Organic Gardening Guide Series 2021: Planting

February 5, 2021

Although many of us are currently experiencing ice or snow storms, we must start planning for this season’s garden. Even in Southern California, it snowed last week! I began planning my vegetable garden very early this year. I created a design, and transferred it onto graph paper. Next, I began to make lists of all the materials that I need. The most important materials are the vegetable seeds that I wish to grow this season! It is time to begin sowing seeds that we intend to include in our garden, according to the Monthly Organic Garden Guide by Kellog Garden Organics.You can easily download their specific guide to Fall and Winter Guardening Guide: at

This post is part of my Organic Gardening Guide Series 2021.


It means to scatter (seed) over land, earth, etc., for growth; plant. It means to plant a seed, or to sow a crop. to scatter seed over (land, earth, etc.) for the purpose of growth…to implant, introduce, or promulgate…seek to propagate or extend; disseminate:…to sow distrust or

Here are the basics in 10 steps:

  1. Choose a container
  2. Start with quality soil. Sow seeds in sterile, seed-starting mix or potting soil available in nurseries and garden centers.
  3. Plant at the proper depth
  4. Water wisely
  5. Maintain consistent moisture
  6. Keep soil warm
  7. Fertilize
  8. Give seedlings enough light

What seeds can I start now?

Start by separating all your packets of seed into two piles: those that will be “direct-sown” (planted right in the garden) and those that will be started indoors. The outdoors pile will include most vegetables, such as peas, beans, corn, radishes, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, melons, cucumbers, and squash.

What is the best way to plant vegetable seeds?

The rule of thumb is to plant the seed two-to-three times as deep as the seed is wide. For example, tiny seeds should be barely covered by soil mix, while large seeds like beans should be sown about an inch deep. If you sow seeds too deeply, they won’t have enough stored energy to make it to the

What vegetable seeds can be planted now?

Most can be planted or sown directly outdoors to ensure that your winter vegetable garden is fully stocked.

  1. Onions and Shallots.
  2. Garlic.
  3. Spring Onions.
  4. Perpetual Spinach.
  5. Broad Beans.
  6. Peas.
  7. Asparagus.
  8. Winter Salads. I recommend the following source:

What is the easiest vegetable to grow?
10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow Yourself:

  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Beets
  • Summer Squash (Zucchini) Summer squash and zucchini like well-composted soil and need plenty of space (plant them 3 to 6 feet apart in warm soil and lots of sun.)

What vegetables regrow every year?
Are there any vegetable plants that come back year after year?

  • Asparagus. Asparagus, one of the most beloved early spring vegetable crops, is actually a perennial that will produce spears for upwards of 10-15 years if well cared for.
  • Horseradish. Horseradish is an often overlooked hardy root crop that can be grown in northern gardens.
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Rhubarb
  • Chives

How many vegetable seeds should I plant?

Don’t exceed three seeds per hole. If more than one germinates, snip off extras at the soil line also. This prevents disturbance of the seedling roots on the one you’ll continue growing out when thinning. Don’t add more than one large seed to a

What is the best soil to plant vegetable seeds?

Although potting soils may be used to start seeds, they tend to have a more coarse texture and may contain field soil, compost or composted manure along with vermiculite, peat moss or perlite. Some seed-starting or potting mixes may contain fertilizer as an

Do you really need seed starting mix?

Not everyone needs seed starting mixes, some gardeners do very well starting their seeds in potting soil or a rich garden soil. This often saves the work and stress of transplanting, but if you need a sterile soil because of mold or fungi pressures, then seed starting mixes will really help. What is the difference between potting soil and seed starting mix?Seed starting mix is finer in texture than potting soil. … Seed starting mix is lightweight, specifically designed not to weigh down seeds as they germinate. Potting soil is denser, with a coarser texture. Potting soil generally contains compost or field soil along with peat moss and What is a good starting mix?The best seedling mixes are lightweight but still retain water well. They’ll include either vermiculite or perlite for aeration, and either sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir for water

What is the best soil to start seeds indoor?

Seed Starting Potting Mix Recipe:

  • A simple potting mix of compost, coir and perlite gives seeds an excellent start in life.
  • Adding perlite to a potting mix helps to improve its structure.
  • Sowing into plug trays of potting mix is an easy way to start seeds.
  • Plants grown on in containers need a richer potting mix.

