By Don Boekelheide of Charlotte, North Carolina

Starting your own vegetable plants from seed makes a lot of sense for community gardeners. For the modest price of a seed packet, a community garden group can grow more than enough tomatoes or peppers for an average vacant lot-sized garden. That’s not all – you also have a potential educational benefit if you can get kids involved in the process, and you can grow choice varieties–especially heirlooms–rarely available in garden centers. You can also time your growing so you’ve got top quality seedlings ready to go at the best time for your particular gardens.

To reap the rewards, though, you have to do things right. To thrive, our tiny crop, like all babies, needs tender loving care applied with common sense techniques. Doing it right doesn’t, by the way, require spending a wheelbarrowful of money.

In the next issue of Community Greening, you’ll find a longer article with more detailed information on starting seeds. In the meantime, keep these three key points in mind:

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