Don’t Start Seeds Too Early
|Photo: MissyRedBoots, Judith Broug|
Some of you aren’t going to heed this advice. I blame the fact that this winter has been so long (psychologically) and cold that with all the complaints about it, many gardeners want to jump the gun. Whether the stores will aid and abet you, I don’t know… our road conditions have been bad and I haven’t gone to stores with seed supplies, yet.
But be forewarned if you are having fun planting your little seeds under lights: they may get tall and spindly before you can safely plant them out. That sort of defeats the reason we start plants early. Ideally you would have sturdy, healthy plants that are ready to burst forth into growth once they hit the sun warmed soils. This winter may delay that time. Maybe not, and that is the throw of the dice for gardeners.
My bets are agin’ it.
It is sort of like the advice that seasoned gardeners give you about trees: a whip will soon catch up and even overtake the planting of a much larger transplant. So why waste the money and the expectations?
But we often do what we like, and seeds are inexpensive enough for the most part,so you can experiment with timing if you wish. Ohioans and those who live in similar cold climates (
Zone 5, here) might want to wait just a week more, or even til the end of the month to plant tomato and pepper seeds.
Still, you might just get lucky with an early spring warm-up. Then you will grouse that I don’t know what I’m talking about. The thing is that for optimal growth it is the temperature of the soil rather than the air that matters to tender plants and their growth.
So if I seem a bit over cautious, or wishy-washy about timing (depending on how you look at it), it is more due to the fact that we adjust our methods like an artists brush rather than an instrument’s calibration. Gardening is not precise, if for no other reason than we can’t predict the weather – and that has much to do with the art of gardening.
So how about this advice? Get yourself a journal and start taking notes on what you do and what works or fails for you. That way you can become the reigning expert on what goes on in your garden, which finally is the only expertise that matters in this case.
I will, however, be gathering together my seed starting supplies so that I can start some plants early this year. Even if I’m not quite ready to plant the seeds.