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Starting Seeds…

February 7, 2011

Yesterday I started the early seeds: leeks, onions, parsley, dill, broccoli, and violas.

I had just about zero luck with the leeks last year (aside from a couple tasty broths made with the too-skinny-to-eat results) and absolutely zero with the onions. Apparently I decided to try the leeks again, because leek seeds arrived in my seed order. (Does anyone else forget what they ordered and get surprised when they arrive?) And I had a couple dozen onion seeds left over, so I decided why not throw them in too.

I think my problem last year was that I tried starting them in the cold frame in the fall, so they would get off to a rolling start in the spring and get bigger, sooner. But I think somehow this screwed up their sense of seasonality and they were off when it warmed up. I had read that you need to make sure they are still skinnier than a pencil when they go into winter, which they were, but still somehow they didn’t act like it was growing season come spring. So this year I’m trying the more standard advice to start inside 8-10 weeks before last frost.

The parsley went into the freezer overnight after planting. I tried this last year and it really worked – reduced germination time to two weeks instead of four. You’re supposed to be able to direct seed parsley, but I’ve had little luck keeping on top of the watering to keep them moist enough for four weeks.

The dill is part of my beneficial insect campaign – about which more later. Broccoli is a new one for us. I tried it as a fall crop, but I started it too late, I guess, because all we got was one floret. There are still several broccoli plants sitting in the cold frame that I’m hoping will wake up and produce when it warms up. And the violas…well, you can’t have too many violas, right? I’m hoping to distribute them around the herb garden for some early color. (And eat them in salads!)

Oh, and we planted some more peas in the cold frames, and stuck a few in a pot indoors for good measure.

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