Pruning Everbearing Raspberries – For summer and fall harvests

There are 2 methods for Pruning everbearing raspberries, one is simple, the other takes more time. This post will cover both methods of pruning ever-bearing raspberries and I will let you know my preferred method.

Pruning Everbearing Raspberries

What are everbearing raspberries?

Brambles (blackberries and raspberries) generally are biennial plants, meaning the first years cane growth (primocanes) produce only leafy growth and the flower buds that will bloom the next year. In the second year those canes (now called floricanes) produces the flowers and fruit. This is the case with traditional June-bearing raspberries.

But everbearing raspberries are different. The first years growth will actually produce a heavy crop in the fall and then with proper pruning they can also produce a smaller crop the following summer. Hence the name everbearing, a row or patch (in my case) of raspberries when properly pruned will produce a early summer crop (June/July) and then a later fall crop (August/September/October). The early summer crop will always be much smaller but you will usually have a continuous harvest from late June to the first hard frost.

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There are two methods for pruning everbearing raspberries. The first is more difficult and will produce 2 crops. The second is easy but only produces a fall crop each year (although this is by far the larger crop). I will describe each method below.

When should you be pruning everbearing raspberries?

My preferred time for pruning everbearing raspberries is in the spring, just as the new growth is emerging from the ground. This has the advantage of allowing you to see where new canes are going to be growing this year and allows you to thin entire plants when necessary I also like the spring because I always seem to have more time in the spring to get the pruning done. I’m so rushed in the fall that I never have time to get to it. I also think it is easier to prune the canes when all the leaves are off. But if you prefer, there is no reason you can’t prune in the late fall after the leaves have fallen off the canes. That is especially true of method #2.

One warning before you begin. Raspberries are thorny, sticky plants. When pruning ever-bearing raspberries you should wear heavy gloves, long sleeves and eye protection! Without it you will be pulling thorns and healing scratches for weeks afterwards!

Pruning Everbearing Raspberries for 2 crops

The first year your raspberry patch is fully established you will notice that fruit production always begins at the tip of the cane and works it’s way down the cane towards the base. Once a cane has produced fruit on the end of the cane there will be no more production on that part of the cane, in fact it will often die off.

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So when pruning for 2 crops you remove the portion of the cane that has already produced fruit the prior year.

Pruning Everbearing Raspberries 2

This can be a tedious process as you will need to prune the ends of of nearly every cane in the patch. You know you have pruned to the right spot when you can see a bit of green in the end of the cane where you cut it, like the picture above.

If when you prune the cane the cut end appears dry and dead, then you can cut a little further down the cane until you find green.

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These pruned canes will now continue to produce down the cane in early summer. Once the cane has finished producing it will die back. The cane can then be cut down to just above the ground level, or you can wait and cut out those dead canes next spring. To help them determine what canes to remove the following spring many gardeners mark the floricanes by tying a piece of yarn on the cane when doing the spring pruning (or you could mark with a bit of paint).

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You can see that most of the potential fruit in a cane is on the long end of the cane that bore last year. So this years crop (the early summer crop) will be small! For this reason many growers decide that method #1 is too much work for too little reward.

Pruning Everbearing Raspberries for 1 fall crop

If you are like me then you may think that method #1 is a whole bunch of work!! The first year we grew ever-bearing raspberries I used method #1 and then to be honest with you I got tired of it!

The far simpler method for Pruning everbearing raspberries is to simply forget about the early summer crop and prune for one larger fall crop.

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This is accomplished, also in the spring, by simply cutting all of your patches first year growth down to the ground. My patch is not overly large so I just use hand pruners and cut the canes within an inch of the ground in late March. You could also use a pair of sharp hedge clippers to “munch” your way through the patch. The new canes grow up from the roots of the plants and produce an abundant crop in the late summer and fall. I even know a few people that simply prune their patch by running all of the canes over with a lawn mower!!! I really don’t recommend this method. It can damage the base of the plants and the rough cut from the mower allows more room for pests to enter. BUT if you really are that pressed for time the mower method will work.

