DLup
Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:46 pm
Location: USDA 4a, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

Hi rainbowgardener and Meatburner,

I am *mostly* following the recommended spacing for square foot gardening, and some of these will definitely be succession plantings. So far I have never managed to get all of this planted out or grown from seed, so I have never achieved a full plan like this yet! As I mentioned in another post, we have had damping off problems in previous years with leafy greens, so that has often left empty space. We have also had really poor germination for beets for several years in a row now. Our first year they did great and we thought they were so easy, then we have almost completely failed with beets every year.

Carrots and parsnips each have their own container and have been doing well at the tight spacing recommended (16/sq ft), in part because I don't get 100% germination and in part because I take some as they go and thin that way.

The melons and winter squash are in their own 2'x2' bed (open bottom), and I am definitely pushing the spacing this year! I am being greedy partly as an experiment, partly because the gnadenfeld melon has been just productive enough in the past to convince us that it is tasty, and partly because I could not choose among the winter squashes! These all get trellised so they are growing vertically, not horizontally. We'll see how it goes this year and maybe I will have to make the hard decisions next year.

The rest of the growing area is 3 beds that are 3'x4' and one that is 2'x4', all open on the bottom. I usually do one tomato in each at the back and trellis them so they grow vertically. This year I am going to try adding a second tomato to each in the same space as the peas while they are finishing up. I will have the seedlings anyway (hopefully), so if it does not work no big deal. Those second tomatoes will replace a couple lettuce plants when they go in and hopefully won't bother the peas already on the trellis. I generally prune the tomatoes down to two or three stems and wind those through the trellis. Growing one tomato in one square foot is the same as growing it in a 7 gallon container.

Some of the successions include peppers replacing spinach and baby lettuce, eggplants replacing lettuce, and four of the chards following arugula. If I can get the first round out early enough and the weather is good, then we can get at least one good harvest before switching. I hope!

Pretty much everything else is spaced according the the SFG recommendations. It is tight but efficient. We really don't have any more space for veggies, maybe able to extend each bed by 1' in the long direction some day (if the wife will let me!) so I am really trying maximize . I would not say that our garden has worked as I have hoped every year or maybe even any year. But I think that is why we keep coming back! For the most part, the problems don't seem to have been due to the spacing. We had a couple exceptions last year for sure. We grew Purple of Sicily cauliflower, which got huge and never headed, and Russian red kale, which also got huge, and both of these crowded leeks, peppers, and/or eggplants around them in a negative way. This was a combination of plant choice and location (e.g., eggplants behind the giant cauliflower...oops). We have had problems with the peppers in particular toppling over, but I have not really staked the in the past. This year I am going to center a small round tomato cage in between four plants and tie the plants to the cage as they grow.

Chances are, we will not get everything out again this year, won't get all successions planted, and won't have every spaced covered. I think I am working out the varieties and placements at last, so I can eliminate some factors for past failures (I prefer to call it less than maximal success!).

I really view this all as an ongoing process or experiment with years yet to go! Separate from our available space, I like the idea of intensive planting, but I am definitely still figuring it out! As with the cauliflower and kale, I am certainly willing to adjust each year to make it work better.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

I have about 200 sq feet of raised beds for veggies (plus containers, herb bed, flower beds, asparagus, raspberry and strawberry beds, etc) so I'm a big believer in gardening them intensively. Succession planting is definitely key to that. I plant cool weather stuff very early, replace it with warm weather stuff, and then replace again with cool weather stuff, some of which over winters.

I crowd my beds with lots of different stuff, including herbs and flowers for companion planting. What I try not to do, is plant too many of the same things. In other words, if you plant 6 tomatoes where 3 should go, they are competing directly with each other, cutting down on air circulation, etc. and likely all will suffer. If you plant the 3 tomatoes and a bunch of other stuff, including carrots, parsley, basil, chives, marigolds, garlic, onions, maybe borage, and spinach and /or broccoli early in the season, which will get pulled by the time the tomato plants are getting big, nothing is competing directly, things are using different root and air spaces and nutrients and everything does better.

The damping off could have been a result of over-crowding resulting in reduced air circulation (as well as too much moisture).
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

DLup
Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:46 pm
Location: USDA 4a, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

Hi rainbowgardener!

I think the damping off in the past has been my fault for direct sowing too early when the beds were still too damp and/or over watering early. I have been fiddling with the mix in the beds in one way or another each year, and I think I had gotten to the point that I had too much organic matter and not enough mineral, so they were slow to dry out in the spring. I mixed in sand of various coarseness last year and I think that helped with the texture.

In a normal year, which we don't seem to have any more here, I definitely have been direct sowing the cold season plants 2-4 weeks before average last frost (14 May and moving up!) and then the warm season crops, bought as seedlings until last year, on or just after last frost. The damping off was happening with direct seeded cold crops (and never the tomato or pepper seedlngs) before anybody was so big as to reduce air circulation, and last year when we planted all of our seedlings at once and late (June 6) we had no problems with damping off despite a wet June. Of course, we planted late last year because we were getting big, wet snows about once a week from mid-April to the end of the first week of May. If we do get a more "normal" spring this year, then I will be setting out the seedlings of cold crops in the weeks up to last frost and then getting the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucurbits out from last frost to a week or two after.

