Gardening 101 Timing of Seed starting
I have been getting messages about planting seeds and I am so excited for you all. I am so glad that you chose to prepare for you and your family and to learn a skill that could literally be life saving, both with creating true food for your family and also having the availability to provide food if it is not so easy to get elsewhere. If you have been following my gardening posts you will have prepared your space and will have bought your seeds. (If you are new, go back and look thru all of my posts and learn while you can.) Now what do I do? There are so many questions and it can seem overwhelming, but really it is all about timing and creating a space.
When you get a packet of seeds there is usually a "time to maturity" section. This means from seed to harvest this seed will take this long. For instance in this okra packet it says 53 days to harvest. So why does this mean anything? The first thing that you need to know is what is your LAST frost date and your FIRST frost date in your area. To find this you can google this and put in your zipcode, for me it is May 20th, and September 22th. So now here is the math..... what math? yes see this could even be worked into a school project. By taking the days on the packet, 53, I would count back that many days and make sure plant before July 31 in order to get time to harvest. Every vegetable is different and each varies in length of harvest. At the same time you cant plant so far ahead of time that you have spindly plants that are too weak and can't produce well because they were started to early and not gotten into the ground soon enough. There is a timing thing that needs to be done to ensure your best crop.
I have this tool that takes all the math and clunkiness out of timing. There are many kinds, but this one is called Clydes garden planner. You can use it each year so it is a 1 time investment and gives you so much information on one little card.
To work this you pull the card to where the red line indicating last spring frost is at your date, again for me it is May 20th. Now all your information is there to know what to plant and when. Most all of your veggies are listed and it tells you to plant in the ground and when to start indoors for those that you would want to start early, like tomatoes. For instance, the first veggie listed is onion sets, If you follow it across at April 5th it has an FP this means this is the first date it is safe to plant these out in the garden. If you go down to cabbage and follow that line across, march 15th is says “si“which means start inside.
As of right now cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers and Brussel sprouts should have been started inside. It is coming into the time that certain crops you will be able to directly sow. So make your final preparations now.