SEED STARTING TIPS
Beans – should be directly sowed into your garden and shouldn’t be grown as transplants. Be sure not to plant bean seeds too early as they may rot due to cold weather and moist soil. For Bush bean varieties, use succession planting by sowing a row of seeds every couple weeks. Be sure to water consistently until germination occurs then every few days. For pole varieties they will need some time to grow their vines but will produce continuous harvest for a couple months. Add an organic fertilizer or compost to all types beans about half way through their growing season.
Cucumbers – require full sun and a large amount of space in order to develop properly. Cucumbers grow best when directly sown into your garden and not transplanted. Although, with care, you can start cucumbers a couple weeks before last frost indoors. Cucumber plants are very tender and susceptible to freezing temperatures, so be sure to plant outside after last frost. Be sure to add a good amount of organic compost to your soil before planting your cucumber seeds. This will ensure proper nutrition and produce strong vigorous plants with heavy yields.
Onions – can be a tricky vegetable to grow. The most important aspect to remember about onions is there are two different categories: long-day and short-day onions. Long-day onions will grow best in northern states while short-day varieties do well in southern states. Short-day onions develop bulbs with an average of 12 hours of daylight. Long-day onions develop better with more sun, around 15-16 hours of daylight. For best results, onion seedlings should be started indoors. When ready to transplant, place onions 3 to 4 inches apart, in rows divided by 15” inches. Keep the soil moist and allow good drainage.
Peas – are a hardy crop that can provide an abundant harvest in a limited amount of space. Pea seeds should be directly sowed into your garden in early spring. When the seeds begin to germinate they will need a trellis or staking to provide the necessary support. In order to extend harvesting and yield try sowing seeds every week. Pea plants should be spaced every 5” inches. Peas are heavy feeders and will do best with occasional organic fertilizer, but too much fertilizer can increase foliage but decrease pea yield. Lastly, keep the soil moist and harvest mature pods to keep plant productive.
Pepper – seeds are difficult seeds to germinate and seedlings tend to grow slow. For best results we recommend starting pepper seeds indoors, eight to ten weeks or more before the last frost date. One way to increase seed germination is to provide a bottom heat to your soil raising it to 80 degrees. This will increase higher and quicker seed germination. When transplanting your pepper plants space 18-24” apart and 24” between rows. Select a location that receives full sun and keep the soil moist, but not too wet. Peppers thrive with added compost or organic fertilizer.
Tomato – seeds should be started indoors for best germination results. Start the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date for your location. Plant 1/4” deep using sterile soil. This helps prevent disease and other problems. The tomato seeds will germinate best if the soil is kept between 80 to 90 degrees and consistently moist but not too wet. When ready to transplant, be sure to harden the young plants by placing them outside for about an hour to start, then increasing time for about a week. Transplant tomato plants at least 32” apart; the more space the better. Plant in a location with full sun and provide organic fertilizer when needed.
Parsley – seeds are on the harder side to germinate when compared to most herb seeds. One of the best methods to increase germination is to soak your parsley seeds in warm water overnight. Be sure to change the water frequently, every 2 hours, as a growth inhibitor is released by the seeds! Sow the seeds and cover with 1/4” of soil. Keep the soil evenly moist and seeds will do best with a soil temperature of 70 degrees. Seed germination can take up to 14 days so be patient. Transplant seedlings when 6” in height and after your last frost date. Be sure to loosen soil deep into ground for health parsley plants. Try protecting your parsley over the winter and it may reseed itself.
Dill – can easily be grown indoors or outside. When grown outdoors it is important to take two things into consideration. It grows tall so be sure to plant in a location that will not block other plants from receiving their needed amount of sun. Also since it grows tall it can be damaged by high winds so try to find a location that blocks the wind. Plant dill directly where it will stay as it germinates quickly. Find a location that has plenty of sun. Cover the seed with 1/4” of soil and water soil generously. Plant seeds in the spring after your last frost date. To ensure a long harvest try planting seeds every few weeks.
Basil – is most often started indoors and then transplanted outdoors. Start your basil seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost for your location. Drop a few seeds into each cell to ensure germination. Cover the seeds with a small amount of soil, cover and dampen soil with a light watering. To speed up germination cover with a plastic top and place in a sunny location. Water twice a day and remove plastic top when seedlings emerge. Once two sets of leaves emerge basil can be transplanted into the garden. Pinch off the top two sets of leaves once the basil plant reaches reasonable height. This gives you a much higher quality plant!