It’s Official…

Last Wednesday I started the first seeds of the 2021 gardening season, that’s means it’s officially garden season. This week the process continues with two varieties of celery (Tango from Johnny’s and Merlin from Renee’s Garden), Italian flat leaf parsley, and celeriac.

Celery, celeriac, and parsley all need the same environment to germinate, thus I often plant them all in one flat together. They have a LONG germination period, so it’s important to not be planted with things that will germinate quickly and shade them out.

When it comes to things that I don’t grow an entire flat of, I like to group things together that need the same environment (extra heat, cool temps, light, etc). Celery, parsley, and celeriac all take a long time to germinate, thus they do well all seeded in the same flat. There’s no risk of one thing germinating quickly and shading out the others.

This time of year, half of our dining room table becomes seed starting central.

As the seed starting season gets into full swing, our dining room table becomes a planting bench. I have a large plastic tray that works wonderfully for this purpose, keeping all the mess contained (except when the cats decide to sleep in it). I started using soil blocks years ago and really find them useful, I can’t imagine doing things any other way.

Soil blocks have been my favorite way to start seeds for quite a while now. They’re fantastic and I find I have much less transplant shock and things reach maturity quicker.

The onion seeds that I started last week are germinating beautifully. This year I didn’t even bother putting them on a seedling heating mat since it was still cold enough that the wood stove was going (my seed light stand is in the same room as the wood stove). This worked perfectly, onions germinate much quicker if they are in a warm location, a seedling heating mat produces great results.

There are four flats of onions under the grow lights. Each flat holds 40 soil blocks, each soil block contains between 3-7 onion seedlings.

Onion seeds need to be fresh each year, seed older than a year has significantly reduced germination rates and takes longer. Instead of trying to save seed, I use up any leftover seed to grow microgreens indoors during winter or to sow a late crop of scallions in the fall.

Onion seedlings, the seeds were started on February 16, 2021. Onion seed needs to be fresh (less than a year old) for good germination rates.

Later this week I will likely start a flat of spinach and another of cold tolerant greens. I’m ridiculously excited to have a salad of fresh greens from the garden and will go through a bit of extra work in the spring to make that happen. Spinach is a great option for early growing because it can tolerate a lot of cold weather (even freezes) and does quite well. I’m happy that it’s once again seed starting season, this year will be the best year yet!

What are you starting indoors? Any seeds? Favorite things?

7 thoughts on “It’s Official…

    1. I find that onions and celery do better for me when I start them at this time. I do a second planting of celery for all harvest, this one will be for summer salads.

  1. We are still recuperating from last week’s unseasonable cold weather. I want to start sowing a few things and may start next week.

  2. I’ve got onions started here, in WI, a flat of greens for the hoop house, and my parsley just sprouted too. I love that green tub for soil blocks, I’ve been keeping my eye out for something like that!

    1. I got mine from Johnny’s Seeds, it’s really nice. I used to use a dish pan and it was too small and needed refilled constantly, this thing is fantastic!

    2. Hi every one! @ Sara- I use these plastic mixing tubs. I found them in concrete mixing area of home depot, but you might find at lowe’s too. They are like the above green plastic tub she uses, but a bit larger. there are two sizes avail at home depot. amazing thing is these are so cheap yet tough (I have about 10 and use them for various things- drilled holes in corner and use in winter time like a mini sleigh etc).
      for about $12 at home depot you can buy one, but on amazon or anywhere else if you buy “seed starting soil bin” you will pay $20-40!!

      medium size holds 10 gallons and is only $6 here in Montana

      larger size holds 20 gallons and is about $12 here

      You will love the versatility of these bins!!!

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