Backyard Gardening
How To Grow A Backyard Garden From Seeds

How To Grow A Backyard Garden From Seeds

Starting a backyard garden from seeds is such an exciting process and very cheap to do. Growing vegetables from seeds for beginners is exactly the process I’m going to show you.

packets of vegetable seeds for backyard garden

What Types Of Vegetable Seeds Should I Buy?

It’s so easy to go to the grocery store and purchase certain vegetables. For example, I enjoy growing roma tomatoes, black beauty zucchini, and pickling cucumbers. However, it’s also fun to buy different types of vegetable seeds that you don’t typically see in store.

buying vegetable seeds at Lowes

Recently I was asked what types of seeds do I buy, and the answer is this, whatever looks good to me! Just go to Lowe’s or Home Depot, or a local nursery and buy whatever looks good to you!

Purchase Vegetable Seeds That Excite You

Gardening should be exciting, so pick seeds that excite you! Plus, it’s also good practice to read the back of the packages to learn how they grow. Do they need full sun, part sun, grow best in the spring or in the fall?

When it comes to organic, that’s up to you. It’s not necessary, because once you start growing your backyard garden from seeds, you can keep it as organic as you’d like. Don’t get caught up in the certified organic seeds because once the seed grows into a plant that’s when it really matters, how you care for the plants in your backyard garden.

growing a tomato plant from seed

What Vegetables To Plant In A Spring Garden

I live in zone 9b in Bakersfield, California. I definitely have an advantage to many gardeners just because of where I live. You may already know this, the Central Valley of California grows over 50% of the nations produce! That’s a huge number!

We are able to grow several vegetables year round because California doesn’t get harsh winters. For this reason, our gardens can start in the middle of February, or even sooner. As I gear up to plant my backyard garden from seeds, you might just now be ready to start planting your vegetable seeds indoors. Enjoy the process, and follow along as we grow beautiful and frugal backyard gardens together.

Vegetable Seeds For The Backyard Garden

This year I am planting:

  • Lemon Boy Tomatoes
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Black Krim Tomatoes
  • Red Cherry Tomatoes
  • Black Beauty Zucchini Squash
  • 49er Hybrid (Yellow) Zucchini Squash
  • Early Prolific Straightneck Yellow Squash
  • Blue Curled Vates Kale
  • Lemon Cucumbers
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Tendersweet Carrots
  • Short ‘n Sweet Carrots
  • Crenshaw Melon
  • Hales Best Jumbo Cantaloupe
  • Jubilee Improved Watermelon
  • Charleston Gray Watermelon
  • Royal Burgundy Beans
  • Mammoth Sunflowers (and another smaller variety)
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Peppermint
  • Dark Opal Purple Basil
  • Basil
  • Lemon Balm
  • Garlic Chives
backyard garden beds

The melons will be grown at my parents house this year. Everything else is being grown in my small backyard. I do not have a large garden, by any means. I use 2 raised garden beds and containers to grow my garden. It’s a lot of fun starting a backyard garden from seeds, and my family loves it.

growing a vegetable garden from seeds

How To Grow A Vegetable Garden From Seed

  1. Buy your seeds
  2. Purchase a bag of potty mix
  3. Head to Walmart or Target and buy a box of (3oz) dixie cups.

That’s all you need to start the process. You don’t need any special supplies. Keep it cheap, that’s why we grow them right? Well, growing seeds is so much fun too!

To get started, I like to set my cups on top or near the packet of seeds. Determine how many of each plant you want to grow. A good idea is to grow a few extra cups of seeds if some don’t take off, or in my case, my dog ate some! Seriously though, my dog has eaten 8 of my seedlings so far!

starting a vegetable garden from seeds using a dixie cup

Using a small knife, or other sharp object, carefully cut small slits in the bottom of the cup for proper drainage. My dad taught me to cut from the inside, not the outside. So, put the knife inside the cup, then push out of the cup to create a slit. Hopefully that makes sense!

starting vegetable seeds in dixie cups

Next, write on the side of each cup what types of seeds you’ll be planting inside with a permanent marker. Over time you’ll see the writing gets lighter and lighter. To prevent that from happening, I would write more towards the top of the dixie cup.

miracle grow is a great potting mix to grow a garden

What Kind Of Soil To Use To Plant Vegetable Seeds

It’s best to use a potting mix, rather than a garden soil to grow your vegetable seeds. Plus, potting mix has all the great benefits inside to grow seeds. I purchased mine from Tractor Supply.

growing vegetable seeds in a dixie cup
  1. Fill your cups up 3/4 of the way with potty mix.
  2. Plant your seeds.
  3. Top the cup off with a little more soil.