Can you start seeds in perlite?

Perlite speeds up germination and improves seedling growth. For seeds, sow on a well-watered mixture of equal parts perlite and Sphagnum Moss Peat. Alternatively, add 1 part perlite to 2 parts ready-mixed potting

What is the best way to start seeds indoor?
How to Start Vegetable Seeds Indoors:

  1. Purchase your seeds from a trusted source.
  2. Pot with seed-starting mix.
  3. Make sure your containers have drainage holes.
  4. Plant seeds at the proper depth.
  5. After sowing, set the containers in a warm location.
  6. Keep seed-starting mix moist.
  7. As soon as seedlings emerge, place pots in a bright location.

What are the steps in transplanting?

Whether you’re rearranging the garden or starting with plants from a garden shop, the basic steps of transplanting are the same.

  1. Remove the plant from its pot.
  2. Inspect the roots.
  3. Place the plant in a prepared hole.
  4. Firm the soil around the plant with your hands.
  5. Water well.


Here are some of the common vegetables (and herbs) that you can re-grow from scraps:

  • Potatoes.
  • Sweet Potatoes.
  • Onions, Garlic, Leeks and Shallots.
  • Celery.
  • Bulb Fennel.
  • Carrots, Turnips, Parsnips, Beets and Other Root Crops.
  • Lettuce, Bok Choi and Other Leafy Greens.
  • Cabbages. (please refer to yesterday’s blog for detail: Organic Guide Series 2021: Frugal Tips to Start Seeds.

Do you pack the soil when planting seeds?

Water your seedlings thoroughly before transplanting. Water the generously sized hole to settle the soil before setting in the seedling. Gently pack the soil around the plant to eliminate air

Do you wet the soil before planting?

Yes, you should wet the soil before planting. This is a crucial step to take to ensure your planting goes well. Skipping this step may cause your plants to not root well in the soil or cause them to dry up and die shortly after placing them in the ground.

Can you put seeds directly into the soil outside?

Another option is to sow seeds directly into soil outdoors. Planting seeds this way is called direct sowing, and it’s an easy process that yields great results. There are many vegetables, annuals, herbs and perennials sprout easily from seed sown directly into garden

Can soil be too wet for seeds?

For seeds to germinate, you need to keep the growing soil damp but not too wet. Many seed starters cover the container to keep soil moist until seeds germinate. Once seeds sprout, don’t miss a watering. Unlike established plants, seedlings don’t have an extensive root system they can rely on for vital

Are egg cartons good for starting seeds?

You can use egg cartons as a seed-starting tray! Depending on the type of carton you have, you can even cut apart the individual sections and plant them, as the carton will biodegrade. Be sure to poke small holes for drainage, and put the cartons on a tray or in a shallow pan to catch any residual

Should you break up the root ball when planting?

Breaking up the root ball with hands or a knife prior to setting the plant into the hole helps to encourage root growth into the surrounding soil. Failure to do so usually causes the plant to continue to be root-bound (most plants are to some degree when they are purchased in containers)

Should I soak my pumpkin seeds before planting?

Like all seeds, pumpkin seeds need just a few things to get growing. Soil and water jump-start the process. … After filing, soak seeds for an hour or two in hot water before planting. These steps help seedlings to emerge easily from within the hard seed

Should you water seeds every day?

Yes, seeds normally need to be watered at least once per day to keep the soil moist, not permitting it to dry out. In especially warm climates (or depending on your soil or garden setup), you may need to water more than once per day. Check on your seeds or seedlings frequently to make sure they have plenty of

Note: Most Gardening journals include a Chore Chart Sheet to keep track of the necessary jobs around your garden. I made a Chore Chart, in my Gardening Journal for each month (see photo below):

What happens if you plant seeds too deep?

If you plant your seed too deep it will run out of nutrients before the seedling can open up and get light energy. … Deep seeds may not germinate because the soil is too heavy, wet, etc. More often than not though, I think seeds planted too deeply do germinate. However, they die and rot before they break the surface

What happens if you plant seeds too shallow?

