Sunday, March 27, 2016

Outdoor seed sowing seed starting times

Garden bed ready for outdoor sowing

Sunday, March 27, 2016

If indoor seed starting is not your thing, but you still want to have the variety and cost effectiveness of seeds, you can direct sow your seeds directly into the garden.  If you are planting in mulch, be sure to open a hole in the mulch, plant the seed to the depth on the seed packet and cover with potting soil.  Mulch can form a hard crust that only the strongest seedling (like beans and squash) can break through.

I would prepare the beds first with fertilizer and mulch before starting seeds.  You can do a soil test yourself or send off for one if you want to create a fertilizer specific to your needs.   See this post for details The next step in garden production and your nutrition-soil minerals  If this is over the top for you, just use a good organic fertilizer at the recommended rate, an inch of compost, and cover with mulch.  You want to make sure your fertilizer is covered or you will lose a good portion of the nitrogen to the atmosphere.  I love gardening in mulch for many reasons that you can read about here:  Weed free, self fertilizing, till free garden beds

Here is the by month seed sowing calendar for our Zone 6 garden.  There are so many early and late varieties available that you should consult the seed packet on the best outdoor sowing times (always listed as the weeks before your last frost date) as you may be able to sow the seeds even sooner outdoors than has been typical in the past.

February (as soon as soil can be worked)
Asparagus
Fruit trees and bushes
Garlic
Grapes
Peas
Shallots

March
Arugula
Asparagus
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Chamomile
Chives
Collards
Cress
Fava beans
Fruit bushes
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leek
Lettuce (sow every 2 weeks if you are a salad lover for continuous salads)
Mache (corn salad)
Mustard
Onion
Parsnips
Peas
Potatoes
Rhubarb
Spinach (sow every 2 weeks through early May)
Turnips

April
Artichoke
Beans (snap-bush & pole)
Bee balm (monarda)
Borage
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Carrots
Catnip
Cauliflower
Celeriac
Celery
Chard
Cilantro
Corn
Cucumber
Dill
Endive
Fennel
Fruit bushes
Horseradish
Lavender
Lemon balm
Lettuce
Lovage
Mizuna
Mustard
Onions
Parsley
Potatoes
Radicchio
Radishes
Spinach
Summer squash (like zucchini)
Tarragon
Thyme
Valerian

May
Basil
Bay
Beans (dry & lima)
Edamame
Eggplant
Lemon verbena
Marjoram
Melons (cantaloupe, watermelons)
Mint
Okra
Onions
Oregano
Peppers
Potatoes
Rosemary
Sage
Malabar & New Zealand spinach
Stevia
Sweet potato
Winter squash (like pumpkins and butternut squash)
Tomatoes


You can plant later than is shown above; just not earlier for risk of it being too cold for the seed sprout and the seed may rot.  The warm season crops, ones planted in May, don't like getting their feet cold so a little later can actually help them to grow faster.  For other tips on warming the soil and keeping warm season crops protected for early planting, see Extend the season with protection for plants

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