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Friday, February 10, 2012

Smart Seed Sorting

I know this is kind of out of order, but I realized today as I was daydreaming about seed starting that I never sorted through my seed order when it arrived.

I generally like to sort through all of my seeds and organize them by planting time.  Cool weather crops (those that will sprout below 60 degrees) and long season crops (slow growers like onions) get put in the early start pile.  This pile includes cool crops like cabbage, kale, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, cauliflower; long season crops like onion, garlic, artichoke, celery, and leeks.  These will be started inside a few weeks before last frost date, this pile should also only include crops that are okay with transplanting.

Cold Season- Indoor Start seeds laid out for organizing
For crops that are early but don't care for transplanting I will direct sow as soon as the weather allows, these go in a separate "direct sow - cool" pile.  Peas are an example of cool direct sow plants, it is a waste of space to start them indoors since they will sprout in soil as cold as 40 degrees and grow fairly fast. 

The next pile will be hot weather plants that need to be started inside, anything that requires hotter than 60 degrees to germinate goes in this pile.  Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, cucumbers, melons, and winter or summer squashes all fit in this category.  They will be started indoors in early May and transplanted to the garden by the first week of June.

There are a few plants that prefer hot weather but don't transplant well, corn, beans, and carrots are the most common of these.  They should be bundled separately and planted when the hot weather transplants go out, or a bit earlier if you're willing to keep them protected.


Hot Season- Indoor start seeds
I tie up each of these piles with a rubber band and a scrap of paper for a label, or if you find you have too many seeds for rubber bands you can put them in paper bags instead.  This helps me to avoid missing a plant date for something if I'm not paying attention.  I can just grab the pile of seeds I am ready to plant and go.  It really helps to avoid finding out in June that I completely forgot to get my artichokes started early enough.

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