Here in the Northeast, we've had one brutal winter (understatement times 5). Today the sun is shining, the mounds of snow are melting, and we're hearing sounds of water dripping and splashing. You warm weather states have no idea how AMAZING it feels. It gets us smiling at one another, and yes, we roll our windows down at 42 degrees! So what does this weather have to do with food? Well-growing it of course!
I'm big into knowing my food source from its seed. I grow all of our plants from organic seed. Why?
When you grow from seed, you have total control of plant selection, seed sourcing, and growing organically. When you purchase plants from a local nursery, you most likely are getting plants that were grown out of your area and grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This is because growers who grow on a large scale almost never grow organically, and it's not as profitable for local nurseries to produce enough to meet their demand. You most likely are getting genetically modified seeds from large seed companies (watch Food Inc. to learn more about this). I do everything possible to not support large companies that make it illegal for farmers to save seeds, which is why I support seed companies that grow organically and grow my own.
If you've ever wanted to grow a garden from seed but had no idea how-I'm here to help! Now is the time for a bunch of your seeds to get started indoors for us cold weather folks, and outdoors for those with temps in the 70's and no danger of frost. Tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, cauliflower, peppers, herbs, Brussels sprouts, and leeks should all be started indoors now. Other plants like lettuce, peas, spinach, beets, greens, scallions, beans, and zucchini can all be directly sown (or planted) into the ground. Greens and peas do best in cooler weather, so as soon as that ground is workable, try to get them in (that's no time soon for us-but you warmer weather folks-get your hands int he soil!).
Easiest plants to grow for the new gardener by seed: zucchini, greens, basil, beans, scallions, and tomatoes (all good for containers too)
Materials you need to grow: soil, seed trays, chopsticks/popsicle sticks, seeds, and light (natural or artificial or both)
Optional: Garden journal (highly recommend keeping one), grow lights (highly recommended) and plant domes to start seed
Good Seed Companies: Botanical Interests, Seed Savers Exchange
Steps: Plant seeds directly into soil, water, and cover with a dome until they germinate. Then place under lights/natural light without dome.
For more expanded explanations & procedures, visit my blog over at http://www.gardenfreshfoodie.com/blog/seed-starting-beginning-your-garden-indoors/