Wellness: Start your Summer Garden Now!
Any green thumb enthusiasts out there? Is there anything more soothing and calming than gardening? Did you know that gardening can lower your stress and blood pressure, boost your self-esteem and help calm depression and anxiety? Yep, gardening isn't just for the birds anymore, so we wanted to give you a few tips to get yours started in time for the last frost.
Seed starting is a very rewarding hobby that not only provides you with the accomplishment of growing something from the start, but also yields delicious results that you can enjoy all summer long. Starting your seeds is all about timing and should be based on your location. Check out your local Farmer's Almanac to judge when your last frost may be so you know when you can transplant your seedlings to their permanent home outside. Here are some other tips to get you going!
1. Go for the gold! Choose organic, open pollinated, heirloom seeds. You've heard the phrase, "Go big or go home"? Keep that in mind with you choose your seeds. If you are going to grow some veggie goodness, you may as well grow the best!
2. Don't use regular potting soil. Go to your nearest nursery and find a seed starting blend. These provide your seedlings with proper air flow and proper water retention. Look for a mix that is light weight, but dense enough to tamper your seed into the soil for direct contact.
3. Light the way. Keep them warm and keep them hydrated! A great way to keep your seeds temperature consistent and provide them with enough light (assuming you have a good kitchen window) is to keep your seedlings on top of your refrigerator. The warmth for your fridge's energy will give a good dose of germinating warmth needed to sprout while the light from your kitchen will give your seeds the energy they need to grow. Keep their soil damp and never let it dry out completely. We suggest placing your seedling container in a small pool of water so the starting mix can wick up moisture from the bottom.
4. Pick the right container. Choose a seed-starting container (which can be found at your local hardware store or nursery) or use flower flats from last years planting. Each seed starting container should be 2-3 inches deep and have proper drainage bottoms.
5. Show your seeds some love! Once your seeds have germinated and begun to sprout, talk to them. Gently pet their little leaves and keep them stimulated. Yes, you read that right. Not only have studies shown that plants in general respond to touch and sound, but you benefit from talking to your little sprout you worked so hard to grow!
6. Transplant with care and FEED your plants' soul. Once your seedling is ready to be transplanted outside, be sure that you move them into a good organic, vegetable soil. Give them a chance to acclimate to the big bad world by giving them a few hours outside in the shade a few days before transplanting. Give them enough space to grow and don't let them get too crowded by other veggies or flowers. It is suggested to keep your plants 3-5 inches apart from each other for the perfect yield and growth. Once they are transplanted, feed them with organic nutrients and fertilizers (perfect time to use your compost.)
7. Grow baby grow: Keep your plants well hydrated, well-fed and happy. If there is a storm coming in, give them shelter with a light tarp until the storm moves away. Give them daily loving, watering, pruning and talking. Once they start producing food, thank them and yourself for the goods!
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