Seed Starting has Begun

It won’t be frost-free here in PA until the middle of May so it’s far too early to plant most of the seeds that I’ll be starting inside.

However there are two plants that I have started. The first is a fibrous rooted begonia. These plants grow slowly when they’re small so I started them a week ago.

Onion seeds beginning to germinate

Onion seeds beginning to germinate

The other seeds that I started in early February were onions. Most of the onions that I’ve grown have been from sets – small onion bulbs that are planted in mid-April. But there isn’t a lot of choice when it comes to varieties of onion sets. Also most sets don’t store very well.

If  you want to grow large storage onions you have to either grow them from seed or purchase plants. Last year I sowed some Corpa onion seeds in late February and planted the tiny little plants into the garden in April. (Unlike tomatoes and other tender plants, onions can take some frost so they can be planted before the frost-free date) The few that survived the rabbits produced nice onions in July.

This year I ran across a gardening calendar from Burpee which listed things that you should be doing to get ready for the new gardening season based on your hardiness zone. I was surprised to see that here in zone 6, they recommended sowing onion seeds inside in December or January. That seemed really early but it pushed me to start the onions a month earlier than I have in the past.

Two weeks of growth

Two weeks of growth

I’m growing them in a low container filled with sterile potting mix. The plants are under fluorescent lights and if the leaves get too long (a problem I’ve never had in the past) I can cut off the top few inches without damaging the plants. Time will tell what an extra month of growth will do for these onion plants.

The one thing I do know is that feels really good to begin starting seeds inside in preparation for another year of gardening.

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