Seed Timinig 101 (Vegetable Gardening)


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Basic introduction to seed timing when planning/planting a vegetable garden.

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  • Read an article written by Maria Rodale on the Ultimate in Self-Expression……

    This ppt is an expression of MY PASSION, I want to engage all your senses…except smell, maybe you can imagine the smell of soil

    Doing this is what I love, and I hope to INSPIRE YOU
  • What covering today……

    Not about how to start seeds, but when to start seeds, and how to get them into the garden
    I have been gardening since I was 9, but am always learning new things
    Even the longtime vegetable gardeners, when asked their key to success, after they brag about their SOIL all say TIMING

    Today going to help you find your own rhythm and timing….

    Hold questions to the end, or write on paper and send to front
  • Only difference means you will gain 4-6 weeks than you would with direct seeding

    Get varieties that aren’t locally started


    Fun to Gamble 
  • Lots of variables that come into the mix: weather, terrain, soil

    “rhythm of a garden changes each year” Your job to best adjust to this new rhythm

    Today give you the ‘tools’ to find your rhythm!
    To manage this disclaimer, Keep track of your dates……and each year try to plant abit earlier and see if you can push the envelope!
    Even farmers on the same land using same timing have different results!
  • Grow what you like.

    Radish story.
  • An important decision to make…… some plants don’t transplant well……

    Make a list, check it twice THEN buy seeds 
  • Example chart

    Tracks what you will grow, and how you will grow it.
  • There are tools out there that help you create a baseline…….uses ‘plant dates’, last frost date, type of plant etc

    I say start here, then modify
    Seed Spacing – Refers to distance in trench between seeds. With carrots its 3-4 per inch. Don’t overseed. It makes thinning later more difficult. Days to Sprout aka Days to Germination refers to the length of time between when a seed is first planted and when it first appears above ground. Spacing after Transplanting or Plant Spacing refers to the distance between plants once all thinning and transplanting has been done. Days Until Harvest aka Days to Maturity is the time it takes to go from seed to table. Some will start from the day the seeds are planted while others use the day the seedling are transplanted to their final position. Notice cauliflower takes 60 days however it is started indoors for 4-6 weeks. If we plant cauliflower directly in the ground our Days until Harvest will be 88-102 days.
  • Don’t recycle those catalogs, well at least some of them…..

    Look at the wealth of FREE INFORMATION!
  • These dates are ‘rules of thumb’, they can change

    For potatoes and squash, these go against typically rules, but have worked for some gardeners

    How many have had this happen to them in the spring?

    Another variable in the puzzle of seed timing we need to talk about.
  • First a story…… of article in Organic Gardening stumbled upon this variable when she realized she loved glazed turnips. *READ EXCERPT*

    Understanding Plant Clocks- this is where you start looking at the real expert gardeners and say, can’t you plant spinach in the spring and fall?

    Photoperiodism is about the length of the light and dark period in 24h. With the length of uninterrrupted darkness as a critical Part.
    Photoperiodism refers to the flowering response of a plant to the length of day, or more precisely, the length of the light and dark periods.

    See Organic Gardening Article. Will touch BRIEFLY on this. Still trying to wrap my head around this, but use it as a TOOL.
  • A long-day plant requires fewer than a certain number of hours of darkness in each 24-hour period to induce flowering. These plants typically flower in the northern hemisphere during late spring or early summer as days are getting longer.
    These plants want to flower as we move toward the longest days of the year.
    Long-day plants flower and bear fruit during the months wherein the nights are short and the days are long.
  • In general, short-day (i.e. long-night) plants flower as days grow shorter (and nights grow longer) after 21 June in the northern hemisphere, which is during summer or fall.
    These plants want to flower earlier in spring or in fall.
  • Day-neutral plants flower and bear fruit all year round.

    Day-neutral plants, such as cucumbers, roses and tomatoes, do not initiate flowering based on photoperiodism at all; they flower regardless of the night length. They may initiate flowering after attaining a certain overall developmental stage or age, or in response to alternative environmental stimuli, such as vernalisation (a period of low temperature), rather than in response to photoperiod.

  • Avoid the summer solstice entirely for fast maturing long day crops like turnips, radishes, beets, and mustards.