 

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Along with the simplicity and time savings of method #2 there is an other added benefit to the fall crop method. Because you have removed all of last years plants there is less competition for resources in your patch. This makes for stronger, healthier plants that then go on to produce an even heavier crop of fruit in the fall!

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Here is a list of some of the many available everbearing raspberries. This list doesn’t even come close to listing all the different everbearing varieties, but will give you a place to get started.

Heritage, Ruby, Redwing, Summit, Amity, Canby and Carolines

Stay tuned later this spring, my plan is to film a video when I prune my patch.  I will demonstrate both methods for pruning everbearing raspberries.

WARNING: Please keep in mind that either of these methods are meant ONLY FOR EVERBEARING RASPBERRY VARIETIES. Traditional June-bearing raspberries and nearly all varieties of Blackberries are pruned much differently!! Make sure you have ever-bearing varieties before using these pruning methods. If you try method #2 on June-bearing raspberries or any blackberries you will NEVER get any fruit!!

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Pruning Everbearing Raspberries Video Demonstration

My raspberry patch is on my mind this time of year.  This pruning everbearing raspberries video demonstration will teach you how to prune everbearing raspberries for both a summer crop and a fall crop (or both!).

Pruning Everbearing Raspberries Video

We finally had a break in the weather for a couple of days this week.  So that gave me a chance to get out in the garden and prune my everbearing raspberries.  While I was at it I figured I’d film a pruning everbearing raspberries video to teach all of you how to do this.  There are two different methods for pruning everbearing raspberries.  The first method I show will get you two crops a year, one in the early summer and the other in the late fall.  The second method will only give you one crop in the fall but that crop tends to be larger.

Here’s the video:

 

I hope this video helps you out!  Please keep in mind that this pruning everbearing raspberries video is meant to teach you how to prune EVERBEARING raspberries only!  Please don’t use this same method on either traditional raspberries or blackberries.  Doing so will risk destroying any potential harvest from your plants!

This video is part of our Grow what you Eat, Eat what you grow video series!  Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get more great gardening advice videos like this one!  I’m building a pretty big library of free gardening tip videos on YouTube, I’d love your support and comments!

Also remember to check out The Online Gardening School!

Online Gardening School

Anyone who visits The Online Gardening School from this link, gets 25% off your first purchase on the site!  Currently there are 6 different videos you can buy on the site.  With another 2 or 3 coming very soon!  Be sure to check back often!  Within the next week or so I will be publishing a course on growing potatoes!!

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Growing Early Season Salad Greens

As part of our on going effort to never buy lettuce from the store again. We are really making an effort to have salad crops at non traditional times of the year.  Growing early season salad greens is an easy process if you have a little added weather protection!

Growing Early Season Salad Greens

You can read about growing summer lettuce here. And you can learn about growing lettuce in the fall and winter here.

This post on growing early season salad greens is meant for those of you living in Zones 4 to 6 (and maybe even 7).

Growing Early Season Salad Greens

Spring is the traditional time to grow lettuce. Lettuce loves that cool weather and it’s easy to grow lettuce in April, May and June. But did you know that you can have lettuce and other salad crops much earlier in the year by using one or both of these two easy methods for growing early season salad greens.

Over wintering in a cold frame

There is a long list of salad crops that can be planted in the late fall and then overwintered in a cold frame or hoop house. These overwintered crops will be ready to eat very early in the spring. Many as early as March 1st.

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What crops over winter well?
Lettuce

Choose cold hardy varieties of lettuce, one of my favorites is winter density. Plant the lettuce seedlings a week or two before your first frost in the fall. They will still be tiny seedlings when the cold sets in. They will sit most of the winter but as the weather warms in the spring they will grow quickly and be ready very early. Growing these lettuces in a hoop house or cold frame is a must if you live in zone 6 or below!

Spinach

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Spinach is an fantastic plant to over winter. Plant this winter hardy veggie 4 to 8 weeks before your first frost in the fall. It will grow well in the fall and will even give you a good harvest all winter. Protected by a cold frame or mini hoop house, spinach will take off in the spring. Your harvest will last until early May.

Swiss Chard

Plant a little Swiss chard along with your spinach in the fall and protect it with a cold frame and you will have another great add in, for your late winter and early spring salads.

