Planting Spring Crops From Seed Has Many Benefits.
Now is the time to sow seeds outdoors for cold hardy crops. Planting spring crops from seed directly outdoors has many benefits. Sowing seeds directly is simpler and less time consuming than starting seeds indoors because there is no need to harden off plants. In addition, it can be a challenge starting seeds indoors unless you have a greenhouse or growing lamps.
Benefits of Planting Spring Crops from Seed
Seeds are less expensive than transplants. They also offer a wide variety of choices. They provide less risk of disease transmission from unknowingly setting out contaminated plants. In addition, if seeds aren’t used during a season they can be effectively stored for use again the next year. A cool dry place is all that is needed to preserve most seeds for following years. Keep seeds in an airtight container. Placing a desiccant, such as silica gel, calcium chloride, or a bundle of powdered milk will remove moisture.
How many seeds should I plant?
Most hobby gardeners make the mistake of planting far too many seeds. This will create a crowded or overgrown plot. Don’t be tempted to throw an entire package of seeds into the ground at once. Most seed packets contain hundreds of tiny seeds. Do you even want a percentage of those seeds at harvest time? Instead, plant the right amount for harvest and space accordingly. Consider a second or third round if you aim to have fresh veggies each week. For example, if you want lettuce weekly, don’t plant ALL your lettuce in one week. Instead plant a few each week during the cool season and again late summer for fall harvest.
What NOT to Plant from Seed
Save yourself the time and disappointment by planting the following as transplant only: tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. These plants take too long to start from seed in the spring. Iowa’s short growing season just doesn’t afford the time to start these crops from seed outdoors. You will not have enough time to harvest them before frost in the fall. Therefore, enjoy starting these summer garden favorites with a good size healthy transplant after danger of the first frost.