Onions, Peppers and Tomatoes! (Oh, my!)

It’s seed sowing season here in Central Texas. We’re approximately 10 weeks away from the average final frost date. Approximate, because it depends a fair bit upon one’s location relating to “town bubbles” as well as possible elevation and other microclimate factors. Not to mention the conservative approach versus the riskier approach – which is an entirely personal decision.

I like to start my seedlings indoors when possible, as early as possible. If I start them earlier, and am unlucky with my germination, I may have time to try again. At the least, the local nurseries won’t be sold out forcing me to buy from a big box store if I want plants of that type.

This year, right after planning my garden plot on some graph paper, I re-reminded myself on the date to plant or sow relative to the the Average Final Frost Date here. Risky, or conservative (depending upon to whom you talk) I call the FFD in my neighborhood March 15th. If the 10 day weather forcast is looking lovely on March 8th, I’ll put seeds out early. If it’s sketchy, I’ll hold off.

With my memory refreshed, I started my timeline. March 15th, minus ten weeks, is approximately January 5th. So I’m a week early. The plants will merely be a week bigger.

This is a seed tray made from a clearance item at Home Depot. Apparently people store ornament balls in these. I use them as easily measured seed sowing “plots.” It even has a lid for humidity! (Thanks to my mother for finding it and suggesting its use.)

Some folks are talented and resourceful enough to make their own seed starting mix. I have yet to dive into that project. Instead, I keep an eye out for off-season sales. The bag shown had four friends just like it, at the grocery store of all places.

This tray has five seeds per circle laidout as a square with a dot in the middle. Forty Australian Brown Onions and forty Violet de Galmi. I don’t have a historically successful time with onions, so I thought to plant in excess and succeed at least a little that way. Sown on the 28th, I hope to see sprouts next week.

Today’s sowing was peppers, tomatoes, and their relatives.

This is an actual seed tray, same mix. You can just see the indentation of my finger making spots for each seed. I lay the seed packets out in order of sown row. Then after I’m done, I sketch the seed tray with dots representing each seed, and label accordingly. This is how I will tell which seeds germinated well, which seed sources may gain more of my business, and also simply so I don’t end up with a tomato wishing to grow 8 feet tall in a pot where I thought I put a 2 foot variety.

Have you started any seed trays? Do you plan to? Or is it too soon in your area?


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