Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Not having much luck with direct seeding?

If your answer is "yes"—don't worry, you're not alone. I've heard frequent concerns about direct seeding, which is when seeds are planted straight into the soil as opposed to using starts from a nursery. An afternoon of garden coaching might help.

Purple top globe turnips
Successful direct seeding requires thought, preparation and precision. Each crop has its own requirements for seed depth, spacing, temperature and moisture. And, as with everything in gardening, your success depends on the quality of your soil, which can be improved with proper organic techniques.

I can best assess the tilth of your soil (i.e the structure) and give tips for improvement by meeting with you in person at your garden. You also have the option of a seeding lesson on-site at M R Gardens. It's much easier to achieve achieve good tilth if you know what it looks like. You can see and feel healthy soil in beds now in their fifth year. (With my gardening methods, the typical time period for creating optimal soil health is three or more years, but you can produce high quality vegetables in just a few months after setting up a brand new bed.)

Bloomsdale spinach
From now until June 14, I've dropped the low end of my sliding scale to $12 an hour for customers seeking tutorials on direct seeding. Some seeds may be included in the price depending on which crops you request.

If you want to plant spring crops such as mixed salad, other greens, peas, potatoes, bunching onions, cilantro, parsnips, turnips, or radishes, please make an appointment prior to April 15. Some frost-hardy crops such as carrots and beets sprout more quickly when the soil has warmed to 70F, so we can wait until late April to seed them. For summer crops such as squash, cucumbers, melons, beans, okra, sweet corn and popcorn, we can make an appointment to seed between May 13 and June 14.

Please contact me at 828.333.4151 or