Welcome to Bepa's Garden!
This blog is about organic gardening, healthy eating and healthy living.
Each month I will be posting Garden To-Do Lists, Tips & Techniques, Garden Project Plans, Photos from the Garden, Recipes and Book Reviews.
I hope you enjoy reading and I hope I can inspire others to start a backyard garden!
Happy Gardening!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Starting Seeds

I'm about a month late, but I was finally able to find time this week to start some seeds for the garden.

Heirloom sweet corn seeds saved from last year.

This year I am planning several new growing projects including putting in a cutting flower garden and a medicinal herb garden as well as starting to grow mostly regional heirlooms.

The Medicinal Herb Garden

I have been intrigued with herbal remedies for quite some time now and over this past winter became even more inspired to put in a medicinal herb garden after reading Homegrown Herbs, by Tammy Hartung Grow It Heal It, by Christopher Hobbs and Leslie Gardner,  and Medicinal Herbs, a beginner's Guide and Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health both by Rosemary Gladstar.

I plan on making my own herbal teas and salves using organically grown herbs from my garden, so I purchased some medicinal herb seeds from Horizon Herbs. Some of the varieties I purchased are: Sweet Basil, Holy Basil, Burdock, Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Elecampane, Evening Primrose, Flax, Lemon Balm, Licorice, Marshmello, Mint, Motherwort, Passionflower, and Cayenne Pepper just to name a few.

The Flower Garden

I am also planning on putting in a cut flower garden so I purchased some flower seeds from Fedco Seeds to get started.

I purchased varieties like Ageratum, Amaranth, Cockscomb, Cosmos, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Snapdragon, Sunflower and Yarrow. Not only would it be nice to have a steady supply of fresh cut flowers, but hopefully I will be able to grow enough to sell at the local farmers market.

The Heirloom Garden

One of my biggest goals for gardening is to be able to sustainably grow as much of our own food as possible. Part of that is saving seeds for nutritional value and adaptability to my region. After reading The Seed Underground, by Janisse Ray (an excellent book I need to do a review on very soon!) and learning about Sylvia Davatz of Solstice Seeds in Vermont, who grows and sells heirloom seeds, I immediately contacted her to see if I could order some of her regionally grown seeds for my garden.

I ordered varieties like Cannelini Beans, Dark Red Kidney Beans, Black Turtle Beans, Beets, Vermont Red Kernal Popcorn, Athens Cucumber, Scotland Leeks, Rouge d'Hiver Lettuce, Tango Lettuce, North Pole Lettuce, Drunken Woman Fringed Head Lettuce, Guernsey Parsnips, Early Champagne Rhubarb and Monnopa Spinach. 

I also have several varieties saved from my own garden from last year. Slowly but surely I am building my own heirloom seed inventory that I hope to be able to share soon.

All these seeds mentioned above will be planted in our home garden as well as the school garden.

Starting Seeds

Sweet Basil.

On April 1st I finally decided to take some time off from what seems like an unbelievable busy year to get some seeds started. I usually start my seeds on March 7th, which gives me plenty of time to grow early tomatoes and lettuce, but this year I have been so busy that I am almost a month behind. Hopefully the weather cooperates and it doesn't warm up too quick like last spring. 

I start my seeds in soil blocks, a method that has worked out very well. You can read more about starting seeds using soil blocks here.

 I started over 800 seeds on Tuesday, including Basil, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Swiss Chard, Rhubarb, Kale, several varieties of Lettuce, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Sunflowers, Ageratum, Amaranth, Cosmos, Zinnias, Calendula, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Evening Primrose and Mint. 

My chart for keeping track of the soil blocks.

I haven't mastered starting the correct amount and I always end up with way more seedlings than I can fit in my garden, but between the school garden and giving them away they always all seem to end up in somebody's garden.

Most of the seeds this year are from the sources listed above and it is my first year growing them. So far I am very pleased with the germination rates. After only a few days just about everything has begun to grow and some of the trays have 100% germination!

Sunflowers beginning to grow.

In the cold frame

Last fall was also extremely busy so I wasn't able to get much planted in the cold frames. I did put in some extra Leeks, Garlic, and Onions that we had planted in the school garden as well as seeding in some Lettuce and Kale. 

The plants took a beating because we had so many below freezing days during the winter, but now that it is warming up it is growing nicely and it looks like we will have some early greens to enjoy!

Red Russian Kale
Blue Curled Scotch Kale
Greens, Mustard Red Giant
Greens, Ruby Streaks
This year is shaping up to be very busy with many exciting projects and events planned.
I vowed to get outside more often and spend more time doing and less time dreaming, so I may not be posting as much as I would like, as you can tell by the lack of posts this year. I will however try to post weekly photos of the gardens and share my experience with the new gardens and projects.

"Life is short, live your dream and share your passion!"



  1. Wonderful plans! I adore my herb garden, which is mostly medicinal. I planted it last year and am thrilled to see so much sprouting this spring. It's a leap of faith! Also, I read here last year about soil blocks and must tell you that I got one this year and it's amazing. Thanks for always sharing, you're inspiring!

    1. Thanks Melanie!We seem to be turning more and more to herbal remedies so it just makes sense to put in a medicinal herb garden.

  2. I can't believe you got so many seeds started! Amazing! We have some planted in the garden and some seedlings growing inside. Such an exciting time of year!