We'll see how it goes and what problems arise this time around. Then spend next autumn plotting how to fix those problems for next year! I am definitely a bit envious of room like what you have! Any increase in our space comes at the expense of our smallish back yard at this point, and the two year old and the -9 month old (!) need that space when it is not buried in a foot or two of snow!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

And I think my 200 sq ft (one bed of which is a plot in a community garden away from home) is teeny and I envy the people with half an acre ... who are probably busy envying the people with three acres .... :)

I start the cold weather stuff indoors SOON and plant the seedlings in the ground a month ahead of average last frost date. That gives them a better head start on being out of the way when the warm weather stuff needs the space and helps makes sure stuff like broccoli and spinach doesn't bolt when the weather warms, which can happen pretty early where I am. Winter directly to summer with very little spring!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

5 days after I did an on-line seed order with Territorial, I get this email back from them:

Thank you for your order. We are preparing for the 2014 gardening season, so your order may not ship immediately. Seed packages are being filled as soon as the current crop is ready.
Most orders will ship by the first part of January, but at this time we are unable to give an exact ship date.

I will be very disappointed if my cold weather seeds like broccoli and spinach are very much delayed. This was my first time ordering from Territorial and could end up being my last.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:52 am
Location: Southern California

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

Hopefully you get them soon. Why don't you call the company and ask if they can give you an approximate date of when the seeds will be shipped. Sometimes it really annoys me how seed companies do things such as "ships when it is appropriate planting time for your area." I know this could be helpful if you had no clue what you were doing but gardening is so local that I may plant something a week earlier than my neighbor down the hill, but still in the same neighborhood. I would prefer to have it shipped as soon as I ordered it.

Anyway I have planted some pepper seeds and some Texas Blue Bonnet seeds. All of the cool weather stuff is already slowing down and some of it is already on it's way out. It is a little earlier to be starting seeds for my area but I figure that I will just re pot them in the greenhouse if it stays cold.

User avatar
PunkRotten
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1990
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:48 am
Location: Monterey, CA.

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

I ordered form Territorial seeds last year. I bought some garlic off them, paid a big price too, and some of it came in bad shape. I just let it go cause it was a few cloves here and there that were rotten. Also, they had the tags on the varieties mixed up. I order two plants off them about a week ago. They are saying they will ship first half of April etc. I really don't know when it will ship and I hope they come in good shape. If I am not satisfied this time I will not order again from them.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

I emailed them back and said, please I want my cold weather stuff for indoor planting. They never responded to my email, but my whole seed order did come fairly soon after that. Time to get started! :)
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:52 am
Location: Southern California

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

That's great! I am planning on ordering the bulk of my seed from Park Seed. They have had the best prices I have found. Some of their seed is even on sale for less than a dollar. I do not need much seed though this year. I received a ton of tomato varieties trading with another gardener.

User avatar
PunkRotten
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1990
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:48 am
Location: Monterey, CA.

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

I am loaded with seeds actually. Got like 40-50 tomato varieties and 30 or so pepper varieties, a dozen cucumber varieties, over a dozen melon varieties, lots of pea and bean varieties, lots of herbs, lots of greens, squash (the smaller kind), and a whole bunch of other stuff. I am pretty set and it would take me several years to even make a dent in my seed collection. The only time I get new seeds or plants is if it is something on the more rare side or something I really wanna try with plans to try it right away. Since I have so many seeds I am not looking to add anymore. In fact I need to start letting some go.

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:52 am
Location: Southern California

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

Feel free to "let some go" to me! I don't have seed for a lot of the stuff I am going to grow this year...

User avatar
PunkRotten
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1990
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:48 am
Location: Monterey, CA.

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

What do you want/need? I can spare some tomatoes, peppers, some melons, herbs, flowers, some veggies.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

Last year I ordered most of my seeds from HPS - horticultural products, HPSseed.com . They sell in bulk, more to commercial growers. But if you are willing to store seeds for a few years, it makes the prices really cheap. E.G. italian green basil at park seed is $1.77 for 100 seeds, not bad. At HPS it is $4.25 for AN OUNCE, which is about 17,000 seeds! The seeds come in air tight foil packs which are good for storage. Not all their prices are really cheap, by the time you get down to smaller quantities, some are expensive. But by shopping carefully, I got at least three years worth of seeds for less than what I usually pay for one year.

The variety selection especially of herbs is not huge, if you are look for anything really exotic it is not the place. And there were a couple failures, things that just did not germinate (out of 30 some seed varieties I planted). And they expect you to know what you are doing, so the seed packets do not give any info re how to plant etc. But all that info is available on line, you can just look it up.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:52 am
Location: Southern California

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

I will look into them. I am hesitant to order that much seed though because one packet usually lasts me 3 years because I do not have a big vegetable garden. I might order ornamental seeds from them though because I blow through annuals.