Make sure to read the back of each seed packet to determine the best depth for growing your seeds. Once watered, the soil will settle. Over the next week you may need to add some soil to the tops, that’s what I did.

poking holes in dixie cups for proper drainage of seeds

Once you’ve planted your seeds, it’s time to water. Give each cup about 3-4 Tbsp. of water. Be careful to not let the water overflow. If you do not see the water drain out the bottom, use a toothpick to widen the holes. Water must drain out the bottom to make sure you get proper water absorption and drainage from your vegetable seeds.

Put all of your vegetable seed cups indoors near a window. My husband built me this little shelf using scrap wood in our garage, and anchored it to the walls next to the window to grow my seedlings.

seedlings sprouting in a dixie cup

Every day give your seedlings 1 Tbsp. water. Then, once a week give them 2-3 Tbsp. of water, I chose to always do this on Sundays. Always make sure the water is draining out the bottom when you give them their big gulp of water.

growing vegetable seeds in a dixie cup

This is the best part about growing a backyard garden from seeds. It’s like a big celebration at our house when seeds sprout because it shows that our hard work is paying off and the seeds are happy. Read the back of each seed packet to see when your seeds should sprout. These cucumbers and the squash plants only take about a week to sprout. They are my favorite to watch!

What To Do If You Notice Mold Around The Seedlings Cups

  1. Fill a small dish with water and add 2 tsp dish soap, stir well.
  2. Submerge each cup in the soapy water and swirl it around. Do not get soap inside the cup.
  3. Then take it out and wipe the sides down with a paper towel.
  4. Now, just let the cup air out. The plant is most likely not affected.

I started my seedlings on January 18th, and 2 weeks later on February 2nd I noticed mold growing on the cups. I immediately called my dad, since he’s an agriculturalist and a true expert! He told me the cups were too moist and not getting proper air circulation. I needed to take them outside. Once outside, I put gloves on a washed the cups in soapy water.

How To Prevent Mold

To prevent mold from growing on the cups again, I took my seedlings outside everyday to water and let them get proper air flow. Leave them outside for at least 4 hours per day.

I did have mold grow again on a few cups. I simply repeated the soapy water process again. None of my plants died or were affected by the mold.

plant seedlings in garden

When Is It Time To Plant The Seedlings

You’ll know it’s time to plant your seedlings when the weather is getting warmer, you’re no longer expecting frost, and your seedlings are at least 3 inches tall. You do not have to wait for the seedlings to be overly mature. It’s actually better for the plant to get it in proper soil as soon as possible.

squash plants growing in backyard garden

I noticed my squash plants were struggling and I couldn’t figure out why. My dad said that the plants were too wet and needed to be held up by a stick to prevent the leaves from touching the ground. I used straws and twist ties and it’s worked great! My squash plants are happy and thriving now. Once the plant is stronger I will remove the straw.

How Often Should I Water My Garden

My garden beds are watered by my backyard sprinkler system. I have to play around with it to keep my plants from getting too much water as they are so small right now. Once they are matured, this will not be an issue. As of right now I keep my sprinklers turned on for 3 days, then I turn them off for 2 days. So far I am having success with this method.

baby tomato plant

I just planted my tomato plants this week. It’s been 5 weeks since I plant the seeds. Now my plants will receive proper nutrients and watering being in the garden bed.

Seeds You Can Sow Outdoors

Not all vegetable seeds need to start indoors. There are plenty you can start right in the garden beds. These are the seeds I am sowing outside.

  • Carrots
  • Purple beans
  • Lemon cucumbers (I started these indoors, then Bayou my dog ate them…) After reading the package I learned I could just grow outside.
  • Squash plants in warmer temperatures

How To Prepare Garden Beds For Plants

We did not plant a winter garden this year, so our garden beds definitely need some attention. We like to have a garden bed with 50% dirt and 50% garden soil. Then allows proper water drainage and just the right amount of nutrients to get started. A garden bed in 100% garden soil is not the best.

My wonderful husband added 3 bags of garden soil to each garden bed and rototilled it into the previous soil. This can be done by hand and with a shovel, but it’s so much easier using a rototiller.

How To Keep Bugs Off Garden Plants

Bugs are definitely an issue once you plant your garden. These pests can totally eat your hard work lickety-split! You will want to invest in a good method to keep them away. I have found this powder to be my favorite, and it lasts a long time!

I purchased this at Lowe’s, and I believe there is one similar at Target. It works great, just don’t let this powder touch the plants.

How To Store Garden Seed Packets

I find it best to store my garden seed packets in snack size ziploc bags. I understand some of you may not like this method, but it has worked out so well for me. One of these days I will have a nice filing system made for seeds with proper labels, but for now this simple container from Target works just fine. I store the seeds in a closet and away from light.

how to store garden seeds in a container

How Long Do Vegetable Seeds Last

My dad says these garden seeds last 3-4 years. There is no need to purchase new seeds every year, unless you want to. Simply label your seed packets with the year you purchased them. Then you’ll know when they need to get replaced with new seeds.

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