Part One: Starting a Garden

By Michel Klamph

As I watch the city crews remove the snow from the recent blizzard off the street outside my window, I can’t help but think about spring and starting to plant in the garden. Only 31 more days before I start to sow the seeds, which will grow into seedlings that will be transplanted into the garden in May. I’ll start planting seeds on March 1st and continue until March 21st, otherwise known as Spring Solstice.

February is for gathering materials. I gather the seeds from my seed library and those that have been saved in the garden stable. Our volunteers have been collecting plastic containers to start the seedlings. We used plastic clamshell containers that originally held spinach and salad mix from the grocery store.

We also collect large yogurt containers to be repurposed as transportation pots once the seedlings grow into sturdy plants. Although I don’t recommend the use of disposable plastic, I appreciate that the PNG community gives these containers a second purpose before recycling.

We start our PNG tomatoes, kale, and sweet peppers indoors. You can also start transplanting outdoors into the soil or very deep containers: beets, radishes, short carrots, swiss chard, and herbs. They all have different germination rates so you will be delighted for weeks as the seeds sprout in the rhythm of the warming sun and longer days.

If you plant herb seeds in February, you will have a herb garden by Mother’s Day!

I start seeds in plastic clamshell containers with fitted lids. I follow a process when planting:

  1. Punch holes in the bottom for drainage
  2. Fill halfway with regular potting soil
  3. Sprinkle the seeds over the soil
  4. Water until the water drains out of the bottom
  5. Put the lid on and place the container in a sunny window

For follow-up, I check the soil twice a week while sprouting and if dry, water as above.

Stay tuned for Part Two later this Spring.