Seed starting season is upon us! We now have a little glimmer of spring!
What seeds you are starting now depends on where you live. I thought it would be fun, and I thought you may find it interesting and helpful to see what and when I start our seeds. I don't start seeds every week, but as we get closer to spring I will be planting more and more. So here is my first week of planting.
Follow along with this little series of blogs to see what we're planting, when we pot up, and little planting tips along the way.
What I'm Planting Week 1: onions
The first thing that we always plant is onions. Onions add so much flavor to so many dishes! We go through a lot so we plant a lot!
I have saved onion seeds in the past but don't do it regularly. Last fall I did leave some onions in the ground so we can save the seeds this year, seeing as seeds are becoming a pretty hot commodity and we don't want to do with out onions.
Varieties: Walla Walla, Globo, Stuttgarter, Southport Purple, and Yellow Spanish onions
When to plant: 12-14 weeks before last frost date
Seed depth: 1/8-1/2 "
Days to germination: 6-12; We keep our house pretty warm with the stove so ours usually only take a few days.
Plant out: 4 weeks before last frost date
* Walla Wallas can be fall planted (which will produce bigger onions) or spring planted. Since I am spring planting them, I'm planting them a little on the early side. The other onions I will plant next week, and I won't post about it since it is the same process.
I'm going to try no to repeat myself in future posts in this series. Anyone new to seed starting can get the basics in this post which I'll link in the future posts for anybody who needs the basics. Future posts will only have information unique to that which I'm planting.
First things First
Label your tray. You may be thinking you will remember, and it is very possible that your memory is better than mine, but there is a good chance that you will forget which variety is in which tray so label each tray.
I like to put the variety and the date I started the seeds. This helps me keep track of how the starts are doing, if I should plant them sooner or later in the following years. This also makes it easy for me to tell how old things are and when I need to transplant them.
Fill your tray with your organic potting soil mix and then water the soil. Yep, water the soil before you plant the seeds. The soil is a lot drier than you think and it's going to take a bit to become moistened. When you water it you will notice that the water doesn't always soak right in. Sometimes it pools on the top of the soil for a bit.
If all that water pooling happened after you planted your seeds, then your seeds would float up to the surface of the water and come out of their row. Water the soil first.
Now it is time to make your rows. I just use the edge of my hand a make a mini ditch in the soil. For onions I make 6-7 rows in the tray. The ditches are about 1/4- 1/2" deep.
I use this method for most all the seeds I start.
Keep it Simple
Over the years I have simplified this process of seed starting as much as possible. We have so much to do in the garden that any time-saving is helpful. I still get great results with these techniques, and I have found that more technical methods do not prove to be more affective, therefore I go for the simpler.
To continue my time saving technique, I do not bother trying to space my onion seeds out. I sprinkle. Sprinkling is great! I take a little pinch of seeds, then rub my fingers together as I move my hand down the row. Onion starts are very tough. I have never had any issues seperating them when I go to plant them in the spring, so no worries!
Can you see the little black seeds in the picture above? Some are so close together they are touching other seeds and some are a little further apart. That is just fine. I've been starting my onions like this for about 8 years.
Now take your hand and gently run it over the soil covering the seeds. We do not want the seeds to be buried 1/2" down, but gently brushing your hand over the soil only covers them slightly.
At this point, I give the seeds a little more water. I like to take the tray to the kitchen sink and use the sprayer to give the seeds just a bit more water.
When the top of the soil starts to dry out give them a little more water. Never try soaking them so you don't need to water as often. This does not help the seedlings and is likely to cause damping off. Damping off is a bacterial infection where the seedlings start to break down right at soil level. Over watering is a common mistake of those new to seed starting. Only water as needed and not in excess.
As your onions grow, you will want to trim the greens. This creates stronger plants. You can learn all about it in my blog post, Trimming Onion Start for Stronger Plants.
Catch up Time
Last week I started Some Globo onions and Gobbo Di Nizzia cardoons, better give you the stats on those too!
Variety: Gobbo Di Nizzia cardoons
When to plant: 2-3 months before last frost date
Seed depth: 1/4-1/2"
Days to germination: 10-21; We soak our seeds for 24 hours before planting and they take 3-4 days to sprout.
That's it for this week's additon of what I'm planting. As always, let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.
See you next time and happy planting!
P.S. You don't want to miss the next post in this series so don't forget to sign up below!
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I look forward to sharing my gardening and homestead adventures to help you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!