This year, more than ever, growing your own garden is going to be important.
Gardening is a great way to get your mind off all that's going on in the world and is an excellent way to eat healthier (I'm talking to you sitting over there in your stretchy yoga pants).
Not to mention, it's fun and extremely satisfying.
There's nothing like seeing that little seed you pushed into the ground sprout to become a robust vegetable that you can harvest and eat.
And it can keep your grocery bills down. Has anyone else tripled their normal grocery spending the last few weeks?
So growing your own garden is a win all the way around!
If you're like me and don't have the space or supplies to start seeds indoors in late winter, or just didn't envision how much you'd be wanting to grow your own this year (and who could really have envisioned any of this), there is still hope for you!
Some vegetables will grow quite well by sowing them directly in the ground, bypassing the messy and lengthy indoor seed starting stages (or maybe it's just messy for klutzy me?).
How To Direct Sow:
Read The Back Of The Seed Packets - the packets will tell you just about all the information you will need to know to have a successful harvest, including:
- When to sow outside
- How deep to plant the seeds
- How far apart to plant the seeds in each row
- How much space to have between each row
- How many days it will take for the plants to start emerging
- When to thin your plants
- When they will mature so you can eat them
Know Your Zone and Last Frost Date - Your can find your zone on the interactive USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map where you just need to input your zip code. I'm a firm believer in everyone knowing their zone, because it comes in so handy when planting anything from vegetables to annuals to trees.
Your last frost date is a historical estimate of the last date when you can expect a frost in your area and will be key for when you should be planting seeds in the ground. Your frost date can be found online at Dave's Garden or The Old Farmer's Almanac . You can also find your last frost date by contacting your local extension office which can be found at Gardening Know How.
Prepare Your Beds - Prepare your beds for growing vegetables by removing any grass, weeds and rocks. If this is the first time planting in this spot you should add some compost and fertilizer and mix in into the dirt.
Plant Your Seeds - Plant your seeds according to the seed packets. Some seeds will be planted individually, poked into the ground and covered with soil and some may be planted by scattering them in the row and covering with dirt (in most instances these are the plants that will need to be thinned). Use plant markers so you know what you planted where and make sure to keep the ground moist, not soggy, until sprouting.
Thin Your Seedlings - Thin according to seed packet instructions. When you plant vegetables that will require thinning, you are basically over-planting and then keeping only the strongest and healthiest of the plants. True survival of the fittest in action. There will be some seeds that don't require thinning (e.g., peas) so it's important to read the back of those seed packets.
15 Vegetable Seeds To Direct Sow:
- Swiss Chard
What? No Tomatoes?
There are some plants that are a little trickier to grow from seeds and I normally leave it up to the local nurseries to get those started for me. Tomatoes and pepper plants are two that fall into that category for me.
They're not impossible to grow from seed sown directly in the ground, but since this article is all about the EASIEST, we'll leave those off my EASY list.
What's you favorite vegetables to grow in your garden?