Monday 3 March 2014

Seed Planting Schedule

I find it very helpful to sort seeds into piles based on the time they will be planted - whether they will be planted indoors or outdoors.  I spent just an hour or so taking care of that this weekend.  I have the most seeds this year that I have ever had; I have saved quite a few of my own seeds from last year including varieties of tomatoes, pumpkin, squash and okra.  And I have also ordered more varieties of veggies, flowers or herbs than ever before.
There are two packets that I no longer need and I'll see if I can find someone who can use them: thyme and sage.  Perhaps I should wait until the snow is gone (will it ever go away?!) to make sure last year's plants have survived.  Assuming they are OK, I have plenty of each already.  And I'm just going to toss the packet of Russian Tarragon.  I ordered this thinking it was the right kind for culinary use only to discover it is tasteless (but a pretty herb plant and grows like crazy).  I managed to find a few French Tarragon plants at a plant sale and I hope they make it through the winter; they were a bit straggly even in the fall so I don't have high hopes.  But seeds for French Tarragon are hard to find and so, if necessary, I'll hunt down seedlings.

Herb garden in the fall

My seeds have been stored in separate containers for vegetables, herbs and flowers.  This helps when it comes time to order seeds.  But at this time of the year, that is no longer relevant.  The first step is to split them out into two piles: which seeds will be started indoors and which can be directly seeded into the soil.   The latter group is set aside and will be sorted through again much later.

The indoor seeding pile

The indoor pile is split out again by timelines.  For me, this is based on a combination of experience and the guidelines on the back of each packet.  The packets usually indicate the number of weeks before the last frost that seeds should be started indoors (so they can be transplanted into the soil at the right time).  I generally follow those guidelines other than adding a couple of weeks depending on my past experience.

Seeds are sorted into three piles:

1) Seeding indoor mid-March - here I've included all peppers (hot and sweet), tomatoes, tomatillos, okra, parsley (which takes forever to germinate), catnip (first time I'm growing from seed this year), pumpkin (in this climate I need as much of a head start as possible) as well as some flowers including hollyhock and asters (my asters took forever last year);

2) Seeding indoor early April -  Nasturtium and cucumbers;

3) Seeding mid to late April - summer squash (could easily be planted direct into the soil as they grow quickly but I like to stagger the start of a few); basil, cantaloupe and other melons and flowers including cosmos, delphinium (first time this year), marigold and Kong sunflowers.

The rest which are for direct seeding into the soil include beans, peas, beets, carrots, winter squash (which grow very quickly) as well as various greens (kale, lettuce) and the rest of the flowers.  Also there are brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage which will likely wait for a later planting for fall harvest.

For direct seeding outdoor

This is a very loose schedule; as I get closer to each deadline, I'll get a bit more detailed.  But this is a good start to getting myself organized for the coming season!  Being only my third year growing from seed, I welcome advice on my planned timing so please let me know if you do anything very different from this for the Eastern Ontario growing season.

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