Our seed selections have been made. Our soil blocker has arrived and the blocking mix is ready to “just add water”. Our succession plan (though never “final”) has been made. This weekend is the beginning of February, which is the beginning of our planting season. Time to start seeds!
So Here’s The Plan
We decided to start a bit more aggressively than usual. Could be the new blocker. Maybe we’re enjoying the mild weather a bit too much. At any rate the tropical plants from outside that have spent the winter on the seed starting rack in the basement will be evicted, and dispersed to other rooms for a couple of months, until its time for them to head back outside. The lower shelf of the rack will host germination sessions and the upper shelf will be the grow-zone.
There are two moveable shelves on the seed starting rack. There could be as many as four shelves in operation at a time, but two are sufficient for now. Each shelf on the rack can fit up to four of my flats, which themselves hold a maximum of 50 two-inch plants each. Theoretically we could have 200 plants per shelf, but in reality it will be about half that number for the first planting cycle or two.
We will seed about 100 cold hardy plants this weekend. As they germinate, they will be moved to the top shelf. Two weeks later, at which time the bottom shelf should be empty, we will seed about 130 plants because we will be adding a few warm season crops into the mix, as well as seeding successive cold season stuff. By the third round of seeding, at the end of February/beginning of March, the first round of seedlings will have been planted in the garden. Then we will hit maximum capacity on the seedling rack as we continue seeding cool and warm season plants, and the warm season plants continue to grow. We will finish seeding cool season crops by mid-April and warm-season plants will all be in the ground by late June. Fall seeding will begin at the end of July.
Subject To Change
This seems like a lot of plants. It is. This plan will change as the season progresses. As it stands, we will have plenty of stuff in production, when the threat of a late freeze rolls around, so that any losses can be mitigated within two weeks or so. Beyond that, we have lots of friends who enjoy receiving a gift of veggies on occasion. This plan also is a way for us to “Plant A Row For The Hungry“, and donate some fresh veggies to an organization that can put them to use in wonderful ways.
New This Year
This year we have decided to grow several rounds of determinate tomatoes for processing, instead of relying on indeterminates, which tend to suffer with longevity in our heat. We will also start annual flowers, which is a new venture for us this year. That will require more time and space on the seedling rack, as well as keeping us in the seed starting business further into the season than we have been in the past. Another change for this year is our decision to start far more herbs than we ever have. Parsley, basil, cilantro and dill are the core selections of that operation. After seeding season abates somewhat, we will continue using the rack to start perennial herbs (chives, sage, oregano, rosemary) from cuttings and divisions. We’ll keep you up to speed as it all shakes out.