Sowing Early Seeds Outdoors
Some seeds can be sown outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked. We sowed our early seeds near the end of March. We purchased the seeds from Park's Seeds. Here is a brief summary of my experience with the seeds and my recommendations.
Excellent Success Rate - Highly Recommend
Super Sugar Snap Pea - The plants came up very quickly - in about 7 days, with a near 100% success rate. So many plants germinated successfully that I had to thin them out. It was heartbreaking, but great to have such success! They are still growing steadfastly, and I expect some good beans from this crop.
Organic Lettuce Salad Bowl Mix - The plants came up moderately quickly - in about 15 days, with a low success rate at about 50%, using the entire packet of seeds for a 9 foot row. However, I admit that I did not really cultivate the soil well enough to provide the fine soil such small seeds may require. If you have rocky clay soil like I do, I recommend you cultivate the soil as best you can, then spread a nice thick 2" layer of quality potting soil along the row where you will sow the seeds. This will help yield better results. Although the success rate was low, once I spaced the plants out at the recommended interval, I had more plants than could fit into the 9 foot row. They are growing well, and I expect to eat some tasty salads this year from this crop.
Spinach Space Hybrid - The plants came up moderately quickly - in about 12 days, with a decent success rate of about 75%, using only about 30% of the seeds in the packet. Again, I admit that I did not cultivate the soil well enough, and I should have spread a 2" layer of potting soil along the planting line. Despite the moderate success rate, once I spaced the plants out at the recommended interval, I had more plants than could fit into the 9 foot row. The plants are growing slowly, but surely, and I am hoping for a good crop.
Awful Success Rate - Purchase with Caution
Onion Yellow Granex Hybrid 33 - Yes, only I would try to grow onions from seed! After 4 weeks of waiting, I have had ZERO plants pop their heads up through the soil. Maybe it's from my rocky clay, maybe it's from bad seeds, who can tell. I did lighten up the clay with loads of peat though, so I can't blame the heaviness of the soil. If it was from my rocky clay, I would expect at least one or even two seeds to germinate, so I do suspect the seeds are bunk. I am going to try again since I didn't use the entire packet on the first sowing. I'll update you on the second try.
Carrot Sweetness II Hybrid - After 4 weeks, I had ZERO plants even pretending to germinate. I used the entire pack of seeds trying to sow one 9 foot row, so there are no redos with this one. I sowed on top of the soil and covered the seeds with grass clippings, so I am slow to blame my soil. I purchased a different kind of carrot that claims to be excellent in clay soils, so I'll update you on that seed when I see (or don't see) some results.