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Spring in your mailbox

It is almost the end of January and although it is quite cold outside, spring could arrive in your mail box soon. Perhaps it’s already sitting on your planting bench or kitchen counter. Yes, it’s time to start planning your 2015 garden season. At this time of year many of us are yearning for the taste of a real vine ripened tomato, a fresh pepper, the enchanting flavour of homemade pesto, or a simple stroll through the garden. Others, not yet acquainted with the rewards associated with growing your own food may be considering their new year’s resolution to really make an effort to eat healthier. Whatever your experience level, it is time to select your seed and make your plans.
Sowing seed and growing your own food is much easier than you may think, it is also a cost efficient way to ensure you and your family eat well and have fun outdoors. A successful garden does not have to be expansive, in fact it may only be a couple of tomato and pepper plants, perhaps micro greens for your morning smoothie, Basil for your weekend pesto party, or maybe you just really like squash. Whatever you choose to grow it can save you some money and reduce your intake of the not-so-friendly stuff in your grocery cart.
To start, all you need is desire; follow up on that interest with a few easy to find (or make) items and you will be cleaning the dirt from under your finger nails in no time! Containers which can be used to start seed abound, virtually anything will work but for ease of monitoring, watering and transplant you may want to invest in some common plant flats. They will allow you to easily sow and keep track of the smaller seeds and when it comes to transplanting it is easier to get at the little guys.  Each plant has its own set of requirements but fortunately most have some overlap so you don’t need to worry about investing in an array of equipment. Some seeds require light, others do not. Virtually all will benefit from bottom heating which can be accomplished with an inexpensive, thermostatically controlled heating cable or, if budget permits, a  ready-made heating mat.  The time to start your seed will vary with the critter you want to grow but generally speaking you will need to start approximately 4 to 6 weeks before the date of last frost in your area.  Seed companies are very good at printing the sowing instructions for each plant on their packaging so feel confident in following their recommendations and don’t forget the most important requirement...patience. Once your seeds have begun to sprout begin your thinning and transplanting if necessary and once outdoor temperatures have climbed above 50 F you can start to plant.
It is almost the end of January and although it is quite cold outside, spring could arrive in your mail box soon. Perhaps it’s already sitting on your planting bench or kitchen counter. Yes, it’s time to start planning your 2015 garden season. At this time of year many of us are yearning for the taste of a real vine ripened tomato, a fresh pepper, the enchanting flavour of homemade pesto, or a simple stroll through the garden. Others, not yet acquainted with the rewards associated with growing your own food may be considering their new year’s resolution to really make an effort to eat healthier. Whatever your experience level, it is time to select your seed and make your plans.
Sowing seed and growing your own food is much easier than you may think, it is also a cost efficient way to ensure you and your family eat well and have fun outdoors. A successful garden does not have to be expansive, in fact it may only be a couple of tomato and pepper plants, perhaps micro greens for your morning smoothie, Basil for your weekend pesto party, or maybe you just really like squash. Whatever you choose to grow it can save you some money and reduce your intake of the not-so-friendly stuff in your grocery cart.
To start, all you need is desire; follow up on that interest with a few easy to find (or make) items and you will be cleaning the dirt from under your finger nails in no time! Containers which can be used to start seed abound, virtually anything will work but for ease of monitoring, watering and transplant you may want to invest in some common plant flats. They will allow you to easily sow and keep track of the smaller seeds and when it comes to transplanting it is easier to get at the little guys.  Each plant has its own set of requirements but fortunately most have some overlap so you don’t need to worry about investing in an array of equipment. Some seeds require light, others do not. Virtually all will benefit from bottom heating which can be accomplished with an inexpensive, thermostatically controlled heating cable or, if budget permits, a  ready-made heating mat.  The time to start your seed will vary with the critter you want to grow but generally speaking you will need to start approximately 4 to 6 weeks before the date of last frost in your area.  Seed companies are very good at printing the sowing instructions for each plant on their packaging so feel confident in following their recommendations and don’t forget the most important requirement...patience. Once your seeds have begun to sprout begin your thinning and transplanting if necessary and once outdoor temperatures have climbed above 50 F you can start to plant.