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Gardening on your own: quick and dirty tips

April 10, 2015

Holding a packet of plant embryos — or seeds, if you prefer — can be intimidating. Can I plant these seeds now? Did I bury them too deep, or not deep enough? Am I overwatering my seeds? Why haven’t they begun to sprout yet?


The variables to take into consideration when gardening with seeds are both crucial and plentiful. Taking care of my own seeds for the past week has been far more enjoyable than I thought it would have been, and I highly recommend it to anyone who may or may not have a green thumb.


Green thumb. I certainly don’t consider myself to have one. But with the right resources and research, it’s possible to grow your own garden anywhere — messy and cluttered dorm room included.


Research. Where to begin? Frost dates are a good start. Frost is the make-or-break variable when understanding the proper time to plant seeds. If dew begins to form when the temperature is below 32 degrees, frost will form and the frigid temperatures will kill the plants. To figure out the likelihood of when frost will form, check out the National Climate Data Center’s frost calendar.


While frost is not an issue for indoor gardening, it is crucial gardeners know of the best time to transport their plants from the indoors to the outdoors — should they decide to move their plants outside.


After becoming comfortable with the frost dates in your area, you can begin planting. Getting good soil is the next step. While I could make a whole separate blog post about soil quality and which type is the best for which area, I’ll leave the explaining to Aussie Green Thumb who can explain it much better than I can.


You’ve got your soil and your frost dates — get planting!


In terms of what to plant in, seed trays made of recycled paper are recommended, with clay gardening pots being a close second. Plants beginning in seed trays are easier to transfer to the outdoors, which is why they are recommended over pots.


In terms of how deep to plant each seed and how often each seed must be watered, consulting the back of the seed package will give you all the information you need. You will find, however, that most seeds are to be watered twice a day and buried a quarter of an inch deep.


And now your garden is complete. Just keep up with watering, and you may see sprouts in as little as three days. Get ambitious, and don’t be afraid to try a new and interesting plant.


To get some inspiration, check out our plant spotlight on cabbage:


~ Christie Citranglo 

Plant Spotlight by Stephanie Khoury

*** If you are interested in gardening with us, we are at the Ithaca College Permaculture Garden — located in the Southeastern corner of Williams Hall — every Friday afternoon from 12:15–1:15 p.m. Shoot us an email if you have any questions at ***

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