I know that Sepp plants directly into the ground and I hear from people on both sides of the fence stating yes do the flats, or no just sow directly. This will be my first planting for my urban yard and I have no space inside to store seedlings as my cats will destroy them. My option would be to clean off some shelving in the garage, but there is no light source. Perhaps I could invest in some lights for them or leave the overhead fluorescent lights on?
I will list the seeds in question and let those of you with experience advise as to which ones I should just plant directly into the ground and which ones must absolutely be started in flats first. As a side note, all these seeds were purchased from Bountiful Gardens if you need further information on any individual items. Thank you very much!!!
Arkansas Traveler Tomatoes
Chives (onions Bunching- scallions)
Lyon, Prizetaker Leeks
Beit Alpha MR (cucumbers)
Hardy Kiwi (vine)
Most all the berries/fruit state to begin in the refrigerator and keep in flats-to larger pots for two years...I'm really crossing my fingers on these. Thanks again for all your help!
When they say to start in the refrigerator I think they are trying to imitate the conditions as if the seed spent the winter outside (stratification). Go ahead and follow those instructions unless you can accomplish it outside now.
A word of caution on planting directly, make sure you keep an eye on your seedlings. My first year of planting I scattered almost all my seed, and then found out too late that pill bugs were eating them all as they emerged. Not discouraging you from it, but in addition to watching them closely it may help to sow a portion and see if you have any problems before sowing everything.
I think it may be a good idea to keep some back. I bought a lot of berries, so it should be no problem to sow a packet and keep one on hand just in case bugs or environment overcome them.
If the ones with the refrigerator instructions just want to simulate the winter perhaps I should plant some now? It's anywhere from 40-65 during the day and the nights still get down below 30 most of the time. I guess it couldn't hurt to experiment a bit with the raspberries; I have four packages.
Thank you so much everyone!
Chris Dean wrote:A word of caution on planting directly, make sure you keep an eye on your seedlings. My first year of planting I scattered almost all my seed, and then found out too late that pill bugs were eating them all as they emerged. Not discouraging you from it, but in addition to watching them closely it may help to sow a portion and see if you have any problems before sowing everything.
Chris is right. Which leads us to: http://www.permies.com/t/11913/permaculture/Controlling-pill-bugs
The other garden beds will be clay, not so heavy as that in the back yard. They were just tree rings with mulch. I don't think there should be any issues with the seeds floating away. We don't get very much rain at all and they should be pretty well stuck where they get planted.
I guess I'm mainly concerned with throwing my $200 seed investment down the drain if I sow them outside. However, I have no idea where else I would keep them. I'm concerned with my car being in the garage with the plants as it's in really bad shape and leaks several different fluids. When I get home from class it stinks for hours of transmission fluid and oil. I'm not sure what that would do to some seedlings. My question stemming from that would be if I must plant them in flats could these flats be left outside? We have very high winds here, so they would be subject to some amount of that no matter where they are located in the backyard.
My raspberry and currant I purchased several and so I feel okay trying one package of each outside, but the rest are single seed packets and I would hate to waste those. I'll tell my husband to get started on a window shelf so we have someplace to "greenhouse" about 50 starters. Thank you everyone for your support and information!
It will take 75-90 days from seed to harvest. Typical spacing is a foot or two. 20 plants will take up 20-40 square feet of space in the garden beds. If started in the beds, the soil can't be mulched until the plants emerge and reach a height of a few inches. During the month it will take the plants to grow to that size the soil is bare and exposed. You'll have to pull weeds lest they gain a foothold. A late frost or heavy rain can leave you starting over. Being the only plant in a big space, your little plant as the only food source for bugs and critters to go after. Small roots mean that plant is susceptible to dry conditions if you are not able to water for a few days. It's not easy being a plant.
On a shelf, 20 plants will take up an area the size of a cutting board. Placed on a tray, water can be added to keep the soil moist for several days, giving you a chance to keep them alive while you are out of town. While the seedlings grow, the bed can be mulched, suppressing weeds and preventing rain from compacting the soil after you have put in all that work to keep it fluffy. When the plants are big enough to transplant, put them outside for a couple of days to toughen up. They go in with roots big enough to keep them going should it be dry for a few days. If a hungry bug comes along it might take a bite, but the larger plant is not consumed outright.
The purpose of flats and pots is to give the plants a survival advantage during it's weakest time. It also lets you use the bed space for other plants while seedlings are still in flats. Getting a broccoli up to transplant size can take a month or more. You can grow radish in the beds while the broccoli grows. The broccoli spends 60 days in the bed instead of 90. When its time to take the broccoli, you can have something else ready to go into that space as soon as it opens up. When the bed space is limited, flats allow you to use the space to better advantage, even getting an extra crop out of the growing season.
Cucumbers: I find the best early results (if wanting to get a head start) to be germinating them indoors, 3 to 4 seeds in a pot about the size of an 8 oz cup or a little larger and letting them grow to the first true leaf (and no more than two true leaves) and then plant out. Cucumbers roots head to the bottom of the pot as soon as they germinate. The faster they are transplanted to the garden after the first true leaf is of a decent size the faster they are allowed to grow their roots deep in the garden instead of becoming rootbound in the pot. The same thing goes for watermelon and cantaloupe and squash.
Tomatoes: My best results are planting in a deep narrow container and allowing to grow to two true leaves. I then slow the growth down by cooler temperatures at night and then plant to the garden. If grown in too large of a container a lot of the soil falls off because root development was mostly down. This is not necessarily a detrimental thing just a waste of purchased potting soil. I have planted as young as 1 true leaf which allows the narrow container to be less deep. I plant up to the first true leaf in the garden.
Broccoli and cabbage: I sow in a wide not too deep container and then once they are of two true leaves I transplant above the cotyledons to individual containers. This helps me prevent them being leggy. Grow with cool night temps as they get larger.
Water the plants in the morning if in a window greenhouse so they don't dry out while you are gone during the day. My father-in-law commented that if you’re a little late milking the cow things were okay but if you’re late watering a tiny tomato it is a goner.
(the tap route always emerges out of the pointy end)
by first knowing which direction is magnetic North and then
holding the seed between your thumb and forefinger push
the edge of the seed into your loosened soil.
What this does is to reduce the amount of twisting around a sunflower stem
needs to do to raise its first two primary leaves to face south.
When Planting your garden plant in the rows and have back up plants
ready to go in where others fail from extreme weather, predators whether furry
or insect or feathered.
Broccoli and peas,lettuce are not too bothered by frost or snow and thrive on cold
and then any protection created for them is all the better.
I've never started berries/canes from seed, but I have a feeling they could be a bit of a pain.
I'd love to hear how they go, but finding a source of locally-proven plants as backup could be well worth your while.
I'm unfamiliar with the varieties you list, but raspberries, strawberries and currants are extremely easy to propagate from roots/runners/cuttings over here.
I love the idea of a window greenhouse, but it won't work for us unfortunately. Our house has one south facing window which stays completely shaded by a huge fruitless mulberry. I Think I'll go dumpster diving to find some old windows perhaps I can make a greenhouse box to keep in the front yard where it isn't shaded. I saw one on a video this may me my only good option.
My garden space is quite limited so that's good to know about the broccoli issue. I think my best bet is to sow half outside this year, then build some greenhouses (mini) to grow the other half. Since this is my first year, I think an experiment with a couple seeds is acceptable though it still makes me nervous.
Thank you everyone!