Friday, February 22, 2013

Planning for a Garden

 I was oh so excited to receive the packets of seeds I had ordered in the mail last weekend.  I sat outside to do my preliminary planning last Saturday and all week I've been looking forward to getting my seeds started. 

This year I'm planting an all heirloom garden.  And I'm holding my breath while writing this post for two reasons... one, I've never planted with heirloom seeds and two, I've never started seeds.  Basically that means I had (have) no idea what I was doing and could only follow some written instructions and hope for the best.  But planting with heirloom seeds this year was important to me and something I really wanted to try.  Heirloom seeds are pure, natural, have good flavor and are not genetically modified (GMO-free). 

 I ordered all my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (  They have the largest selection of heirloom seeds in the US and are a great source of information.  I could spend hours just reading their seed catalog alone. 

And although totally unrelated, aren't their seed packets so pretty?

I used a numbered system last year for keeping track of what was planted where and it worked so well I'm doing it again this year.  I spent some time writing a few planting tips down as well on my master list and drew up a garden plan too.   This year I'm planting a vegetable garden twice the size as last year, which means I'm in for a busy summer!  

 I purchased organic seed-starting soil and organic biodegradable fiber pots and trays for starting my seeds (tomatoes, onions, and peppers).  I used my numbered system on the pots as well so I remember what I planted (smile).  

These days I am so forgetful! 

 I used the planting guide provided at (here) and also followed the instructions for sowing on the back of each seed packet.  The first step was moistening the soil mix so that a firm bed is created for the seeds.  Yes, I poured my soil mixture into a mixing bowl and put it my kitchen sink.  What better to stir with than a kitchen spoon?  I found that the faucet sprayer worked well so that I wasn't over-watering. 

It looks like I'm cooking something up with my spoon in the soil... a kitchen garden, anyone? 

 The supplies I ended up using were simple household items: a mixing bowl, spoon, and tweezers.  And they worked great!

 The soil is packed into pots and I used my thumb to press down as I went.  This prevents the seeds from falling down to the bottom of the pot. 

 The tweezers worked so well for picking up the tiny little seeds and placing them in the pots. 

After I was finished, I misted the pots and covered the trays with plastic wrap until they (hopefully, hopefully, hopefully) germinate.  

Really, since I've never done this before, I probably should have waited to publish this post until I had seedlings.  But as usual, my blog posts tend to come unplanned.

 Even though I have no idea if I'll have success, it really did feel wonderful to do a little gardening today.  Isn't it amazing to think of a tiny little seed and what it can produce?

P.S.  This mama planted seeds while the girls were napping but forgot to move the mixing bowl with the soil somewhere high.  The girls woke up and before I knew it, I heard Jillian, "Mommmmy!  Rosetta's climbing on the table!"  Then I ran because I had a bad feeling somebody was about to sample whatever was being mixed in the bowl.  I  snapped this picture then and look who was being silly for the camera! 

Have a great weekend! 


  1. I haven't even thought about gardening yet. I guess we will just buy a few plants again. If my greenhouse ever gets built I could grow seed. Your girls are soooooo cute.

  2. I am so impressed with your system! I'd love to learn more details about your numbering system. Last year I forgot to label my trays and had to wait until they were really tall just so I could guess what they were! I usually start mine March 1st but I'm ready to play in some dirt. :) Looking forward to hearing your opinion on the heirloom seeds.

    Your girls are adorable and such cute models!
    Have a great weekend....

  3. I wish I could plant a veggie garden.I may have to try seeds for flowers.The reason I can't plant a veggie garden is because we have ground squirrels.They like to make little tunnels under your yard.
    I could try somethings in containers.
    What a sweet photo of your girls!Oh I remember that age.I miss spending those moments with my daughter.

  4. What a cute photo of the girls! They were getting ready for a little "dirt pudding". How funny! You are so industrious. Good luck on your seeds.


  5. What fun- I hope you have good luck with your heirloom seeds. I love the picture of your sweet girls-especially the HAM! Have a great weekend- xo Diana

  6. These are wonderful tips (and of course I love your pictures as always)

    I'm starting mine next week - and can't wait -

    xo + blessings,
    Anne Marie

  7. Your girls are beautiful and I know they bring a lot of joy to you.
    Good luck with your heirloom seeds - I'm sure you will be very successful.

  8. I love Baker Creek seeds!! Good luck with your seed starting it's lots of fun! :)

  9. I love that you chose all heirloom seeds! My mom always started seedlings. Her pots took up the sunny corner of the kitchen at this time every year. Maybe I'll try a few myself this year.

  10. My girls are one and three. I kept wondering if you were a saint and were letting your girls help you tweeze and plant, so it made me laugh out loud to hear about your little one waking up and climbing onto the table. I pull my little one off our table countless times a day!