The seed zone is also more likely to dry out when planting too shallow. Also pay attention to the zone that you are planting in. In milder climates, you can plant closer to the surface. Some plants may get started early while other seeds are waiting for the next rain for enough moisture to germinate. Worse yet are the seeds that germinate then die because they didn’t have enough soil moisture to get a plant


Most new planters have a tag listing the dimensions of the box, but it takes a bit of math to figure out how much soil is needed to fill it. If the dimensions aren’t listed, take a measuring tape and measure the length, width and depth of the box, in inches. Multiply these numbers together to determine the volume of the box in cubic inches. For example, if a planter box measures 20 inches long by 12 inches wide by 6 inches deep, it has a volume of 1,440 cubic inches. But bagged potting soil is sold in cubic feet, so you’ll need to know the box’s volume in cubic feet. Divide your box measurements by 1,728, which is the number of inches in a cubic foot, to determine the cubic foot volume of your box. In this case, the planter box would be 0.83 cubic feet, or just over three-quarters of a cubic foot.

How Much Soil Do I Need?

Calculate the amount of soil you need for your raised bed or planter:


1. Multiply: Length in. x Width in. x Height in = the total area in inches
2. Divide:total in inches by 1,728 (which equals number of inches in a cubic foot) = total in cubic feet
3. Divide:total in #2 by 27 (which is the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard) = total of cubic yards

Each bag of soil at the store/nursery equals 2 cubic feet of dirt each.

Determine the volume of your planter box by multiplying the width by the length by the depth. For example, if you have a length of 5 feet, a width of 4 feet and a depth of 2 feet, the volume would be 40 cubic feet (5 x 4 x 2 = 40). This is the amount of dirt you will need to fill your raised planter

How many bags of soil do I need for a 4×8 raised bed?

4 bags

For a 4×8-foot raised bed: 4 bags (2 cubic feet each) topsoil (Note: Avoid using topsoil from your yard, as it may contain weeds and pests.) 2 pails (3 cubic feet each) coconut coir (to improve drainage) 2 bags (2–3 cubic feet each) compost or composted cow manure.
75 cubic feet A 40-lb bag of topsoil is about . 75 cubic feet (or ft3).


Use an All Purpose ORGANIC fertilizer in your vegetable raised bed:
5-10-10 OR 12-12-12
Use 2 pounds of ORGANIC fertilizer for every 10 square feet of bed space.

‘The Recipe’

If you’ll be filling more than one raised bed, you may want to buy your soil in bulk — by the cubic foot or cubic yard. Use the (FORMULA above) or a Soil Calculator to figure out the total amount of soil you’ll need for each bed. For most situations, we recommend these proportions:

  • 60 percent topsoil
  • 30 percent compost
  • 10 percent soilless growing mix—also known as potting mix.

(other combination: 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost)


Pre-mixed potting soils are formulated to retain moisture yet allow excess water pass through freely, and are typically a blend of peat moss, compost, and vermiculite or perlite, but they may also contain other materials including coconut fiber, milled tree bark and sand.


1. Fill the planter with equal parts compost, perlite and sterile soil. Mix these ingredients together until they are fully combined.

2. Add 1/2 tablespoon of 14-14-14 slow-release organic fertilizer for each gallon of soil mix. Mix the fertilizer into the soil until it’s thoroughly incorporated into the potting soil.

3. Water the potting soil before you plant the vegetables in the planter. Add water until the excess begins to drain from the bottom. Allow the planter to drain for an additional 30 minutes, then water a second time if the soil still feels dry. Allow the soil to drain a second time before planting.

4. Amend the soil with a soluble fertilizer every two weeks beginning six weeks after planting the vegetables in the planter box. For example, mix 1 tablespoon of 24-8-16 fertilizer with 1 gallon of water in a watering can. Water the vegetables with this solution at 14-day intervals.


Planters should be filled to within an inch of the lip of the planter, which allows the box to trap moisture and prevent soil from spilling over the edges when the box gets watered. Because many plants don’t grow much deeper than 18 inches, the bottom third of very deep containers can be lined with foam or other lightweight, rot-resistant filler to reduce the overall amount of soil needed to fill the box.


LAYER 1:Upper most layer or top—3-inch layer of Organic Mulch to prevent weeds and to keep moisture in the soil.

