gone. They take between 60-90 days to reach full maturity depending on breed chosen, but can be harvested before for taste. Plant seeds 1 inch apart for crop growing. Plant them shallow 5mm deep, as the seeds are small. You can stager your planting to get multiple harvest. In order for carrots to give off seeds they have to winter in or vernalize. If you live in a climate were winter does not get below 15F -9.5C you can leave them in the ground. If your winter does get below 15F -9.5C then dig them up before the first frost and place them in an aerate plastic bag filled with wood chips and store them in your fridge over winter. Replant as soon as the soil can be worked. When they are replanted or grown the next spring they will begin their reproductive cycle. They will flower, pollinate and then produce seeds. These seeds may be stored for planting more carrots. Make sure your seeds are non GMO or they may not produce usable seeds. For more on growing carrots https://www.westcoastseeds.com/blogs/how-to-grow/grow-carrots
Corn- Plant corn 1.5-2 inches deep at 6 inches apart. Space rows 30 inches apart. They take from 80-100 days to mature depending on the variety. You can start them indoors and transplant once risk of frost has past if you have a short growing season like I do.
To save seeds see this article https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-techniques/saving-corn-seeds-ze0z1510zbay
Beets- beets can be sown directly or started indoors. Soak the seeds in water overnight to soften the seed casing. Start indoors about 3-4 weeks before you want to be able to transplant them outside. Fill a pot with dirt to 3/4 full and compress. Sprinkle seeds over the top and cover with 5-8 mm of compost or gentle fertilizer. Pack again. Don't plant a ton all at once but stager your planting every 2 weeks to have a harvest all growing season. Water regularly to keep soil moist. They take only 55-60 days to reach maturity and you can harvest them at any size depending on preference. For detailed information of growing beets and harvesting seeds from them, see https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/beets/beet-seed-planting.htm
Tomatoes- Most will want to start them indoors and they need a minimum of 60F to grow. Transplant when outdoor soil is consistently 60-80F. Place soil in pot to 1/2 inch or 10mm from the top. Place 2 tomato seeds near the center and cover with 1/4 of an inch or 5mm. Sprinkle with water if the soil looks dry but don't saturate it. Depending on the breed they take 80-90 days to mature. Once transplanted in the garden make sure they have something to support them like a tomato cage or a stake with plant clips. To save seeds simply take seeds from a mature tomato and dry them. For detailed information of growing tomatoes https://modernfarmer.com/2015/03/grow-your-own-tomatoes-part-1-starting-seed-indoors/
Cucumber- Cucumber seeds mature quickly at 60 days. They need warm soil to grow so start them inside 2-4 weeks before it will be 70F outside. Plant seeds 6 inches apart or 1 per peat seed cell. Do not let the soil dry out and keep it moist as cucumbers need a lot of water to grow. To save seeds just take the seeds form a mature cucumber and dry them for next year. For detailed information about growing cucumbers https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-grow-cucumbers-from-seed-2539928
Sweet Peas-Sow directly into the garden as soon as you can work the ground. They like the colder spring weather. They will survive a late frost or snowfall. Once the soil reaches 60F they will sprout in 9 days. They grow to maturity in 45-55 days. For detailed information about sweet pea growing see http://www.gardenersnet.com/vegetable/peas.htm
Lettuce-Seeds can be started indoors or directly planted after the threat of frost is past. Plant new seeds every 2 weeks after that directly into the ground to harvest all season. Plant seeds 1 inch deep 6-8 inches apart outdoors or in their own pots. For detailed information https://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicecenter/vegetables/lettuce/all-about-lettuce/article10236.html
Potatoes from seed potatoes: You can get seed potatoes from many places. If your seed potatoes come in and don't have eyes, don't worry You can direct plant them in a pot inside where it is at least 60 degrees and they will sprout eventually. To speed this up, place seed potatoes in a warm sunny place until they sprout eyes and plant as normal. You can cut up a seed potato as long as each section has an eye, to stretch your potatoes. It has risks and benefits. Plant seed potatoes 3 inches deep at 24 inches apart, or one or two per 14 inch or larger pot. For detailed information https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/potato/seed-potatoes.htm
Spinach: Plant seeds directly into the ground as soon as it's workable. They need the colder temperatures to germinate and don't like being transplanted. They can also be planted in late summer early fall. Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep about 6 inches apart. This plant matures quickly so you can get multiple crops by refridgerating moist seeds for a few weeks before planting into the garden. For detailed information https://getbusygardening.com/growing-spinach-from-seed/
Onions from seeds-Start them indoors as early as March. Plant them in 3-6 inch pots or 2 rows of seeds about 1/4 inch or 5mm deep. Keep the soil moist. It can take 3-6 weeks for them to sprout. Transplant them after 8 weeks. Place each bunch of onions 6 inches apart. For detailed information https://www.mofga.org/Publications/Articles-for-Reprinting/Start-Onions-From-Seed-in-February-March
And that is it for the seeds I am using and how to start them! As I go through this I realize how much vital information I was never taught. The ability to cultivate food is the reason humans were able to start civilization, yet aside from growing a few things as a hobby most of us were never taught how to plan and care for a proper food garden. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed many weaknesses in our modern world and it would be foolish not to correct them. Whether it's this pandemic or another long term emergency, we NEED to know how to feed ourselves. It is one of the 4 survival essentials that you will die without. It's the rule of 3. 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter at night, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food, is all that separates us from death. It seems beyond foolish to me that we have neglected to maintain these skills in our society. NOTHING lasts forever and disease, war, and natural disasters ALWAYS come. Every civilization falls at some point and you can't predict it most of the time. We NEED these skills to live. I for one intend never to be without them again. Stay safe.