Cool Member
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Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Middleburg Hts., OH

Start inside or direct seed?

I've been able to track most of my plants to an average weeks pre-frost-date. Yet 4 elude me...

*Corn I assume is a direct seed since the root system is pretty epic and no books even hint at early starts.

*Chives (specifically garlic chives) The books don't mention starting this early or even when to direct seed. I imagine it acts a bit like dill in that I could start them early or sow them directly and then in successions.

*Catnip. Not sure if it's cranky like lavender and rosemary or a cakewalk like cat grass. Anyone familiar with it?

*Summer squash (pattypan) I know you can give winter squash a boost in colder zones but do the more vivacious summer squash tend to benefit or will direct seeding be sufficient?


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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

I can only address the summer squash question. Last year I started summer squash and zucchini indoors, about a month to six weeks before the frost free date. I planted those in the ground and direct seeded in another location at the same time. The transplants gave me squash three to four weeks before the direct seeded plants. I had the same experience with cucumber plants as well.

Will definitely start some early squash and cucumbers again this year. Those early plants will only supplement my direct seeded ones, and will not serve as a replacement for those which tended to last longer and seemed a little tougher than the pampered transplants.

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Corn and squash, direct seed in the garden where it will grow. Plant about a week before your average last frost date or on that date. You can also plant corn later for a late crop. I think anywhere in Ohio you will be fine to plant squash about mid May. Hey, watch to see when the farmers plant corn. That is your cue.

Chives can be started outdoors, or indoors. They transplant well and are frost resistant. Plant mid april.

The catnip seed is so small, you may want to start it in a pot with a moisture retainer. The problem is that the seed is so small and you can't plant it very deep, so if the soil dries out just a little bit it leaves the seed dry and you lose it.

Edit to add: Chives are perennial. Put them where they can stay. They also reseed themselves and you can move the new seedlings elsewhere if you like. I have them growing all over. The bees like the flowers.

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Super Green Thumb
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I start the summer squash indoors, but they are the last thing I start indoors. They don't want to go out until the ground has warmed up a little, so later than average last frost date and they are quick growing. I only leave them indoors about 3 weeks, because by then they are getting big and I don't have room for a bunch of really big plants under my lights.

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jal_ut wrote:Chives are perennial. Put them where they can stay. They also reseed themselves
I have a story :wink:

Lat fall, I had a late maturing Monarch caterpillar on my hands and had run out of all milkweed in my garden. When I asked my favorite herb lady (a woman who runs a small herb farm nearby) she led me to a corner of her garden that was all overgrown. She sheepishly admitted that she'd let this area go to weeds but that she was planning to prep a new bed there for next spring later on. Among all the weeds, the GARLIC CHIVES were everywhere, their white flower heads nodding. We had to wade through them to get to the few milkweeds growing in the back. She said the garlic chives were the only herb she'd planted there that was left in that bed, all others having been overrun by the weeds. BTW, while she's telling me this, she proceeded to yank the milkweeds by the roots potted them up and gave them to me. When I offered to pay, she waved me off saying they're weeds. :D

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gone cuttin
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Location: Northern Colorado, zone 5b

Winter sow works great for me in our zone 5 crazy weather. But I also direct sow by the ground temp. So, summer squash wants the soil to be 50 degrees, which for me is usually when the lilac bloom or around May 15th. Last year I transplanted the cocozella from WS on May 19th and direct sowed clairmore the next day and it germinated on May 28th. I did not keep good records on harvested dates for the clairmore but the cocozella was on July 16 but it does seem it was a week to 10 days before we had the clairmore. Both say 55 days.

For us to follow the farmers planting corn would be very tough. All the corn around here is field type and if I planted in May when the farmers do there would be little to no germination. Again, I use the soil temp: Corn likes 60 degrees and for me that is around June 1st or when the grape vine leafs out. Last year dates were direct seeded 6-3, germinated 6-11 and harvested 8-22 (labeled 76 day corn). Plus had a great crop of butternut that was planted between the circles of corn. 16x4 bed had 4 circles of corn with each circle keeping 8 stalks, then one squash plant between each circle.

Chives are in a whiskey barrel for more years then I can remember, so not a clue how they got started.

Super Green Thumb
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I plan on starting my squash about one month before I plan on seeding them. Since they grow rapidly, I'll be keeping each seedling in its own 4'' container.

A question about chives: couldn't you grow them permanently in a pot. This way, you can bring them indoors in the winter?

I've never heard of corn being pre-started.

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Super Green Thumb
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My mother has chives that have grown in the same pot for years. It stays outside all winter. I don't know how they would do indoors.

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Senior Member
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I planted patty pans last year directly into my garden soil. They did well and were a lot of fun. Maybe if I have room in my garden I will plant them again.

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Green Thumb
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I pre-started my corn last year, mostly just for fun :). It worked really well, I had yummy corn early August. Except I used peat-pots so they didn't degrade properly & I had full grown corn plants teetering in these tiny peat pots. They all needed to be staked :?

I think this year I will pre-germinate the corn but that's it.

Super Green Thumb
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We have clumps of feral chives growing in our woods. They are easy to spot because they are up and green before anything else in the spring. I dig them up and replant them in the herb garden with no problem. Chives do not do well for us indoors over the winter because the spidermites suck the life out of them, same with parsely.

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