Learn Something New in the New Year — Part 4: Grow What You Love - Firefly Books Blog

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Learn Something New in the New Year — Part 4: Grow What You Love

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Learn Something New in the New Year — Part 4: Grow What You Love


The start of a new year is often a time for starting fresh, when we look ahead to the future and focus on new projects and personal growth.

It seems only fitting that the New Year arrives during the heart of winter, at least where we’re from, so that by the time spring rolls around and the earth is coming to life we too feel refreshed, energized, and ready to bloom into our new and improved selves.

Our personal growth so far this year has involved learning how to brew the perfect pot of tea and making strides towards learning a new language.  We’ve also reconnected with our youthful energy and given gymnastics a try, and now we want to take things a step further and nurture ourselves from the inside out by following the advice of gardening expert Emily Murphy to find joy in the simple things and grow something fresh and delicious.

Emily’s philosophy for gardening — and for life — is simple: when you cultivate joy and growing in all parts of your life, wonderful things will happen. In other words: grow what you love.

The workshop for growing plants from seed featured in Emily's book Grow What You Love is the perfect place to get started on this journey of growing what you love.

Soon you’ll be growing delicious tomatoes, strawberries, basil, and more — and you might just grow into a healthier, happier version of yourself too.

How to Grow Plants From Seed

1. Reuse yogurt containers, egg or milk cartons or paper cups — they all make excellent planters. You can also sterilize and replant in nursery pots and six packs, or make paper pots using newspaper and a small can (like a tomato paste can). They’re biodegradable and can be planted directly in the garden.

2. Prepare your planting area or fill containers and moisten soil. (If soil is dry, it could take a day to fully hydrate.) Gently tamp and smooth the soil surface with your hand to ensure water won’t pool or puddle and that seeds stay where you want them.

3. Seed size dictates how deep to sow — the larger the seed, the deeper it’s sown. A measure commonly used is to bury seeds twice the depth of their diameter.

4. I sometimes use my finger or a pencil to make a furrow at the required depth for planting. Then, I fill it with seeds, sprinkling them in one at a time, giving each plenty of room to grow before covering them with soil. I push larger seeds, like beans or sunflowers, into the soil using my forefinger, and I scatter-sow smaller seeds, dropping them on the surface and covering them with a light layer of soil or vermiculite. (Seeds that need light aren’t covered.) With all these methods, it’s important to gently press the soil, ensuring seeds have good contact with their planting mix.

5. Overseeding can improve your chances for success, just be careful not to overdo it (thinning seedlings takes time). If working with small containers like paper pots, I sow one to three seeds per pot and pinch off the smaller seedlings once they emerge.

6. Label and date what you plant, or catalogue your plantings on a calendar or in a journal. This allows you to track what you’ve grown and map successes and failures, which helps when selecting seeds the following season.

7. Water seeds using a misting bottle, a low-flow watering can or a micro-spray head connected to a drip system (best for direct-sowing), or by bottom-watering. Big splashes of water or a heavy flow can displace seeds, mix up soil and damage seedlings. Keep soil evenly moist — it should feel damp to the touch. Once seedlings emerge, let the soil surface dry out between waterings.

8. You can make a mini greenhouse over seedling containers to speed the germination process using a plastic bag or container. Just be sure to remove it once seeds sprout.


Get the book:

 Grow What You Love

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