Gardening 101 ~ Get Ready, Get Set…

by Merissa on March 22, 2011

in Gardening 101

Getting Ready to Garden - Little House Living

Getting Ready to Garden

 Well if you just ordered your seeds last week you are probably still waiting on them. No worries, it's not really time to be starting seeds yet anyways.(If you live in the northern states, southern states have already started, lucky for you!) I will not be starting my seeds until the first week in April. If you start them too early your plants will get too big before you plant them outside and there isn't enough room in the little seed trays to hold their roots so they won't be very healthy.

So since we aren't ready to plant yet, today we will just be talking about the few things you need to get before you plant those seeds.

The most important thing you need is a seed tray. If you watch in the next couple weeks at Menards you should be able to get these for very cheap or possibly free. Personally, that's where I've gotten them the last couple years. Otherwise you can check out the selection on Amazon. There are 2 different kinds you can get. One like THIS that comes with the little peat pots that you water to make the dirt puff up. Or you can get one like in the picture above, just an empty tray with spots that you fill with potting soil. Of course if you'd rather do neither you can always just use empty egg cartons, but you need to make sure they don't get over-watered or the trays will get moldy before you plant them.

Something else you might want o consider is a heat tray. Last year my mom used seed trays with a heat mat and her seedlings turned out awesome! This year we will be investing in some to sit under our seed trays also. You can get a seed tray with a heat mat HERE or you can just buy the heat mat if you already have the trays.


You also need to think about where you are going to put the plants. Both me and my mom set up a card table next to a window with good sunlight and that's where we will set the trays. Think about an area that's away from potential issues(pets, ect) and and area in the house that will stay warm. You do not want to plant those seeds and then place them in a cold room, they just won't grow!

You also need to make sure you have some potting soil if you choose the trays without the peat pots. I bought potting soil last year on clearance. I know that both Walgreens and Menards both put some on sale for .99 every so often so make sure you are watching the sale flyers!

You will also need to think about how you want to mark your trays. I think that plant markers are way overpriced so I never get them. 2 years ago I just marked the trays with masking tape to tell what seeds were where. Last year I snapped plastic knives in half and wrote on them what was in the tray. Both methods worked good but I think this year I will go back to the masking tape method. The issue I had with the plastic knives was that when I took the seedlings out to get planted the knives fell out and I forgot what was planted in each tray!

That's pretty much all you will need! Be watching for these things in the next couple weeks to go on sale or get them ordered! Just a few weeks left until planting time!

Catch up on the Gardening 101 series HERE.


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ckay March 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

I have tomatoes seedlings about 3″ high already and you mentioned a couple of key points. Using bottom heat gives the seeds a boost, even the pepper seeds popped out very quickly. And keeping these little seedlings/plants in a warm room if possible is also key.
Happy growing!
Ckay K.


2 Wendy March 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

One thing I also do to jump start the seeds I soak them over night. This works very well.


3 Valerie Z March 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I am so excited to be starting my first garden this year! I bought some trays at Menards for $1 each and found a bag of soil for $1.50! Can’t wait to start planting next week!

Thanks you so much for giving me the inspiration to try this!


4 Merissa March 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Yay for finding a good deal! It’s so exciting isn’t it? I was going to start planting next week but I”m going to delay for vacation and plant the week after.


5 Katie Somerville February 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I have for lack of a better word a brown thumb. I would like to try and grow some tomatoes and cucumbers. I do live in Arizona so any helpful tips or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!!


6 Ronald G Coleman February 9, 2015 at 10:46 am

Dear Katie Somerville: Here are some tips to help grow them tomatoes in Arizona. This is a homemade tomato Fertlizer. First you need 2-3 Dozen; egg shells(Save shells each time you cook eggs and put in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. 1/2 cup Epsom salts, 14 crushed aspirin(Plain old white tablet aspirin) 2 cups of bone meal(I like like fish meal or guts from fish(heads etc) Combine all ingredients and use 1/4 cup in bottom of hole that you plant tomatoes in Then Plant tomatoes 2/3 way into the ground(All the way up to the top leaves on the tomato bush. The deeper you plant the better the root system can expand into the mixture you put in the hole Note: wash egg shells with soap and water and put on a flat pan in the oven on 100 degrees for 2 hours until dry and brittle, then chop in a blender or food processor into a fine powder.When tomatoes start blooming spray with Epsom salts 2 teaspoons to a gallon of water and this prevents blossom rot and forms more tomatoes Mulch good around tomatoes but not next to the stem with straw or oak leaves if you have them.
Feed with a good Liquid fertilizer(Miracle grow tomatoe fertilizer is a good one). Good luck Ron Coleman


7 Karin February 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

I like to find uses for things I can’t put in the recycle bin. So a plastic cottage cheese container lid cut into strips that have a pointy end make great “free” markers for seedlings. Then write the names with a sharpie on the blank side. You can use them year after year if you plant the same things, but I have actually been able to scrub the writing off for a brand new marker!


8 Mary Shaner February 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Great idea, thanks for sharing!!



9 Mary Shaner February 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I have used old popsicle sticks for markers.
I just started one pallet today with spinach, lettuce and beets. I’m in Central Florida so I started them outside but can cover the pallet easy enough if we do get a late freeze. I have never tried beets before but have an Amish friend whose canned beets are out of this world, so I hope to get her recipe if mine grow. :)


10 Kirsteen February 26, 2014 at 2:40 pm

I live in Alberta, Canada. I won’t be planting til April sometime. Then outside…ohhh, when there’s no chance of frost…July?? haha Good luck to all of us…nothing like growing your own food, is there? :)


11 Merissa February 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I know how you feel Kirsteen, I’ve never planted before April myself…although this year I guess I’m in a slightly different zone so we can plant a bit sooner. I’m excited!


12 Leslie March 19, 2014 at 9:46 am

I heard that April Fools Day was a calendar marker date for people that were too eager to start their gardening. Even though it is Spring on the calendar, weather wise, night frosts are still common in most growing areas. So don’t do any outdoors planting without frost protection before mid April.


13 Merissa March 19, 2014 at 10:00 am

It really depends on your zone. For ours I need to plant my starts now so they are ready to go by May when I can plant outdoors. It’s best to check out a Zone Map for tips on when to plant in your specific area.


14 Donnetta March 19, 2014 at 8:26 am

Last year we had snow in the beginning of May! I decided to start my seedlings in larger containers this year. That way they will have room to grow until the outdoors conditions are ideal.


15 Connie March 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Walmart has these seed starters too


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