Get Ready, Get Set, Start Your Seeds!
The snow has been flying all winter long, and most of us are longing for something, ANYTHING green! Our seed sowing started last month in our greenhouses, and now is a great time for the home gardener to start their seeds. You can start peppers, celery, and parsley and other herbs any time now, and in a week or so, start your eggplant. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage should be started at the end of the month, and mid- to end-of-April is the right time to start tomatoes and lettuce.
Certain veggies, like carrots, radishes and beans are best to just start directly in the ground since they either germinate quickly (radishes/beans) or don’t like to be disturbed (carrots). Try alternately planting radishes and carrots in a row and you’ll know right where your carrots are based on the little radish sprouts.
The two main tips from our Greenhouse Manager, Steve, who has been growing plants for Van Putte’s for over 20 years, are:
1. Don’t start things too early.
Even if you’re anxious to get going, nature has its own schedule that we need to work with, so don’t start everything at once. Follow the directions on your seed packets, or stop in and ask one of our Green Thumbs for some tips on timing.
2. Use fresh water every time you water your seedlings.
One of the most common problems home gardeners face with seed starting is damping off disease, which kills young seedlings usually just after sprouting. Since it’s waterborne, the chance of it passing to your seedlings is greatly reduced if you let your watering can dry out between waterings.
Other than that, seed starting is a fun way to get your garden started early and bring a little spring freshness into your home while the snow is still hanging around. We have hundreds of seeds at Van Putte’s, including dozens of heirloom and organic varieties, as well as all kinds of seed trays and seed starting soil mixes. We can’t wait for spring and talking about plants is the next best thing to being outside with them so stop in and chat us up with your questions — we’re open every day.