Growing your own vegetables is not only healthier, but also is a great way to save money. A $1.99 packet of seeds from the Martha Stewart Living brand at The Home Depot can yield dozens of plants and in turn, hundreds of vegetables.
I learned this invaluable skill from my father as a child, and it has been a passion of mine ever since. There is nothing more rewarding than picking a vine-ripened tomato or snapping off the freshest spears of asparagus. The flavor of homegrown vegetables is incomparable to store-bought, and it also allows you to try varieties that you just can’t find in supermarkets.
Starting seeds indoors gives you an early start on the growing season and will give you a much longer season of productivity. Some types of seeds such as peas, carrots, beets, and okra are best sown directly in the garden, but many annuals and vegetables (especially frost-sensitive ones that require a long growing season) are ideal for starting indoors and transplanting out once the weather warms.
I started the seeds of the cold season crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, leeks, onions, parsley, and spinach last month, and they are almost ready to be transplanted outdoors. Before planting outdoors, I gradually harden off the seedlings: Two weeks before transplanting, place seedlings outdoors for a few hours at a time, gradually increasing their time outside until they are acclimated.
Vegetables such as artichokes, basil, cucumber, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes, can be started indoors now. They prefer to be transplanted outdoors when all danger of frost has passed, which is estimated to be April 29th in my area. I can’t wait until the summer months when I am harvesting all of these delicious homegrown and organic vegetables.