Kale

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Not traditionally know as a salad green, kale is sweeter when overwintered and grows quickly in the early spring. You can plant 6 to 8 weeks before your first fall frost for larger plants. Or try planting late in the fall in tight plantings. You can then harvest smaller “baby” leaves all winter and into the spring.

Machè

Growing Early Season Salad Greens
Machè is not a very well known plant to many gardeners. But it is a must if you are interested in growing early season salad greens.  It is super hardy and is one of the few plants that will continue to grow all winter. Plant it late in the fall and it will germinate and grow slowly through the winter and be ready for harvest in the early spring.

Others

There are several other salad greens that over winter well these include Claytonia, beet and turnip greens.

Planting early indoors

Another solution for growing early season salad greens, is starting seedlings VERY early indoors and then transplanting them out into your cold frame.

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I start my first lettuce seedlings on January 15th each year and move them out into the cold frame and hoop houses in late February and early March.

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You can also start spinach, chard, and kale that early and transplant them outside with protection. Once out in the garden and inside the warmth of a hoop house these plants will thrive and give you many early season greens.

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Cold Protection

You will notice how often I spoke of protecting your plants with a cold frame or a hoop house. If you live in zone 6 or lower your only real hope of early season greens is if you have one of these handy garden structures.

Learn how to build a cold frame by reading this post.

Find a simple way to build an inexpensive hoop house by reading this post.

Learn even more about winter garden structures here.

 

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Growing Snow Peas in your backyard gaden

Growing snow peas is an easy process that starts early in the spring and can even be done in the fall. This growing guide will give you the basics needed to get a great crop of snow peas this year.

Growing Snow Peas

Like most of my growing guides, this one on growing snow peas is meant to give you general information to get you started. Growing conditions will vary based on the region you live in, but this guide will give you all the basics to get you started growing snow peas.

What are Snow Peas?

There are 3 general types of peas:
1. Shelling peas – which are grown for the round peas inside the pod. The pods of shelling peas are not eatable.
2. Snap peas – These peas can be eaten at any stage, both the pod and the peas inside are eatable.
3. Snow Peas – These tasty treats are grown primarily for their eatable pods. The pods are usually flatter and when the peas inside do develop they never fill up the pod like the other two. Although eatable at any stage, snow peas are usually harvested while the pods are fairly small and tender.

Growing Snow Peas 2

The most important thing to know when growing snow peas is that they are a cool season crop. This means that snow peas prefer to grow in temperatures lower than 80 degrees. (27 Celsius). Spring is the ideal time for growing snow peas, but they also do well in the fall. In fact in our area where the fall is warm and short, they are the most successful pea to plant in the fall. To learn more about the difference between cool and warm season crops read this post.

Growing Snow Peas
Planting area and soil

Peas will grow best in a sunny spot. Snow peas seem to tolerate a little less sun than other peas, but you should still shoot for a spot that gets at least 8 hours of sun light per day.

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Peas also prefer fertile well drained soil that is slightly alkaline. If you live in an area with acidic soil you may consider adding some lime to your soil. Snow peas also do well when grown in containers and can be quite attractive as container plants with a decorative trellis.

Timing

Plant your snow peas as early as possible in the spring. As soon as you are able to work the soil you can plant peas. Warming the soil first using this trick will help them get off to a quick start. I try to get my peas in the ground about 60 days before my average last frost date. This will give them plenty of cool spring weather to grow in.

Fall planting dates are a little harder to nail down. Pea plants themselves are very frost tolerant, but the pods are less tolerant of frost. You want to get them planted soon enough so that there is not a big danger of super cold temps when the crops mature. I target 60 days before the first fall frost date. This usually means it is still quite hot when they are planted, the hotter summer weather usually means fall crops are not as productive.

Planting

Plant snow pea seeds directly in the soil as soon as the soil is dry enough to be worked. Peas are planted 1 inch deep and space about 2 inches a part. Once the plants have germinated you can thin them as needed. You can eat the thinnings. They are great in salads and can also be stir fried. But having said that, I seldom thin my peas. Peas do well when planted closely together so I don’t usually bother.

