Tight Wad in Utah: When to Start Your Garden

Monday, February 7, 2011

When to Start Your Garden

Swiss Chard was our favorite last year!
I'm really new at gardening.  As a child I saw my parents plant one or two over the many years.  It was only about six years ago, when I bought my house, and had a small patch of dirt to call my own that I actually tried growing food.  And it was only last year that I really tried, as in I planted more than two things!  I even bought some good dirt and put it all in one spot so I could say I had a garden, and not just a few plants growing in my back yard.

For the last year now I've been doing a lot of reading on gardening.  I even checked out a book or two from the library!  But the best thing I did was subscribe to mysquarefootgarden.  Just this month I started getting emails that told me it is time to start planning my garden.  Here it is February and I find myself thinking about growing vegetables.  It's actually sort of refreshing.  So this morning I pulled out my folder where I had my assorted leftover seeds.  Out of the 12 things I hope to plant this year I still have seeds for 7 of them!  Some people might see the date on the package (2006) and think I'm silly to even try.  But last year I tried and they grew some great plants!  Being frugal I figure I'll try again. 
Seeds I gathered myself from last year's crops.
In fact, I'm so frugal, that I have some envelopes of seeds I gathered from produce that people gave me last year.  The radishes I actually grew myself, and let go to seed, so I saved the seeds to see if I could plant them this year.  The delicatta squash actually came from my sister-in-law who lives in New Hampshire.  When I visited her last October we dined on the best delicatta squash ever, so she gave me some seeds to take home.  She even folded up a scrap of paper to make a seed envelope for me!  I've read about people growing plants from seeds they gathered from their own plants, but this is the first time I will try it myself.

By the way, the store bought seeds came from discount places like Dollar Tree and Restore.  They cost about 25 cents a package.  When I was at Winco earlier this week (using super great coupons to get things like chicken for a dollar a pound) I browsed through their seed packages.  I couldn't help it, I have gardening on my brain.  They were about $1.75 and had a sign saying 30% off.  I didn't even have to do the math to know that wasn't a good deal.  I think I'll head to the Dollar Tree this week to see what I can see.  Yesterday my mom told me I could plant peas now.  Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

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Jill W said...

Seriously? Is it really time? I'm new to gardening, too. Since we live in Utah, there's no way I'd plant outside. Wouldn't they just freeze? It's snowing now, even as I type this! So by "start your garden" does it really mean start putting seeds in little cups and keeping them inside? I'm quite sure we didn't move our starts outside till May last year - maybe it was even June!

Jenna Z said...

Just be sure that the seeds you are saving from produce or plants you planted last year from purchased seeds are open-pollinated. If they are hybrids (like most commercially available seeds) you will NOT end up with the same thing. Especially things like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and squash.

plainoldsarah said...

Great question! When my mother said I could plant peas I looked at her in shock. She said they can survive frost. So I found this site:
It leads me to believe we can plant them now. I mean, you're right about the snow coming down, but it may easily melt by tomorrow. I know my dirt has been workable for the last week because I finally cleaned out my old vines from last year's squash.
The square foot garden web site says we (people in Utah) should be growing starts indoors and planning right now. I think the general rule in Utah is to not put plants in the ground until after Mother's Day.
Planning is at least a fun thing to do and truthfully I think I may risk planting some peas - what the heck - you never know!

Caryn said...

I'm in Utah, too. This will be the third year I have gardened. There are two things that I swear by. The extension office website so you can look up the last frost date for your area, and the book "Carrots Love Tomatoes". Seriously. Plant things that help each other, together. Did it last year and WOW. I had peas, beans, broccoli, and cauliflower to DIE for. I just got the books at the library and took a LOT of notes. Then I typed it all out in a .doc file for future use and bookmarked the Utah extension office site. You can find it here:

Audrey @ Tight Wad in Utah said...

Wow! Thanks Caryn!! I'm gonna use it! I went to USU too. :):)

Veronica said...

Sarah, great post.
Thank you!