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** When you get your Silver Mylar Bag, with the Seed packets in it, you can seal bag by putting your home iron on mid heat setting, and then running it across the top of the bag. Your Seeds will then last 4 years at room temperature, 5 – 7 years in refrigerator or 10 years in the freezer. **
BEANS – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil and air temperatures are warm. Plant seeds 1” and 2” apart in rows 24” to 36” apart. Pole beans will need support. Snap varieties will produce abundantly if kept well picked throughout the summer. (50 – 55 Days to Maturity)
BEETS – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors in the spring, 6-8 seeds per foot ½” deep in rows 20-24” apart. Minimum soil temperature must be 40 F. (55 – 60 Days to Maturity)
BROCCOLI – Planting: Sow indoors ¼” deep in pots or flats 8 weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings when 2” tall and transplant into individual pots. Plant outdoors 24” apart in rows 36” apart when a light frost is still possible. 70 – 80 Days Maturity
CARROTS – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors in the early spring 3-4 weeks before the last frost or as soon as the soil can be worked. Sow seeds ¼” deep making sure to firmly press soil against the seeds for good soil contact. Keep moist for optimal germination. Thin to 1-4” depending on the size of mature carrots. 55 – 63 Days Maturity
CAULIFLOWER – Planting: Sow indoors ¼” deep in pots or flats 8 weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings when 2” tall and transplant into individual pots. Plant outdoors 24” apart in rows 36” apart when a light frost is still possible. 60 – 65 Days Maturity
CABBAGE – Planting: Sow indoors ¼” deep in posts or flats 8 weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings when 2” tall and transplant into individual pots. Plant outdoors 24” apart in rows 36” apart when a light frost is still possible. 60 – 65 Days Maturity
CORN – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors only after the danger of frost has passed. Corn will not germinate properly when the soil is still cold in the spring. Sow seeds 1” deep every 3-4” in rows 3-4’ apart. Thin the seedlings to 8” apart after the plants come up. Corn should be planted in a 3-4 row block (instead of on long row) to ensure well filled-out ears. 75 – 80 Days Maturity
CUCUMBERS – Planting: Sow 6-8 seeds outdoors 1” deep in 12” diameter hills spaced 6’ apart each way a week after the last frost when soil is warm. Pinch off all but 3-4 of the strongest seedlings. Can be started indoors in pots or flats 3-4 weeks before the last frost for an earlier harvest. 55 – 60 Days Maturity
EGGPLANT – Planting: Start seedlings indoors 6 weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings when 2” tall and transplant into individual pots. Transplant outdoors 24” apart in rows 36” apart. Using landscape cloth or black plastic can accelerate growth and productivity in cooler climates. 72 – 85 Days Maturity
KALE – Planting: Sow indoors ¼” deep in pots or flats 8 weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings when 2” tall and transplant into individual pots. Plant outdoors 24” apart in rows 36” apart when a light frost is still possible. 50 – 60 Days Maturity
LETTUCE – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ¼” deep and 1” apart. Thin to 8” apart for loose leaf and 12” for head lettuce. Does well when soil temperature is below 80 F., try to avoid planting in the middle of summer. Keep soil moist for up to two weeks after planting. 45 – 55 Days Maturity
MELONS – Planting: Best when direct seeded in warm soil after the danger of frost has passed. Plant 6-8 seeds 1” deep in 12” diameter hills spaced 6’ apart each way. After germination pinch off all but 3-4 of the strongest seedlings. 85 – 100 Days Maturity
OKRA – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½-1” deep when the soil temperature has warmed. Okra thrives in warm weather and should only be planted in full sun. Plants should be thinned to 6-8” after germination. Okra will produce abundantly if kept well picked. 48 – 60 Days Maturity
ONION – Planting: Start seedlings indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting. Sow seeds in flats ¼” deep and spaced 1” in all directions. Transplant as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. 95 – 110 Days Maturity
PEAS – Planting: Peas can be sown as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring. Sow seeds ½” to 1” deep with 3” between seeds in rows 24” apart. Climbing peas will need support. Double rows can be planted on each side of a trellis. Peas thrive in cool weather. 58 – 63 Days Maturity
