The magic of mid-winter. Cozy up to the fire and scour your seed catalogs. I do have some favorites; Hudson Valley Seed, Territorial Seed Company, Johnny’s, Fedco, Baker Creek, Harris Seeds to name a few.
To plan your seed starting dates depends on your frost-free dates for your area. By using the chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) you can select your state from the pull down menu. This will generate a PDF file with a list of NOOA data collection sites in your state. In the left column choose the location nearest or most similar to where you live. This is your all-important Frost-Free Date.
It’s important to have fun while doing your seed planting; this is a rewarding endeavor, so have your supplies ready. Some time spent on organization up front will facilitate the process. A good bench or table with some type of bin to hold the seed starting soil medium is essential. I have used a shallow old sink basin dropped into my potting shed workbench with great success. Have all your seed starting trays, 6 packs, and cell packs clean and ready to go. An all purpose fertilizer (Garden Tone 5-10-5 from Espoma) is a good choice to add to your soil mix. Have a water source handy.
Germination is highly dependent on temperature usually between 68-70F and no lower than 58F nighttime temperatures are crucial. So shelving units with grow lights and/or heat mats should be considered.
So have fun sifting through the seed catalogs and make your choices. While waiting for your seed packets to arrive get your potting bench ready and full of all the necessary supplies.
Strat small if you are worried about your germination rate of success and don’t worry if certain varieties don’t have good germination. Many seeds have slow germination (parsley) and have very specific needs for their sowing procedures. It took me several years to learn how to germinate celery, but you’ll find a way if some seed stumps you and you’ll be so proud when you figure it out and harvest that plant!
So good luck and have fun. I’d love to hear from you about your seed starting stories.Read More