Get a Jump Start on the Growing Season!

With a new year just around the corner, I’m willing to bet that some of you are making resolutions and gearing up for the great year ahead.

Part of those preparations may include planning your spring garden, and if that’s the case, be sure to check out these tips and tools to help you make the garden of your dreams into a reality.

1. With so many seed companies available, finding the best and most sustainable companies can be a feat. Luckily, you need look no further — these best vegetable seed companies were rated by Mother Earth News readers based on value, performance, ethics and fun. You can order from these companies knowing that the seeds will be high-quality. And if you take a look through those rated companies and still can’t find what you need, check out this directory of companies offering mail-order seeds and plants or search this custom seed-company search tool by plant variety to pin down a place where you can order your desired crops.

2. After you’ve ordered and received your seed packets, consider starting seeds indoors — this will help you save money on vegetable seedlings and grow superior varieties. In areas where growing seasons are short, it will also help the crops that require an indoor head start to reach maturity. By taking these tips into account, you can get an early start on your garden as well as overcome some of the problems that pop up when starting seeds indoors.

3. You’ve ordered and started your seeds, but you don’t have to take a break while you wait for nice weather — instead, tap into these technological tools to plan your perfect garden. The Vegetable Garden Planner allows you to create your garden layout, add crops from an extensive list, and get a list of customized planting dates that are based on your ZIP code. This online gallery of garden plans gives lots of examples of what the Planner can help you design — and if you have an iPad, the Grow Planner  will offer all the same great features, just on a different platform.

4. Most importantly, have fun! There’s nothing quite like looking ahead to a fresh start, and these tips will help you be all the more prepared when you’re ready to dig your hands into the dirt. And once you’ve chosen the crops you want to grow, check out this crop-by-crop guide to growing organic vegetables and fruits, which will explain how to plant, when to plant, best harvest practices, how to save seeds, and how to deal with common pests and diseases naturally.

If you have other suggestions for getting a jump start on the growing season, feel free to share them below. Happy New Year!

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Photo from Fotolia


Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Great advices,thanks for sharing

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M4 years ago

It is so rewarding to start your garden from seeds. Watching these seeds sprout, and into the season you get your veggies, cut flowers and an inspiring view to behold.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Angie V.
Angie V4 years ago


Kate S.
Kate S5 years ago

Can never get too many tips on gardening ... keep them coming! TY

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Shelly, for Sharing this!

Ro H.
Ro H5 years ago


Amanda M.
Amanda M5 years ago

My husband gave me one of those four-shelf portable greenhouses for our tenth wedding anniversary, and every spring that greenhouse gets used for growing salad greens and giving spring crops or flowers a jump start. We've had to replace the vinyl cover once (darn those South Mountain windstorms!), but they're easy to order on the Internet, thank goodness!

I'm also thinking of putting in a cold frame or two, and my husband suggested putting produce in the garage to help preserve it (potatoes sprout by January in our unfinished rec room, even with us turning the thermostat on the baseboard heater down to 55 or 60 and putting the spud bin on the far side of the room where it's cooler), but I worry about the vehicle exhaust possibly contaminating the veggies. My dad is also talking about helping us set up some grow lights for use on seed flats too-more noodling to do on that one.

Dale Overall

Nothing like a spring in the step when it comes to contemplating Spring and plants!

Carolanne Powell
C Powell5 years ago

I have lots of seeds saved from last year. Can't wait to get them growing again.