Spring has finally arrived and I’ve never been more happy about it in my LIFE! Winter of 2016 was brutal for me. Mentally, emotionally, for a lot of reasons. But the daffodils, tulips, mint, plantain, pineapple weed, dandelions – they’re all on their way up! Scroll over to my Instagram as I obsessively document everyone’s arrival.
More importantly, SPRING = GARDEN PLANTING! I realize planting can be as equally daunting as it is exciting, which is why I’ve written a big, FREE Garden Planting + Successioning Guide for Climate Change just for you.
Yup, that’s right. Planting Guide for Climate Change. Because climate change is a REAL problem we humans ALL contribute to and we’re going there. Don’t like it? Don’t download it.
In The Planting + Successioning Guide for Climate Change I document 97 (yes, 97!) fruits, culinary + medicinal herbs and vegetables that not only have I successfully grown myself, but have also failed miserably at growing so I know just the advice to give you so you don’t go down that spindly road. 🙂
Please note there are affiliate links present in this post, which means if you click on a link and buy something I’ll get like 4 cents for it. All recommendations for purchases are humbly and honestly my own, though!
The deal with this Planting Guide is, you’ll learn all your ballpark dates for when to plant crops in the late spring thru early summer. AND you’ll learn when to plant succession rounds of both seeds and transplants so you can keep your garden full ALL SEASON LONG LIKE A PRO.
I’m focusing heavily on climate change because every year it affects our gardening habits. We can’t just plant by our prescribed USDA Hardiness Frost Dates anymore. Everyone will tell you those are the dates to go by, but I’M telling you, no way Jose.
I’ve learned to not plant by the trusty dusty Farmers Almanac the hard way, way too many times. We have to follow our intuition. We have to smell the wind and feel out whether our transplants are ready or not. Garden Planting just got intentional, guttural, mindful.
Planting with seeds is relatively easy (literally, I’ve planted seeds with toddlers, they’re like tiny drunk people who splay seeds everywhere). But I do have some tips and tricks I’d like to share with you to make your seeding efforts more successful. Enjoy!
1. Test Old Seeds for Viability
Maybe you have a large seed stock, maybe you don’t. Regardless, I like to save seeds as much as possible, but sometimes it’s hard to remember what year I bought the seeds, or if the way I stored them that winter worked as well as planned.
So we pre-sprout a small portion of each seed to see if they’re still alive.
The easiest way to do this, I’ve found, is by lining all your seeds up on open napkins, close the napkins, and water them. Keep them wet and watered for at least 5 days. Below, you’ll see my super professional photos of the process in action. It’s super easy, really fun to do with kids, and will save you money when you find your seeds are still alive!
2. Buy Heirloom, Organic Seeds
It’s obvious I’m passionate about heirloom food, and with amazing reason. Heirloom seeds and heirloom varieties of fruits, vegetables and other plants are cherished versions of themselves that have been saved and passed down by generations and generations of mindful humans.
Heirloom seeds have never been tampered with. They’ve never been genetically modified for resistance from bugs and diseases (no-GMO). Their chromosomes have never been nipped and tucked, per se. Because of this, heirloom varieties contain all their original vigor, all their weird nuances, and all their delicious TASTE.
The best book I’ve read on heirloom seeds is The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray. It’s really an incredible book full of heartwarming stories about food, families, and sharing. I highly recommend checking it out!
Reputable places to buy organic, heirloom seeds online:
Related: From My Heirloom Soul to Yours
3. Slow Sow Movement
Meaning, take your time, mama.
I’m one to talk – I’ve been known to throw seeds around like a crazy mofo during planting season. Think the last 10 seconds of the Entree Round of Chopped. At one point in my gardening career, I had to get so many gardens planted in one day that I had zero time to go slowly and really be mindful about what I was doing.
You lose the meaningful experience of gardening when you don’t take your time. So sow slow.
When you plant seeds slowly, you use less seeds, which obviously cuts down on cost and waste, but most of all it allows you to control your spacing. Less Seeds = Less Thinning = Time Saved! You’re taking your time to give yourself more time. It’ll make sense when you do it, I promise.
Related Enough: Nurturing Your Whole, Happy Heart
4. Thin Your Seedlings with Strategy!
I realized early on, in my first season as an urban farmer in Detroit, that I could maximize my growing space by strategically thinning my greens. I’m about to totally contradict everything I said in Step 3; I never said I wasn’t crazy, and I always say there is more than one way to do things in our gardens.
Turns out, if you overseed your greens of any kind, your “thinnings” (which are the extra-small seedlings you need to pull out to allow room for bigger growth), can become a whole harvest of microgreens on their own! Plan this out right and you could easily have 2-3 rounds of thinnings that will produce an abundance of micro greens and tender baby leaf greens.
See how overseeding can also work out? It’s all about planning ahead for this. The Planting + Successioning Guide for Climate Change will help you with that.
Totally Related: How to Increase Food Production in Your Vegetable Garden in 6 Steps
5. Seed Short Greens Underneath Taller Crops
Larger, upright crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant have so much valuable real estate underneath and we need to take advantage of it! One of my favorite methods is underplanting these crops with arugula seeds. It’s super easy to do and the arugula will not only produce much more food for you – it also acts as a living mulch and wannabe cover crop!
If you’ve never heard of cover cropping or think it’s impossible to do in your backyard, I encourage you to take ten minutes to read my article: 4 Steps to Cover Cropping Your Backyard Garden. It will take your soil fertility and food production to the next level. And it’s easy, I swear.