May garden update: Seedlings!

Last week, I wrote about getting the garden plots ready with the right kind of soil.  We ended up choosing a mix of basic potting soil, compost and manure.  Nothing fancy, but it should get the job done.  The next step was the fun part – getting the plants in!

Brian and I had already talked a bit about what plants we wanted to grow and what combination of plants to get.  We don’t save seeds for planting (yet!) and we don’t generally start plants from seeds (due to the colder Vancouver weather and lack of inside space), so, we usually just buy seedlings.

Seedlings

Where to buy seedlings

In Vancouver, as soon as spring hits, seedlings can be found at the grocery market, the corner store, flower shops… almost everywhere!  So you definitely won’t be lacking in places to buy seedlings.  I have a few preferences based on quality and price.

Farmers markets are a great place to get seedlings.  Check your local listings to figure out where your spring and summer markets are!  Brian and I were at the Vancouver Farmers Market this past week and seedlings were only 75 cents each!

Another good place to check out seedlings is during <b>community plant sales<b>.  These types of sales generally bring out lots of hobbyists and plant enthusiasts who grow and sell varietals that can be hard to find elsewhere. We like to visit the annual plant sale at Van Dusen Gardens here in Vancouver.

How to choose seedlings

I like to give my plants the best chance possible at growing big and beautiful.  So that means starting out with healthy and robust seedlings.

A few things to look for:

Are the leaves whole and vibrant? Leaves that are yellowing could indicate a nutritional deficiency and result in a stunted plant. Patches of dead tissue or holes in the leaves could indicate disease.

Are there signs of pests? You never want to introduce pests to your garden if you can avoid it. Check for live bugs in the hidden inner leaves of the plant, especially near the base. Also check the underside of the leaves for eggs.

Finally, don’t assume that taller plants are better. A tall, lanky plant could indicate a lack of light during growth. <b>Look for medium height plants<b> with lots and lots of foliage.

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Brian and in have accumulated a ton of seedlings the past few weeks! Most are varieties of tomato, but we also grabbed herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil), and some leafy greens.

What do you guys have growing in your garden? Did you start your plants from seed or seedlings?

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