Why does the shortest month of the year always seem like the longest? You can kickstart spring by starting herbs and vegetables indoors. It’s really simple—all you need is sunlight and some warmth with seeds, everything from heirloom (maybe your grandparents grew some of these) to certified organic seeds, along with a great selection of […]
Why does the shortest month of the year always seem like the longest? You can kickstart spring by starting herbs and vegetables indoors. It’s really simple—all you need is sunlight and some warmth with seeds, everything from heirloom (maybe your grandparents grew some of these) to certified organic seeds, along with a great selection of that Richmond favorite, tomatoes! Also try Asian seeds for different kinds of greens, herbs and vegetables. There’s Chinese cabbage, pak choi, heat resistant lettuce and spinach, and all sorts of other things.
Most seeds can be started indoors. The seed packs have all the information on the back. It will tell you how long it will take for the seeds to start growing, when they should go outside, how long it will be before they flower or produce vegetables, plus all sorts of other hints and tricks for success. If you’re just too impatient to wait for seeds to grow, maybe you should take advantage of herbs. You can have an instant herb garden on your windowsill, with fresh basil, chives, oregano and more, right there for the picking!
Don’t forget all those crops that are some of the first green things to scream SPRING IS HERE! Lettuce, spinach, peas, cauliflower, kale, broccoli—all the vegetables you hated as a child are good for you. They’re even better when you grow your own. Do you think iceberg lettuce has about as much flavor as wet paper? Try growing a mesclun mix. It’s so easy, you’ll have instant salad in a little more than a month. Mesclun usually costs about 5 dollars a pound in the grocery store, too. Think of the savings and convenience. You can even grow it in a pot outside your back door, if you’re tight on space.
Once it is finally warm enough to really be working outside, consider giving square foot gardening a try this year. There are kits that have all the pieces-parts that you need (along with the proper components for a soil mix for the box). There’s no measuring and sawing lumber, no unneeded trips to the hardware store. Timbers are eco-friendly, made from recycled plastic products. Kits will make either a 4’ x 4’ or 4’ x 8’ bed that is 6 inches deep. They can be stacked to make a deeper bed. Six inches is usually sufficient for most vegetable crops. We also sell individual timbers and connectors, and there is a kit that will make a round or petal shaped bed.
If you would like to make a stab at going organic in your vegetable garden this year, gardening stores like Strange’s have everything you need. We have organic soil and amendments, all sorts of organic fertilizers including the Happy Frog line from Foxfarm (along with a full choice of Espoma products), and even some organic insecticides, for when the bugs just get the better of your plants. Start out with some of our organic seeds, and you could end up having one of the biggest and best veggie gardens on your block. Many of our customers have told us that they noticed a difference in their vegetables when they switched to organic fertilizers. They said they were bigger, tasted better, and had more veggies, sometimes too many!