February 4, 2013

Spring Seed Starting

Once again I'm a little late starting seeds this year. By that I mean I could have started seeds during the past few months for earlier lettuce and greens and bigger tomatoes, peppers, etc. by planting time but it is by no means too late to start seeds!

Here's what I started this weekend:

Sweet Peppers
swiss chard and cilantro seedlings
  • Corbaci - 4
  • Coban - 2
  • Ashe County Pimento - 6
  • Tequila Sunrise - 3
  • Lipstick - 3
Hot Peppers
  • Fish - 3
  • Early Jalapeno - 1
  • Thai Red Pepper - 6
  • Serrano - 6
lettuce and beet seedlings
Tomatoes & Tomatillos
  • Rosso Sicilian - 3
  • Red Cherry - 4 
  • Cherokee Purple - 6
  • Green Velvet Tomato - 3
  • Arkansa Traveller - 3
  • Tess's Landrace - 6
  • Illini Star - 3
  • Plum Lemon - 6
  • Goldman's Italian American - 2
  • Verde Tomatillo - 5
  • Purple Tomatillo - 7
tomato plant
  • Thai Long Green - 6
  • Purple Pickling - 6
  • Ping Tung Long - 6
  • Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach - 26
  • Red Russian Kale - 12
  • Da Ping Pu - 8
  • Tatsoi - 8
  • Arugula - 8
  • Gailaan - 8

Herbs & Flowers
  • He Shi Ko Bunching Onion - 6
  • Crimson Forest Bunching Onion - 6
  • Tokyo Long Bunching Onion - 6
  • Thai Dill - 3
  • Vierling Dill - 3
  • Globe Basil - 6
  • Borage - 3
  • Calendula - 3
  • Nasturtium, Jewel Mix - 9
  • Marigold, Crackerjack Mix - 9
  • Dahlia, Unwin's Mix - 6
Other Veg
  • Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli - 6
  • Conquistador Celery - 12
  • Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry - 6

seed storage
  1. Some of those are weird numbers (who seeds 1 jalapeno?) because I'm using very old seed and thus using up every thing I have. If the seed is still good then I have major thinning to do. If the germination rate is very bad then maybe I'll get 1 or 2 plants. For some things I only had enough seed for a strange number of cells.
  2. I have more lettuce and greens to do plus direct seeding of peas, radishes, carrots (lots!), turnips, and some extra herbs.
  3. Later next month I'll direct seed melons, cucumbers, beans, okra, and squashes.
  4. I will probably start more seeds next week... but in case I don't get around to it I started with the plants that are hard to find in a nursery (at least around here) or are not great quality when available. For example, although you pay dearly for it, you can find genovese basil so I didn't bother to start any in my first round but globe basils are always super sad looking (if you can find them at all). Other things that are hard to find (not impossible, but not something I can count on every year even at the more interesting nurseries):
  • African marigolds (those are the tall ones) like the crackerjack mix
  • Dahlias
  • Celery (I don't have a lot of hope for these germinating well since they were primed and pelleted seed which doesn't last a long time)
  • Borage
  • Sprouting broccoli (I'm a terrible grower of broccoli anyway)
  • Ground Cherry
  • Asian greens
  • Heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants
  1. (Blogger doesn't like the switch from numbers to dots and back so apparently we're starting over)
  2. "Land Race" means there is lots of variation in the species. In the case of currant tomatoes it often means "shattering" or "non-shattering" (fruit drops to the ground when ripe vs. fruit staying on the plant when ripe) but it could mean variation in color, shape, size or other feature (not taste though as far as I know).
  3. Illini Star grew very very well for me last time. It was far more resistant to stink bugs than any other tomato that year so I hope I get at least a few plants. I'm glad to see Baker Creek carries it again so I can get more. 
  4. I'm going to start more paste tomatoes for sure although I need to buy more seed. This year I'm going to can our tomatoes whether or not I grow any. Adios, tomatoes stored in plastic lined cans

Today I hoed and (heavily) seeded the carrot bed. There was no germination the first time around with these old seeds (which is pretty strange... I partially suspect a rogue chicken had something to do with it) so I used a ton. If I don't see results soon I'll just buy some fresh seed. My favorite carrot to grow around here is Shin Kurods 5". Along with the carrots I mixed radishes as well as a few herb and green seeds into the bed just for fun. 

volunteer cilantro
I also planted some onions sets and transplanted a few of my freely reseeding cilantro plants, 2 azaleas I found which had layered (layering is when a branch touches the ground or is buried and starts putting on roots), and a sumac. I also managed to transplant a mallow bush growing from a shoot of the parent plant that died a few years ago. And, there are more sumacs to transplant as well as crepe myrtle, maguey, redbud, holly, and lots of salvia, artemesia, and agapanthus. 

If I remember, I'll intentionally layer some azalea for next year and I try it with almond verbena and winter savory (which has way outgrown its supposed natural proportions).

Next on my list: order potatoes, sweet potato slips, find a few bushes for around the property and get a few more fruit trees.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Seed Savers Exchange
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Johnny's Select Seeds 
Potato Garden


  1. I STILL haven't been able to start any seeds, but I'm operating with you under the auspice of it's never too late :) My old seeds from last year did not germinate, so now I'm waiting on my order to come in, so hopefully it won't mess anything up too much this year!

  2. Your seed starting list looks wonderful. I bought all my transplants this year. Still haven't found tomatillos - I hope to still find them. I really wanted to try them this year. Still waiting for it to be safe enough tot plant here. the weather has been up and down. It is probably safe now. I am happy that my neighbors will get the plants in the ground for me.

  3. Glad you have help in the garden! This was the first time in a while I've been able to start seeds and with the kiddo it was pretty slapdash. Given the incredibly old seeds and the less than ideal germination conditions I got quite a few tomatoes (enough to give some away) plus eggplants and tomatillos. The calendula, some of the dill, a few basils, and some greens also sprouted.