  11. I hope all goes perfectly with your seedlings. You always do the coolest things, Andrea. We will probably just buy our plants again. We have done the seeds in the past and had pretty good luck until I moved our little "greenhouse" out onto the deck and a huge wind came and knocked it over. Yes, everything that we had spilled out onto the deck and was ruined. Horrible!

  12. We did an all heirloom seed garden last year and the year before, but unfortunately didn't have big yields. A few things did good, but some didn't take at all and some due to the weather or not enough sun just did ok. This year we are doing a mix of heirlooms and standard hardy varieties and are planting more than ever! I hope yours fares better than ours did- you will be busy indeed, but I find gardening to be so therapeutic. Good luck :)

  13. I love you method of starting seeds and yes...those packets are beautiful. I have ordered form them before and love their seeds. Your photos are gorgeous!


  14. I think I would order those seeds just for the packages! So pretty. :)

    I hope everything decides to grow... seems like you did a great job. I'm looking forward to having a garden - this is not the year, but one day.

  15. I've only planted a few wild flowers from seeds. Wish I had room for a vegetable garden. As I wrote in one of my gardening essays, gardening is a lot like raising children. You plant, you water, you nurture, you prune ... and then you stand back and watch them become something beautiful.

  16. Oh this post makes me want spring even worse ' happy planting !!!have a great weekend !

  17. We've been repping our garden, too. But now's the time to start some seeds…thanks for the inspiration! :)
    Happy weekend, Andrea!

  18. You have inspired me to start my seedlings soon......the girls are just waaay too cute...they must keep you smiling all day long!!

  19. too early to start up here but I can't wait. Great pic of the girls!

  20. Thank you thank you for the resources and information! I really want to plant a garden this year. Those seed packets alone would make the project worth it! :-)

  21. Can't wait to see how the garden turns out! My husband I I do this each year with tomatoes and peppers. So much better than buying from the store.

  22. It's still so cold here in the pacific northwest. Our ground is cold and muddy:( Indoor gardening is to way to go! It will be fun to watch the seedlings grow and you can manage everything indoors if the weather isn't good. In my experience (limited!) I've found the biggest issue is over or under-watering the seeds. Have fun and I'm sure the girls will enjoy this project!


  23. Oh that last picture was priceless. Rosetta you are such a spirit! Those little hands will soon be helping in your sweet garden. Wishing you success on your little seedlings and all the fun the girls will experience watching them sprout.

  24. I'm so excited for Spring I can't even begin. Love that you already started. Good luck with them. It looks like you have it all under control.
    So fun!

  25. I have never planted seeds...I always buy plants at our local nursery. I love the seed packets too. They have a wonderful vintage feel about them. Can't wait to see your zinnias. They are my favorite. :o)

  26. i would love to live where i could plant a veg. garden. good luck with your seeds, andrea! the girls will be so excited when sprouts pop up:)

  27. I have a good feeling your seeds will grow. Look at you, how careful & organized you are, could you come over and help me:)? Seriuosly I am so excited for spring and this just got me motivated. I am going to check them out. love your girls! Have a great Sunday friend, Jen

  28. I love what you are doing. Great job.
    Love the girls picture, they are darling.
    Good luck with the seeds. You must have a big garden area!
    Can't wait to hear more.

  29. I never cease to be amazed at the incredible potential of each tiny seed! Those seed packets from Bakers are indeed beautiful, but not as beautiful as your precious girls!

  30. Those seed packets are so pretty! I can't wait to see how your plants progress. You may have inspired me to plant some seeds of my own...especially since I see that you found some that are not genetically modified...yay! I worry a lot about that sort of thing. Anyway, I've always wanted to have a big vegetable garden, but it never seems to work out. Last year I just put in a few plants...a little of this and a little of that, and our dog ended up eating all our fresh strawberries!

  31. Clever! Never thought to moisten soil in a mixing bowl. Would have made my weekend planting much easier!

  32. My favourite time of year. Me surrounded by seed catalogues and little shoots popping up. Reminds you of beautiful, summer days already enjoyed and more yet to come.

  33. Oh I am so ready for Spring! We are excited to get started on planting our gardens and look forward to the nice Spring weather.

  34. We are SO on the same wavelength! I live in Nashville and spent an hour out in this weekend's snow measuring and adjusting last year's garden to accomdate this year's seed order. I ordered from Baker Creek and seeing your seed packets has got me RIDICULOUSLY eager to get my seeds! looks like we made a lot of the same choices. I'll be eager to hear how your seed starting goes since this is my first year to start from seed too! You might check out this blog: I'm going to try winter sowing some of my seeds along with my indoor starting. I'm nervous my indoor seeds won't be as hearty as I want them to be so we'll see! Keep posting! I'm so happy I found your blog!!!

  35. I love your heirloom seeds. I'm going to order some today for my garden! I built a garden last year and am making a cold frame for it this week so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to sow seed soon! Good luck with your seedlings.


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