User avatar
PunkRotten
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1990
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:48 am
Location: Monterey, CA.

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

Just started all my seeds tonight. Did 6 tomato plants (San Manzano, Black Krim, Totem x2, Stupice, Tiny Tim), 6 pepper plants (Poblano, Orange Habanero x2, Tequila Sunrise x2, Tolli), 4 Basils (Mammoth, Siam Queen, Purple Ruffles, Red Rubin), 2 Culantro, 2 Anise Hyssop, Sensitive plant, Allyssum, and 2 Impatiens.
Direct seeded peas already, will do some green tomorrow. Got two plants on the way in April; Bulgarian Carrot Pepper and Mulato (a type of Poblano with stronger flavor). When it warms up I will be planting Sunflowers, Squash, melons, Cukes, pumpkins, ginger and turmeric.

User avatar
PunkRotten
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1990
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:48 am
Location: Monterey, CA.

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

All my Basil is up now. I am thinking tomorrow might be tomatoes.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

All the basil, including the purple and red ones? That's very fast. In my experience they are slower sprouting as well as slower growing than the green. I planted my purple basil Tues (1/28), I hope it is as fast. Next for you might be the anise hyssop (one of my favorite things to grow, good choice! :) ). I have that planted too and it took 4 days to germinate for me.

2014 gardens here we come! :clap:
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
PunkRotten
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1990
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:48 am
Location: Monterey, CA.

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

Yes all the Basil is up. And I looked just now and the tomatoes are up too. I had two anise hyssop plants already and they would have overwintered but the neighbor kept putting their sprinklers on and flooding this little area we had. After we even told them to not do it they never listened and my anise ayssop died.

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:52 am
Location: Southern California

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

My tomatoes are doing great! Most of them are working on their second set of true leaves and are looking great! A few days ago I planted a ton of peppers, basil and squash. I did the baggie method for the bell peppers and it worked great. My jalapenos and bells are both up as well. I was planning on moving the biggest tomatoes out to the greenhouse but the lows are in the upper 30's. I still might because it is in a warm micro-climate but I do not want to rush it.

User avatar
Molly_Lenore
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:53 am
Location: Kernersville, N.C.

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

This is what I have so far. Rather or not all of these will be planted, & how many of each..remains a mystery :wink: Also I'm an impulse buyer at the local farmer's market here.. so many sweet old farmer couples with their beautiful starter plants for super cheap, I can't pass those up! There's a lady who always has the best Cherokee Purple and grape-sized tomato plants for sale every year, 4 for $1, so I just get those from her & save me some space in my seed starting area.

Russian Mammoth (in my avatar is 1 I grew 2 summers ago) & Paquito Colorado sunflowers

Yellow crookneck squash

French tarragon

California bell peppers

gourmet blend lettuce

strawflowers

bachelor buttons

black hollyhocks

chantennay carrots

Jack o lantern & sugar pumpkins

straight 8 cucumbers

dark green bloomsdale spinach

mesclun

blue lake pole beans

cherry bell radishes

dwarf blue scotch curled kale

cilantro

Oregon sugar pea pods

Sierra gold cantelopes

rainbow Swiss chard

allsweet watermelon

Parris island lettuce

indigo rose tomatoes

rainbow blend carrots

black giant tomatoes

royal burgundy bush beans

Romanesco broccoli

Chinese red noodle beans

striped German tomatoes

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

Of course you realize this is a very mixed bag as far as starting from seed. Different people might sort the list different ways, but here is my take on it. All the cucurbits (melons, cukes, etc) can be started indoors, but only a week or so before your last frost date or they will outgrow the space. Lots of people just wait until the soil warms up and direct plant them. All the root crops like carrot and radish do not transplant well and really have to be direct seeded. Lettuce and chard are so cold hardy, there's not much to gain by starting them indoors - then you have to harden them off. If direct seeded, they are already hardened.
Start indoors:

French tarragon

California bell peppers

cilantro

indigo rose tomatoes

black giant tomatoes

Romanesco broccoli

striped German tomatoes


Could go either way

sunflowers

Yellow crookneck squash

strawflowers

bachelor buttons

Jack o lantern & sugar pumpkins

straight 8 cucumbers

Sierra gold cantelopes

allsweet watermelon


Direct seed in the ground

gourmet blend lettuce

black hollyhocks (biennial, usually fall planted)

chantennay carrots

dark green bloomsdale spinach

mesclun

blue lake pole beans

cherry bell radishes

dwarf blue scotch curled kale

Oregon sugar pea pods

rainbow Swiss chard

Parris island lettuce

rainbow blend carrots

royal burgundy bush beans

Chinese red noodle beans

Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Molly_Lenore
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:53 am
Location: Kernersville, N.C.

Re: 2014 Starting Seeds

I hadn't planned on starting them all indoors, but your update to the list is quite handy. Matter of fact I never would've guessed the beans and sugar peas should go right into the ground. Thanks :)

Return to “Seed Starting Forum”