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When to start seeds?

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When to start seeds?

Post  dizzygardener on 2/25/2011, 9:50 am

I've noticed, on this site as well as on a few blogs, that folks seem to start their seeds really early. Some folks in my hardiness zone (6b) have started ALL their tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc. I've only started my cold weather seeds. With an average last frost date of early May it seems a bit early to be starting tomatoes.

How early do you start and how does this affect when you plant?

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  quiltbea on 2/25/2011, 11:26 am

I'm in 5a in Maine and I can't start warm-weather crops now because its much too early.

I started some broccoli and cabbage seeds on Sunday and they germinated on Tues. which was sooner than I expected. I'm not ready for them. I thought they'd take longer. The parsley and basil in the rear were not germinated at the time but I put the whole tray under my short grow light I have in the living room entry for my house plants.

I have to get my shop lights set up on my tables in the furnace room today and then transplant the little 3/4" soil blocks into 2" soil blocks. Blackrose and I use the same seed starting system.


Right now its snowing out with 6" more expected to cover my outdoor garden, Ugh. I want Feb to be gone and warmer days coming in March, hopefully. Our nites have been so cold the last 2 months, usually below zero or in the single digits Fahrenheit. Days don't often get to the freezing mark, mostly in the 20s. I'm really tired of it. Its been a long, very cold, and fuel-expensive winter. Its now that I envy my southern sisters and brothers.

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  FarmerValerie on 2/25/2011, 12:19 pm

Found a Day of Year calendar today. Basically you find the day you planted the seed/plant/bulb, take that day, add days to germination/harvest, and find that day. It will give you the "expected" date.

Example-I planted onions on 2/21 day 52 add 63 (longest est harv. date) and get 115, that is April 25th. Pretty cool, at least I think so.
http://disc.gsfc.nasa.gov/julian_calendar.shtml

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  quiltbea on 2/25/2011, 12:58 pm

That calendar looks like a nice little helper.
I think I'll try it, especially on those seeds that specifically tell me they are early.
It'll be nice to check to see if the packages are correct.
Thanks,

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  camprn on 2/25/2011, 3:38 pm

Here is another excellent calculator from Johnny's. I am in zone 5a also. I have planted my onions and leeks. I will plant my cold weather crops and eggplants March1st-ish and my summer plants (tomato, pepper) about March 15-ish. I will put them out to the garden under the hoops a few weeks before last frost.

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  dizzygardener on 2/25/2011, 5:27 pm

So it seems like most folks in this thread take a more or less conventional route when starting seeds.

What about those who start their tomatoes and peppers a month early? Do they know something we don't? I mean even with a hoop house a month early is pushing it right?

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  camprn on 2/25/2011, 6:39 pm

I actually will be starting my tomatoes about 8 weeks before my anticipated average last frost date (May 15). I have the hoops as insurance. Most folks around here do not put tomatoes into the garden until Memorial Day weekend. affraid

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  quiltbea on 2/25/2011, 11:25 pm

dizzygardener,
It depends on the variety of tomato.
There are some that you can start really early so you take a chance and use hoop houses and coldframes and it works.
There's also Oregon Spring which can be transplanted outdoors, yes outdoors, a month before your last frost date.

Here are my Oregon Spring toms with blossoms on June 12th last year. They are determinates and didn't grow very large. This is only a few weeks after our last frost date.

I grew 3 last year. They grow fine but I found the flavor wanting. Still, it was wonderful biting into my own tomatoes so early instead of buying them at the store.
They also slow down their growth while its still really cool but catch up later.

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  ccornewell on 3/1/2011, 11:05 am

im in indy. i have no clue about zones anymore since theyre now saying zones have changed. last night i started 2 broccoli, 2 bell pepper, 2 cilantro, 2 basil, 2 jalapeno, 2 cherry tomato, 2 rutger(?) tomato, 2 pinto bean, 2 mystery pepper seeds i found, and 1 garlic.

seeds are cheap. i have no qualms about trying new things or experimenting. i dont leave for work till 820 and my wife gets home at 515 so they can get outside for sun and brought in before it cools down for several weeks. plus, the wife bought a new tupperware set so i get dibs on the old stuff to use as needed!

i still have 1 tree to cut down, 2 boxes to build, 3 mostly dead berry bushes to move, and a potato condo (the ultimate in sfg) to build. busy spring already!

for what its worth, just because 6 berry bushes would look good in a certain place doesnt mean little kids wont trample them while playing basketball.

edit: just looked it up. under the new map im rockin out zone 6.

