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Spring: Snow, Peas, and Starting Seeds

March 21, 2011

Spring is here! Happy first day of spring, everyone! For many of us, it’s been a long winter.

purple crocus spring

However, ’round here today it’s SNOWING.

snow crocus illustration

To celebrate the arrival of spring, I planted peas and radishes. Last year I wasn’t happy with how the peas turned out. So this year I decided to overcompensate by planting more than 200 pea seeds. We eat lots of peas in our house, and I’m planning to freeze them. I chose Dakota shelling peas for their high yield and excellence in freezing. Also, at 60 days, they’re on a perfect rotation schedule before the pole beans go in the ground.

In other seed news, I had planned to start seeds this weekend, but when I consulted my handy seed starting chart, I realized I’m about a week early.

Honing my schedule for starting seeds is still a work in progress. Start too early, and you’re stuck with a bunch of leggy seedling that desperately need to be hardened-off and put in the ground, but it’s still too cold. You can start late, and that’s OK. I’d rather be late than kill off everything.

It looks like April 20 will be the magic week for me to start most of my seeds. Tomatoes will be next week. Here in zone 6, I use mid-May as the last frost date (this year I bumped it to May 18). Of course that fluctuates each year. I’ve had great success with mid-May. Some swear by Mother’s Day, but this year it falls on May 8. A little early, don’t you think?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2011 12:25 pm

    I am also in zone 6 (CT). I started my onions, chives, lettuce, kale, spinach, celery and leeks in early February. I started my tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in late February and more tomatoes, spinach, peppers and some cucumbers last week. This year I am using grow lights to combat the legginess from starting early and so far it is working great. I have a small greenhouse that isn’t heated so on warm days I move the trays outside and then bring them in at night. About 3 years ago I started using soil blocks instead of seed trays to start seeds. I end up getting between 90% – 100% germination and the plants seem to grow healthier root system. I use the Stella Natura – Biodynamic Planting Guide & Calendar as a guide to start seeds. It tells you what days to start your leaf, fruit or root seeds depending on the phase of the moon. It has made a huge difference. I started cucumber seeds on Friday and they all germinated by Sunday. The soil blocks also have another huge advantage becuse they take up alot less space. I have been meaning to do a post on my blog but haven’t been able to find the time with all the planting!

  2. March 21, 2011 12:32 pm

    @Rob, I’ll be doing soil blocks for the first time this year, and I’m excited to try. Also, I’ll be mixing my own starting medium using coconut coir rather than peat.

    It’s so tempting for me to start earlier than I do with seeds, but I’ve had bad luck trying to schedule hardening and plantings with work, weather, and life.

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