My Backyard Vegetable Garden
Preparing to Start Your Back Yard Vegetable Garden From Seed
It's April and that means it's time to start my indoor vegetable seeds for my backyard garden. My family comes from a long line of farmers, but my parents only occasionally planted a vegetable garden. Given the current economy, I have decided it is the perfect time to try to grow some of my own food and cut down on those grocery bills. Last year I grew a modest three foot by sixteen foot raised bed garden. It had grape tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower. I found the project quite rewarding and enjoyable. It was also surprisingly easier than I had ever thought possible (with the exception of the cauliflower, but we always learn a little with each new project).
This year I have decided to increase the size of my garden to around a ten foot by twelve foot area and try a few new crops. A little corn is on the list, along with carrots, cilantro, butternut squash, tomatoes, purple broccoli, broccolini (baby broccoli), green beans, mini belle peppers and more Connecticut Field Pumpkins. First things first, decide what crops do well in your zone and are practical for the amount of time you can spend tending to them. The crops that I have chosen basically need 10-15 minutes of attention per day (for watering and tending) and once well-established you spend those 10-15 minutes a day harvesting. Nothing tastes better than vegetables you've grown yourself.
Choose your seeds from a reputable brand at your local home improvement store, garden center or nursery along with a seed starting kit (such as Burpee Ultimate Seed Starting System or Jiffy Seed Starter Greenhouse 72 plant). I start my seeds indoors under fluorescent lights. You will need a shelf (to put the plants on the bottom and hang the light above). Depending upon how many seedlings you are starting you may need multiple shelves.
You will also need one four foot fluorescent light for each shelf level. I found mine for about $20 each from a local home improvement store. You will want to buy bulbs that are UVB or full spectrum so the plants get the correct light for photosynthesis.
Not all seeds are able to be started indoors then transplanted outdoors (such as carrots, cilantro and others). Be sure to check the packages, nursery or do your research first. Some others such as lettuce and other greens and herbs can be grown entirely indoors or in containers.
So, to begin your project you will need:
· seed starting kit (such asBurpee Ultimate Seed Starting System or Jiffy Seed Starter Greenhouse 72 plant).
· Wire shelf unit (mine is 3 shelves - 2 planting levels)
· a two bulb four foot fluorescent lamp for each shelf level
· 2 UVB or full spectrum bulbs per light fixture
· vegetable seeds appropriate for your climate zone
My next post will detail some information on my chosen crops, their planting times and how I start them in the seed starter kits. Happy Planning!