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USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

To help gardeners understand which plants will grow well for them, the entire USA has been segmented into ‘Plant Hardiness Zones’. Knowing your zone number is helpful when shopping for plants because:

  • Cold-area gardeners can avoid buying plants that simply won’t survive their lowest winter temperatures.
  • Warm-area gardeners can steer clear of plants that need a period of cold weather in order to bloom again.
Find your Plant Hardiness Zone here.

Greenhouses a Woe? Direct Sow!

When most think of starting vegetable gardens from seed, they immediately picture greenhouses, growing lights, and months of preparation. Although this is one way (and for some varieties, the only way) to grow vegetables from seed, there are many varieties that will thrive and produce delicious crops simply by being directly planted in the ground or in containers. For all you gardeners who are a little intimidated by starting seeds indoors, or have missed your window of opportunity, don’t worry – You can still create a delicious vegetable garden this season!

The most important step in making sure your seeds have the best change of growing is to properly prepare your garden bed. Remove all existing growth, turn the soil over, rake smooth, and apply compost or organic vegetable fertilizer.

Scarlet Nantes Carrots
Salad Bowl Lettuce
Detroit Dark Red Beet
Kentucky Wonder Beans

Vegetables seeds that will thrive being directly sown in the garden are Carrots, Beets, Radishes, Lettuce, Spinach, Beans, Peas, and Swiss Chard. We also suggest companion planting Marigold seeds with your vegetables. They will not only provide a gorgeous show with their colorful blooms, but will help to deter unwanted pests from your vegetables and also help to repel root knot that can harm your tomatoes and other vegetables.

Plant the seeds in the ground according to the directions on the packet. A general rule is to plant the seeds 2-3 times deeper than they are wide. Compact the seeds into the soil after planting and make sure to keep the soil moist to encourage germination (checking every day if possible).

Once your seeds start to sprout, remember to thin them out and give the few strongest looking sprouts a chance to develop!

Growing your own vegetable garden is not only rewarding to the stomach, but can be a great stress reliever and gives the gardener a sense of pride and accomplishment – “I grew this carrot myself!” Those who are just beginning, or have missed the chance to start seeds indoors, should still consider planting a vegetable garden this year by direct sowing their vegetables outdoors.

For more gardening tips and ideas, check out our friends at Paula's Garden Patch.

Happy Gardening!

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