They litter the rooms, still in the packing boxes and envelopes, and I have others left over from last year that I keep finding in odd drawers and corners of the garage. It happens every year despite my best intentions. What’s worse is finding those crumpled envelopes of seeds gathered from my garden or friends gardens that I mean to label or am SURE I’ll remember what is inside.
I couldn’t face starting seeds under home-rigged lights in the garage again so ordered a professional light stand which was promised by mid-February but is yet to arrive. Now I’m panicking because as we’re in zone 6 I should have started to sow the seeds indoors in late February as most need to be started 8 weeks before our frost date. Since outside everything seems to be at least a month behind schedule hopefully it will all work out fine. Below is an ideal time table for planting seeds. Of course in real life this rarely goes to plan.
Vegetable/Herb Seed Starting Timetable (Listed in weeks before the last frost)
Twelve Weeks: Cardoons and Brussels Sprouts
Eleven Weeks: Leeks, Artichokes and Cauliflower (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date)
Ten Weeks: Celery, Celeriac, Jicama and Lemongrass
Nine Weeks: Broccoli, Cabbage and Kohlrabi (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date)
Eight Weeks: Eggplant, Tomatoes, Chiles, Sweet Peppers, Chives, Sage, Stevia and Thyme
Six Weeks: Asparagus, Fennel, Onions, Rhubarb, Shallots, Tomatillos and Basil
Four Weeks: Melons, Bitter Melon and Cucuzzi Edible Gourds.
Flower Seed Starting Timetable (Listed in weeks before the last frost)
Twelve Weeks: Datura, Salvia and Viola.
Ten Weeks: Dianthus, Digitalis, Lobelia and Heliotrope
Eight Weeks: Milkweed, Coreopsis, Gaillardia, Globe Amaranth, Helichrysum, Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Heuchera, Nigella, Platycodon and Statice
Six Weeks: Cutting Ageratum, China Asters, Celosia, Cleome, Coleus, Nepeta Catmint, Euphorbia, Forget-Me-Nots, Dahlia, Nicotiana, Scabiosa, Snapdragons and Thunbergia
This year with a greenhouse in place all is going well. In previous years I cheated and ordered Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, Cauliflower, Celery, Broccoli, Cabbage and Kohlrabi from Deep Grass Nursery who produce great certified organic vegetable transplants. I sat next to Bruce and his wife (the owners) at a PASA conference dinner last year. They're great people, have been in business for over 25 years with greenhouses in Southern Delaware and they ship all over the country. Traditionally they have served market gardeners, CSAs and farmers, this year they've added home gardeners to their client base and ship transplants in quantities fewer than trays of 62 which can be daunting to consume for a family of 5.