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Timing of Vegetable seed starting

Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 8, 12 at 12:10

After trial & error I finally figured out what to plant when in our unique maritime climate. The last frost date doesn't matter so much as the soil temperatures & for warm weather vegetables air temperature, too!

Vegetable Crops are cool or warm weather preferable.
SHV = semi-hardy vegetables are less frost tolerant
HV = hardy vegetables will likely survive a frost
WWV = warm weather vegetables not tolerant of frost or cooler weather
MGT = minimum germination temperature
MST = minimum soil temperature

HV = broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips (MGT = 35F)
SHV=beets, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, parsley, parsnips, potatoes and Swiss chard (MGT = 40F)
WWV = beans, celery, corn, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, all squash, melons, eggplant, pepper & tomato (MST = 55-60F)

I'm always eager to plant early to get a head start, but have learned to hold off a bit with some vegetables (beets, cabbage family, onions, leeks, Swiss chard) because of vernalization, premature flowering when exposed to 40-50 degree temps when seedlings are big enough to do so. Planting later & having smaller seedlings during our cool spring prevents it. I decided to start many things from seed rather than purchased transplants because of the bolting. There's nothing you can do to stop it when those starts are held too long in small pots & too mature for our weather. Save your $ & energy to start your own. It's easy if you winter sow them.

A useful book is Backyard Bounty by Linda Gilkeson where she explains specifics for how & when to plant in the western British Columbia, WA, & OR climate. She's not a winter sower, but a winter sower could use her suggestions for after germination.

She also publishes articles on the link below & will be at the Mother Earth Fair in Puyallup the 1st weekend of June.

Here is a link that might be useful: Timing Seed Starting by Linda Gilkeson


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Timing of Vegetable seed starting

For those temps, we could not start tomatoes outdoors til July fourth in Western WA.? I generally try to start the Tomato seed about mid march indoors and move the seedlings out around June 1st.


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RE: Timing of Vegetable seed starting

July 4 for tomatoes sounds about right, actually. They're a semi tropical plant after all. Everyone I know who's serious about growing tomatoes starts them indoors and has a hoophouse or tomato house or a very sheltered southern exposure for them.

Interesting about the cool weather greens info. I didn't bother planting any last year due to consistently losing them to early bolting. I was also told that the very low organic content of my soil contributes to that. So, now I can try a) adding more compost and b) waiting a bit later. I have found that peas planted in March produce a crop at the same time as peas planted in February, and with a higher germination rate.


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RE: Timing of Vegetable seed starting

I use tunnels to warm the soil underneath and plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash and cucumbers out earlier. Also there are some beans like favas, runner beans and a few wax type beans (like an heirloom called Pisarecka Zlutoluske) that can take being soaked and planted out as early as April 15. Because of the Brassica bolting problem, many do better for me planted out right before July 15, yielding well before frost, and some overwinter and give an abundance of early spring greens and flowering shoots, like turnips, collards, kale, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pisarecka Zlutoluske


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