This is part of This Old House: Live—daily programming and opportunities to connect with This Old House experts during these challenging times. Check the schedule for more content, tips, and upcoming virtual events with our experts.
When “social distancing” became part of our national consciousness a few weeks ago, the first thing This Old House Landscape Contractor Jenn Nawada did was stock up on seeds.
“My absolute favorite thing to grow is tomatoes, so I like to build my garden around that,” says Nawada, who chose a mix of basil, lettuce, cilantro, jalapeño peppers, and zucchini seeds to accompany her San Marzano Tomato seeds. “They’re just the most amazing thing to make sauce or salsa with.”
Pictured is the resulting tomato sauce from last year’s haul. “I’m actually living off this sauce right now and can’t wait to make it again,” Nawada says.
Earlier this week, Nawada showed homeowners how to create a simple DIY garden bed from her own backyard.
“Lettuce is a cold-weather crop and can go outside earlier,” says Nawada. “My lettuce will be ready to put outside mid-May. The rest of the veggies will go out by Memorial Day.”
She suggests that homeowners in Northern seasonal climates start seedlings indoors with the following supplies:
Indoor Seedling Starter Kit
- Tall dome seedling container: $12.30 | Home Depot
- Grow light: $40 | Home Depot
- Warming mat: $17 | Home Depot
- Organic seed starter soil from Vermont: $27 | Home Depot
Jenn’s Book Recommendations on Gardening
Many homeowners have asked Nawada for her favorite gardening books. With a full library of great inspiration in her own home, Nawada shares her two must-have book suggestions:
- Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch
- The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun by Whitney Cohen