LAYER 2: 60 % Topsoil
LAYER 3: 30 % Compost
LAYER 4: 10 % Soilless Growing Mix or Potting Mix

MIX TOGETHER: layers 2, 3, & 4 are premixed and added to the planting bed.

LAYER 5: Last layer= Sand and Rocks for drainage (this is the last layer of the planting bed)


Mulches serve multiple purposes in a planter box. Mulch inhibits weed growth and slows water loss from evaporation. Mulch can also insulate soil and protect plants from pests in the soil. Organic mulches, like straw and wood chips, primarily insulate and stop moisture loss. Plastic mulch slows moisture loss, insulates, warms the soil and protects plants from soilborne pests and pathogens. A drip irrigation system is often necessary when using plastic mulch because overhead watering can’t penetrate to the soil.

Organic Mulch

Mulch shields the soil surface from the sun, which prevents evaporation and helps retain soil moisture. Organic mulches provide an attractive and useful option. Shredded bark and pine straw is often used in ornamental beds, while seed-free straw is best for vegetable beds. A 2- to 3-inch mulch layer helps keep soil moist, and it also works to improve the soil as it breaks down so it retains moisture better. Mulched beds still require irrigation to replenish the moisture in the soil as plants use it.
Inorganic Mulch:Plastic and landscape fabric are examples of inorganic mulch. Fabric is primarily used to prevent weeds, while plastic prevents weeds and retains soil moisture. Almost no moisture is lost through evaporation with plastic mulch, but rainfall and overhead irrigation can’t penetrate it. Drip irrigation lines beneath the plastic supply the necessary moisture, while the plants grow through holes cut in the plastic. Plastic mulched beds often require less irrigation to stay moist since little moisture is lost.


Gophers and other digging pests can dig under the garden box and disturb or eat the plant roots and root vegetables if the box has no bottom and sits on soil. Lining the box’s interior with chicken wire or hardware cloth prevents these pests from getting into the box from beneath the structure. If squirrels or other animals dig inside the box from its top, then covering the box’s soil with chicken wire cut to fit around the plants can help.


WHAT TYPE OF IRRIGATION TO USE: Although retaining existing moisture helps keep soil moist, irrigation is the key to supplying a plant’s water needs. Most garden plants require 1 to 2 inches of water weekly, from either rainfall or irrigation. Generally, soil needs water when the top 1 inch dries, and it needs enough water to moisten the top 6 inches of soil. Water the plants early in the day so the moisture can penetrate the soil before it evaporates. Using drip irrigation, soaker hoses or other methods that deliver the moisture to the soil further helps water penetration. Overhead watering often results in dry soil and wet foliage, since minimal moisture penetrates to the ground.


The University of California Cooperative Extension Napa County recommends rejuvenating the soil in your raised bed every three years by removing the existing soil, mixing it with organic amendments and returning it to the bed. During the middle of the summer, solarize the soil by covering it with plastic sheeting for several weeks to complete the rejuvenation process.


16 plants

Though the fruit are small, plant one to four plants per person. This equals to four to 16 plants for a family of four. Slicing tomatoes are used fresh and should be grown in the same numbers as cherry tomato plants.


six plants

ANSWER: Five-gallon buckets make convenient containers for growing tomatoes and allow you to grow up to six plants in a 10-foot space in your yard or on your balcony or patio. Tomato plants perform well in black bucketsbecause the black soaks up heat, and tomatoes thrive in warm

Here are just some of the plants that grow well in a 5-gallon (19 L.) bucket, and how many of them can be grown in one:

Tomatoes – Cherry or bush tomatoes work best. Plant only 1 tomato per bucket.


Plants that should not share space with tomatoes include the Brassicas, such as broccoli and cabbage. Corn is another no-no, and tends to attract tomato fruit worm and/or corn ear worm. Kohlrabi thwarts the growth of tomatoesand planting tomatoes and potatoes increases the chance of potato blight disease.


Other commonly believed plant incompatibilities include the following plants to avoid near one another:

  • Mint and onions where asparagus is growing.
  • Pole beans and mustard near beets.
  • Anise and dill neighboring carrots.
  • Cucumber, pumpkin, radish, sunflower, squash or tomatoes close to potato hills.

What seeds do you want to plant this growing season? Please share in the comments. Thank you for sharing!

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