by Sandy Swegel
This time it’s going to be a lot easier. You don’t need lights and cold frames. You don’t even have to use trays and little pots. You can put the seeds directly into the earth. You don’t need much time. Seeds germinate in warm soil really fast. All you really do need this time of year is water. Seeds you start mid-summer are at risk of germinating and then drying out, so you have to remember to sprinkle them daily and keep the soil moist. But that’s about it.
- Why Start Seeds Now?
The least romantic reason is to Save Money.
The second least romantic reason is to Save Time.
The romantic reason is Beauty and Abundance.
Lettuces. In most gardens, your lettuces and even spinach have bolted and gone to seed. You’re probably trying to salvage individual leaves here and there, but they are pretty bitter because of the heat. Seeding new beds will give you young sweet leaves and plants that will feed you well into Fall and even Early Winter.
Cold Hardy Greens. The key to being able to eat out of the winter garden is to have big plants with enough leaves to feed you all winter. Chards and Kale and Spinach seeded now will be big enough come to Fall that even in cold climates you can pile leaves on them and harvest from under the snow. But you need big plants because come October and November the plants aren’t going to be re-growing much.
Peas. Peas germinate and grow easily this time of year. By the time they reach maturity, the chill of Fall nights will make them sweet and yummy. In Colorado we kind of got cheated out of our peas this year because it became so hot so fast, the peas dried up. But we have a second chance.
Root crops. Carrots and beets planted in summer have time to grow to maturity and wait in the soil until cooling Fall weather turns them into sugar. As long as the ground isn’t frozen solid, you can continue to harvest delectable root veggies that taste much better than the spring and summer harvests.
You know the adage about perennials. First, they sleep, then they creep, then they leap. Perennials need their first year to establish roots and many don’t even make flowers until the second year. Perennials that you seed now will still consider this their first year and then be ready to bloom next year. If you wait until next Spring to plant perennial seed….you won’t get flowers until 2016. Planting perennials is one of the most thrifty things you can do in your gardens. Foxglove and lupines are both underused magnificent bloomers in gardens. And they can easily cost $8 each in garden centers. You can have dozens and dozens of them blooming next year if you seed now. All those flowers for cutting you’ve always wanted — daisies and echinacea and rudbeckia – they are simple from seed. One packet of seed will give you dozens and dozens of flowers next year.
So save an entire year of time by planting perennial seeds now. And save a bundle of money by growing your own perennials and by having greens you can pick from for the next six months.
Photo credit: www.modernfarmer.com
Heirloom Vegetable Seeds
Wildflower Seed Mixes
Grass Seed Mixes