Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sowing First Hardy Seeds Outside by Christy Hoyl

Time to plan and plant seeds in the garden.  Take advantage of our spring rains. Decide on your cool season vegetables that are the most productive. You do save money buying seeds and it’s fun looking thru catalogs or going to a garden center to purchase them.  

There are many varieties and cultivars within each vegetable species.  Read the description on your seed packet the days to harvest or maturity.  Look for the least number of days, if it’s cold/frost tolerant, easy to grow or hardy for our higher altitude and organic.  I’ve looked at varieties with siberian, snow drop and snow crown in the name. 

 Plant the seeds according to the seed packet directions.  Some say a preference for direct sow because the plant has root systems that do not like to be disturbed.  I direct sow vegetable, root crop and lettuces such as; peas, radish, swiss chard, mustard, arugula, many lettuces, kohlrabi, turnips, endive, kale, spinach, carrots and beets. You can check on your soil temperature and plant when the thermometer in the soil reads at 6 inches deep 40 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and also before the last frost date using floating row covers. 

 We’ve had an early spring this year at our home at 8,500 feet and my vegetable garden is free of snow and frost.  I will plant broccoli and warmer vegetables plus annual herbs and flowers at a later date when the weather warms up a bit.  Prepare the soil and add amendments such as compost and aged manure.  I have raised beds with hardware cloth on the bottom to prevent destruction by voles and pocket gophers. 

 The beds are watered by hand and once those seeds are in I check twice a day to see if they need watering.  Keep them evenly moist as this is very important to not let them dry out.  Use floating row covers (they are my best friend) over your rows.  I keep them on all the time and found great row cover pegs at Johnny’s Seeds.  

I love watching the seeds sprout and get excited going to the garden to see their progress.  It’s fun for my grandson too.  It’s even better when when we pick carrots, sit in the grass after hosing them off and eat them on the spot!  Happy planting!


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