Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gentlemen, start your seeds!

Its my favorite time of winter!  Just when you think you can't take the cold, snow, wind, sleet, anymore, you realize its time to start thinking about your gardens.  I start seeds indoors every year.  I definitely don't really know what I am doing, and could probably do things a lot better, but what I do is simple and it works.  I will be picking out the seeds I want this week and ordering them from 
JohnScheepers.com  I can definitely tell a difference between these seeds and seeds from Lowes or Home Depot.  Plus, Sheepers has tons of varieties and great instructions to go along with each packet.  To start seeds indoors, I go to Lowes and for $8 buy a seed starting tray with the little dirt pellets in it.  All you do is add water and watch the pellets expand, poke a hole in the dirt pellet, and drop in a seed.  Cover the seed with dirt, and then repeat until they are all full.  Put the top on the tray and set in a warm room out of direct sun.  With in days you will see sprouts!  Very low maintenance at this point!  Here is a seed starting time table to help you out.  I don't even have my own veggie beds yet, in the past I have just put the veggies right into any vacant spot in my flower beds.  I know its probably not the best practice, but it just proves, you don't need to have a farm or even raised beds to grow your own  veggies.  Happy planning!
Here is the general seed-starting schedule. It is based on the standard rule of thumb (for seeds that need to be started indoors) to start seeds eight weeks before the last expected spring frost date.

Eight-week General Seed-Starting Timetable
Horticultural Zones 9 & 10:  Start seeds indoors now.
Horticultural Zone 8:  Start seeds indoors in early February.
Horticultural Zone 7:  Start seeds indoors in mid February.
Horticultural Zone 6: Start seeds indoors in late February.
Horticultural Zone 5: Start seeds indoors in early March.
Horticultural Zones 1-4: Start seeds indoors in mid to late March.

There are vegetables, herbs and flowers that require more or less time than the standard eight weeks. Here are the seed starting schedules for them:

Vegetable/Herb Seed-Starting Timetable
Eight Weeks: EggplantTomatoesChilesSweet PeppersChivesSageStevia and Thyme.
Nine Weeks: BroccoliCabbage and Kohlrabi (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date).
Ten Weeks: CeleryCeleriacJicama and Lemongrass.
Eleven Weeks: LeeksArtichokes and Cauliflower (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date).
Twelve Weeks: Cardoons and Brussels Sprouts.
Sixteen Weeks: Strawberries (for first year crop) and Rosemary.

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