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South Central Gardening: Start Seeds!

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Lowe's South Central Regional Contributor Dee Nash is making garden plans for the New Year -- see her list of new plants and tips.

Lowe's South Central Regional Contributor Dee Nash is making garden plans for 2012. See her list of new plants and tips for the New Year.
seeds in packets

To get ready for spring my husband, Bill, and I built a seed-starting station, with grow lights and casters, now ensconced in our tiled dining room. Mid-January I’ll start cold crops in these little cells, while others will be ready to direct sow in February.

How to know when and where to plant?

  • Check the seed packet. Most have excellent planting information such as whether to start seeds indoors or out, and approximate planting times outdoors.
  • Go online or contact your county extension office to discover your last frost date; count backwards for indoor seed starting.
  • Warm-season vegetables shouldn’t be put outside until after the last freeze date—April 20 in my area.
  • The farther south you live, the earlier you can start seeds and transplant outdoors.
planted lettuce

There is nothing like lettuce to wake up a tired palette, and it’s an easy crop for beginners. There are five types of lettuce: cos or romaine, leaf, butterhead, crisphead and stem. Because our weather turns hot so early in spring, I usually stick to romaine and leaf lettuces, and varieties known as slow-bolting. I’ll be sowing ‘Red Sails’, ‘Black-Seeded Simpson’ and ‘Jericho’.

Gardening is never dull to the plant-obsessed. By trying new techniques and plants, even experienced gardeners can get early starts on spring and their new gardens.

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