Oh and I want to stick some seed potatoes in there too. That should work right?
Tomatoes/peppers need 65-70 degrees (F) (18-21C) to germinate.
They should be at least a foot tall by the time it is warm enough outside to transplant them.
A tomato that is described as "90 Days" means 90 days from transplant time, not seeding date.
Some zone 3 situations might not even be able to produce good growth of peppers and tomatoes outdoors. Depends on your micro-climate. Wind, Sun, Elevation, Temperature swings...
A sun-catching raised bed (concave facing south) might do that, or might not. Depends.
The rest will grow outside, but you might consider transplants of the onions. You could plant the potatoes and spinach from seed pretty early (as soon as the soil is workable), and the kale possibly too, but maybe a bit later. Plant Kale and spinach multiple times.
All-even the potatoes-can be transplanted (and the bonuses are that you know what is germinated, and you can guarantee your plant spacing). Some folks cut pieces of burlap into six inch squares, put this on some damp cardboard with a bit of compost and soil on it. Place a seed potato on top of the burlap, and moisten it. Keep the soil\burlap moist. The potato will sprout and root into the burlap which can then be easily picked up and planted out, later, as a developing plant.
Good transplanting techniques that include hardening off the plants, and watering the holes and the soil after transplanting are hugely beneficial, and should be followed for more guarantees of success.
I did take a moment to look at the weather for June and July in Edmonton. The temperatures are great for the onions, kale and spinach but look quite cool for tomatoes and pepper. Do folks in your area grow good crops of tomatoes and peppers without greenhouses?
First, are the seeds really old? Most seeds rapidly deteriorate with age, especially if not stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container. So if they've been sitting around for the past year or more, sitting in their paper little bags, then they most likely won't germinate well, if at all.
Second, do you intend to broadcast the seeds? Very few edible vegetables do well with broadcasting unless the soil surface has been prepared in some fashion and the seeds are afterward aggressively watered in. While many grains, some herbs, and radishes do ok with broadcast surface sowing, I've found that not much else establishes well using this method. But small seeds, for example kale and tomatoes, can be broadcast into finely prepared soil and then watered into the soil surface using a sharp stream of water from a hose. Not all the seedlings will do well using this method, but if sown thickly enough, the garden bed can get a good stand of plants which can later be thinned to a better spacing. Ive done this method with kale, chard, beets, radishes, turnips, lettuce, tomatoes, and green onions. Not my preferred method, but it can work when I really short on time. Large seeds don't do well, such as beans and peas.
Third point. Simply broadcasting onto the surface and then walking away doesn't work very well for Mother Nature, so I wouldn't expect it to work well for me either. I think one of the ants, Evan, broadcast a quart jar of assorted seeds. I don't recall him reporting that much resulted from that experiment.
John, good point, I guess I wasn't thinking when I wrote peppers and tomatoes. These would definitely need to be started and transplanted.
Roberto, nice little trick with the potatoes. I will do that. Especially for spacing and making sure they are viable.
Su, yeah they were well stored and I usually find that seeds stay viable a lot longer than I hear. I have had lots success with old seeds. I meant to direct seed. Not necessarily throw down and walk away. Definitely seed, water and care for the young seedlings. However, I also don't want to make it a high maintenance production. That's why I am looking at the piles of dirt thinking they would need less watering maybe. I was thinking of a jumble of seeds though not in traditional rows. I know there are some plants that don't like each other so I would watch for that.
Simone Gar wrote:
I meant to direct seed. Not necessarily throw down and walk away. Definitely seed, water and care for the young seedlings. However, I also don't want to make it a high maintenance production. That's why I am looking at the piles of dirt thinking they would need less watering maybe. I was thinking of a jumble of seeds though not in traditional rows. I know there are some plants that don't like each other so I would watch for that.
Your proposed approach sounds similar to what I do. I put lots of seed (mostly saved or from friends) on disturbed soil, maybe give the soil a few desultory stirs with the hoe, and don't do much after helping it get started. My thinking -- and I'm influenced by Joseph Lofthouse and others in this -- is that I want plants that can compete under the conditions present in our local environment. Not many can, but I save their seed and plant it the following year, with the goal of creating (or really enabling, since they do the work) landraces. You might be surprised how very quickly you can get results this way. This is what I've done with butternut squash and yields are already up after a couple seasons, despite borers being a problem here. Some tomatoes have been similar, as has kale and lettuce. I planted quite a bit of okra seed last year. Only one plant survived, but I saved much seed from it and will be planting a lot and have good expectations.
The key is, I think, to put enough seed out that you get sufficient genetic variety to ensure you'll get at least some competitive individuals growing. Once they're well started, you can put down an easy growing green manure (buckwheat, clover, whatever) in any empty spaces and voila! Low maintenance, becoming lower in the future.
I say go for it! I'd be very interested in seeing pictures, too, as time goes on.
I was thinking of a jumble of seeds though not in traditional rows. I know there are some plants that don't like each other so I would watch for that.
Simone, you might want to check out This Thread
I also plan on adding seed potatoes. I want to keep to more annual crops in the first try.