Tomato Seedlings

Tomatoes, tomatillos, and basil are on their way! I planted these seed flats back in February, and they’re getting to the transplant stage now- I wait for them to either be about an inch high, or have at least buds of their first true leaves. When a seed sprouts, the leaves that emerge look nothing like the leaves of a mature plant! In past years, I’ve waited too long to transplant them to cups, waiting for fully formed true leaves. I wasted so much growing time…live and learn though!

My takeaway lesson this year will be to sprout the seeds indoors, where it’s warm, and then move them outside to grow. I think it will get me to this transplant stage a few weeks earlier. Tomatoes won’t go in the ground until probably late June- night time temperatures need to be above 55. Sometime in September or October rain and cooler days will come- it’s a balancing act trying to leave fruit to ripen, but to pull it before the plant starts to rot and shut down. So, these plants will have about 12 weeks in the sun.

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Spring Planting Time (And a Master Planting List)

We’ve finally had some honest to goodness sunny days!  The kids and I have snatched all the sunny afternoons we can the past week- my war against weeds continues (when I stop and ponder why ALL my weeds are on the invasive species list…I realize, isn’t that the definition of a weed?)  We finished the March plantings on Saturday (yes- March 31st.  I’m still totally counting it as on time!)  This week is supposed to be awful and rainy, but today was a shirt-sleeves and sunshine kind of day, so our April plantings are done now. April 2nd.  Considering that a good portion of my seeds are 2 and 3 years old, and have been stored indifferently in the garage or cupboard, I’m not too worried about being over run with plants.  Hey, maybe they’ll crowd out the weeds!

It was too cool this year for my greenhouse seeds to really take off in February when I planted them, so my tomatoes and cole crops are really behind.  I’m not too worried about the tomatoes, but we’ll see if I can get any cabbage and cauliflower harvested before the weather turns too warm.  I think next year I’ll sprout the seed trays indoors, then move them outside to grow- sprouting is the tricky part out there in February!

I realized the other day that I never posted my master planting schedule- reading through lots of different sources, I started seeing a pattern in when things are planted.  Here are my rules of thumb for seed planting around here (Pacific Northwest):

February: Start seeds indoors for your tomato family- tomatoes, tomatillo, ground cherry, peppers.  Start seeds indoors for cole crops: cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli

March: Start seeds indoors for basil.  Set out cole crops.  Plant cool, long-season, veggies in the ground (think thick leafy greens): lettuces, beets, hardy greens like kale and choi, peas.  Also potatoes and onions.

April: Plant root vegetables (carrots, turnips, radishes, etc.)  Plant flower seeds. 

May: Plant hot season veggies- beans, corn, cucumber, squash

June:  When nights are above 55, set out tomatoes/peppers.  Could be early July.  (For more info on how I do tomatoes, see this post.) 

July: Work backwards, and plant what you planted in April for Winter harvest- your root vegetables can be stored in the ground, with a cover of straw.  

August: Now plant what you planted in March (cole crops, non-bulbing onions like green onions and leeks)

September: Quick crops, like lettuce and spinach you’ll harvest young, and radishes

October: Garlic