An economical approach to gardening involves sowing your own seeds, which of course, requires space. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a greenhouse, and not everyone with a greenhouse is lucky enough to live somewhere where the climate allows early planting… Well, have you ever considered using your garage?
You just need to make a plan
If you want your vegetables ready at the peak time and want to have beautiful mature plants you can show off when the season starts, you have to get a head start and sow your seeds early. Of course, it depends on the plant you’re trying to grow, all plants have different development periods.
We’re not just talking about seeds (both store-bought and seeds you’ve saved from last year’s plants), we’re talking about bulbs and cuttings, too. I’m sure you’re aware that you have to plant them early if you want to be able to transplant healthy plants once the frosts have passed.
Of course, we’re not talking about using your garage as a year-round greenhouse substitute, just using it to give your seedlings a fighting chance before you can transplant them. You can start off onions, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, beets, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage in your garage, as well as most herbs and annual plants and flowers.
How to set up your garage
Once you’ve had the last snowfall of the season, you’ll be thinking about moving your car out of the garage, leaving you with plenty of space to start a gardening area. If you’ve ever planted seeds indoors before you likely know that they need a lot of light and heat. So, do not place seed trays on the concrete floor (although big pots should be okay). Of course, a heated and insulated garage makes keeping a steady temperature easy.
You should set up your work area near a window if you can. This will help you when sorting seeds and examining your seedlings, and will also provide a heat and light source for your plants. Wooden shelves optimize space and allow heat to circulate between seed trays, and are easy to build.
- Seed trays or small pots: You can find plastic and peat pots in stores, but using other pots you might have at home, such as empty yoghurt containers, is also a good option.
- Potting soil: There are tons of options available, buy the soil that best suits the plant type.
- Spray bottle: Heavy watering can lead to root rot, opt for a spray bottle instead to keep your plants hydrated and healthy
- Markers: You can find both wooden and plastic ones in stores, these come in handy for identifying plant varieties.
You’re also going to need some lighting
- Fluorescent light fixtures: Go for 7 or 12 x 48‑inch T‑8 bulbs. If you prefer, you can also use halogen or incandescent bulbs.
- A timer
- Plastic sheeting to control the temperature
All that’s left to do now is sow!
As with all gardening pursuits, you need to invest time and patience! If you’re new to gardening you should also research companion plants to see which plants help each others to grow (i.e. tomatoes and basil, as basil repels insects).