Seed starting - its almost time!

Who out there is anxiously shaking their seed packs? (raises hand) Me!

Let's start a thread on varieties you've ordered or saved or developed on your own. What you use to get those seeds going and your learnings.

This year I ordered all from Fedco Seeds in Maine. I live in PA in zone 6A, but honestly out land faces north on a slop and we are colder and wetter than zone 6. I love Fedco seeds because I can order in different quantities and the germination rate is on the packet so I have an idea of how much to use.

I've saved tomato seeds from year to year with more success with the cherry tomatoes than the big ones. I have almost zero success with peppers, cucumber, pumpkins and zucchini seed saving. I have great luck with flowers like zinnia, and petunia.

I use artificial led lights and heat mats in my basement. I put them on a timer so they go on and off and get that cool effect at night. I spray the seedlings with a weak cooled chamomile tea which prevents any kind of mold or rot. I just buy a bag of seed starting soil. My goal this year is to set aside some garden soil that I cook in the solar oven to dry it out and use that next year.

So how do you do it? Let's share and learn!

ClareBroommaker's picture

Peppers and tomatoes are the only things I start in January or February. My sweet banana pepper seeds saves very well year after year. I need to see what hot pepper seed I have because I ran out of those last year when making cucumber pickles and had to buy some fresh. I usually only grow hot peppers every 2-3 years.

I saved some seed from the grocery store "golden jalapenos" which were very inconsistent from fruit to fruit anyway. Some were totally without heat; some were hot. They were thicker skinned that jalapenos I previously knew, and much chunkier of shape and size. But I set aside some seed and might try those, too. Seeds from grocery store peppers germinate pretty well, because pepper seeds will germinate even when the fruit has not been allowed to reach maturity on the plant.

My tomatoes will again be open pollinated Rio Grande (also called Roma Grande). I mentioned before that this tomato gave us 32.4 pounds of fruit per plant. I did not save seeds last year because previously when I grew out saved Rio Grande seeds they clearly had been crossed with the tomatoes my garden buddy had given me. But I have a four year old packet that might still germinate, and also a packet I bought last year, but whose tomatoes were not as good, I thought. Interestingly, the better ones had a US source and the lesser ones were from Italy, (I'm in the US.)...I just looked this up in the catalog from which I bought the seeds last year and it says this tomato is also called Toboga.

If I get out soon enough, I'll plant either some snow peas or sugar snap peas. That is one I should try to save seeds of. Buying the seeds is more expensive than buying the vegetable.

I might try tobacco one more time I think the previous two times I've tried it, I started them about April 1. Not sure. Shout out to whoever suggested I bring in tobacco as a house plant in winter. It is doing better than it did outside!

Pretty much everything else will be direct seeded or sown in cell packs and medium yogurt cups in March, April, May and as late as June.

Since the government legalized the "Devil's lettuce" I'm toying with the idea of growing some herb, but I don't know anything about growing it from seed. The government store sells seeds, but they cost $15 each so I don't want to be experimenting with such pricey seeds. Are there any tips people could offer about the best way to start plants from seeds?