Seed Starting Tips -Spring

2017-03-20 11.29.05

If you attended the 9th Annual Seed Swap you now have loads of seeds for your gardens. In this post we’ll give you some basic vegetable and herb seed starting tips to help you on your way to a bountiful garden.

This is last opportunity to plant some cool season crops! Many cool season crops are planted in late summer or early fall for harvest over winter and spring. However there are some vegetables that can be planted in early spring if they are fast maturing. Cool season crops are those that grow best and produce the best quality when the average temperatures are 55°F to 75°F and are usually tolerant of slight frosts.

Warm temperatures will force some crops to “bolt” which means it will go into flower mode rather than leaf/stem growing mode. And for things like Broccoli where we eat the immature flowers this is not good if the flowers mature faster than we can harvest and enjoy them!

Look for information on the seed packet or online to see how long each variety takes to reach maturity and plant those that will be ready for harvest within 60 days or less and/or are slow bolting varieties. We’ve marked crops with an * to note which you should ensure are fast maturing.

Some Summer crops can be started indoors now or in a sheltered area with heat applied to prevent the seed from rotting. Summer crops require heat and while crops in the Tomato family can take 1-2 months until transplanting size squashes, melons and beans only take a couple of weeks so shouldn’t be started indoors until mid to late March. Many herbs can also be directly sowed in the garden for harvest and enjoyment later in the season.

Seed to start indoors or in a warm sheltered area:

  • Artichoke
  • *Broccoli
  • *Cabbage
  • *Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • *Collards
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

Seed to direct sow/plant outdoors (all but root crops can be started indoors if desired):

  • Asian Greens (bok choy etc.)
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Fenugreek
  • Lettuce
  • Mache
  • Mustard
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Turnip
  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Dill
  • Lemon Balm
  • Parsley

NOTE:  These are recommendations pooled from successful farmers and gardeners according to our “typical” seasons. Use this information as a good starting place but don’t interpret it as absolutely perfect for every location. Some years may vary and some yards have unique microclimates so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you and your gardens.

Many thanks to Sherri Scott, CSLL seed librarian and Grub Grown Nursery owner, for her wisdom in compiling these seed starting resources.

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