Sharon Hull, This Week in the Garden

During all these months of stay-at-home, many gardeners have discovered the joys and abundant information available in online forums. There are literally dozens – probably hundreds – of great information sources but many of them originate in climates very unlike our own. While we can still glean pertinent information from many of them, we can benefit even more from sources that are local.

Seeds and seed starting materials are available in local garden centers. (Contributed)

One such local newsletter is produced by The Gardeners Club in Santa Cruz County. If you haven’t discovered this beautiful and informative newsletter, edited by Bonny Doon resident and artist Lise Bixler, I can highly recommend it. An annual $15 fee gets you membership in the club (great fun and a wonderful source of camaraderie and plant material once in-person meetings can start again) and a subscription to the fantastic newsletter. To join, make check to “The Gardeners’ Club” and mail to P.O. Box 3025., Ben Lomond, CA 95005. I’ve had starting seeds on my mind (it is time to think about our spring and summer gardens) and the current newsletter has much to say on that topic.

You can see this month’s newsletter here:

Bixler recommends taking one of Joe the Gardener’s free seed starting seminars and gave the web address. When I visited it however, I discovered that those webinars must be very popular because they’re all already filled. However, Joe Lamp’l may well offer other online classes, videos, podcasts and guides that may interest you so you might want to check out his website. See

Another recommendation by Bixler in the newsletter: Online UCSC Farm Class Beginning Seed from 5-6:30 p.m. Feb. 22. “A seed is a powerful resource. In this workshop we’ll discuss best practices for sowing, cultivating seedlings and transplanting. We will also explore strategies for planning and timing a successful warm-season garden in this region. Whether this is your first time to sow seeds or you have been stewarding your garden for years this will be a great way to spring into the growing season.” Instructor: Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Farm Garden assistant manager at the UCSC Farm. Register for this free online event.”

In noodling around online, I also came across several other good sources about starting seeds, though the following two aren’t local. The first one is a blog called Shiplap and Shells, written by a woman named Kim who lives in the Pacific Northwest overlooking the Puget Sound. (I admit that her beautiful photos of her garden is a big part of my enjoyment of this blog.) Every year, Kim grows an inspiring garden of both flowers and vegetables and the most recent blog post is all about starting seeds.

She has a greenhouse but notes that it isn’t necessary to have one to successfully get healthy plants from seed.  She refers readers to this blog: The writer of this particular blog lives in New Jersey so has a climate even further removed from our own but her tips on seed-starting are still valuable.

If you have not tried growing plants from seed, or have been less than successful, perhaps these information sources will be helpful and inspiring. Seeds are an investment in the future. Think spring!

Garden tips are provided courtesy of horticulturist Sharon Hull of the San Lorenzo Garden Center. Contact her at 831-423-0223.  

Sam Son

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