Week 2 of the Weekly Garden Digest – Vegetables We Started

Vegetables We Started

Learning from our mistakes… Vegetables we started.

Have you ever found yourself unsure of what to grow in your garden? We certainly have! In the early years of our gardening journey, we planted everything under the sun without a clear plan in mind. We grew plants we knew we wouldn’t eat, and even some that didn’t make sense for our climate. Looking back, we can’t help but laugh at our mistakes. But we’ve learned a lot since then, and we want to share our strategies for a successful season with you. So these are some of the vegetables we started this year.

Seed tray with germinating vegetables under grow lights on wire rack - indoor gardening setup for successful seed starting. Vegetables we started.

We start our planning by thinking about our favourite recipes and the vegetables and herbs we regularly use. This year, these are the vegetables we started including tomatoes, garlic (started last year in October), Swiss chard, lettuces, herbs, and hot peppers. We know from experience that starting plants indoors under grow lights is crucial to making the most of our growing season. While some greens like lettuces can survive in cooler temperatures, we still wanted to see how they would perform indoors.

Close-up of germinating vegetables under a plastic dome, nurtured by grow lights - indoor seed starting for a thriving garden. Vegetables we started.

Speaking of recipes, we have a quick and easy meal for you to try using fresh produce from your garden. This Chickpea & Swiss Chard meal features your tomatoes and Swiss chard as the main ingredients. Here’s the recipe:

Braised Chickpeas with Swiss Chard


1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1.5 cups)

4 tbsp olive oil (or butter)

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 28-32 oz jar favorite marinara sauce (this is where we use our own tomatoes!)

2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

2 cups finely chopped chard or kale


1. In a large skillet, heat four tablespoons of olive oil or butter over medium heat. Add the drained chickpeas and cook until butter just begins to brown.

2. Add the garlic and paprika and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3. Pour in the jarred marinara sauce and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Add the greens and stir until they’re just wilted.

4. Serve warm over crusty bread or crispy potatoes. If you feel like it, top it with your favorite cheese like Parmesan, burrata, sharp cheddar or even brie!

More information on the recipe can be found here!

5 Key Takeaways

1. Early Start: Starting seeds indoors gives you a head start on the growing season, especially in regions with a shorter growing period or colder climate. It allows you to get your plants started while it’s still too cold to sow seeds directly in the garden.

2. Extended Growing Season: By germinating seeds indoors, you can nurture your seedlings until they are strong and ready to be transplanted outside. This extends your growing season and gives your plants a better chance to mature and produce a bountiful harvest.

3. Controlled Environment: Indoor seed starting provides a controlled environment where you can regulate temperature, light, and moisture levels. This helps optimize germination rates and early growth, providing ideal conditions for the seeds to thrive.

4. Healthier Seedlings: Starting seeds indoors allows you to closely monitor and provide optimal care for your seedlings. You can ensure they receive sufficient light, water, and nutrients, resulting in healthier and sturdier plants ready for transplanting.

5. Customization and Variety: Growing seeds indoors allows you to choose from a wider variety of plants and experiment with unique or heirloom varieties that may not be readily available as seedlings at local nurseries. It gives you the freedom to customize your garden and grow the specific plants that suit your preferences and growing goals.

Final Thoughts!

Cooking with homegrown produce is incredibly rewarding, and with some trial and error, you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits of your labour.

We’re here to help you with all the planning that goes into a successful kitchen/vegetable garden! Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have, no question is too small.

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, why not challenge yourself and build some raised garden beds! You can easily build raised garden beds for under $100! Check out our Esty store for our Cedar Raised Bed DIY Plans here!

Best regards,

Tessa & Kyle

Willow Lane Garden Co.

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