Time to Start the Seeds

Soil block with seed in it.

It’s that time of year again…time to start thinking about what you want to plant outside in a few weeks. This is extremely important when you are starting your own plants from seeds. When starting plants from seeds you always need to be thinking a few weeks in advance.

This year I decided to move my seed starting date out several weeks. Over the last few years I normally started my broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, cilantro, and dill the first week of February, with a transplant date of the first week or two of March. This year I decided to wait because, in the past when I planted early I would use mini tunnels covered in plastic (I have several older posts that describe the tunnels), and I could count on normally losing several plants over those first few weeks. So, as a back up plan, I would start a few additional filler plants at the beginning of March. Reviewing my harvest notes over the last few years, I noticed that my harvest date between the plants started in February vs. those filler plants started in March, was only a week or two difference in harvest dates. It also takes a lot of work to keep those plants alive during February. So as a result, I have decided to wait until March to start my plants…Well, March is here.

I also decided to make another change this year. Normally, I start all my seeds in 3/4″ soil blocks (more on this in some of my older posts), which required me to re-block them into 2″ soil blocks about 2 weeks later. After reading Eliot Coleman’s “The New Organic Grower”, several months ago, I decided to try his recommended soil block sizes for starting seeds.

Soil block in the tray

2″ soil blocks in the tray

1-1/2" soil blocks in tray

1-1/2″ soil blocks in the tray

The following is what I have decided to try this year:

Broccoli – 2″ soil block
Cabbage – 2″ soil block
Cauliflower – 2″ soil block

Spinach – 1-1/2″ soil block
Lettuce – 1-1/2″ soil block
Dill – 1-1/2″ soil block
Cilantro – 1-1/2″ soil block

After I placed the seeds in the soil block holes, I covered all the seeds with a thin layer of seed starting soil mix. I then lightly spray the top of the blocks with water before placing them under the grow lights.

Soil Blocks Under the Grow Lights

Soil blocks under the grow lights

I will continue to post on my progress of the changes I have made this season.

It’s not too late to try to start some seeds of your own.

Happy Growing….