Sunday, March 11, 2012

Journey of a Seed Sower...sowing caledar 2012

When is the best time to sow veggie seeds in the Pacific Northwest? Seattle is just like most other places and is dependent on the Last Spring Frost date! Whether you are starting your seeds in/out doors or direct sow in the ground it all comes down to timing and the freezing bite of mother-nature.

After speaking with many nurseries, gardeners, bloggers and local sites, the consensus for the last frost day here in Seattle is Mothers day weekend. 
However if you want to be really sure of the last spring frost date in your area and you like the science, check out http://cdo.ncdc.noaa.gov - Climate Norm's very cool tool, just enter your State then location and it bases the date on local weather patterns. You can choose from a 90% chance of frost, a 50/50 chance of frost or play it real safe and opt for the 10% chance of frost.
  • My 50/50 date would be: April 11th
  • While my 10% date is: April 27th (which I would feel safer using)
  • Mothers day this year is May 13th (I figure by this date it will be safe for me to start sowing or transplanting to the veggie beds! I'm so not a risk taker when it comes to sowing for the first time!)

So why is the last spring frost date so important? Basically most seeds prefer to be sown when the ground is warmer and the last chance of frost has passed as to not burn any new shoots or freeze and shock the seed (I can relate, who likes being in the garden when it's freezing anyway!)
But in saying this, I am surprised by how many cold season seeds thrive in these conditions, many of the green's like lettuce, broccoli and pea's love the colder weather and its been suggested to plant before the last frost as it can make for a tastier yield, they kinda like it...crazy seeds!

My Sow calendar for Spring 2012

March 12th - 18th - set up an area for indoor sowing!!
March 19th - 25th - Start sowing tomatoes indoors/coldframe (10-14days germination)
March 26th - April 1st - Indoor/coldframe sow onions* (21-30days germination)
April 2nd - April 8th - Indoor/coldframe sow broccoli (6-10days germination)
April 9th - April 15th -  Indoor/coldframe sow lettuce (2-14days germination)
April 16th - April 22nd -
April 23rd - April 29th - Transplant Broccoli (thin12-18in apart)
April 30th - May 6th- Direct sow beans (6-8days germination, thin to 8in when plant has 4leaves)
May 7th - May 13th - LAST SPRING FROST -
May 14th - May 20th - Direct sow carrots (14-23days germination) Direct sow cukes (5seeds per mound)
May 21st - May 27th - Transplant lettuce (10-15in apart) Transplant onions
May 28th - June 3rd - Transplant Tomatoes (1.5-3ft apart) Thin carrots (1in apart) Thin beans (s.a)
June 4th - June 10th - Thin Cukes to best 3/mound

*onion thinning - 25mm(1")-50mm(2") apart and then again later to 10cm(4")

Like most things in the world of gardening, this is all subject to change and is a rough outline for what I should be doing during what week. It might help me stay on track better when I work the plan and not just guess as I go. I have had so much wonderful advice on what to start when and little tips that fellow bloggers have suggested. Check out the awesome comments here on my I have my veggie seeds...now what? post! Thank you for all your wonderful advice!!!

18 comments:

  1. This is perfect! I was thinking about starting seeds this weekend, but was feeling incredibly lazy... now I feel justified! I'll plan to start seeds next weekend. Elias is working on his gardening merit badge, so he can work on that with me. Then I'll just follow your calendar ;-)

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    1. Way to go Elias, a future gardener in the making =) So excited you will be growing from seed, would love to hear how your seedlings go!! I just hope I don't lead you astray with my calendar, its totally trail and error...fingers crossed for us both ;)

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  2. I love how organized you are! Very inspiring :) I'm going to check out some of your links to see where the Portland, Oregon area falls for last frost. This year's La Nina effect totally sucks. I think it's going to cool all spring. Great for lettuce, snow peas and such but goodness, putting out the warm stuff might be late. Cheers, Jenni

