Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Doing Vegetable Seed Starts In the House - with help from Clyde's Garden Planner!

For a short season each spring my wife lets me garden in the living room, behind the couch, very enjoyable! I put felt pads on the feet of a couple of sawbucks and lay an old door across them, in front of an east window, so that we can do "starts" in the house. Normally my in-house planting is limited to peppers and tomatoes, however his year we are also doing swiss chard, catalogna puntarelle, squash, cucumbers, etc.... Planting trays are filled with potting soil, and a seed or two added to each individual partition. We put covers from old plastic storage bins under the planting trays, to prevent water mess. At first nothing happens, then germination begins and before long we have in-house seedlings. In-house planting times are important if you want to have the crops ready for the garden at the right season. Peppers and tomatoes don't plant outside until mid May in my area. I go by my planting chart to get the right indoor seeding times.

Many years ago, I became very interested in gardening, but had no knowledge of planting dates. While researching, I realized that there is a natural progression of planting times. This progression is based on frost dates, individual veggie germination times, and the unique frost tolerances of individual vegetables. I combined this data into a slide chart format; Clyde's Garden Planner. The chart gives indoor seeding times for Tomatoes, Peppers, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Braccoli, Cucumbers, Squash, Mellons....and more. In each case the goal is to get your seeds started at the right time in-the-house, so that they are ready for the garden once the danger of frost is passed. With the red frost date line set to my local average, April 15th (not hard to remember) the chart provides seeding dates for tomatoes and pepper as roughly the 4th week of March. Today is April 3rd, and the sun just came up. My 3" tall tomato plants, and 1" peppers are drinking in sunshine. I watered them a few minutes ago using an old fashioned tea-pot type watering device, with a long quarter inch diameter spout, which really helps to prevent spills. Ann got it from her grandparents. The chart shows we will be transplanting to the garden after May 10th. I can hardly wait!

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