    Plant them as midsummer as fall crops, they are crisp and creamy, with long luxuriant leaves….
  • Soil is drained and passed ‘boot test’:
    NO is footprint leaves a shiny surface, indicating too much moisture content near the surface
    YES if footprint looks dull, meaning excess water has drained away.
    Soil is not frozen and workable
    Length of day, temperat
  • To combat pests and your own ‘drive’- try new things!
  • Plants can sunburn, windburn, overheat, freeze and go into stress, just like us.

    If you remember that plants are like people, you can end up ahead as a gardener.

    Harden off both purchased or indoor seed plants

    Need a transition period to accustom to being totally exposed to the elements.

    Would you spend all day in the sun first time out after winter … no!
  • Set plants outside in full or partial sun for 2-3 hours the first day, then bring in.
    Next day, put them out 3-4 hours, then set in share for a few hours
    Provide windbreak (young plants can snap)
    After 3-4 days of gradual increasing exposure to sun, leave them out all day long. After 2 weeks, ok to leave them outsdie all night (if it doesn’t freeze!
  • Transplant on a cloudy and wind free day in the late afternoon. Keep stress low.

    Soak plan before removing from container to keep roots intac

    Make sure seedbed is ‘ready’ – turned and fresh compost added

    Cradle root ball to keep soil intact and have fewer root haris get exposed to air and die

  • Scoop out hole about 3-4 inches deep
    Put in a good handful of compost
    Strip off outer leaves of all transplants except peppers and eggplants. Usually kill some roots when transplanting. Removing leaves helps to focus the plant energy back to root formation.
    Set the root ball in the hole and fill in with soil and make sure the roots make good contact
    Give them a good soak… make it muddy! Helps cement the roots to the soil and provides the least possible delay in new growth.
    **water heavily first 3-4 days**

  • Hot caps- waxed paper caps. An individual greenhouse for every plant! Protect seeds and plants from the harsh environment early in the planting season. Extends your growing season by 2 to 4 weeks! These wax-paper domes can be re-used if handled with care and can be set in place quickly and easily. Perfect for annuals, bedding plants and vegetables at a time when plants are most vulnerable. Will also reduce the effects of rain, birds and insects. Easy to use. Easy to compost.
    Reemay is a spun-bonded, reusable polyester fabric that floats over the plants in the row while allowing 75% light transmission. Crops grown under Reemay produce earlier with higher quality harvests. Tests show temperatures under the Reemay are 3-7°F warmer than surrounding uncovered areas. Use to protect crops from wind and destructive insects. The porous fabric allows light, air, and moisture through. Place Reemay loosely over the seed or plant bed. To secure the edges, cover with a board or bury the edges in soil. Lasts 1-4 growing seasons depending on its accumulated exposure to the sun.
    Cloches- refer more to the bell-shape than to the function. The function of a Cloche is to protect plants from cold, heat, or loss of moisture. The glass cloche was designed to be placed over the plant when the risk of frost or bad weather was forecast in order to protect it. Today cloches come in many shapes the best are still made from glass but it is possible to get them in plastic too.

    Wall-o-water- The original Wall O’ Water is still the best way to plant earlier and harvest longer. You can plant 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost when using a Wall O Water. It works well for most fruits and vegetables, but particularly well for tomatoes and peppers.

  • Chip and Susan Planck have just retired in 2011, after thirty-five years of direct market farming at Wheatland Vegetable Farms in Purcellville, Virginia. This year’s Harvest Dinner will honor Chip and Susan Planck’s contribution to the vitality of the local food-shed and their impact as mentors on a generation of new farmers.
  • Seed Timinig 101 (Vegetable Gardening)