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  dizzygardener on 3/1/2011, 11:12 pm

Well, my first seedlings are Up! The first to come up was an unspecified lettuce seedling (mesclun mix). Since then I've had another lettuce seedling up as well as two kale and one Collard! The kale and collards jumped up in 3 days thanks to the christmas light that are providing bottom heat. Cool

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  model a man on 3/1/2011, 11:23 pm

I havent had much luck starting seed indoors I seem to have better luck just planting them outside in the raised beds. but then again I am new at all this

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/2/2011, 3:57 am

ccornewell wrote:im in indy. i have no clue about zones anymore since theyre now saying zones have changed. last night i started 2 broccoli, 2 bell pepper, 2 cilantro, 2 basil, 2 jalapeno, 2 cherry tomato, 2 rutger(?) tomato, 2 pinto bean, 2 mystery pepper seeds i found, and 1 garlic.

seeds are cheap. i have no qualms about trying new things or experimenting. i dont leave for work till 820 and my wife gets home at 515 so they can get outside for sun and brought in before it cools down for several weeks. plus, the wife bought a new tupperware set so i get dibs on the old stuff to use as needed!

i still have 1 tree to cut down, 2 boxes to build, 3 mostly dead berry bushes to move, and a potato condo (the ultimate in sfg) to build. busy spring already!

for what its worth, just because 6 berry bushes would look good in a certain place doesnt mean little kids wont trample them while playing basketball.

edit: just looked it up. under the new map im rockin out zone 6.

Zones are really good to use when determining what variety of tree or perrenial is hardy in your area, and whether it will live over the winter, based on how cold it gets over the winter.

To determine when to plant various types of seeds, whether indoor sowing for transplants later, or direct seeding in the ground, you really need to know your last frost date. Check out these links for some good information.

Frost dates enter your zip code

Old Farmers Almanac also gives suggested dates to plant by the moon, enter your zip code

Mother Earth News know when to plant what

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  ccornewell on 3/2/2011, 11:32 am

thanks, later on yesterday i discovered that due to re-zoning i am now a zone 6 guy. and since im so cheap that i wont use a warming pad, i thought of a way to warm my plants without using electricity. just move them away from the windows after the sun goes down!

model A guy in case you havent heard it lately, that car is flippin sweet!

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  camprn on 3/2/2011, 6:49 pm

Furbalsmom wrote:

To determine when to plant various types of seeds, whether indoor sowing for transplants later, or direct seeding in the ground, you really need to know your last frost date. Check out these links for some good information.

Frost dates enter your zip code

Old Farmers Almanac also gives suggested dates to plant by the moon, enter your zip code

Mother Earth News know when to plant what

Johnny's seed starting calculator

camprn

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/2/2011, 8:07 pm

Did you know.... zones and last frost dates are good to know and handy tools for gardeners BUT my understanding is that they were developed for farmers who are risking their whole income on a crop. Small gardeners can usually afford to take more risks. I almost always take early risks. Last year I lost the gamble. 2010 gave us a cold summer. I'll still take a gamble this summer, with portable green houses and cloches just because I can. And when it pays off, it pays off big.

Deborah....who just sat down after starting an almost silly amount and variety of Tomatoes for Western Washington....and probably will not get enough to can any.

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/3/2011, 8:41 am

Deb, I agree, I tend to focus more on weather forecast for Spring, than starting dates. Two years ago we had 5 broccoli starts, and tons of other things that were ready to go out on the date all the lists said they should. BUT, it was still to wet to get out there, and water was still coming down. We lost 3/4ths of everything, and then we lost half of what lived long enough to go in the ground. Last year was still wet, but not as bad for plant loss, we had boxes by then. This year I have more boxes, but no hoop houses or any kind of cover I can run out and put up, so I am again watching the wet/dry, high/low aspect of March's long range forecast. We also have the same clay walkways in between boxes, so it gets slicker than owl stuff out there and most of the time your boots sink and get stuck in the mud, so yet again, I have to wait.

Don't know about ya'll's neighborhood, but in mine March is coming in like a lamb, ya know what that means...... Add to that Easter is the last week in April, and we had thunder in February, that usually means old man winter is not done and has one more bad weather event up his sleeve. I usually breath a sigh of relief when the Dogwoods and Pecan trees start to bud out, and Easter weekend has come and gone, for me that means Spring (aka almost summer down here) is here to stay.

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  quiltbea on 3/3/2011, 11:44 am

Farmer Val,
You don't need hoop houses to protect your growing crop once its in.
Just dig out the old wire clothes hangars or buy heavy-gauge wire at the hardware store and form them over the crop and stick plastic over the wires with spring clothes pins. You can even use strips of plastic trash bags. This will protect from the rain and if its the cold that worries you, pin on some old sheets or towels.
With raised beds, there are ways to proctect most of your crops. They aren't the same as a field of row beds.

Good luck this year.

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Re: When to start seeds?

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/3/2011, 11:52 am

QuiltBea, I had seen your post on that, and I used to have a bag of wire hangers, but they have disappeared. I probably have a few things I could use lying around, problem is I rarely have all the tools needed. Example, I need to make more grids-I'M OFFICIAL-I HAVE GRIDS, with old mini blinds. Hubby needed his scissors, so he took them to work, mine are missing in action. I also have to be very careful with wires and metal, as I cannot have a tetanus shot, it could kill me, so making the cages with chicken wire and things like that are not out, but last option only. That's why I was hoping for hoops this year, but hubby is getting his bees before anything else. I'll keep my eye out, and put my kids to work if we are able to gather, and hide, all the supplies until we have everything required for the project. Thanks for the reminder!!!

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