Growing plants from seed is not only rewarding, but it will save you plenty of money. Seeds are significantly cheaper than buying vegetable plants, which in turn are much cheaper than buying actual vegetables.
If you want to start a productive, self-sufficient vegetable garden, you should learn how to sow seeds. Where you live will alter when you plant seeds and how long they will take until harvest.
This Seed Sowing Timetable Guide is written for the south of New Zealand, approximately US Zone 8/9.
Seed Sowing Timetable:
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ZONE 8/9/10 PDF Seed sowing/harvesting timetable.
NORTHERN HEMISPHERE ZONE 8/9/10 US seed sowing/ harvesting guide
How much should I plant?
Working out how much of which plants you will need to feed your family depends on several factors:
- What foods your family actually eats. There is no point in growing food that no one will eat!
- What grows in your area.
- Whether you plan on canning/preserving/trading any.
You will need to follow a seed sowing timetable that is suitable for your area. I live in a US Zone 8 / US Zone 9 – as we are so coastal it is a bit different to a US Zone, but it is similar enough to work here.
Up north of NZ is more like a US Zone 10 so they have a longer growing season and warmer overall temperature, so they can follow the above sowing schedule, but can sow things earlier and later than we can get away with here.
US Zone 10 can also successfully grow corn and tomatoes outside anywhere, whereas here in US Zone 9 we have to have a particularly sunny and sheltered place.
It is all about creating micro-climates at your place, with brick walls to soak up the warmth of the sun and block the wind. Growing shelter belts/hedges and using glass/greenhouses to extend the season.
If you would like to learn more about growing a prolific vegetable garden, read our garden resources page.
The next step to growing your garden from seed, is saving your seeds! This is quick and simple, you just need to let 3-5 of the strongest plants flower and set seed – once the seed heads start to dry, put them in a paper bag, label them and hang them somewhere dry.
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