Starting seeds

I've finally gotten some seeds started. I'm thinking I should have done this a couple of weeks ago, but the below-normal temperatures may have been confusing me. Looking at the calendar though, a last-frost date of May 10 or so (I usually just use May 1 as it's easier to remember), counting back 6-8 weeks means I'm right on time!

So I grabbed the seed packets, some plant markers, cups, and spread everything out on the kitchen table. Since I was going to be starting some perennial seeds too, I kept the computer handy so I could research germination conditions.


I'm almost always planting small amounts of seeds, and I like to pre-soak them overnight before getting them into the potting mix -- hence the plastic cups.

As far as edibles go, I started four types of tomato seeds ('Paul Robeson', 'Japanese Black Trifele', 'Gypsy', and 'Riesentraube'), then some cool-season plants which probably could have been started earlier: Chinese kale, extra-dwarf pak choi, cilantro (coriander), and beets:

I have better success starting my beets indoors then transplanting them than I do seeding outdoors, mainly due to unpredictable early spring rainfall and my unwillingness to drag a cold, stiff hose back to the veggie beds every day. 

A few seeds seemed funny soaking in the water, as it's probably not necessary (and possibly ineffective), like this black cotton:

One thing to note about soaking small seeds before planting: it makes them much harder to work with. They stick to your fingers, which then get covered in potting mix when you try to stick the seeds down. I suppose I could dry the seeds a bit after soaking them, but that seems to defeat the purpose of getting them wet in the first place, so I tolerate a few minutes of frustration with sticky seeds.

So these are now nestled in little pots full of coir (it's my favorite seed-starting mix these days) and I'm checking for signs of growth a few times each day -- I can't resist!

Have you started any seeds yet this spring?


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Steve Lau  – (March 10, 2014 at 2:39 PM)  

My preferred medium for new seedlings in pro-mix HP with myccorhizal fungi mixed in. It's still too early for seedlings here because it's still barely getting above freezing these days.

Alan  – (March 10, 2014 at 5:54 PM)  

Steve: I've not used Pro-mix before, but if it's good for mature plants, then isn't it too course for seedlings? It's a bit pricey too.

It's not too early for lettuce, spinach, kale, etc. :)

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (March 10, 2014 at 6:32 PM)  

I've started two perennials from seed: Penstemon pinifolius and Calylophus hartwegii. Germination was the easy part, keeping the tiny seedlings alive is another. Time will tell...

Steve Lau  – (March 10, 2014 at 8:04 PM)  

Pro-mix is a bit expensive, but one bale goes a long ways for seedlings given that you are using the typical 2 inch cells for germination.

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