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Starting seeds?

Posted by gailtoronto Ontario (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 27, 09 at 17:51

Hi, due to money constraints this year I have decided to start my herbs/vegetables and some annuals from seed. This is my first time doing this .... my questions are:

1. I have all that's necessary to start my seeds (bought a McKenzies Seed Tray with pellets in) - is it too early or not?
2. When is it safe to plant seedlings outside?
3. Last year I had a problem with tiny slugs eating my tomatoes .... how can I stop this? They ate right through the tomatoes and then of course it would rot from the inside. Quite frustrating for a beginner vegetable gardener.

So far I'll be planting: Sweet Basil, Rosemary, Cilantro, Thyme, Peas, Tomatoes and Lettuce

Thanks for your help - after this harsh winter I am rearing to go in my garden.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Starting seeds?

Hi Gail,
Are you aware of the planting procedure known as winter sowing? In my opinion, this is the easiest....and cheapest way to get oodles, and oodles of herbs, veggies, annuals and perennials!!!!!! I will add the link to the wintersowing forum here on gardenweb. Please check out the FAQ and look at the gallery for photos of just what wintersown a search for wintersown containers to see it all. This is a very, very, very unusual way to garden.

If you go the wintersown technique you will
1.plant your seeds now
2.put them outside to germinate in your trays and whatever other container you want to use. suggestion for growing your tomatoes is to let them grow up onto a trellis or make a tepee from 3 sticks or twigs and tie them up to this support to get the tomatoes up and off the ground.

Go garden and have fun!

ps. we have a newer forum titled "wintersowing in canada forum" too, but I could only add a Link for one site, the original forum ...check out both of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: wintersowing

RE: Starting seeds?

I have to second Justine's suggestion. Do go to the Winter Sowing Forum and read, read, read... It is a wonderful way to garden while keeping your $$ in your pocket.

RE: Starting seeds?

Start your rosemary and tomatoes within the next few weeks in warmth and good light.
Direct sow your peas outside about the middle of April.
Direct sow the rest as soon as the soil is warm. There is little advantage to starting them indoors.

RE: Starting seeds?

I'm into wintersowing too but you can definitely get your herbs started indoors. And I think it's rather late for doing wintersowing now that it's spring and nearly mid-spring. I've started my tomatoes early this month and I've already transplanted some of them. (I went a little mad and have planted more than 100 plants of 5 different variety of tomatoes)

I do a lot more indoor seed starting than I do with wintersowing but it's something I will do better with next year. Some seeds like tomatoes can't be wintersown.

When the weather is consistently above 7 C, you can begin hardening off plants. The week after, the plants can be fully planted in the ground.

Sweet Basil - I just started the seeds indoor myself. It's an annual and not hardy and so not good for wintersowing.

Rosemary - easily rooted and so I'd rather start them from cuttings (from grocery produce)

Cilantro - direct sow them. and sow another set in the following week, and another in the following week. This is because these are annuals and tend to bolt quickly. It reseeds itself and so you'd have plenty of seedlings in the garden the following year.

Thyme - These grow rapidly from root cuttings. In fact, you can root these easily from grocery bought items. I've not seen them germinate easily from seed.

Peas - direct sow. (hates being transplanted)

Tomatoes - indoor sowing

Lettuce - if you are eager, I suppose you can begin now and take leaf cuttings from the baby plants. Or you can wait when it's warm and sow them direct on the ground.

To deal with slugs. The organic way is to take something like ash, gritty sand, diatonamous (spelling?) earth, or copper collars to prevent slugs. The non-organic way is there are slug pellets available in hardware stores which you should sprinkle in the ground as soon as you plant your tomatoes.

RE: Starting seeds?

Thanks for all the help! I've been reading a lot today - I'd never heard of "winter sowing" before, quite interesting.

I found a "seed starting chart" last night and have done my own little spreadsheet ..... this is in an effort to learn and not make the same mistakes next year. I'll journal and keep records.

Last year was my first year for planting vegetables and I did pretty well I think. I'm looking forward to this year.

Thanks again and I'll be a regular visitor here.

Gail in Toronto

RE: Starting seeds?

Yes even if it is the beginning of spring.... you can still wintersow. I am referring to the method-not the season.

Surprise, surprise...actually, you most definitely can wintersow your tomato seeds!
Here is a direct quote from Trudy, the queen of wintersowing, "Treat them like tender annuals and sow your tomato seeds as winter is breaking into spring. I usually sow mine mid to late February.", but later is OK too.

Great gardening to you!

RE: Starting seeds?

Lots of other seeds can be WS under a cold framed around this time of the year I agree. However with respect to tomatoes, I have to say it's doesn't produce good results. Hence my recommendation for starting them indoors. For reference I am guided by northern_on (zone 5) experience on WS tomatoes. In a recent thread "Can tomatoes be WS in the Maritimes" she has discussed some of her experiences. She also had an earlier thread in 2007 discussing her expereinces.

However if others have had better results than norhtern_on's experience, I'd like to know. I'm interested in hearing from Canadian growers because of zonal similarities and the kinds of tomatoes grown plus the crop results.

Trudi is a great doyen of WS but she's in Long Island, NY - a zone 7 area. In mid-Feb. Long Island enjoyed 5C temperatures with a low of -2C. In contrast, Toronto, had -11C weather conditions in mid Feb. Now at the start of April, we are just beginning to experience the same sort of temps.


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