The 2015 Growing season is off to a fine start even though there is 6 inches of snow outside and the snow is still falling. The secret to my 7th growing season will be the same as it has been for the previous six. Plan and Prepare. It is obvious to me now that there are just three essential pieces that form the foundation for a great growing season. Barring any Force Majeure a good season begins with a schedule, seeds and soil. For this episode I just wish to focus on those three points for you. More knowledge will come as time passes.
The first part is SCHEDULE – 2015 Planting Times I have take all the guess work out of when to do what for seed starts and outdoor plantings with the 2015 Planting Times Feel free to download and customize it for your area. This one is what I have deemed best suited for Northern Virginia. My anticipated last frost date is two weeks later that the norm. This helps to prevent me from starting some plants too soon as well as the needless worry of what to do when frost hits in late April. The latest I have experienced frost is May 8 and that is rare. If it happens again then some plants won’t make it. Oh well. However, by that time my plants are normally hardened off enough to withstand an uncomfortable night or two.
The next step for a great growing season is to have plenty of good SEEDS. Mine mostly come from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange located in Mineral, Virignia. heirloom seeds at their best. I also use a lot of seeds saved from previous years. The seeds I save come from extrodinary palnts that grew big and produced abundantly. I mostly save seeds from tomatoes, flowers, cucumbers, beans and edamame. The service at Southern Exposure is exceptional and the pricing is great. I also get a lot of my cover crop seeds from there such as rye, clover, vetch, etc.
The last step to leave you with today is SOIL. Seeds start best in a sterile medium and I rely on vermiculite. 1 cubic foot is enough to start thousands of plants. I get Vermiculite from Amazon along with heat mats that have proven to be indespensible because most of the seeds I start require the medium temperature to be 70F. Heat mats save a lot of time and help to produce a higher percentage of seedlings.
I have to go now and start the green onions and chives. Stay tuned for more but get started today.