Planting a garden?

Even if one is planning on planting a garden this summer, planning now and starting the seeds, will allow the seeds to be ready to thrive in Idaho weather. 

BLACKFOOT– When the snow begins to melt many people are looking towards the spring and summer months when they can start planting. There have even been hints of the upcoming planting season at the local grocery stores. Many places like Kesler's and Walmart order their garden goods months in advance. It isn't outside the norm to start planning ones garden right now. Many people start their seeds indoors and many found items can be used to start seeds indoors. The containers and seeds can be easy to come by, depending if one has been planting before. 

The containers to start seeds are pretty simple. One can use anything from wood, plastic and clay pots to start seeds. The containers should be clean and free of mold. Punch a few holes in the bottom of the container to make sure that it drains. Cardboard egg cartons are great seed starters because one can just cut off the pod and plant it in the ground. The cardboard disintegrates, and the roots spread easily.

Vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, chard, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and other warm-weather vegetables can be started now or within the next few weeks. One can use seeds from last year if there are any left over. If one is unsure if it will work, place a few seeds on a wet towel and keep it moist until they germinate. If half of them germinate, you will need to sow them a little thicker than usual.

Tips:

One can use any type of houseplant potting soil. It is not recommended to start them in soil from the garden because it can introduce bugs and weeds.

Fill the container overflowing with the soil. Adding a few eggshells can help with nutrients. Look at the back of the seed packets to be sure how to cover the seed — some don’t need to be covered at all.

Keep the new seed pots in a warm spot where the temperatures are at an average of 65 to 72 degrees. Make sure they are near bright light. Some seeds have been known to grow faster when they are under fluorescent lights.

For the first few days, use warm water on the soil. When they begin to germinate, move to water that is a little warmer than room temperature. Do not use cold water.

After the seeds have begun to form sets of true leaves (not just the little shoots), one can individually plant them to give them room to grow.

Make sure to not put the young seeds outdoors until the cold and the frost are over. With Idaho weather, that can be iffy.

Zinnias, asters and other warm flowers can be started indoors right now as well. They can be started the same way as the vegetables.

Whatever way one starts a garden, planning now is a good idea for many budding enthusiasts. 

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