Have you been dreaming of your own garden? Are you a chef and love fresh-cut herbs, basil on your pasta or rosemary and thyme on your Sunday roast, or imagining a vibrant garden buzzing with life? A gardening kit makes all these dreams come true. Starting a garden with a starter kit has never been easier and if you are new to gardening its the perfect way to begin a herb garden, grow flowers, or vegetables. It’s got everything you need except for the soil, sunshine, and water. Don’t have space? You can create your own mini herb garden perfect for a windowsill or balcony.
During this global Pandemic, gardening has become an extremely popular way to get through isolation and gardening isn’t just a for sustainability and survival; It is a therapeutic, relaxing, and rewarding hobby anyone can take up.
5 Steps To Gardening for beginners with garden starter kits
1) How to start your seeds from a kit?
Here are the typical items included in a garden starter kit and what they are:
- Peat pellets: Peat pellets are condensed dried pellets that expand when water is added to create the growth medium the seedlings will be embedded in. This growth medium is free of contaminants such as weeds.
- Peat pots or small containers: These containers are for the seedlings and growth medium to go in.
- Pot lids or large cover: Pot lids trap the heat and retain moisture to prevent the soil from drying out.
- Seed packets: Packets containing what will eventually become your garden!
- Tray(s): Trays are used to catch water drainage, excess soil, and make them easy to carry all at once, etc.
Non-essential extra items that may be included:
- Dibber: Dibblers are an ancient tool that can be traced back to Roman times. Basically is a wooden pointed stick used to create a perfect and consistent hole in the soil for seedlings, seeds, and bulbs. They can also have height marks to help find the perfect depth.
- Widger: A widger is a tool that can be used for seed separation, planting, transplanting, scooping, etc.
To start seeding, it is recommended to use the directions from your specific garden starter set. However, the main steps are usually the same:
- Fill containers with growth medium
- Bury one to three seed in the growth medium per container
- Cover containers
- Place in an optimal location, such as the windowsill.
Note: Seed depth, humidity, light, temperature, and amount of time in the starter container will differ depending on what you are planning to grow.
The most important factor when starting a seed kit is the temperature and moisture. The seedlings must be in a warm environment and the growing medium or soil it is contained in must be moist at all times to germinate properly. If the environment is not at the optimal temperature, they will never sprout. If the soil dries out, it will also result in germination failure.
It is usually recommended to start your plant indoors where it is a bit warmer before moving them outside to face the more harsh environment. The windowsill is often a great choice where the seedlings can enjoy the temperature of the indoors while still getting the sunlight they need to grow.
For intermediate and advanced seed starters: A grow light can be purchased and used to help your seedlings germinate. These come in a variety of different types, shapes, and qualities. Grow lights are used for giving sufficient light indoors. They can be placed or hung directly above the seedlings to ensure every seedling gets the same amount of light and can be increased in height as the seedlings grow. These grow lights aren’t essential, but they are a helpful tool to ensure the equality of resources for all of your seedlings.
For intermediate and advanced seed starters: A heat mat can be purchased to help germination. This provides equal amounts of heat to all seedlings and is another tool to help provide a very equalized amount of an important resource to the seedling.
Note: Some kits may come with small containers instead of peat pots. These are just as sufficient for seed starting as peat pots. However, once transplanting, peat pots are more convenient due to their biodegradable nature which allows them to be planted into the garden whole, whereas containers made of other materials will need to be carefully dug out and replanted which could lead to possible root breakage or other disruptions.
2) How to shop for the best seed kits?
Whether it’s an herb garden or a vegetable variety pack, there are so many different options available on the market today so knowing how and where to buy seeds is important. First, start by knowing your geolocation zone for best-growing success, then followed by high quality, locally sourced non-GMO seeds. Keep in mind, seed starter packages can differ considerably in quality. You can read more about it here. Here are some factors to consider and some questions to ask when trying to find the best seed starter kit for you:
Durability: Will you be using this kit year after year? If so, best the best, high-quality materials so it will not break easily. Some can be reused year after year, whereas others that are made of cheap or flimsy plastic will probably be a one-season use.
In addition, make sure your kit includes peat pots, they will need to be purchased again due to their biodegradable nature. However, these are easy enough to be replaced season after season and provide a waste-free and hassle-free way to garden.
Lidded cover or dome: How tall will your seedlings grow? The lid or dome will be important to the individual gardener. If your seedlings need to stay indoors in your controlled space for a longer amount of time, it is important to get a garden starter kit that has a domed cover to accommodate the growing seedlings. If they need to be covered to retain moisture but are getting very tall, a domed cover will be the only option for you. For others, this is unnecessary if the seedlings will be transplanted to the garden before they are tall enough to reach the dome.
Humidity: What is your seedling’s humidity preference? If the plants you are growing are sensitive to humidity, it is important to choose a garden starter kit that has a cover with holes or vents so you can control the internal humidity. Some higher quality kits come with adjustable openings for convenient control.
The number of seedlings: How many seedlings do you want to start at one time? Make sure to review the number of spaces available and either buy two of the same garden starter kit or get one that has enough to house the number of seedlings you want to start at one time. Starter kits usually have enough supplies to start 10-120 plants at once.
3) How do you start a garden for beginners?
The goal is to germinate the seeds and allow them to grow until they can establish a strong enough root system to be transplanted to the garden. It is best to give the seedlings more attention before transplanting them to the garden as fully established plants. Wait until the seedlings are strong enough to go against the elements. This will oftentimes be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful garden.
4) When should I start my garden?
The top concern for garden starter kits is the frost dates. Frost dates are the average date of the first frost of fall or the last freeze of spring. These dates are specific to the area you live in and can differ greatly throughout the country and even within your own state. Frost dates can be researched online by zip code. It is important to start seedlings after the last frost or you run the risk of it being too cold for the plant to grow. Seedlings need a slightly warmer environment compared to fully established plants. Premature seeding can prevent germination, so before you start, check your local frost dates.
5) How do you prepare the soil for a vegetable garden?
There are a few main components for preparing the soil for a vegetable garden. The soil must be nutrient-rich and high quality that is why we recommend composting. There are many different types of soil, all having various drainage levels and amounts of nutrients. Chalk, loam, silt, clay, peat, sand, to name the most common types. pH levels are also a common problem beginner gardeners run into. If the soil is too acidic or too alkaline for the plant’s liking, it will fail to grow vegetables and eventually die. By keeping up with a fertilizing routine and frequently checking the soil’s quality and pH levels (soil tests and pH detectors are available at most hardware stores), you will be establishing nutrient-rich, high-quality soil. Here are some of the top challenges beginners run in to.
Preparing your soil is an investment toward your gardening future. If you take the time to research your area’s specific frost dates and prep and prepare your soil so your plants can withstand the pH levels and drainage levels to be endured, it will only set your plants up for the very best garden you can offer them.