February is already upon us, and we have some gardening goodness to help you through this sometimes-wicked-weather month. It seems like the first day of spring won't come soon enough, but we can make use of the few weeks left before the thaw to get seeds started. To help you in that endeavor, we're hosting a month-long seed giveaway. Five of our growing partners are each giving away one prize package worth $100 to our lucky winners. (Big SHOUT OUT to Botanical Interests, Burpee, Hudson Valley Seed Library, Johnny's Selected Seeds and Renee's Garden for sponsoring this giveaway!)
On March 1 we'll choose five winners, matching one winner with one growing partner to receive $100 worth of seeds and related products from that partner. Enter to win today (and come back tomorrow—you may enter once a day).
We also have Kathy Cropp's helpful podcast on Winter Sowing to help you be a better seed starter. That episode has already been downloaded by 12,000 gardeners just like you—AND IT'S FREE! Give it a listen, be sure to enter to win, and then start planning what to do with your prize package. Later in the month Kathy will have two more podcasts on Horticulture Radio with seed themes—one sponsored by Osmocote and one sponsored by Botanical Interests. Plus, Andrew Keys will have a new RadioGarden episode, also sponsored by Botanical Interests, in which he'll talk to the artists who help produce the gorgeous art on their seed packs. Finally, make sure you register for our free online workshop on seed starting, led by Ryan Schmitt, Botanical Interests' staff horticulturist. It takes place Feb. 24, but just by registering you'll gain access to a recording of the event that you can access any time after that date.
And before I sign off, here are some tips from Seed Savers Exchange on growing from seed:
1. What do you want to grow in your garden? Enough food for your family or enough to share with friends? Or do you want to grow flowers to fill your landscape and the vases in your home?
2. If growing edibles, what kind of vegetables do you and your family like to eat? Knowing your own taste will help you to narrow your choices and save hours wondering about seed descriptions in catalogs.
3. What vegetables and flowers will grow in your climate? It’s important to choose plants appropriate for your USDA climate zone.
4. Where will your garden be located? The location of your garden might determine what you can grow successfully in your garden. Is your soil clay or sand? Is the garden area shaded or sunny? If you have limited space, many vegetables and flowers thrive in containers
5. When should you start planting? Some plant types can be sown directly into the soil after the danger of frost has passed – like beans. Cold tolerant varieties, such as peas, actually thrive in cooler conditions and need to be directly sown outdoors before the last frost. Other varieties, requiring longer growing seasons like tomatoes and peppers, need to be started indoors before they are transplanted outdoors.
Stick with us through February, and we'll make it to that first day of spring together!
Peace on the garden path,