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Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

Posted by firsthouse_mp Nor Calif--SF area (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 28, 10 at 20:40

I am brand new to growing from seeds. In the past I have grown veggies in my garden but went to garden stores and bought small plants in 4" or 6" containers. I would very much like to try growing from seed. My Christmas gift from my family included a variety package of 18 types of different Vegetable Garden Seeds and a Germination Station which includes a 72 cell covered tray along with a heated pad that goes underneath. I also have some type of soiless material that you start seedlings with. This has been my best xmas gift from my family (sure beats the unworn leopard-print sweater or the desk accessories that I got one year!).

So, I am trying to learn everything I can about growing from seed. I am super excited to start this but am I too early to start the seeds? We have very little "frost" here in NorCal, so should be relatively warm by the end of March. That's about 90 days. So, can I start the seeds, get to small seedling stage, transplant to pots to set outside, then put them outside by end of March?

Any website that you can direct me too will be gladly appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

Well, I don't really grow vegetables from seed (just flowers) but I'll try to help. I just started growing flowers from seed last year so I understand your excitement and how anxious you must be to get started using your new germination station! However, you must be careful not to start your seeds too soon. For folks new to growing from seed, that's a very common mistake.

Where you live, you could probably start some seeds (such as Peppers, Leeks, and Celery) as early as mid January but that would be too early for many vegetable seeds. For most others you probably would be wise to wait another three weeks or so.

Here is a link that might be useful: Weekend Gardener

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

Thanks Art for responding and also for the useful link! In the meantime I will continue to peruse my seed catalogues and plan my garden. If you think of any other useful links, I'd love you to pass those along.

Regarding flowers: I notice that people say they "collect" seeds. Does this mean they actually wait until the flowers are droopy and going into that dried out stage and you collect the seeds from the heads? I am interested in growing zinnias in brilliant colors and would love to see if I after this year I could collect some from the plants. I have a packet of seeds right now, but it would be great to have a "forever" source of seeds! You can see I am very new to this.....

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

Yes, that's what they mean by collecting seeds.

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

Your best information on when to start your seeds is local information. Your county has a university extension service waiting to help you free, if you telephone them. Look in your phone book under county offices. Al

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

firsthouse_mp mentions an interest in zinnias. This links to the most recent thread in GW's ''annuals'' forum.

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

  • Posted by loribee2 CA 10-Sonoma County (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 30, 10 at 11:56

Firsthouse, this is only my second year starting from seed, but I can give you my plans, given we live in the same general area:

This weekend, I'm starting bok choi, broccoli, cabbage and parsley seeds for a 3/1 transplant. I give them 60 days before transplant, since once they germinate, I've got them in an unheated garden shed where the growth time is a little slower than what the books say.

I'm starting my tomato seeds around 2/15 this year for a 5/15 transplant. I waited until 3/15 last year, and didn't feel my plants got big enough before my transplant date of 5/15, so I'm starting a little earlier this year.

3/1 I sow my peppers, onions and herbs. I don't put peppers out until 6/1 and they grew reeeally slow for me last year, again most likely because I'm not keeping them really toasty while they start.

Peas get direct sowed in March and April.

Pole beans, squash and cucumber get direct sowed around 5/1. I started in pots last year and was amazed at how fast they grew (and grew out of!) their pots. I've learned they're best put right in the beds.

Like I said, I'm also fairly new to starting from seed, but I was pretty successful last year, and am making some adjustments based on what I learned. So take what you can use of the information and toss the rest.

And congrats on the Christmas presents! I'm really enjoying growing from seed because I love the control I have over what I grow and when I plant it. It's also fun browsing through those catalogs in the cold months and daydreaming of my lush summer garden.

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

Thanks for the post. It was definitely helpful to see your dates, as that gives me a specific idea of when I should sow/plant. I have started a few things in milk jugs to transplant (they are outside, so may not sprout for a few months--winter sowing).

So I gather you can get in one early Spring crop of broccoli and cabbage before Summer due to our mild Feb-April? Then, you don't grow any of these cool season veggies until Fall again? Or do you just do one season of these?

Thanks everyone for the great tips!

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

Yes, my goal is two crops of cool season vegetables a year--spring and fall. I'm also trying to succession plant broccoli and peas to see how far I can stretch the season.

I've been working with this vegetable planting calendar from the Sonoma County Master Gardener's website:

There is also a good book titled "Golden Gate Gardening" by Pam Peirce which has several planting and seed starting calendars specific to the Bay Area.

I'm gathering as I get more experience, I'll continue to adjust my planting times, and maybe even abandon attempting certain vegetables at certain times of year. For instance, I tried planting peas and broccoli late (November) for a winter garden and I'm just not sure it's worth it since they seem to be sitting there doing almost nothing. It's one of the best things about starting from seed, in my opinion. You can play around with different planting times and varieties with minimal investment.

Not sure where you are in Northern California, but those two publications may give you a good place to start.

RE: Brand new to Growing from Seed-- new Germination Station

Thanks for the great link for the timetable. Downloaded that and am studying it!

I am 30 min South of SF so have less cold and less heat than you.

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