- Fruition Seeds offers a free seed-starting E-book and seed-starting academy. Scroll down on their home page for more info.
- Here’s another longer handbook from Seed Savers Exchange.
- This two-page indoor seed-starting guide from Cornell Cooperative Extension covers the basics.
- From our blog, here are five tips on seed-starting.
- This guide from Burpee covers outdoor sowing.
- How do you care for seedlings after they’ve sprouted? Here’s a guide from University of Maryland Extension.
- From Iowa State University Extension, here’s a look at using organic fertilizers on seedlings.
- Territorial Seeds offers Spring and Fall/Winter growing guides for all types of garden plants.
- Frost date calculators from Farmer’s Almanac, Dave’s Garden, and The National Gardening Association all use different slightly different weather data and risk levels. Interesting to compare.
- From our blog, a discussion that gets a bit into the weeds about odds and frost date ranges.
- Margaret Roach and Johnny’s offer seed-starting calculators. Enter your frost date, and it calculates when seeds should be started indoors, transplanted, or directly sown outdoors. NOTE: Use these calculators as a rough guide. In the spring, I use two sets of frost dates: a riskier one for cold weather crops that can handle a bit of frost and a more conservative one for warm weather crops. Tomatoes, for example, not only can’t handle a frost, but they’re also generally not happy at temperatures under 60 degrees F.
- Kitchen Garden Seeds offers a very handy list of seed-starting schedules.
- For a simple chart that will work well in Massachusetts, see this excellent resource from URI.
- From High Mowing seeds, here’s a resource showing how to get the timing right so that you can sow a succession of crops in your garden.
- From our blog, starting out the growing season with cold weather crops.
- Lighting can get complicated. Here, Margaret Roach interviews Leslie Halleck, who’s written a great book on the topic (Gardening Under Lights, available on Hoopla at Thayer!).
- Cornell Extension describes how to build a low-cost light frame.
- My adventures with a cheap shop light fixture from Ocean State Job Lot. (It works well enough for most crops.)
- Gardin in Braintree is an excellent source for lighting fixtures and assistance with indoor growing equipment.
- This map from SeedLinked shows locations and names of seed companies. Use it to buy regional product that generally is well-suited for growing in your region.
- This resource from Cornell University is a community science database that collects info on which particular varieties of vegetables will grow well in your garden.
- From Gardeners Supply, here’s a list of easy seeds for beginners.
- Seed catalogs aren’t just for buying seed; they’re also great resources for learning about varieties. (New York Times article. Link to Thayer Public Library for 3-day access to NYT.)
- Mail-order sources that PPCGers have used include: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, High Mowing Seeds, Fruition Seeds, Burpee, John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, Fedco, Baker Creek, Territorial Seeds, and Seed Savers Exchange.
- Local off-the-rack sources include Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, Ocean State, Holly Hill Farm, Kam Man, and Good Health Natural Foods.
- How long will the seed last? You don’t have to toss out all of your old, unused seed, but some varieties have a longer shelf life. Check out Margaret Roach’s guide.
- URI’s free seed program has been limited by COVID-19, but it may be an option for non profit groups in future years. Wintersown.org also offers seed at under-cost rates to community organizations.
Winter Sowing & Season Extenders
- Winter sowing is a method of sowing seeds outdoors when it’s still cold in containers such as milk jugs. Susan Mulvihill has a nice video on the technique and also points interested growers to wintersown.org.
- You can get more grow time out of your garden by using season extenders such as hoop tunnels, frost covers, and cloches. Eliot Coleman has researched and written on this topic extensively, but for home gardeners, I found Niki Jabour’s materials more accessible. Here’s her website, a book that’s available on Hoopla and hard copy at Thayer Public Library, and her latest publication about growing under cover.
- From GrowVeg, check out this simple method of using milk jugs as improvised cloches. Great idea if you have a late frost sneak up on you.