Tuesday Terrific – Backyard Gardening


Welcome to Tuesday Terrific, where we celebrate getting over the Monday bump and picking up speed for the rest of the week.

With so many fabulous things out there, it’s often hard to choose.  But when I got three gardening catalogs in the mail this month, my decision was made.

The Joys of Backyard Gardening

I know – for most of us who are above, say, 32 deg N latitude, or in hardiness growing zones 1-8, we’re looking at a bleak, grayish/brownish backyard right now.  That lush yard of last summer seems a distant memory.

Part of my backyard, last summer. Container gardening works!

But it’s not too early to start planning your idyllic backyard for this year.

It’s all about the seeds, baby:

More folks than ever are turning to gardening as a pastime and a stress-reliever (where it’s okay to get dirty, yay!).  Others start gardening as a money-saver, either because they want to grow their own vegetables and herbs (and herbs are so easy to grow), or because they want to make their backyards pleasant destinations in their own right: a cheap mini-vacation spot.

Gardening can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be.  That’s where seeds come into the picture.  A lot of gardeners are going the seed route and starting them indoors, rather than buying established plants at the garden center come spring time (and if you value your sanity, avoid Mother’s Day at the garden center at all costs.  It’s almost as scary as brunch at Big Boy).

Besides being cheap, growing plants from seeds has other benefits:

1. There are many more varieties of plants available in seed form, including heirloom and other rare plant varieties.

2. They are easy to grow; you don’t need a fancy pot, just something that will hold soil.

image via squidoo.com

3. You experience the satisfaction of seeing something start so small and become something you can be proud of (kind of like parenting, but a ton easier).  You even start reminiscing/bragging like a parent:  “I remember when the seedling was only that tall, and now look at it!  Taller than me!  I got two baskets of tomatoes from one plant this year!”  Yep, they don’t stay little forever. *sniff*

some seedlings I started: cucumber and peppers

4. In those late winter months, you’ve got green growing things in your window to look at.  A great “winter blues” chaser.

Here are some resources to get you started:

Weekend Gardener – Seed Starting Page – just click on the hyperlinks for “vegetable seeds,” “flower seeds,” or “herb seeds”

19 Gardening Hacks to Become a Pro Cultivator – includes how to make your own seed tape strips, citrus rind seed pots, and more!

Squidoo – Seed Starting – kid-friendly, with great tips for making your own potting mix, planting in eco-friendly containers such as egg shells and toilet paper rolls.

Fine Gardening – 10 seed starting tips

Burpee has a “How To” video on seed starting (check out their site for other tips and supplies)

And of course, don’t worry that you need fancy grow lights or heat mats – they will get you near-perfect results, but your seeds should do just fine in a bright room away from drafts.  I like the capillary wicking mats, though – they help control the amount of water your seedlings get so you don’t drown the poor li’l things.  Mine came with the seed-starting kit I’d ordered, but you can buy them separately here – three mats for $5 is fairly cheap.  Click here for info on how to make your own self-watering tray.

One caveat: some seed don’t like to be germinated indoors and transplanted later, such as beans, corn, lettuces and root vegetables, and are better off sown directly into the soil once it’s warm enough outside.  The back of the seed packet will tell you.

Have you tried growing plants from seeds?  What works for you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Happy growing,


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23 thoughts on “Tuesday Terrific – Backyard Gardening”

  1. Sherry IsaacSherry Isaac

    Hey Kathy,

    Every year I promise self I will start seedlings in my sunny kitchen. Every year I fail in this project. Great tips. Maybe this year will be the year. WOOT!

  2. Lindsay EdmundsLindsay Edmunds

    Garden catalogs work for me like escapist novels. I read them and dream. Thank you for this post.

  3. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    Wow, Kathy. I’m impressed! My dad is a master gardener, but you wouldn’t guess the relation by our thumbs. 😉 Even my Chia pet was a goner.

  4. Gloria RichardGloria Richard

    I state categorically that if plants could read and write books, I would be featured in a serial killer series.

    Well-intentioned and “aren’t you beautiful” on the outside, with a dark heart and black thumb.

    Wish you lived close enough to bring me tomatoes, Kathy! Great article.

  5. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    I love plants, they just don’t love me back. Either I show them too much love or not enough. I never know which way to go and most of the time I’m too busy to be bothered. I just want them to look pretty and have someone else take care of them. You sure do make it look great! Wish my thumb wasn’t charcoal black. 🙁

  6. Catie RhodesCatie Rhodes

    I have a black thumb. Unless it’s something that you practically *can’t* kill, I can’t make it grow. My husband, on the other hand, loves to grow vegetables. In past years, we’ve had cucumbers, melons, all sorts of things. I envy your gardening skill, girl. 😀

  7. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    I love the idea of gardening and always imagine myself doing more of it well, someday. But I’m great at picking and cooking the veggies my husband plants every year! 🙂

  8. Jenny HansenJenny Hansen

    You know I LOVE to garden…this is GREAT!! Thanks a bunch, Kathy. 🙂

  9. Serena DracisSerena Dracis

    Discovered the joy of gardening a few years ago and have never looked back. Getting ready to start my seeds. I hated vegetables as a kid, things never tasted right. Last year I discovered the joy of green beans and peas from my own little plot of land. Delicious!

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