The easiest (and cheapest) way to the garden of your dreams is by starting seeds. This is the first year that I have saved seeds- a topic for another time- and replanted them the next year.
Currently in the greenhouse I have ten varieties of heirloom tomatoes, with varieties like Brandywine, Striped German and Cherokee Purple. I have varieties of cocktail tomatoes like the lucky tiger series and a group of peppers including cherry bombs and poblano. These were planted about 5 weeks ago.
This year I have also branched out into specialty cut flower growing, with varieties like zinnias, strawflowers, bells of Ireland and asters in the mix. I planted these about 10 days ago and they are just beginning to germinate.
I use mainly Johnny’s seeds but I have also had great luck with Botanical Interest. There are a plethora of seed companies, so i recommend trying them all!
The most important part of seed starting is a good planting mix. A high peat and low soil mix is best, and can be found at most garden centers or home improvement stores. In a pinch potting soil could be used but I wouldn’t recommend it. I am lucky to have a greenhouse at my disposal to start seeds in, but if you don’t you can use a seed starting tray with a dome lid and a seed starting light- the bulbs start at $6 in my area. Make sure to follow the instructions on your seed packet. Some seeds need light to germinate and some need darkness. The closer you get to the directions the seed packet gives you the better yield you will have. As far as watering goes, I always pre moisten my mix, it helps prevent the seeds washing away the first time you water. If you have a watering head with a mist setting that is your best bet, but otherwise just use the lowest pressure you have available or even a good old fashioned watering can.
More to come on seeds later- I need to thin out my tomatoes!