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Seeds Inside or in the Garden

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Seeds Inside or in the Garden

Post  H_TX_2 on 8/19/2013, 9:56 pm

I am planning out my fall garden a and this will be my first time planting everythign from seed. WillI have success if I plant all the seeds in the ground in my SFG or will that end in failure? I can provide shade and keep the seedlings moist but will that be enough with our temps in Houston in the 90's? I know a lot of people start seeds indoors but is that mainly due to freezing temps or just the way that yields the best results? Thanks for any seed advice.  In the SFG book Mels gives directions for direct planting in the ground for everything I will be growing (lettuce, spinach, basil, carrots, beans and I am going to attempt peppers squash.

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Re: Seeds Inside or in the Garden

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/19/2013, 11:50 pm

Well, as Mel also mentions in the first book (haven't finished reading the second one yet), people plant some things indoors to extend the season. If a tomato takes, for example, 120 days from seed to harvest, but your growing season is only 90 days long, you may have a very short harvest window or even miss out on your harvest entirely. This would be all the more true with plants that may have a couple of rounds of setting flowers and fruit.

For market gardeners, starting seeds indoors can also mean early production, which in turn can mean higher prices for their crops. People get anxious for fresh spring produce, and the premium they're willing to pay means the producers first to market get their share of that premium.

Another reason to start some seeds indoors, or alternatively to keep them covered if outside, is that the first wave of spring insects can decimate seedlings, but if you wait a little while longer, their numbers may drop due to bird and insect predation, or simply because some of the caterpillars have become moths and no longer eat the same green diet. Mel says pea seeds and seedlings, for instance, are especially tasty to birds, who may pluck them right out of the ground if you don't keep the plants covered for a while.

Another reason I can think of also relates to tomatoes in particular. Not only do they need a comparatively long growing season, suggesting they be started indoors while it's still too cold to plant them in the ground, but they also take very well to being transplanted once or twice into pots large enough to bury a good portion of their stem. They will grow roots along the buried stem, which will in the long run make them much more sturdy and productive plants. As they grow taller between transplantings, they create more vertical stem to bury during the next transplant.

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Re: Seeds Inside or in the Garden

Post  H_TX_2 on 8/20/2013, 9:49 am

Growing season is not my main concern. Last summer I had a tomato plant and some pepper plants that survived the winter and produced again this summer. Here in Houston everything basically dies in July and August. Then in January when I am taking down Christmas decorations I am wearing shorts, sweating profusely and getting eaten by mosquitoes. With some extra care to cover my garden on the rare occasion when it actually gets cold I think I can garden through the winter.

Does starting seeds indoors provide better results than planting straight into the ground?

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Re: Seeds inside or in the garden

Post  GloriaG on 8/20/2013, 11:45 am

Hi H_TX_2,

I'm near Dallas, and in our area;

Lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, basil, carrots, beets, peas and beans - seeds can go directly into the garden.  Basically - greens, herbs, legumes and root vegetables get seeded outside.  (Be sure to freeze your carrot seed for 6-weeks before planting to improve germination.)

Onions, leeks and garlic are started from "sets" outside.  If started from seeds, they go outside but take 2-years to mature.

Peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, celery, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower should be started inside.  These crops grow best in the "swing" temperatures of spring and fall so starting them outside is a problem.  Too cold in spring because you have to get them out early enough to avoid the summer heat, -  too hot in summer for them to germinate and grow well in order to take advantage of the full fall growing season.

Squash, cucumber, melons can be started either inside or outside depending on your timing.  I generally start them from seeds outside in the spring when it's cooler and inside in the fall when it's too hot outside for them to germinate very well.

Hope this helps,
Gloria

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