Has the recent warm weather given spring gardening an itch?
We’ve been enjoying the mild temperatures and sunshine we’ve had lately, but we know we’re just over two months away from the last average frost we’re expecting.
Still, if you want to start gardening this spring, you can start with vegetables by sowing seeds indoors in mid-January. You can do that by
In fact, starting now will give you a head start on the eight weeks some of our vegetables need. Others that don’t take long can still be started and produced early before the hot summer arrives.
By starting your plants early, you can get great benefits with just about any vegetable you can think of.
Investments can be very small. It’s possible to get a little wild with supplies, but you should be able to get your hands on some items to start hundreds of plants this year, next year, and years to come. With just a few visits around or to a local garden center, we guarantee you’ll find everything you need.
Consider the advantages.
Seeds are cheaper than transplants, so you’ll save money over time.
Vegetables can be harvested at the beginning of the year. After that, regularly planted garden seeds will provide a later, more typical harvest.
You can get more types of produce. No need to drive around looking for that particular pepper transplant. You can order a huge number of varieties from seeds.
You have more control over germination in your garden rows. Transplanting starts after all danger of frost has passed may eliminate “skips” from seeds in rows.
The right time to sow seeds for transplanting depends on when a particular plant can be safely moved into the garden. This period ranges from 2-3 weeks before transplanting to 8 weeks, depending on the speed of germination and growth rate. Lettuce may only require two weeks of growth before being moved to the garden, as opposed to tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, which need to be held for up to eight weeks before transplanting.
One common mistake is to sow seeds too early and try to move the seedlings back into an area with insufficient light or an inappropriate temperature range.
Plants that have been kept inside for a long time may have thin, wiry stems. Usually, you should plant your tomatoes about 6-7 weeks before you plan to plant them in your garden. Remember that if it seems too tall, the plant can be placed in a furrow with the ends facing up in the soil.
In other news, if you have a graduating high school senior, scholarship opportunities await through the Greg County Association of Master Gardeners. I have. For more information, please contact the Extension Office at (903) 236-8429.
— Shaniqua Davis is an agriculture and natural resources extension agent for Greg County. Email: Shaniqua.Davis@ag.tamu.edu .