Re: [gardeners] seed starting yet?

olin (
Thu, 27 Dec 2001 13:54:14 -0700

In our desert version of USDA Zone 9b, we usually direct seed large seeded
crops like corn, beans, cucurbits and the heat-loving crops like okra.  But
tomatoes. peppers, and eggplant are always started indoors in cells in 1020
flats under lights in an unheated garage about January 1 and planted out in
mid to late February.  But this year I started tomatoes 4 weeks ago and plan
to set out in 3 weeks and grow in a plastic tunnel for about 1 month to give
me an extra month of growing time.  I also have pretty good success with
pole beans and lima beans, which are not considered to be adapted here, by
planting in 4-inch peat pots placed inside a round 4-inch plastic pot.  This
may seem redundant but it keeps the peat pot from drying out and then you
can plant the whole peat pot (after removing it from the plastic pot)
without disturbing the roots.  The top rim of the peat pot needs to be
broken off and covered with soil after transplanting  to keep the moisture
from wicking out.  Other large seeded crops with long radicles, such as
gourds, squash and melons,  can also be grown and transplanted successfully
using the peat-pot-in-plastic-pot method but there doesn't seem to be much
of an advantage over direct seeding.

We also seed leaf lettuce, chard and beets (for greens) in 1020 flats, like
right now, for late winter and early spring greens.  Starting any later will
often result in bolting before harvesting a decent crop as the temps warm
up.  These crops, as well as the cabbage family and alliums are also usually
started in the fall by both direct seeding or indoors as determined by the
time of year (fall or early winter).

I do not have a greenhouse and don't see any need for one for starting
vegetable seeds but it would be nice to grow flowers and also to  have a
cooled greenhouse in the summer.


----- Original Message ----- From: <>

> To the folk on list who start seed in flats to be set out in the Spring,
> what types are you starting, and when do you begin to set the flats?
> I usually don't think about it until just a couple of weeks prior to
> needing them in the garden. I have a 'semi-ok' greenhouse that I
> could be using to start a lot of seeds this season.
> Our last frost date here is usually mid-March tho this past year I
> had corn up in the garden by Feb 22. (covered with remay for the
> first couple of weeks).
> martha