PRIMGHAR, Iowa — Being stuck inside is never fun, but it also gives us a lot of time for reflection and planning. When it comes to our gardens there are a few things we can do to keep ourselves busy:
- Update and organize your garden journal.
- This is a great time to make sure all your notes from last year’s garden are up to date. What worked for you, what did you have trouble with, vegetable varieties you enjoyed, and so on. Taking the time to get all your notes in one place will ease the burden of planning your garden. You can even sketch out where you had all your crops last year to work on a crop rotation plan.
- Keep record of the variety of seeds and transplants you intend to plant. You will also want to record the date they were planted when you get to that point. Add a calendar to your journal to keep track of the dates. You can utilize the plastic photo sleeves to store the seed packets. It is important to keep ahold of the packets since they have valuable information. It is always tough to go back and dig for the seed packets later in the summer or try to remember when you planted something.
- Start your own seeds.
- If you have a little extra room in your home, get your hands in some soil to start your own seeds indoors! Make sure you have a well-draining soil mixture for starting your seeds. If this is your first-time starting seeds indoors, a pre-mix that you can purchase at the store will be great. If you are a seasoned seed starter, maybe you could create your own mixture. Just remember, it needs to be lightweight, porous and free of pathogens.
- Containers can be a great way to upcycle some items in your house.
- For a light fixture, you want to have a standard fluorescent shop fixture with at least two 40-watt tubes to provide sufficient light to grow seedlings indoors. Have a mixture of cool white and warm white tubes for a balance of light. The lights should be on for 12 to 14 hours each day.
- Expand your knowledge.
- This is a great time to start researching different types of gardening. Maybe you’re interested in starting a rain garden, trying a new variety of peppers in your garden. It is very important that you are using research-based materials. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has all kinds of information for the home gardener. Check out their Horticulture & Home Pest News at https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/.
Remember, when it comes time to plant outside, always follow food safety guidelines by practicing good hygiene. For any questions on garden journals or starting seeds indoors please contact Katelyn Brinkerhoff, Horticulture Educator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Katelyn Brinkerhoff, Horticulture Educator
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
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