Watering

Peas need about an inch of water per week. The nice thing about spring around our place is that I seldom have to water because of our spring rains.

Drip irrigation is always the best method for watering your plants (learn more about my drip system here). It is especially important to keep your peas well watered when they are blooming and producing fruit.

Of course water is super important when planting a fall crop. The heat of late summer will require watering at least twice a week.

Support

Most snow peas varieties are vining and will require the support of some type of trellis. Pea vines climb pretty well on their own and really don’t require a lot of tending. But you do need to offer them something to climb on.

 

Growing Snow Peas 3

I’m all for simple so most years I just put some tomato cages out between the rows of snow peas. This has always worked well for me, the peas are done before I really need the cages on the tomatoes.

But snow peas lend themselves to growing on many different types of trellis’. The important part is that you use something to keep the plants up off the ground. Growing on a trellis will increase production and reduce disease.

Growing Snow Peas 5

Harvesting

You will know harvest time is coming when your snow peas start to flower. Once you start to see flowers you should begin checking for pods about a week later.

Remember that snow peas are at their best when the pod is 2 to 3 inches long and the peas inside have not started to develop. If you wait too long the pods get tougher and are not as tasty. Although they are still eatable at any stage, they are better when they are young.

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Once the harvest begins, plan on picking every day! You should be out harvesting daily to make sure your peas don’t slip past that perfect stage!!

To harvest simply pinch the vine directly above the pod, or if you give the plant a little support you can simply pull the pod from the vine.

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Snow peas are fantastic eaten fresh!! And that is how we eat most of ours. They will last up to a week if kept in the fridge. They are also perfect for stir fry!!

If you find yourself overwhelmed with too many snow peas to eat fresh they can be easily frozen. Simply blanch them either in boiling water or with a steam basket for 3 minutes. Then freeze them flat on a cookie sheet over night. They can then be stored in freezer bags in a deep freeze for up to 12 months.

Growing snow peas is a fairly simple and rewarding crop for your garden. Just a few plants are very productive and they can easily be tucked into any sunny corner of your garden. They even look great and do very well when planted in a flower bed! So get some snow peas planted today!

Here are a few other posts that may help you in your efforts to grow peas in your garden:

Complete Growing Guide for Peas

Growing Peas in the Fall

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March Planting Guide for Zone 7

In an attempt to broaden the range of gardening advice we give here on Stoney Acres I’ve decided to invite a few guest posters to add their gardening know how to Stoney Acres.  Today’s March Planting Guide for Zone 7 comes to you from Ann Caliri over at the blog LiveTheOldWay.com.  Ann is a great blogger and gardener and I’m glad to have her on board with this great Zone 7 planting guide.  Be sure to go visit her blog!

March Planting Guide for Zone 7

Let me start out by giving you a quick link.  This post is meant for those of you living mainly in Garden Zones 4 to 7.  If you don’t know what your garden zone is follow this link to find out!

In Zone 7, we’re officially dreaming of spring. We’re starting seedlings indoors, organizing our gardening tools and giving the garden beds a final tilling. Even though it’s still too cold for the plants that typically come to mind when we talk about our gardens, it’s a perfect opportunity to lay in a crop of cool weather vegetables. Most of these will be done in time to rotate in our warm weather planting and many actually improve the soil for their rotation buddies. Some of our favorites and planting tips are:

March Planting Guide for Zone 7
Romaine Lettuce

March Planting Guide for Zone 7 4

For as delicate as it appears, Romaine Lettuce is surprisingly cold hardy.  We start seedlings indoors and then transplant in early March.  Our final frost date is mid-April, so we still keep an eye on the weather.  If it looks like we’re in for more than a light frost, we will cover the lettuce plants to protect them.  Planting early gives us a wonderfully long crop of these tasty leafy greens.  In addition to Romaine, Arugula, Endive, Bok Choy, Spinach and Kale can be planted this month in Zone 7.

Cabbage

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Cabbage is another favorite because it is so versatile.  We use saved seeds that we originally started from an heirloom variety about 5 years ago.  We let them go to seed on a couple of plants in the corner of the garden where they are out of the way, then harvest the pods to dry for planting the next year.  Our cabbage gets started in Late January or early February with the lettuce so they can go in the ground at the same time.

