By David Arnold for National Garden Bureau
Photographs courtesy of National Garden Bureau
With spring just around the corner, now is the time to plan for a fabulous year-round harvest. And what’s the best way to fill your garden with flavorsome, nutritious vegetables? Grow them from seed! There is a huge choice of varieties, and for just a few dollars you can be eating your own vegetables throughout the spring, summer, fall and yes, even into winter.
Growing from seed helps protect our environment, too.
Home grown helps to shrink our carbon footprint by reducing our reliance on intensive farming methods and trucking crops across the country to stores, where they are usually packed in single-use plastic packaging. If we all grew some of our own food at home, just think of the positive impact that would have on our planet and climate change.
But wait a minute: Isn’t growing from seed tricky, time-consuming, requires a lot of space and well, just hard work? Happily, the answer to all these questions is no!
Whatever your personal taste and however large or small your growing area, in stores and online you will find a vast range of tempting vegetable seed varieties to grow successfully at home. And the really good news is there are many easy to use seed products available to make growing successful.
Take, for example, pre-sown seed tapes and mats.
These clever products take all the guesswork out of seed sowing as the seed is pre-spaced and sandwiched between two layers of 100% biodegradable tissue that breaks down in the soil, leaving behind nothing but your perfectly spaced seeds.
All you need to do to prepare the soil where you want your crops to grow is to rake it until you have a fine surface, then roll out the seed tapes or lay the seed mats onto the soil. Cover them with a thin layer of soil and water the sown area (and keep moist throughout the growing time). You can even cut the tapes and mats with normal scissors to fit the space you have available.
When the seedlings appear there’s no need to thin them as this has been done for you when the tapes and mats were produced. It’s worth noting that thinning seedlings can damage their root systems, resulting in the possibility of pest and disease attack. Pre-spaced seed tapes and mats significantly reduce this risk, giving you stronger, healthier, more abundant crops.
Use Seed Tapes In Containers Too!
For those of us who have little or no outside growing space but want to grow some of our own food, veggie growing is still possible using seed mats and discs that fit into standard seed trays or plant pots. Herbs, salads, and microgreens are some of the typical crops that can be grown in a kitchen or on a balcony or small patio. Choose your growing container, fill it with a good quality soil mix, lay the seed mat or disc on the surface, cover with a small amount of the soil, and water (and keep moist). Place it in a sunny, warm position and in a very short time you’ll be enjoying tasty, nutritious veggies that you have grown yourself – think of that!
But what about flowers, I hear you say? Can I buy flower seed in pre-sown products? Yes, you can!
Many of the well-known seed companies offer seed discs and mats with beautiful mixtures of stunning flowers for you to grow in containers or directly into your garden beds. This is the ultimate, easy flower growing solution – simply follow the same method as you would for vegetable tapes, mats and discs and in just a few weeks you can be enjoying flowers. As an added bonus to nature lovers, many of these flower varieties are friendly to beneficial insects. These flower products can provide a valuable source of seed food for our fine-feathered friends, too.
Look To These NGB Members For Seed Tapes And Discs:
Whatever your growing passion, whether it is for tasty, nutritious food or providing lovely color, fragrance and interest to your garden, pre-sown seed tapes are the easy, convenient, economical, and eco-friendly solution.
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By Pamela Crawford, author, Easy Patio Veggies & Herbs
Photographs by Pamela Crawford
Pamela has written a great article about mixing herbs in containers. Herbs are natural companions with different textures for interest. The herb mix of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme offers lots of flavor from a small combination loaded with textural interest.
To learn more, click here .
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