Shouldn't I be starting seeds now?

It's winter and gardeners are starting to get impatient. Winter has only been around 1 month, but we want to get out in the garden. The seed catalogs are tempting us...

What's the next best thing...? Starting seeds indoors!

Is it time to start my seeds?

It's January, and for most common garden crops in the US, no it's not time yet!

I'm oversimplifying of course, but hear me out.

Don't just start seeds without doing a few simple calculations. ...

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Seeds for Next Year

People who garden in small plots usually find themselves with seeds left over at the end of the season. 

It's a good idea to have some extra seeds on hand when you're planting, just in case you need to replant. But once the planting window for a particular crop is over, you may find an extra half packet or more remaining.

So what do you do with those seeds? 

Last Year's Seeds

There's nothing wrong with keeping your extra...

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Sowing and Thinning

Seed packets often have the terms "sow" and "thin." Let's look at what these terms mean.

Sow

Sow in this context is a verb and it rhymes with "toe." It means to plant the seeds and the term is used in the context of farming and gardening for growing crops. For example, planting acorns usually isn't described as "sowing" oak trees to regenerate a forest. You also do not "sow" transplants or seedlings.

Sowing...

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Plant Spacing Guidelines

Most seed packets provide a few basic guidelines for planting. How far deep should I plant the seeds? How far apart should I plant these seeds for them to grow well?

Here's a typical seed packet back with a small table containing planting guidelines:

What it doesn't tell you is that there's an underlying assumption on how your garden is laid out. Their guidelines aren't very helpful if you aren't planting in that way.

The...

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How Old is "Too Old?" (for Seeds)

I think I'll stick with the topic of seeds for a few weeks. Last week, I posted a tutorial about reading a seed packet, and because of the length of the tutorial, I didn't get into much depth about some of the details. 

The "Packed For" Date

Seed packets (sold to consumers like you and me) are supposed to have on them some indication of their age - this is usually done with "packed for <year>" printed on the package. It should...

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Tutorial: A Beginner's Guide to Reading Vegetable Seed Packets

Seed packets for consumers like you and me are required by law to contain truthful information about the seeds in the packet. The intent of the law is to ensure the buyer knows exactly what they are buying, and to provide the consumer with some basic instructions for how to plant and grow the seed successfully. 

It seems pretty obvious. The information on a seed packet is regulated at a national level to provide...

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