Beets

No cool season garden would be complete without a beet row or two.  We direct sow these seeds in March since they don’t do well being transplanted.   Beets will grow well until the temperature approaches about 80 degrees so our region (7) allows for both early spring and late fall planting.   Beets are incredibly nutritious and our livestock love the greens.

Carrots, Parsnips, Turnips and Radishes

Other root vegetables to plant in March are carrots, parsnips, turnips and radishes.  Like their cousin the beet, these do best when sown directly where they are to grow versus transplanting.

Peas

Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas and English Peas are a fast maturing crop, easily grown twice a year in zone 7.  Early spring planting is preferable to late fall planting though since the vines are more resistant to freezing than the pods are.  Direct-sow tall or climbing varieties near a trellis for support.

Herbs

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Right or wrong, we also sow herb seeds and even transplant already started herbs outdoors in mid to late March.  These, like the others, we cover if more than a light frost is predicted.   A few that do well started in cool weather are Chives, Dill, Sage, Thyme and Cilantro.  Even Basil does ok if it’s in an area that can gather a little heat during the day.

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Thanks Ann for giving us this March Planting Guide for Zone 7, if you would like to learn a little more about Ann please check out her Bio below!

Bio:

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John and Ann are homesteaders, foragers, and owners of the instructional website LiveTheOldWay.com.  They live on 85 acres in an underground passive solar house in central North Carolina.  Where they focus on living off the land and utilizing “lost skills” that were once commonplace.  In addition to hunting, livestock husbandry and preserving the food they grow and forage, another concentration of theirs is the use of herbal medicine; specifically using only plants and herbs that are native to the area and thus readily available in a survival situation.  Ann has studied extensively with some of the foremost foraging and herbal medicine making experts in the neighboring Appalachian mountains.  And enjoys utilizing this knowledge in their daily lives as well as passing on these skills to others.

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March Planting Guide – Zones 4 to 6

March has arrived in your garden! This March Planting Guide will give those of you that live in Zones 4-6 a good idea of what seeds can be planted directly in the garden and what seedlings you need to be planting indoors during the month of March!

March Planting Guide Zones 4-6

Let me start out by giving you a quick link.  This post is meant for those of you living mainly in Garden Zones 4 to 7.  If you don’t know what your garden zone is follow this link to find out!

This is my garden on March 1st! It’s not looking very promising right now! But by month end we will see the beginnings of our 2017 garden. March is the month when gardening starts in earnest in the colder northern climates.

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March Planting Guide

This March Planting Guide is meant to give those of you in Zones 4-6 some ideas of what you should be planting. Like last month’s guide this advice will apply as follows:
Zone 6 – You can start these planting instructions in early March
Zone 5 – You will begin most of this planting around the 15th through the 30th
Zone 4 – These planting instructions will apply to you right at the end of March

Keep in mind that last frost dates are everything in early spring planting. This March Planting Guide assumes you know your average last frost date and that you will be starting these planting suggestions roughly 60 days prior to that date.

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March Planting Guide – Seedlings Indoors

It’s not too late to get seedlings going indoors, in fact you still have plenty of time for indoor seed starting.

Cool Season Crops
Cabbage Family

You can get seedlings started indoors for plants like cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, collards and cauliflower. Seedlings for these plants will be ready to move outdoors in about 6 weeks, so if started early they can still be ready to plant in the garden by mid April. All of these plants are pretty hardy. I like to have mine out in the garden with a little protection from a light fabric row cover about 30 days before my last frost.

Greens

You can also still start just about any leafy green you would like indoors. Starting greens indoors may seem like over kill to some because they do so well when planted outdoors. But I have found that starting greens indoors this early in the year gets you a head start on the season.

Plant lettuce , spinach, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbages and any other greens indoors now and plan on moving them out to the garden in 4 to 6 weeks.

March Planting Guide 3

Warm season crops

March is the perfect time to get your warm season seedlings started indoors. Plant crops like tomatoes and peppers roughly 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost. Or if you are feeling adventurous, plant them sooner and plan on setting the plants out under the protection of walls of water.

