Continuing with the garden theme. (Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post on how to start planning for your garden.) I thought it would be helpful if I put together a list of the things you need to start your garden. Now honestly some of these things aren’t essential but they really do insure a successful grow. A lot of these things you may already have around the house, such as the spray bottle and a desk lamp. Most of the things on this list are under $15, but these things should last you a long time.
*There are affiliate links in this post. If you happen to click on one of the links to purchase something, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Of course I only promote items that I would use. I would never promote anything I wouldn’t use myself. But I think you guys already knew that.
[The garden] is a place where we nurture, and where we learn patience and observation. – Baker Creek Seeds
A good trowel is essential to being a gardener. They can help you dig up old plants and help fill new containers with soil. Look for one with a comfortable handle and I also like the ones with a ruler on the inside of the spade (this is really helpful for planting bulbs). This one from Amazon is perfect and under $10.
Seed starting tray with dome.
I find that this is one of those crucial items that you need to have if you really want to have a successful garden, especially if you want to grow herbs. Sure you can start seed in a plastic cup if you need to (trust me I started several that way last year, see below) but having this set up gives your seeds the humidity it needs to thrive. I’ve had luck with this one over the years. When you’re done you can clean out the cells (the part that actually holds the soil and the seeds) and use them again next year. You can also use egg cartons like the ones I have pictured above, but I find that sometimes they are too shallow. That’s why I usually use peat pellets along with the egg carton. When they expand, they fit perfectly in the egg carton and allow enough depth for root growth.
The type of soil you get is probably the most important thing you will do. There are literally thousands of articles on how to test and amend your soil. We go the easy route every year and just get bunch of compost (really good soil) from our local nursery Lakeview. We always get a couple of yards dropped off every year. You can ask your local nursery about their compost. We also use the compost we’ve been making all year and add it to what we get from the nursery. However, if you’re planting a container garden Happy Frog from Fox Farm is a great bagged soil to use.
Seeds are definitely important, you only want to buy high quality seeds with a high germination rate. Also if you want to plant all organic (even though in my opinion it’s all about how you grow it, not where it comes from) make sure to look out for the companies that have an organic option. I usually just buy seeds from our local nursery or farm, but this year I want to grow some really cool and colorful varieties of vegetables, so I ended up buying a ton from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. A lot of the seeds from this company are not vegetables that you would normally see at your local grocer, which makes them fun to grow. However, there are a ton of seed suppliers out there, if you’re looking for a place to start check out my Pinterest page.
Okay, you don’t really need a spray bottle, but it does help prevent your seedlings from drowning if you were to use a watering can. Being able to lightly spritz your seeds/seedlings will help to keep them hydrated with out causing damage to them. Remember your seedlings are very fragile and we want to be as gentle as possible with them.
Your typical light sources are grow lights, a south facing window, or simply a desk lamp with a CFL lightbulb. Most serious gardeners will use a grow light set up, but I’ve been able to get away with just using a desk lamp near a large bay window. I’ve had tremendous luck with this set up, but I also get a good amount of sun. If you don’t get good sunlight in your house, you may have to use to lamps or a proper grow lamp.
Having these basic things will definitely help your gardening season go smoothly. However, the best thing to have for starting a garden is patience. It will seem like a long time before you have a lush beautiful garden, but with a little time, patience, and nurturing you’ll get the garden that you want.