Have you ever been confused about when or where to sow seeds? That was one of my issues when Curtis and I first designed our seed packets. I didn’t like having to hunt for the information that would assist me in sorting the giant pile of seed packets that I’d end up coming home with every spring. It used to take me forever to figure out other people’s charts and graphs—I just wanted the information straight up.
I have a giant pile of Botanical Interests seed packets in my hands right now. It will take me less than five minutes to organize them by when and where to sow. In order to start planning my sowing schedule, I must first think of my average last spring frost date. In Broomfield (just north of Denver, Colorado), it’s May 15th.
The first thing I do is make two piles: varieties that I’m going to start indoors, and varieties that I’m going to sow outdoors. Look at the back of the packet. If it says it’s recommended to start indoors, then it goes in that pile. If it says it’s recommended to sow outdoors, then it goes in that pile. Since I know that I have a short season, (a frost free period just between May and October), I’m likely to start a variety inside if it requires sowing indoors 6 weeks or longer before the average last spring frost date.
Now, I have my two piles. I’m going to set aside my outdoor pile, and I need to get moving now on my indoor pile. I separate my indoor pile by the number of weeks before frost that I need to start them. I have piles for 12 weeks or more, 8-10 weeks, 6-8 weeks, 4-6 weeks, and so on. These piles get sorted again by ‘Days to Emerge’, because I like varieties in the same flat that have similar emergence times. This is important because plants that emerge together have similar water needs and space requirements. I use plastic domes, so I can keep the dome on to retain humidity while waiting for germination and take the dome off as soon as seedlings sprout to keep them from rotting.
I’m actually running a little behind. We’re twelve weeks out from the last frost date right now. I need to get moving! It’s time to start artichokes, celery, globemallow, pansies and some other varieties indoors right now.
So there you go! It does make me happy to know that little green things will come up soon, after months of looking at brown, brown, and more brown all winter.
For those of you that would like to get really organized, check out Sam’s Seed Pocket Holder on the Creative Inspirations blog. Be sure to keep your eye on this blog for some garden journal inspiration coming soon.
Next week, we start getting our hands dirty! I’ll tell you my tried and trusted sowing methods to give your seeds a healthy fresh start.