So you have successfully mastered starting your plants from seeds this year…so successful they are crazy huge and your seedlings are flowering too early! It is still too cold to put them in the ground so what should you do?!
I received this question from one of my students from Seattle Farm School. It is a great one that no one has asked me before!
Untreated wood is recommended for vegetables beds as it will not leach chemicals into the soil. Many people fear that arsenic will leach into garden beds if you use treated wood…but arsenic hasn’t been used since 2003 in pressure treated wood! The process that gave treated wood a super bad reputation CCA (chromated copper arsenate) was replaced with a new process called Micronized Copper Quaternary (MCQ). Click HERE for a good read on treated lumber and garden beds by The Survivalist Blog. Now I am not saying treated wood is as safe as untreated…the decision of what type of wood to use is up to you.
Now facts….untreated wood will decompose quicker and need to be replaced sooner. Which is what led to question I received…how can you extend the life of a untreated bed, are there safe stains out there? Yes, there are! We actually just used one on our cedar fencing called Penofin Verde. We also used cedar since it is naturally water resistant. Redwood is another good option. Although both options are on the pricey side. Penofin Verde is just one of many stains that could be used on a garden bed. Gardenista has a nice blog post on 5 other stains recommended for raised garden beds HERE.
While my fence was made with untreated lumber and stained with an eco-friendly stain my garden beds were not. I know some of you may be gasping! We made the choice to use treated wood so they would last a long time, our beds are two feet high and on top of that they are located where the yard is 6 feet higher than the street level. In other words it was a major pain to get them in place & filled…we don’t want to ever do it again! 🙂 I did line my beds with plastic though to reduce the chances of any type of leaching.
No need to run out and buy graph paper or pull out a ruler to create your own grid for garden planning this year. I have taken the time to create some garden planning templates for you! You can print them at home and print as many as you need!
Ok now that you have figured out what you want to plant in your garden this year and what you want to plant from seed, you need to figure out when the heck to start sprouting those seeds!! The process of figuring it out is easy- although you have to get information from a couple different places to come up with the answer.
When do I start sowing seeds indoors?
First of all, if you have your seed packets already flip them over and read the back of them. You will find information on when to plant them…. it will say something like “sow indoors 8-12 weeks before last frost” or “when to start indoors”. If you do not have your seeds yet you can refer to this handy cheat sheet Botanical Interests created that gives the sowing guidelines HERE. You now have the first piece of information you need!
Second you need to know when your last frost date is. If you are an experienced gardener you may have been recording this in your garden journal for many years and can reference that. For the rest of us though we can look up what is typically the last frost date by plugging in your zip code into this handy site HERE. The site pulls data from your nearest weather station.
Ok so now you take your last frost date minus the weeks recommended off your seed packet to get when you should sow your seeds indoors! Use a calendar to count backwards or if you want to get fancy use Excel 😆 Here is an example for Seattle, WA for tomatoes.
Last frost date: March 10th
Time recommended to sow before last frost: 6-8 weeks
When should I plant my tomato plants indoors? January 13th-January 27th
Ok so it is January 30th already!! Should I freak out that I am already behind? Naw…this is just a general guideline, a couple weeks will not set you behind…a couple months is a different story! But….if you haven’t ordered your seeds yet I would get on it now though! I will start planting my tomatoes the 2nd week in February.
Have you started your seedlings yet?
The other week I was talking to a friend about gardening (big surprise right?!). My friend shared that she wanted to start a garden this year but was not sure what vegetables do well in yards without full sun. Well, there are A LOT of veggies that not only tolerant shade but some even LIKE SHADE!! I think a lot of people struggle with finding full sun in their yard so I thought planting vegetables in the shade would be a good topic to cover! First of all let us start with the basics…
Finally let’s get started planning our 2015 gardens! Edible garden planning can become overwhelming for newbies or even experienced gardeners so I am going to break it down to make it easy for you.
- Make a list of all the vegetables andnon- tree fruit that youbuy and eat from the store. If it is something you buy with the intention of eating but it always rots in the fridge first… I probably wouldn’t recommend you plant it.
- Non-GMO Corn
- Onions (more…)