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Direct sow or indoor grow?

Posted by heirloomjunkie 5a (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 13, 10 at 20:26

This year I am growing most of my plants indoors from seed - tomatoes, peppers, onions, peas, etc.

I am direct sowing my carrots and spinach, but was wondering if it would hurt to start my swiss chard and sunflowers indoors? Not sure how they would take transplanting...

Thanks, Kim

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Direct sow or indoor grow?

For your peas, why not just pre-sprout them indoors and then plant them outdoors directly? That way, they wouldn't take up valuable space, they wouldn't have to be hardened off at all, and yet you'd know they were already started (and could discard the ones that didn't sprout).

Just soak them overnight, drain them, and put them on a damp mat or paper towel, cover with plastic, and set in a warmish spot. As soon as those little 'tails' start coming out, sow them in place outdoors.

I've heard that sunflowers can be started indoors, but they don't hold well in a pot for very long, it stunts them.

Don't know about chard.


RE: Direct sow or indoor grow?

Agree. Sun flowers grow so fast once started that they quickly outgrow any container you have. You'd end up transplanting them 5 times before they could go to the garden and then they be stunted or die.

Pre-sprout the peas if you wish but be sure to have the planting bed ready so they can go right to it once they pop open. Don't let them develop leaves before planting.

Chard, like all other leafy greens could be started indoors a couple of weeks before planting time outside. But honestly it really doesn't accomplish anything except to make the gardener feel better. If the chard and lettuce and spinach etc. had its choice it would choose direct seeding. ;)


RE: Direct sow or indoor grow?

Thanks, both of you. I will definately grow the sunflowers outdoors. I didn't know they grew so fast. Of couse, I guess they would have to, to get that tall. I bought the Mammoth variety, and still can't wrap my mind around how tall they get. I'm sorry to say that I've never seen one "in person".

The pea idea sounds nice. Direct sowing always makes me a little antsy because of where I live. The frost date is sometimes not reliable. I have been saving old pop bottles to use as cloches though. That would help, right?

Sunflowers- I leave it to the sun

Last year I did an experiment and start sunflowers inside 3 weeks before my last frost.

I also direct sowed some in the middle of May. The ones I started inside were about 12" tall and were very sad, but I got them in the ground.

Come June, my direct sow sunflowers were much larger than my 'inside' sunflowers.

And come July, almost all of my seedlings I started inside fell over because they were not as strong as the ones I started directly outside.

Lesson learned... and now I don't plant any and I have 50-60 that self-sow. Fun to see what they will look like once opened. Mine reach over 15" tall. It is crazy!


RE: Direct sow or indoor grow?

We start our sunflowers inside a couple of weeks before they go out. We use paper cups(ecotainer 8 oz.), and at transplanting, rip out the bottom, and sink them in a bit.
We grow sunflowers for large seed heads, and height(county fair competition) these are not baby sunflowers. And if we don't start them inside, the critters eat the seed before it comes up...or take down the small sprouts. The buried cups also help with cutworms....and the system works wonderful for us:)


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