Spring is almost here! But we all know that the thrill of digging up the dirt to plant the garden isn’t really going to happen until May. These next couple of months feel like spring-in-limbo as we wait for the last frosts to work their way through the season. And then that last big dump of snow that always happens right before Mother’s Day (when we all anticipate planting). Gardening in Colorado is all about patience.
I’m not a master gardener, but I’ve been through a few years to learn a lesson or two. And maybe that’s gardening, period. A life lesson to perpetually learn.
My raised bed garden is expanding this year. I have five planter beds and I’m adding at the least, two more. At the most, four more (we’ll see what happens). While I’ve grown tomatoes like a champ, potatoes like a miner who struck gold, strawberries that look like dollhouse food, and native wildflowers that bring the bees to the yard, I’ve never started my garden from seed. Well, the wildflowers I have. But that’s different…
Starting a garden from seed seems a little daunting for me. While I really enjoy the idea of cutting costs down – because a whole huge garden of starters isn’t exactly cheap to do (or replace after our hail storms), the racks, lights, heaters, and finding the space needed to seed indoors seems almost more trouble than it’s worth.
Or is it?
Erica wrote a quick guide on here on how to start from seed that published a few years ago. It’s detailed and helpful! Last year Amy wrote about hardening starts before they go into the garden, and how between seed to planting is “shuffel season” in the hardening process. There’s also a lovely view of her trays and lighting system.
I feel like I might kill a lot of plants before they even get into the ground. But then, don’t we all have a few die after planting anyway? I’m a hands-on learner, anyway.
If that’s your style too, there are a few seeding classes coming up. The Gardens on Spring Creek have two classes this month that can help. March 18th is Seed Starting Made Simple (my kind of class), and on March 25th there’s Grow Your Own Veggies, which covers it all – planning, seeding, planting, and harvesting tips (perfect for those who’ve never gardened in our hardiness zone before).
Bath Garden Center also has a Seed 101 class coming up on March 11th that could be helpful – and it’s super affordable.
I go back and forth between this seed-starting investment. I see the photos of local farmers starting their seeding process, and then I think, “well, if I buy starters, I am supporting local farms and growing local food in the process – isn’t that the best of both worlds?”
And this is exactly what I’ve done over the last few years. I go to the Gardens On Spring Creek Spring Plant Sale in May (May 12th for members, May 13th for non-members this year). And then hit up the farm stand at Garden Sweet the same month to load up the trunk with a ton of plants that they’ve already started with love and care. I may lose one or two plants, or an entire crop of cucumbers like I did my first year of gardening. But I’ve been pretty successful overall relying on farmers to start my plants for me.
So, to seed or not to seed… I think I’ll check out a couple of these classes just to start to get my fingers dirty, and I’m kind of betting I’ll be visiting our Fort Collins Farmers again for the most of it. Best of both worlds, right?