Start a Garden Week 3: Outdoor Seed Planting

Spring Projects from The Kitchn

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This week is not very picture-heavy, as all of the action is taking place below the soil. So, I thought I'd take the chance to share a cute pic of my gardening assistant helping me out, following up the seed planting with a little water. (For the record, he was watering the already-sprouting pea plants here. I was weary of him washing away the new seeds with that watering can!)

The Timing

Plant seeds in the ground on April 10. Plant plants in the ground on May 10. This was the gardening mantra of my grandfather, who gardened in this region as far back as the 1930s. I'm adhering to his advice on my maiden year of gardening.

We live in Zone 5. It's been a somewhat late spring this year but we invariably see a hot summer with frequent droughts. Given this, I didn't want to delay outdoor seed sowing, so we went ahead with planting lettuce, carrot, beet, chard, squash, cilantro, and nasturtium seeds — this in addition to the tomato, pepper, onion, and basil seedlings I'm still nursing along indoors. Peas went in the ground just over a week ago and are sprouting!

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The Spacing

I planted seeds spaced out according to these recommendations from My Square Foot Garden. There will be some interplanting, with romaine lettuce growing in the same space as carrots since it will grow quickly and shallowly while the carrots grow slowly and deeply. I used the end of a chopstick for measuring seed depth, as the design of the chopstick happens to be marked with lines in quarter inch intervals.

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What's Next?

While we're waiting for the seeds to do their thing, I'll be working on labeling, as keeping track of what is planted where has turned into a pile of sketches scribbled on the backs of receipts. I'd like to make physical labels that go on-site in the garden, so look out for that. We'll also be working on setting up stakes (for tomatoes) and a small trellis (for the peas). I'll share that soon along with a look at getting some plants in the ground around May 10. (Thanks for the advice, Grandpa!)

(Image credits: Regina Yunghans)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and son in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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