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Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

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What seeds are you starting indoors? [Feb. 19th, 2012|11:30 am]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables


I admit that I am very much a hap-hazard gardener. Winter and spring are always busy times for me, and I've never gotten organized enough to start my own seeds indoors before. I know I am running a little late for some seeds, but in some cases I figure I am ahead if I start them now instead of outside next month. (I'm in the USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 6 region.)

So, this year I finally have all my supplies together and am re-checking my seed inventory on what I should be starting now. I have my basic list, but thought I'd ask what others like to start early, besides the basics of tomatoes, peppers, cabbages, squash, and melon. Maybe I've overlooked something really beneficial?

Any experiential advice which you care to add is also appreciated.

Thanks, all!

[User Picture]From: blueyz72
2012-02-19 05:52 pm (UTC)
Good question and look forward to seeing answers.

It has been such a mild winter here in CT I can churn up the soil and might add compost to one small raised garden bed today(new home, no idea what will grow yet). I just bought seeds for hardier cold weather greens(spinach and chard), but the herbs I had planned to start this week indoors are lavendar and chives. I think I am going more for herbs first, then greens, then veggies but I need to figure out what will grow in ground here vs. containter and more than that what I need to grow round the pool(fenced in) and what kitchen garden I can grow the deer won't eat(they love my neighborhood)
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[User Picture]From: mattiescottage
2012-02-19 07:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've previously had surprising results protecting hardier plants with just plastic cover--probably similar to a cold-bed--so thought I'd experiment as soon as the soil dries enough to work. Spinach is a good idea. I've had problems in the past getting spinach seed to sprout (probably from too warm temperatures). I'll have to read up more on starting that.

Deer are a problem for me, too. I have to have a deer fence for most things. (For a small garden, I would probably experiment with just draping/covering my plants with deer/bird netting.) They don't seem to bother potato vines, but they will nibble at the tomato vines around the edges of my tall tomato cages.

Thanks for sharing your comments.
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[User Picture]From: ersatz_read
2012-02-19 06:44 pm (UTC)
I think now would be a good time to start parsley and herbs if you want. I sometimes have trouble direct-seeding parsley here (zone 5 - WI); it's slow to germinate.

I've often started tomatoes and peppers indoors. Lessons learned: don't start them too early or you'll have to re-pot and fertilize before it's time to set them out; they need lots of light to not get leggy - I have shop lights on chains so I can raise and lower them as needed.

To prevent damping-off, I water with room-temperature or slightly warm chamomile tea, instead of water - I think it also adds a few nutrients. I also have a small fan set on the lowest setting, for gentle airflow. It seems to work best to water the soil directly (or from underneath) instead of onto the delicate seedlings.

If you need warm soil for germination and don't have a seedling heat mat, the top of the refrigerator works well (it's warm there) - as long as you don't have pets who will disturb things.

(Aside from the tea) I've never fertilized seedlings started indoors. The seed contains enough nutrients to get the plant started - that's it's job - and the theory is that by the time those nutrients run out it will be time to plant outdoors.

Don't forget to harden-off the plants a little before planting outside, and water the soil after transplanting to help the roots settle in to their new home.

Squash, melon, cucumbers, etc., don't seem to be started as early as tomatoes - just a head-start. As a general rule, they don't like their roots disturbed, so transplant gently or maybe use one of those compostable plant-the-whole-pot options.

Edited at 2012-02-19 06:47 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mattiescottage
2012-02-19 07:08 pm (UTC)
I do have dried camomile--had never heard of using it for fertilizer water. I'll read more about this; thanks!

Good idea on the parsley. I wasn't planning on getting much into herbs this year (have to stop somewhere!), but that would be a good one to have fresh to compliment all those veggie dinners I hope to have.

I'll recheck the timing needs on the squash and melons. Good idea on the ventilation, too.


(P.S.: For those of you who might see a deleted comment below, that was me. Somehow my first attempt on this comment didn't get linked as a reply to the above.)
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