video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
For many of us, there is no summer without tomatoes.
When you're sowing tomato seeds, you're sowing summer!
And sigh: Growing gorgeous tomato transplants from seed is *not* especially easy.
Here's the counter-intuitive truth: Younger, unstressed transplants often yield many times the abundance of old, stressed transplants.
No matter how short your seasons are, starting seeds earlier than is optimal is simply undermining your abundance.
Also, your goal for any transplant (also potentially counter-intuitive!) is for your seedling to be as short, stout & deep green as possible. Short and stout because they're not leggy, stretching and stressed for light. Deep green because they're fully photosynthesizing and not nutrient-deficient.
Growing healthy tomato transplants is not easy, Friends.
Being honest with ourselves about how well we grow transplants indoors is even harder!
Here are common mistakes to save you heartache as well as how to sow...
As robins flock, days warm and daffodils rise, our psyches itch sow seeds. That first delicious day in the 60s sends the shoes off my feet as I scramble to plant peas, spinach cilantro and those first, sweet radishes of the season. Truly, there are few finer feelings.
So Friends, I'm excited to share what I'm sowing directly in the ground ~6 weeks before final frost here in the Finger Lakes, Zone 5!
But first, two things about soil temperature and texture, everyone's favorite subject:
If your soil is soupy, even a little, your seeds will likely rot. We typically direct sow and transplant into our raised beds and containers, which warm up and drain much more quickly than the garden soil, between two or three weeks before we plant into our gardens. Even light tillage of wet soils will compact and destroy your soil texture, sometimes taking years to recover.
How do you know if your soil is...
Here in the Finger Lakes of New York, Zone 5a, we're filling our greenhouse with the seeds of crops best sown 6 to 8 weeks before last frost. Exploring last frost dates is a blog coming soon! In the meantime, we aim for Memorial Day as our frost-free date.
Here is the laundry list, with notes:
Though onions & shallots (like Cuisse du Poulet below) were ideally started 4 to 6 weeks ago, there is no time like the present and last call! Other alliums like Leeks and scallions are not day-length sensitive, so sow them anytime now through mid-July. We'll be planting them out early/mid-May.
Now is the perfect time to start peppers, eggplant and tomatoes (like Brandywise below). Other varieties in the solanid family to start indoors include ground cherries and tomatillos, but hold off on them til mid-April: they are a lot more vigorous and will easily become stressed started this...
For years we’ve been asked to demystify seed starting and here it is: Rise & Shine shares everything you need to start seeds successfully at home in 40 beautiful pages with easy-to-follow instructions and insightful tips for the novice and experienced grower alike.