March is too soon to plant seedlings for any squash family plants. Plants like cucumbers, pumpkins and zucchini don’t transplant well. You should wait until only about 3 weeks before your last frost date to get these started.

Planting Outdoors

March is the time to start thinking about planting outdoors in the garden. As soon as the soil is dry enough to work you can get some of the following seeds directly sown outdoors in the soil. I would recommend warming your soil first. To learn more about this trick read this post.

Peas

Peas are very hardy plants, especially when they are smaller. I try to get my peas planted at least 8 weeks before my last frost date. For us that means mid March. I get the soil warmed up for a week or two first and plant as soon as I can work the soil!

Onions and Leeks

Many people don’t realize how hardy onions are! You can plant onions by seedling or by sets as early as 6 weeks before your last frost. Mine usually go in the last week of March. Planting them this early gives them plenty of cool weather to get a big head start on the growing season.

Root crops

You can direct sow seeds for plants like beets, turnips, radishes and carrots as early as 8 weeks before your first frost. Warming the soil first helps. Once they have germinated a little protection from frost on really cold nights will help them thrive. Try using some fabric row cover for protection.

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Leafy greens

Once your soil is dry enough to work you can start sowing your first succession plantings on all your leafy greens. Lettuces, spinach, chard and more. Again warming the soil first and then protecting with a light row fabric will help these early plantings to flourish.

Potatoes

If you have the protection of a cold frame or a hoop house you can also get an extra early crop of potatoes planted. I try to get my first potatoes planted 8 weeks before the first frost but please note that you must protect the plants from frost! Learn more about this process by reading this post.

March Planting Guide 4

Well that’s it for this March planting guide. I hope it helps you get an extra early start this year on your spring garden. Planting many seeds now in March will lead you to a wonderful harvest this spring starting in late April!!!

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Indoor seed starting setup- Free Garden Video!

I finally got a chance to sit down and film and edit a new YouTube video this week.  The topic is a tour of my indoor seed starting setup!

Indoor seed starting setup

I think learning to start your own seedlings indoors is one of the most important things a gardener can learn to do.  Starting your own seedlings opens up a whole new world of plant varieties and options for your back yard garden.  There are so many plants that you just can’t get at your local nursery.  So if you want to grow them then you need to start them yourself!

 

With spring quickly approaching I thought it would be a good time to start filming my weekly gardening tips again.  So today I set out for the garage with my new mic in hand to take you on a tour of my seed starting set up!

 

Here’s the video:

Indoor Seed Starting Set up

 

For those of you looking for the seed starting course coupon please follow this link!

In the video I promised some more pictures of the shelf structure along with a materials list:

Tools Needed:

Circular Saw or Hand saw

Electric Drill

1/8 inch drill bit for pre-drilling

Materials needed:

7- 8 foot 2×2’s

1 box 2 inch screws

4 hooks

2 4 foot shop lights

2 pieces of shelving (Material of your choice) 48 inches long by 20 inches wide

Cut List

Cut the 2×2’s as follows

4 – 48 inch boards

5 – 60 inch boards

8 – 17.5 inch boards

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Assembly of your Indoor seed starting setup

1. Assemble the sides first, each side has two 5 foot boards and two 17.5 inch boards.  The 17.5 inch boards go on the inside and are attached using a couple of screws driven through the 5 foot boards.  Two of the 17.5 inch boards go on the top and 2 at 30 inches measured down from the top.

 

2.  Connect the two sides with the four 48 inch boards, these boards again go at the top and at 30 inches measured down from the top.

Indoor seed starting setup 2

3.  Add the extra four 17.5 inch boards in about 4 inches from the ends connecting the two sides.  These extra boards are to hang the lights from and to add extra support.

Indoor seed starting setup 3

4.  Finally screw the shelves down with 3 screws on each side driven into the 48 inch side boards.

 

That’s it!  It is really quite simple to put this indoor seed starting setup together!

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Here’s the coupon I promised on my seed starting course in the video, just click on the link above.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks video!

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