HORTICULTURE TIPS By Josh Steffen: Sensational Seasonal Seed Starting Part 2

In part one of this topic we considered our seed sources. Does the supplier operate ethically? How and where is the seed produced? What is the cost?

The next thing to consider once you have purchased plants of interest, is make some plans. Many great articles and books exist to assist the gardener in the planning process, here are a few tips to help you through the process:

  1. Determine the date the plant is placed in its final garden space
  2. KNow the number of days to maturity
  3. Determine whether you will seed indoors or directly outdoors
  4. KNow when was the seed packaged (how old is it?)
  5. Know the planting depth,
  6. And know the final plant spacing (row planting or staggered block planting)

A good seed supplier provides all of this information in the catalog and on the packaging. I use a simple spreadsheet and graph paper to lay out a schedule. I find square foot gardening a simple approach to growing food. The seed packet should state when the seed was packaged for sale. Different seed keeps for different lengths of time. The larger the seed and the harder the outside of the seed the longer it will keep in general. Seed packets usually tell you to start seed before or after the areas 90% frost free date.

I next determine if I am going to start seeds indoors for transplanting or onsite, in place. A number of factors go into this decision such as: do I have the capacity, do I want a jump on the season, does the crop take a long time to grow to maturity. If I start seed indoors, I usually add seven to ten days to the maturity date (expressed in number of days) to compensate for transplant shock.

I find creating a simple schedule and sketching my spacing/placement helps me see if their are any gaps in my calendar where I can add second or third crops to get the most out of my patch of earth.