Archive for September 19th, 2011

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Direct Sowing Cool-Weather Seeds

September 19, 2011

If you’re a little behind schedule like me, there’s still time to get cool-weather seeds in the ground. Growing from seed is the most economical way to bring ‘healthy’ food to the table, and there are more available seed varieties than seedlings. Although starting seeds indoors provides a jump-start if done earlier, sowing seeds directly in the garden takes less work and avoids transplant shock. All you need to direct sow cool-weather seeds is a little time for soil prep, garden tools, gloves, and water.

Soil Prep for Direct Sowing Includes:

  1. Working in amendments. Loose soil is especially important for root crops. Hard compacted soil can stunt the growth and clumps create odd-shaped vegetables, but they’re still edible so don’t toss them.
  2. Removing all weeds, pebbles, and dirt clumps.
  3. Leveling the soil so water will distribute evenly.
  4. Deep watering so the soil is moist below the top layer.

Once the soil prepared it’s time to direct sow seeds. Here’s a list of cool-weather seeds sown in September:

  1. Beets
  2. Bush Beans
  3. Cabbage
  4. Carrots
  5. Celery
  6. Cilantro
  7. Collards
  8. Corn Salad
  9. Head Lettuce
  10. Kale
  11. Mustard
  12. Onions
  13. Peas
  14. Radish
  15. Shallots
  16. Spinach
  17. Swiss Chard
  18. Turnips

Follow seed packet instructions for depth and spacing. Seeds sown directly on top of the soil need light to germinate. To keep these from washing away, use a hose wand set on a gentle ‘shower’. Buried seeds require less caution while watering but need moist soil. Label what you planted where and watch your crop grow.

Note:  Most seeds need warm soil to germinate and grow to a sufficient size. If a cold spell is in the forecast during germination and early seedling stage and you have a small garden, cover the soil with clear plastic. Be sure to ventilate or uncover if the temperatures are warm in the afternoons.

For a list of September gardening chores check out “Monthly Tasks” on the sidebar.

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