What can you start from seed in February?

I hope all of you are busy planning your vegetable gardens and getting those seeds ordered! If you haven’t purchased seeds yet, now is the time. A lot of seed companies are experiencing larger than usual interest and several have had to temporarily stop accepting orders. Many varieties of seeds are running out. So jump on it!

If you already have your seeds and your plan of action, you may be champing at the bit to get started. Those of us who start seeds indoors feel the urge to play in the dirt (or the soilless seed-starting mix) even in winter, but it’s often not a good idea. When I began gardening, I started many plants far too early, and was sorry later when I had enormous seedlings that couldn’t be put in the ground until the weather cooperated. So as a former offender, I will state clearly: DO NOT START YOUR TOMATO PLANTS IN FEBRUARY. In fact, do not start your tomato plants until late March or early April, and you will be much happier, and so will your plants.

But what CAN I start, you ask, with a pitiful, yearning look in your eyes. I know. I really do. Here’s a  list. It may not include anything you’re actually planning to grow, but I’ll give you another suggestion at the end. Here we go.

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Fastest vegetable gardening ever! (A.k.a. microgreens.)


Have you tried those very expensive packages of cute little nutritionally-packed microgreens to sprinkle on top of your meals? Did you think, well, this adds something fun and tasty to dinner, but how often am I going to shell out that amount of money? Occasionally, maybe (microgreens provide a great income source for farmers in the wintertime), but if you’re hooked and you want to eat these tiny bursts of flavor more often, grow your own! Continue reading

Microgreens: Tasty Accents from Small Spaces

My first response to microgreens was: “Why would I spend my time growing 3-inch tall plants to eat?”

Then I thought about all of the tiny leafy green plants (beet, lettuce, kale, basil, etc.) I had eaten over the years in the process of growing transplants at home and in greenhouses. And it started to make more sense: why not plant seeds closely in a container to just grow baby plants?

"Brassica" microgreens
Tray of “brassica” microgreens ready to harvest

Benefits: When you eat microgreens you are ingesting the cotyledons, stems, and small expanded true leaves of edible plants. Some reasons to give them a try:

  • High in anti-oxidants and other health-promoting substances, like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and lutein
  • Can be grown year-round inside with strong natural light or inexpensive fluorescent tubes
  • Great for kids at home and in school- sow seeds, watch them sprout and grow for 10-14 days, and eat!
  • Wonderful assortment of colors, flavors, and textures

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