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Seed Starting 101: Learn More Each Season

May 21st, 2010

Now that you’ve gone through an entire season of seed starting, you need to take some time to sit down and review your successes and failures. Taking stock of what worked and what didn’t is an important part of being successful year after year at seed starting. By doing this you’ll learn from your mistakes and hopefully not make them again. It will also help you understand the exact needs of your garden and climate. You’ll also start to develop techniques that work well for you and you’ll start to figure out which methods you prefer.

If you make the extra effort each to experiment with a few types of plants each year, you’ll develop your own successful techniques much quicker. Perhaps you can try germinating a flat of peppers with a seedling heat mat and without, see if it’s worth the extra money to invest in a few heating mats to ensure better germination. You could try direct seeding some onions and starting some in flats indoors to see which option works best in your garden. For example this year I didn’t start my lettuce until February. Now I know, I need to start lettuce in January each year so I have nice seedlings to transplant into the cold frame as early as I can.

Since each area garden is essentially it’s own microclimate you will learn more and more about it each year. You may find that because your garden is sheltered by large trees and you live on top of a hill, this allows you to plant things out a week or two earlier than those that live in low-lying areas nearby. Or you may find that your garden collects cold air and you need to plant a week or two later than those around you. This is a great time to start planning your seed starting calendar for next year so you remember what you want to start earlier or later.

Spending some time thinking about the seed starting season will also help you identify your limits and boundaries. Perhaps moving 15 trays of large plants in and out of cover during weather changes was more work than you are willing to put in. From now on you can start your tomatoes a few weeks later so you only have to move a couple trays of small seedlings. Then you can plant them directly in the garden when the weather is warm. Maybe after a year of seed starting you’ll realize that it’s not for you, that you want to purchase your seedlings at a local greenhouse. If you don’t time to sit down and think about these things after the seed starting season is over you may forget by the time planting season rolls around next spring.

What lessons have you learned throughout your seed starting career be it only 1 season or 60?

The rest of the Seed Starting 101 Series
Why Start from Seed
Getting Started
Containers
Soil Mix
The Needs of Seeds
My Workflow
Diseases and Problems
Hardening Off
Transplanting
Learn More Each Season

Visit my Amazon store to see what seed starting supplies I like.

14 Comments to “Seed Starting 101: Learn More Each Season”
  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Seed Starting 101: Learn More Each Season http://goo.gl/fb/eleKI #seedsowing #seedstarting101 [...]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Seed Starting 101: Learn More Each Season | Chiot’s Run — Topsy.com's comment

  2. [...] The rest of the Seed Starting 101 Series Why Start from Seed Getting Stared Containers Soil Mix The Needs of Seeds My Workflow Diseases and Problems Hardening Off Transplanting Learn More Each Season [...]

    Reply to Seed Starting 101: Hardening Off | Chiot’s Run's comment

  3. [...] The rest of the Seed Starting 101 Series Why Start from Seed Getting Stared Containers Soil Mix The Needs of Seeds My Workflow Diseases and Problems Hardening Off Transplanting Learn More Each Season [...]

    Reply to Seed Starting 101: The Needs of Seeds | Chiot’s Run's comment

  4. Sense of Home on May 21, 2010 at 8:32 am

    I like your point about microclimates. The garden I have now is more sheltered than my prior garden and I find I can set my plants out a little early. Gardening is an on going lesson. Your posts have been great.
    .-= Sense of Home´s last blog ..Foraging For Asparagus =-.

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  5. Paula on May 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

    My husband gleaned for me some of those bread trays you see the delivery men carrying loaves of bread in and out of stores with. These were a perfect fit for 3 seed starting trays. It was so much easier to move these larger trays in and out for hardening off the seedlings than individual, flimsy, seed starting trays.

    I have also decided that a green house in the sun would work much better for me than a grow light. At least I think it will, I have to buy the green house next year!
    .-= Paula´s last blog ..My Favorite View =-.

    Reply to Paula's comment

    • heather jane on May 21, 2010 at 10:50 am

      Boy those bread trays sound great right about now!!! My seed starting area is in my basement. At least I don’t have to worry about the stair master at the gym!
      .-= heather jane´s last blog ..Thanks. =-.

      Reply to heather jane's comment

    • Susy on May 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      That does sound like a fantastic idea! I’m always on the lookout for things like this to use in the garden!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. heather jane on May 21, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I have that winter harvest book on my coffee table right now, too!! It’s so amazing what they are doing. I am trying to remind myself that August might be all I can handle in the market garden this first year and not get ahead of myself planning winter produce production already! So tempting…

    I definitely need to work on my spacing with starting seeds. I tend to want to just start everything all at once even though I KNOW I need to space it out. I just get so excited.
    .-= heather jane´s last blog ..Thanks. =-.

    Reply to heather jane's comment

    • Susy on May 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      I know it’s such an inspirational book!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Morgan G on May 21, 2010 at 11:09 am

    My lesson sounds obvious, but it wasn’t to me at first – make sure I have room to plant the seeds I am starting once they’re ready to transfer. For next season, I am going to draft up a sketch of the backyard and divide it into “light” areas. That way I know what will grow best where and how much room I have there.
    .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..mg and Hubs’ Kauai Top 10 Day Three: Hanalei Farmer’s Market =-.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

    • Susy on May 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm

      Yes, I always have more seedlings than space, but I happily give them away. It seems I can always find homes for them. I also have been tucking them in the ornamental beds and any space I can find throughout the gardens.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. MAYBELLINE on May 21, 2010 at 11:26 am

    DO NOT set out tomato seedlings until they are substantial enough (tough enough) to repel chewing insects. Tender babies are too easily devoured.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Garden Update =-.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  9. Sara on May 31, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Great food for thought! We are in our second year and thanks to grow lights have had much greater success, but still a lot to learn.
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..New Forays with Chives =-.

    Reply to Sara's comment

  10. Reply to Garden Sprouts – May 29, 2010 | Gardening on the Moon ( GOTM )'s comment

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