Our usual last frost is somewhere in the area of May 15th but I’ve never seen it happen that late. Usually the first week of May has been ok. Still I go off the 15th anyway and as a result I always feel behind. I did start the onions and leeks about two weeks ago (I think that’s about nine weeks early?) and the little sprouts have been coming up on the fringes of the shop light, but as they start grow it’s time for the change-over.
The cyclamen and snowdrops are kicked out from under the light, and the new seedlings take over. They’ll be fine on the cold windowsills now that its warmed up a bit and the onions and leeks should be happy with the prime lighting locations. You’re looking at lancelot leek and copra, red wings, and ailsa craig onions.
In another two or so weeks I’ll start the main crops of warm weather transplants such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Also I’ll get some lettuce and cabbage started for early transplanting. A cold frame would really come in handy about now but I never did more than just collect the windows.
I did start some other stuff (hardy perennials and bulb seeds) when I started the onions, these are all chilling outside. The finer stuff sits under a plastic tote, the larger seeds get topped off with chicken grit for protection and sit out in the open. When things warm up outside to their liking hopefully I’ll get some sprouts.
They should have been planted about a month earlier to get a real taste of winter, but I didn’t get the seeds until the end of February, so they get what the get.
I also tried something new this year. For seeds that need a cold spell, I tried the Deno method. It’s named after Dr Norman Deno and is a method he used to test germination on thousands of seed types. Basically you take moist paper towels, spread the seeds out on them and then fold them up. This goes in a baggie with info on the outside and either gets room temperature treatment (warm) or refrigerator treatment (cold).
They need a little more attention (you need to check on them periodically for germination), and they need immediate planting in soil when they do show signs of sprouting, but they take up so much less room! The other big plus is you know where your seeds are and you can easily see if they’re dead and rotted. No more staring at an empty pot waiting.
Here I have a dozen or so started seeds sitting in the fridge, nice and neat and out of the way, and so much more acceptable than pots full of dirt next to the yogurt.
If you’re into seed starting, check out “the science of seed germination” at Hayefield blog. It’s a great intro to the science behind seeds and it offers a couple great links, I’d try and put the link right here for you but haven’t mastered that bit yet 😉
Good luck on your seeds!