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    1. Organized maybe, but productive we'll see...lol! Hope the link helps you Jenni, I would be interested to see what it is for Portland and if our locations are that different when it comes to frost dates. I had read somewhere the other day that Seattle is going to enjoy two springs this year! Although I am still holding out hope for a summer, oh how I love home grown tommy's, they will go so well with all the lettuce that is bound to flourish! lol!! Cheers Julia =)

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  3. Julia, I haven't braved sowing seeds yet - but someday! Great post - the link you provided is a great reference. Rule of thumb here has always been 'Mother's Day' ("ish"), but is sure is hard to wait. :(

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    1. Thanks Shyrlene, it was a fun post to write, really got me in the seeding spirit! I hope if you do give it a go you'll post, I am loving reading about everyone's different seeding adventures! Glad you like the link. Bring on Spring!!!

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  4. You are so very organized! Sounds like a great plan. I just sowed seeds for cool season crops so that I can get one harvest in before I plant all my warm season veggies. It has been such a warm winter. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we don't get a real cold snap.

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    1. Wow, sounds like you are going to have a very productive veggie garden this year! I will be excited if anything grows to bare fruit, they are saying its going to be a very VERY short growing season this year, so I am most hopeful for my cool season crops. Fingers crossed mother nature behaves herself ;)
      Cheers Julia xx

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  5. Wish they had something like this for us Canadian gardeners. What a great idea, moving to a new climate, I haven't a clue.

    Which reminds me, got to get those sweet peas started...sigh.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. Oh I love sweet peas! I grew them from a start last year, don't know what I enjoyed more the pea or the flower? Hope you are having a wonderful time getting to know your new garden, oh what fun awaits!! Hope the unpacking is going well =) Cheers Julia xx

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  6. You are so organised. Oh, to have a plan and stick to it.
    I'm the world's most disorganised procrastinator. It's lucky we have a long growing season here.

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    1. lol! Being organized is something I never hear, glad I can pull it off somewhere. The trick for me is to now stick to the plan. I am wonderful at intentions and even better at procrastinating! Cheers Julia =)

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  7. You are doing great making a list/calendar. If you do get something outside and only have a quick frost, you can usually cover seedlings with something to protect them.

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    1. Great idea!! We woke to snow yesterday and today, so being armed with some type of covering will be a real peace of mind! Is there anything you use/love/suggest for a cover? I have some burlap bags but am worried they are too heavy? Thanks for stopping by, I am loving your advice on my seeding journey! Cheers Julia

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  8. Wow, you are organized! Usually I wouldn't plant much of anything until mid-May, but this is the mildest spring I can remember here in southern Wisconsin. I think the planters, at least will be full of flowers in April. I can always pull them in if we get a late frost or freeze. Good luck with all your fun spring chores!

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    1. Thanks Beth, I am surprised by the crazy weather this spring. We had a few weeks of beautiful, dry blue sky days, it even hit the mid 60's one week. Now we are back in freezing temps again with rain, snow, hail and frost! My plants are having a conniption as to what they should be doing...lol! Your planters sound like they are going to be lovely this year, can't wait to see some pic's!! Cheers Julia =)

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  9. Moving 250 miles north has thrown me off these last 2 springs. Of course the weather has been totally different the last 2 winters to make matter worse for the adjustment. I have finally figured out the last freeze date, average freeze date and the earliest last freeze date. I am horrible at counting backwards or trying to decide which date to use so I am going to stick to purchasing the spring babies and just work on the summer seeds for now. I can use the time to pull weeds.

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    1. Hi Tufa Girl, I am so excited to see you here, thanks for the visit!! It can be such a challenge switching growing climates, I moved from sunny Sydney Aus to rainy Seattle, two very different growing styles, I am constantly learning how to do things differently here! (Like garden in the rain...lol!) Hope your spring babies do well, I can't wait to see what you grow! Enjoy your weed pulling ;) Cheers Julia

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my latest post! I love sharing my gardening adventures and reading your wonderful comments. Happy digging...Cheers Julia!!

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