Better to start seedlings or direct sow?

rjingaMarch 11, 2009

I am never sure exactly which method is best. Last year I started everything in the greenhouse and then moved stuff outside. But I know some things were late and didn't do as well.

I'd like to plant eggplant, okra, tomatoes, corn, peppers, turnip, collards, peas, beans, basil, parsley, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes (which I will buy this year) cabbage, melons, squash, cukes, carrots, beets...all from seed.

Ok that is about it (well probably not, but that the main list).

If I go with the planting schedules then almost all of that can go in now...So do I plant directly into the garden or start in the GH and then transplant later?

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nippersdad

FWIW, I think you have a lot of different crops which require different methods for best results. For example; Okra needs warm, damp soils to properly germinate and the plants never seem to do well when transplanted...best wait until, maybe, mid- May and direct sow seed then. Potato eyes will rot if left in cold damp soils and they should go in later as well...they actually do better in a barrel slowly filled with a mixture of straw and compost than in the soil. These could be planted sooner using this method as the soil stays warmer and they are less likely to rot.

So; greenhouse plants best set out after tax day:
Eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, basil and parsley. Excepting potatoes, plants in the deadly nightshade family and herbs take to transplantation well and you can really get a jump on the season using plants from your greenhouse with this group.

Direct seed now:
turnips, peas (sweet english), onion sets, carrots and beets. Cabbage and collard plants would be best set out now (so they will have time to mature) before hot weather and there is less liklihood of bolting before they are really ready.

Direct seed after tax day:
corn, beans, field peas, melons, squash and cukes. Cucurbits do best when planted in succession (two week intervals) as later crops tend to not be as affected by borer beetles. These guys sprout quickly, easily and would just be a waste of greenhouse space.

Direct seed first of May:
Okra, cured sweet potato and potato eyes (in barrels).

As I say, FWIW, this is what I have been doing and it usually works out.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 12:41AM
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rjinga

Nippersdad,
That is very helpful, thanks. Last year (as stated, I did everything in the GH and timing wasn't ideal for many things).

I'm going to follow your advice and possibly do both things, start some now in the GH , DS the same at the appropriate times as it warms more. And start the other seeds now. I have all my garden area's ready, just need to get my fencing up and the drip lines set after plants are in.

thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 8:00AM
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nippersdad

You are most welcome! Greenhouses are so fun to have, it is really easy to fill them up with seed trays at the expense of, say, palm trees. Your post reminded me that I still need to burn of the brush pile on my garden spot...you are waaaay ahead of me.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 8:24PM
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squirrellypete(z7b AL)

Thought I would bump this post....I just found a great deal of useful info from Nippersdad in this thread and thought others might find it beneficial right about now.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:43PM
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frankielynnsie(7B)

Last year I saw trays of corn seedlings. I was shocked. As a farmer's daughter, corn is one of the easiest seeds to plant and grow. We grew fields and fields of it and it comes up so easily-just have to keep the crows from walking down the rows and pulling up the seedlings.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 10:04PM
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