“Good things come in small packages.” I used to hear that from my parents when I’d express concern that the items under the Christmas tree were not as large as I had dreamed they’d be. Usually, though, my parents were right.
With seeds, it’s always a correct statement. Many seeds are very small, but it’s amazing what they grow into. Many seeds also look similar, but produce very different plants.
As you know, every plant requires customized planting and care instructions. Here is the third in a series of recommendations on starting and nurturing a wide variety of plants that will flourish from your non-GMO seeds.
Kale Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch: Direct sow the seeds outside in the early spring. They can also be planted in the fall, as kale is at its most tender and delicious after a frost. Plant the seeds about 6 to 12 inches apart and 1/4 inch below the surface of the soil. The rows should be spaced at between 18 and 24 inches. Full sunlight is beneficial for this hardy crop, but once the temperature hits 80 degrees F, it may start to turn tough and bitter. It will still be as nutritious, just not as tasty. These plants may be susceptible to black rot, leaf spot, downy mildew, cabbage looper, cutworms, flea beetles, thrips and cabbageworm.
Lettuce Parris Island: Direct sow these seeds outside in the early spring as soon as the soil can be worked, or start them indoors in a seed flat in early February. They may also be fall planted. Plant them about 8 to 12 inches apart and between 1/8 and 1/2 inch below the soil surface. The rows should be spaced at about 12 to 18 inches apart. Sow seeds every 2 weeks in rows for a continuous crop. The seeds will germinate in soil temperatures of 40 to 70 degrees F. Soil should be moisture retentive. These plants may be susceptible to aphids, caterpillars, cutworms, thrips, slugs, downy mildew and fusarium wilt.
Onion Yellow Sweet Spanish: Sow seeds indoors in a seed flat 8 to 12 weeks before transplanting outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Keep onions well weeded, but be careful to not damage any bulbs. Choose a sunny area for this plant and make sure the soil is fertile and well drained. This soil should be prepared 6 months in advance with well-rotted manure for best results. Once the plants have established themselves, water them regularly. Your onions should grow well in a variety of different climates. They may be susceptible to onion flies, onion root maggots, thrips, wireworms and downy mildew.
Pea Lincoln: Plant these seeds early in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Young pea plants can tolerate a light frost, and in warmer areas they can be grown as a winter crop. Place the seeds 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in a row spacing of 30 to 36 inches. Taller types will need support. Make sure to keep the moisture-retentive soil rich in nitrogen and weed-free. They will do best in temperatures of 50 to 70 degrees F. Water more once the plants start to flower. These plants may be susceptible to aphids, pea weevils, slugs, powdery mildew, root rot and fusarium wilt.
Pepper California Wonder: Sow these seeds indoors before the last frost. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch below the soil surface, then transplant the seedlings to your garden, leaving 12 to 18 inches between plants and 24 to 36 inches between rows. Pepper plants will grow best in a warm, sunny spot with rich soil that is lightweight, fertile, slightly acidic and well drained. Too much nitrogen can damage them. Select a spot that has not been used to grow tomatoes or potatoes for several years. A steady supply of water will provide the best results. These plants may be susceptible to bacterial spot, powdery mildew, fusarium wilt, flea beetles, leafminers, aphids, pepper weevil, thrips and blight.
Pinto: Direct sow these seeds outside after the danger of the last frost has passed. Plant them about 4 inches apart and 1 inch below the soil surface. Rows should be spaced at 24 to 30 inches apart. The soil temperature should be at least 60 degrees F. Your pinto beans will grow best in soil free of rocks, debris and even clumps of soil. All-purpose garden fertilizer will aid this plant. Watering early in the day gives the sun a chance to dry the bed to avoid wet conditions this bean does not like. These plants may be susceptible to aphids, whiteflies, thrips, leaf beetles, cutworms, loopers and caterpillars. Annual crop rotation will help prevent bacterial diseases.