Thursday, February 16, 2012

Starting a Spring Garden Indoors

Green Peppers
One of my favorite ways to save money is growing my own food.  There is a feeling of satisfaction when I prepare a meal that includes vegetables grown in my own back yard.  There is an added benefit of knowing the nutritional value has not been compromised by unnecessary chemicals. I look forward to gardening season every year, and am saddened when the last of my vegetation is pulled from the ground until next Spring.

The best time to plant a garden is late March or early April.  General rule of thumb is after the final frost of the year.  I refuse to buy starter plants from a nursery when it is easy to grow my own.  Now is a good time to plant your own starter from seed indoors.  Saving seeds from the previous years crop means there is no need to pay for them.  The green peppers pictured were harvested using the seeds of a dried pepper from last Fall.  The seeds are removed from the pepper and placed about one inch beneath the soil.  Water and fertilizer are added, and the soil is kept moist (not wet) until the seeds begin to sprout.  Over watering once sprouts are visible will weaken the roots.  Place the planter in a well lite area with the most visible sunshine.   I have also had some luck using seeds from store bought produce.  This will not always work depending on the handeling of the product before it is merchandised.

 Mixing compost in the soil promotes growth.  Creating a compost in your own back yard is easy.  Purchase a storage bin large enough for your needs.  Drill good sized holes in the bottom and toss in leaves, leftover food, and coffee grinds for a few suggestions.  What goes into the compost is only limited by the imagination. Turn the compost with a shovel about once a week and add a small amount of water to keep moist.  Before long you will see a rich black soil that is ideal for gardening.  This is one of many ways to have a compost.  As long as you have a large container or fenced in space, make sure your compost has plenty of air and is rotated regularly you will have results.

The peppers I am growning will need to be thinned out.  More seeds have populated than I expected.  Once they have matured for about two more weeks I will divide the plants into two to three more pots being careful not to harm the developed root.  Leave the plants in direct sunlight.  By the time gardening season has arrived my plants will be six to eight inches tall and ready to transplant to the outdoors.

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