Tips & Tricks

Grow greens from seed like a Master Gardener

Don't stress, the seeds want to germinate and grow. 

First things first, let's talk about soil. To promote healthy roots, it is important that the area you are planting in is free of rocks and that the soil is not compacted or too hard (hello clay soil, I am talking to you).  

If you are growing in-ground and in an especially weedy area, use up recycled cardboard by laying it flat over the surface area you wish to plant in, wet it down and then place organic matter (compost) over the cardboard. To keep chemicals out of the garden, the cardboard will need to be ink-free or printed with plant-based ink.

Add a thick layer of organic matter (compost), about 4". This will discourage the growth of weeds beneath by blocking out light. 

For container gardening, skip the cardboard and add 4" of compost to your garden. 

Here at Avalow, we love mushroom compost and we add it between each season!

Once you have a nice layer of compost down you can plant the seeds directly into the compost. It is important that you read the instructions on the seed packet. Each plant will have it's own planting preferences regarding seed depth. Some seeds prefer not to be covered at all and need sunlight to germinate. 

Quick tip: Fenugreek, Parsley and Sweet Peas will germinate faster if you soak them in water for 24 hours prior to planting in the ground!

After the seeds have been planted, gently water to avoid scattering the seeds or pressing them too deep in the soil. This is a good time to use a watering can or hose attachment to soften the pressure. 

To help keep the soil moist and discourage birds from eating your seeds, lay down a light layer of mulch over the area that has been seeded. Rice straw is our favorite because it will not germinate and cause unwanted weeds. Avoid wheat straw unless you wish to grow the grain. 

Sprinkle a little Sluggo Plus (it's organic!) around where your seeds are planted to prevent pillbugs, sowbugs and snails from eating your seeds and baby plants. 

You have now successfully planted your seeds! Check on them daily for germination and to make sure the soil remains moist (but not wet). 

One last thing... for peas, lettuces and root vegetables, add additional seeds about every two weeks for a longer season.