    1. 1. Beyond Seed Starting- Seed Timing. Linna ‘The Locavore’ Ferguson Twitter: @LinnaFerguson
    2. 2. What kind of garden personality are you?
    3. 3. Like comedy, vegetable gardening is all about timing….
    4. 4.
    5. 5. Disclaimer: Timing is not an exact science
    6. 6. Decision 1: What to grow. “Just because you can grow it doesn’t mean you should!”
    7. 7. Decision 2: Start indoors or direct seed
    8. 8. Plants or Transplants- Chart Table from: Dick Raymond’s Gardening Year
    9. 9. Decision 3: Plan
    10. 10. Use the information at your fingertips
    11. 11.
    12. 12. Dates of Note • Two months prior to Frost Free Date You can start planting • In NOVA: St Patrick's Day- Plant Peas • In NOVA: St. Patrick’s Day- Start some other early spring goodies: carrots, spinach, beets, and some lettuces • Mother's Day: This is a key date for our area - basically, the last day of frost has occurred and it's time to move our peppers and tomatoes and heat loving plants into our garden. Sow your Cilantro, parsley now! • July 4th- Plant potatoes and squash (avoid the bugs!)
    13. 13. How many can relate? Another variable in the topic of timing!
    14. 14. Understanding the role of Plant Clocks
    15. 15. Long Day Plants Examples include: : (not comprehensive) Artichoke Beet Carrot Chervil Chickpea Cilantro Dill Turnip Fennel Lentil Lettuce Mustard Greens Napa Cabbage Pea Radish Spinach Long-day plants flower and bear fruit during the months wherein the nights are short and the days are long.
    16. 16. Short Day Plants (i.e. long night) Examples include: (not comprehensive) Purslane Cowpea Cucumber * Okra Soybean Pigeon Pea Sweet potato Black Currant Winged Bean Lamb’s Quarter Black eye peas Common Bean * Hops Lima Bean Sunflower Yardlong Bean * Some cultivars Short-day plants flower and bear fruit during the months where the nights are long and the days are short.
    17. 17. Day Neutral Plants Examples include: (not comprehensive) Apple Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Cantaloupe Cauliflower Corn Kale Kohlrabi Parsnip Peach Pear Rhubarb Strawberry Tatsoi Tomato Wine Grape Day-neutral plants flower and bear fruit all year round.
    18. 18. What this ‘P’ word means to us home gardeners….. Avoid the summer solstice entirely for fast maturing long day crops like turnips, radishes, beets, and mustards. Plant them midsummer as fall crops.
    19. 19.
    20. 20. Indicators that you can plant cool crops outside
    21. 21. Cool weather veggies (spring and fall) Carrots Collard Greens Onions (spring only) Arugula Leeks Shallots (fall planting only) Peas Turnips Spinach Cauliflower Broccoli Radish Chard Kale Bok Choy Mustard Greens Cilantro Parsley Garlic (in fall only) Potatoes (spring planting only) Veggies you can plant PRIOR to last frost & in fall
    22. 22. Warm weather veggies Tomatoes Cucumbers Eggplant Peppers Squash Basil Beans (Pole & Bush) Watermelon Cantaloupe Sweet Potatoes Corn Summer Squash Zucchini Pumpkin Veggies you can plant after threat of frost is passed
    23. 23. Be a plant gambler?!
    24. 24. One of the most important steps- Hardening off.
    25. 25. Hardening off process … 1.Set plants outside in full or partial sun for 2- 3 hours the first day, then bring in. 2.Next day, put them out 3-4 hours, then set in shade for a few hours. 3.After 3-4 days of gradual increasing exposure to sun, leave them out all day long. 4.After 2 weeks, ok to leave them outside all night (if it doesn’t freeze!
    26. 26. The art of ‘transplanting’ – Rules of Thumb
    27. 27. The art of ‘transplanting’ – No Shock Technique
    28. 28. Just a cool picture!
    29. 29. Preparing for the unknown weather…. Or gambling 
    30. 30. From the experts • Sow 2 weeks before the recommendations on the seed packet, • Patiently wait until the seedlings have 2 sets of true leaves (not cotyledons), before transplanting. I get stronger plants, and way fewer fatalities. • All my seeds are started on heat mats set at 75 – 80 degrees, speeding up germination, then moved to the sunny side of the greenhouse. • Oh, I also cover all seeds with sand (play sand is great), and put a low blowing fan above the flats to increase air circulation. This eliminates damping off.
    31. 31. From the experts- Susan Planck • Never allow seedlings to be stretching for light. Snap peas can take the cold. So can spinach and garlic. • We cover all plantings, all season of squash and cukes with row cover, removing row cover for good, only when plants begin to blossom. • We cover all planting of lettuce all season, removing to pick and then recovering. • We cover the first planting of tomatoes until plants need stringing. • We cover eggplant until end of June , uncovering from time to time to pickoff potato beetles. • We uncover all covered crops weekly to use our food grade foliar water based fertilizer. • I also used a biodynamic calendar during the last ten years or so for seeding dates. I would use the schedule I sent you, and pick the fruit, root, flower or leaf day closest to the date I wanted.
    32. 32. This is who I am, this is what I do.