I've been gardening since I married at 22. This coming summer (2014) will be my 12th season as a gardener. My sons have both been playing, working and eating in the garden since they were crawling along in diapers keeping their grandmother company as she harvested. They are 10 & 11 and their experience in the garden is equal to their years on earth.
As many people turn to their own backyards for the freshest produce around, I'm compelled to encourage this move to grow food not lawns!
The Top 5 Crops for Beginners to Grow from Seed
First off, growing from seed will save you a lot of money. There are many sources of seed that are much less expensive than buying started seedlings and plants. Packets of heirloom and organic seeds can be purchased from stores. But, the least expensive place to get these seeds are from your local neighborhood gardeners. You may know family members or friends who garden and most likely they'll jump at the chance to share some of their saved seeds with you. If not, a visit to a few gardening clubs in your area may provide you with enough gifted seeds to get started. At the end of the season, save some seeds of your own from your plants to grow next year and share with others.
- Loose Leaf Lettuce
This has got to be one of the easiest crops to grow from seed. It's almost foolproof. You can go with one variety such as the popular Black Seeded Simpson.. or choose a mix of garden lettuces that can include many varieties. They are generally pretty cool weather tolerant. So, you don't have to worry too much about jumping the gun in excitement. Basically, all you have to do is sprinkle the seeds on your plot, "wipe," the area with your hand - just as if you were wiping something up with a paper towel, and that is it. That's it. Water it, gently.. and wait for the sprouts to come up. Simple and easy.
- Green Beans
Green Beans are my personal favorite crop. They are so much fun to start from seed and the vines grow so quickly you can really enjoy their progress. This is definitely the crop for an impatient gardener. I usually start my seeds on a paper-towel covered tray. I spread the seeds on the paper towel, cover them with another paper towel and dampen with water. I leave it out in the sunlight on my back deck, keep it moistened, and check it everyday for new sprouts that I transfer to the soil. Easy and simple. This is also my boys' favorite crop.
- Lima Beans
Same as above with the green beans.
- Summer Squash
Just take the squash seeds and stick them in the seed starter mix of your choice (or creation). Water and wait for sprouting. They seem to be pretty tough and I usually have great success with starting these seeds.
I think these are a tad bit more difficult than the squash. But, the starting is the same and the rewards from a successful plant are worth giving it a try.
Like I said, feel free to experiment with any number of crops you'd like. But, really focus your concentration on these as your beginners foundation and you will see better success than spreading your newbie self to thin!
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