Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ready, Set, Plant! Happy Earth Day!

Usually I plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day, but this year, my garden was still covered in snow.  After a late start, the peas are just starting to poke through.   

Pea and pea seedling, side by side in the garden

It’s a great time to plant cold-tolerant seeds like peas, spinach, lettuce and beets.  If you haven’t planted yet this spring, how about going outside and planting right now? 

I didn’t buy any new seed this year.  For peas, I had enough Cascadia snap pea seeds leftover from the bag I bought last year.   So far, germination seems good. In a few more days, I may plant more peas – filling in any spots where germination was poor. 

I also have a bunch of “volunteers” coming up in the garden.   The ones in the photo below are probably Red Russian kale, from plants that went to seed in the garden last year.   I’ll know for sure when they get a little bigger and their true first leaves emerge.   Letting seeds plant themselves is an easy way to garden!  The young seedlings can be eaten in salads as a way to thin them out. 

Volunteers coming up in the garden

For tomatoes and other plants that need hot weather, starting the seeds indoors gives them a long enough growing season so that they have time to bear fruit before the fall frost.

Last year I started some heirloom Brandywine tomatoes from seed. By Mother’s Day, the plants were ready to be transplanted outdoors.  I gave some of the plants to my mom, and she transplanted them into her garden and later saved the seeds from one of the tomatoes she harvested.    After the seeds had dried on a paper towel, she gave me the seeds back, still stuck to the paper towel. 

Seed saving:  heirloom tomatoes

About the same time that I planted the peas outdoors, I planted tomatoes indoors under a grow light.  I used the Brandywine tomato seeds that my mom had saved from last year’s harvest.  I ended up planting a piece of the paper towel with several seeds stuck to it in each cup - hence the multiple seedlings per cup. Usually I don’t plant so many seeds per cup, but I wasn’t sure what the germination rate of these seeds would be.    

Brandywine tomato seedlings planted from 
seed that was saved from last year's tomatoes.

I am hoping that in another month on Mother’s Day, the Brandywine tomato plants will be ready to give my mom as a gift again this year!  Collecting and saving seed is easier than many people think.  When you start harvesting from your garden this summer, why not save some seed for next year? 

Please share what’s happening in your vegetable gardens.  Have you planted outdoors yet?  Indoors?  Did you save any seed from last year?  Do you have any volunteers coming up?

Happy Earth Day!

(This post was shared on Green Thumb Thursdays and The HomeAcre Hop)


  1. Thank you for sharing this on Green Thumb Thursday! I pinned it to our hop board and shared it via Twitter and FB. See you on Thursday!

  2. Thanks for sharing with us over at the Homeacre Hop! I haven't ventured yet to saving seeds from our garden harvest, but I should! Your plants looks great!
    Mary :)

  3. So glad you stopped by, and I hope you’ll give seed-saving a try this year!


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