I hope all of you are busy planning your vegetable gardens and getting those seeds ordered! If you haven’t purchased seeds yet, now is the time. A lot of seed companies are experiencing larger than usual interest and several have had to temporarily stop accepting orders. Many varieties of seeds are running out. So jump on it!
If you already have your seeds and your plan of action, you may be champing at the bit to get started. Those of us who start seeds indoors feel the urge to play in the dirt (or the soilless seed-starting mix) even in winter, but it’s often not a good idea. When I began gardening, I started many plants far too early, and was sorry later when I had enormous seedlings that couldn’t be put in the ground until the weather cooperated. So as a former offender, I will state clearly: DO NOT START YOUR TOMATO PLANTS IN FEBRUARY. In fact, do not start your tomato plants until late March or early April, and you will be much happier, and so will your plants.
But what CAN I start, you ask, with a pitiful, yearning look in your eyes. I know. I really do. Here’s a list. It may not include anything you’re actually planning to grow, but I’ll give you another suggestion at the end. Here we go.
Have you ever looked through a seed catalog, deciding which onion seed or plants to buy, and been perplexed by the words “long-day” or “short-day” attached to each variety? Or sometimes “intermediate-day” or “day-neutral”? You might just give up in confusion and order by a familiar name or tasty-sounding description, but really, this is something you need to pay attention to, because onions are… photothermoperiodic!
Yeah, right, you say. Read on to find out what this means and why it’s important, though not as important here in Maryland as it would be if we lived in Mississippi or Minnesota.
As you’re planning your vegetable garden for this year, you’re probably thinking seeds, seeds, seeds. But not everything in the garden needs to begin with seeds. In some cases, plants started by someone else are a convenient or even economical choice. And some crops, like potatoes, are grown from last season’s tubers rather than from seeds.
Here are some crops you might consider giving a little head start by purchasing plants, tubers, bulbs, etc. Most of these will also be available in local garden centers in the proper season, but if you order them from seed companies now, you will have a much wider choice of varieties, and they will ship at the right time for planting.