We are officially iced and snowed in for the foreseeable future (or at least about to be, since it hasn’t actually started snowing yet), but it’s the perfect time to start seeds inside. If you’re thinking about growing anything this season, now may be the time to start.
The end of January begins seed-starting time in Zone 5b, where we are located in Columbia, MO. I almost developed my own seed-starting calendar this year so I would know when to plant each crop, but then realized that I wasn’t the first person in the world to start seeds and that a seed-starting calendar probably already existed. It does. Many times over.
One of the easiest calculators to use is available through Johnny’s. Just type in your last frost date (around April 10 here, although you still have a 50% chance of frost after that date) and it will calculate the dates to start each of your plants.
On Sunday I planted 144 seeds. They are primarily leeks and red onions, plus some green onions and a few seeds of rosemary and parsley. I planted so many oniony things because a) we tear through onions like crazy, especially in the winter and b) I bought these seeds back in 08/09, and onion seeds are notorious for losing the ability to germinate more quickly than other seeds, so I planted almost everything I had. Onions require a long season to grow properly, so you have to get them started early.
A tip on making soil blocks: it’s actually pretty easy once you get the consistency of the soil/water mixture right. The mixture should be wet and heavy, but not soupy. I’ve found that when I press the soil block maker down and water squeezes out of it, the consistency is just right.
I started some seeds last year, but I almost always got them started late and then under- and over-watered them so they didn’t do well. This year I’m determined to plant things on time and take care of the seedlings properly.
This will be the year I start all my plants from seed and don’t have to buy a single transplant.