Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Sowing Has Begun!


Here in Southern Ontario, the majority of veg seeds don’t get started until mid-March/April.  When it comes to peppers, however, I typically sow them in mid-February, as they can be slow to bulk up.  In addition, pepper seeds can take a long time to germinate so I try to give myself a bit of a buffer, just in case there’s a problem and I have to resow.

A pepper harvest from 2018

This year, however, there is zero buffer.

In my last post, I forgot to mention that we were away for a couple of weeks at the end of February - we had a lovely, relaxing holiday at Disney (this is becoming a habit, I think - we love it there!).  One of the best things about going away is the awesome food - and the fact that I don't have to cook it!

One of our favourite restaurants at Disney is Teppan Edo.
This is Tomo and he was not only awesome at the grill but quite the comedian too.

It was the perfect time to go away as we missed out on quite the bout of bad weather back home including a couple of school closures and several bus cancellations.

Love this green roof in the Norway pavilion at Epcot πŸ’—πŸ’—

The thing is, while the timing of our vacation was spot on in terms of the weather, it was a bit off when it came to sowing the peppers.  Since we were going away the week after I was supposed to get them sown, I decided to hold off until we got back.  I finally got to it last weekend and the seeds are now pre-germinating.  It takes a few days for them to germinate and, so far, only 4 seeds have been sown.

I soak my pepper seeds for 24 hours before pre-germinating,
which speeds up germination

To make up for the delay in sowing (and lack of a buffer in terms of timing), I’m starting many more seeds than I actually need, just in case.  This way, if one variety fails to germinate, I'll have extras to choose from amongst the others.

Now on to the varieties that I'm growing this year.  Normally, I grow a mixture of both sweet and hot peppers but this time, I’ll be sticking with only the sweet ones.   We won’t be without a little spice, however, as I still have plenty of hot peppers from last year, both frozen and dried.  My daughter prefers things on the milder side (but we are working on it!) which means that I use hot peppers sparingly (unless I’m cooking for myself 😁)

Lu Mei is quite mild for a hot pepper and an awesome producer,
but it won't be on the grow list this year as I still have plenty in the freezer.

I mentioned in a previous post that this year is all about restraint, both in regards to how much I grow as well as purchasing new seed, so all the peppers I’m growing are from existing packets.  Since I’m reducing the overall number of pepper plants significantly (from 32 to 16), I’ve had to be ruthless when it comes to which varieties I grow.

Not only will I be cutting out hot peppers but I've also eliminated a few of the sweet varieties from the grow list.  Sparse producers or those that I’ve had issues with in the past (such as the Odessa Market slug fest a couple of years ago) were dropped in favour of those that are more reliable.  Unfortunately, one of my favourite sweet peppers, Carmen, will not be on the list this year as I’ve run out of seeds.

So these are the varieties I'll be growing this year:


Subsequent to taking the above pic, I added one more variety to the list:  Chervena Chushka.  In my mind, I had thought that this variety was a sparse producer, but when I looked back at last years numbers, I realized that it actually had the highest yield of all the sweet varieties.

All told, I'll be growing a total of 6 pepper varieties - quite the contrast from the 16 varieties I grew last season!

One veg that is conspicuously absent from my February/March grow list this year is onions.  Normally, I would have a couple of trays of them under the lights by now.  But not this year – and it’s pretty darn awesome!  Now, don’t get me wrong – I love to get sowing in the spring, but nursing a couple of hundred onion seedlings for 3 months before they go into the ground is a bit of a pain.  This year, the onions will not be sown until April.  If you’re thinking that this is much too late to grow onions from seed, take a peek at the results of my onion experiment from last year (An Onion Experiment - The Reveal) and prepare to be amazed πŸ˜„

One of these was sown in April, the other in February....
which is which?  You'll have to read the Onion Experiment post to find out πŸ˜‰

And that's all that has been happening on the grow front.  It will be at least a couple of weeks until I'm able to get out into the garden.  We are definitely not going to have an early spring this year, but if it's at least "on time" that would be ok by me.  Hopefully we don't have a repeat of last year when an unusually cold spring delayed things by about 4 weeks.

While I'm waiting for the weather to warm up outside, there is sowing to do inside.  This week I'll be starting a few more vegetables as well as a slew of ornamentals...but more on that in my next post.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

22 comments:

  1. It's a long time since we were in Disney, our first time was way back in 2000 and then we went again in 2002. I don't have wanderlust at all but I would love to go back to Disney again one day. I'm not growing much at all this year but I have a few seeds I want to start off, I must get some compost this week and set them off.

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    1. Now that we've been a few times (and will likely continue to go back on a regular basis), it's more about spending the day strolling around and enjoying a few rides (lucky for me, most of their rides are not thrill rides!) rather than trying to fit everything into our trip. Looking forward to seeing what you've chosen to grow this year!

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  2. Good for you--on all counts! It's been so long since we've been to Disney. If we ever have grandkids, maybe we'll get back. The climate certainly is perfect this time of year. Happy seed-sowing!

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    1. Thanks Beth :) We love Disney - and have even talked about going back without the kids!

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  3. So pleased you had an enjoyable break.
    Happy seed-sowing and growing!

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks Jan - more seed sowing is on the schedule today!

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  4. sometimes vacations with family is more important than garden. happy gardening now. nancy

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    1. Very true, Nancy - and we always seem to have a great time there.

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  5. Our seed sowing doesn’t start too early either but things will kick off from now on.

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    1. Seems like so many people have a lot of seedlings half way to transplanting size, but I'm being patient this year :)

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  6. It's always tough timing trips with our gardening tasks! I do admire your restraint with peppers, though I have to say I'm not one known for restraint myself. :-)

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    1. Ha! I can see that with the 200 plug tray for your pepper seedings!

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  7. I am taking your advice about starting onions in April, but I'm hedging my bets! I also started some in February.

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    1. I'm glad you are doing the two plantings - that's really the only way to see what kind of true difference there is without other factors such as weather, etc., coming into play.

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  8. We seem to have the same plans this year, I'm only going to grow a few sweet peppers this year and on top of that I'm not growing any tomatoes. There will be a lot less work in the kitchen for me this fall.

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    1. Fall is such a busy time, esp. as that's when I like to do my bed prep for the following year - having a bit less to deal with in terms of preserving, etc., will make a big difference!

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  9. Hurrah for sowing! Clearly you love your peppers.

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  10. Even on your "seed diet," you're growing a larger quantity than I could conceive of. I hope germination proceeds smoothly and that the loss of your buffer proves to be a non-issue.

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    1. Thanks Kris - growing from seed is somewhat addictive! The peppers are all quite small still, so I'm willing them to get growing a bit more quickly - we'll have to wait and see what size transplants I end up with :)

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  11. Looks like a great trip with lots of good food. It's a great time of year to go, without all the big summer crowds. I'm mostly growing sweet peppers as well, especially since none of the hot peppers germinated. It'll be interesting to see what this growing season brings weather-wise.

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    1. It is awesome going to Disney in February - not only are the crowds not as bad but it's not as hot (usually - we did end up having a few scorchers!). It will be interesting seeing what this year brings - the last two summers have been super hot and I'm wondering if that's the new norm around here.

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