PEPPERS – Planting: Start seedlings indoors 2 - 6 weeks before transplanting. Sow seeds ¼” deep. Keep soil moist and near 80 F using bottom heat. Peppers may take two weeks to germinate. Transplant outdoors when daytime soil temperatures are near 80 F and nighttime temperatures are above 50 F. 70 – 75 Days Maturity
RADISH – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring. Successive plantings can be made every 3-4 weeks throughout the summer and fall to provide a continual harvest. Seeds should be planted ½” deep and 1” apart in rows 12” apart. 22 – 30 Days Maturity
SPINACH – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½” deep and 1” apart. Spinach grows best in cool weather and should be planted early in the spring or in late summer to produce a fall crop. For best yield, harvest continually and make successive plantings every 10 days. 39 – 48 Days Maturity
SQUASH – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Plant 6-8 seeds 1” deep in 12” diameter hills spaced 6’ apart each way. Pinch off all but 3-4 of the strongest seedlings. 45 – 55 Days Maturity
SWISS CHARD – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors early in the spring. Plant seeds ½’ deep and 4” apart in rows 20-24” apart. Thin seedlings to one every 12”. Minimum soil temperature should be at least 40 F. 50 – 60 Days Maturity
TOMATOES –Planting: Start sees indoors 2 – 6 weeks before transplanting in pots or flats. Sow seeds ¼” deep. Tomatoes take 8 – 10 days to germinate. Transplant outdoors when soil and daytime temps are at a constant 70 degrees+. Do 18 – 24” between plants, and 3 feet between rows. Some vines will require supports. 70 – 85 Days Maturity
TURNIPS—Planting: Heirloom turnip seeds can be planted in early spring or early fall. Plant turnip seeds 1” apart and thin weakest seedlings to desired spacing. Keep soil evenly moist to prevent roots from getting woody. For longer harvest, stagger turnip plantings every 2-3 weeks. 45 – 55 Days Maturity
WATERMELON – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost. Minimum soil temperature should be at least 65 F. Plant seeds ½” deep and 2” apart, in rows 20-24” apart. Thin seedlings to one every 12”. 68 – 80 Days Maturity
HERB PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS
BASIL—Planting: Sow seed, 1/8 inch deep, in summer or indoors in late spring. When seedlings appear, thin the plants to 1 foot apart. Susceptible to frost and cold. Water mid-day not in the evening; avoid overwatering seedlings to prevent mildew. Basil is highly subject to heat + drought stress, and will "go to seed" practically overnight. Pinch off seed heads regularly. 55 Days Maturity
BORAGE--Planting: Sow the seeds in the spring 1/8 inch deep and 12 inches apart. Prefers fine, well-worked moist soil and partial sun. Borage will bloom nearly all season and will self-seed from year to year. Planting in thick clumps provides support to top-heavy plants; extra support is beneficial. Pick the leaves in spring and summer when flowering begins. 50 – 60 Days Maturity
CARAWAY—Planting: Sow Seed directly outdoors in May to June, or start plants from seeds as soon as the ground warms up in spring. Direct sow 1/8in deep, and space 12in apart. The seed should be barely covered and kept moist until they germinate. Once the seedlings appear, thin out if necessary. 60 Days Maturity
CURLED CRESS—Planting: Sow garden cress and curled cress seed ¼ inch deep; sow seed thickly in wide rows; thin successful seedlings to 6 inches apart. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Sow successive crops every 10 to 14 days. Pinch back cress to keep it manageable. 55 - 70 Days Maturity
CORIANDER/CILANTRO—Planting: Sow seeds directly in the garden 1/2 inch deep and 5-8 inches apart after all danger of frost has passed. Weeding or mulching coriander is important early in the season. Do not over fertilize; too much nitrogen in the soil produces a less flavorful plant. Harvest coriander as soon as the leaves and flowers turn brown and before the seeds begin to scatter. Cut the whole plant and hang to dry. Seeds should be dried and then stored in a sealed jar. 25 – 55 Days Maturity
DILL—Planting: Plant early in the spring after the danger of frost. Seeds are best sown where they will stay, as dill does not transplant well. Plant 1/4 inch deep, about 10 inches apart, in a prepared bed. A protected location is best to ensure that the tall stalks are not destroyed by the wind. Dill enjoys full sun, fairly rich, well-drained, moist soil. Snip the leaves as needed during the summer and harvest the top half of the plant when the seed heads are beige. Dry in bunches or a bag. 40 – 60 Days Maturity
FENNEL—Planting: In late spring or early summer, sow seeds directly into the garden about 1/8 inch deep and 6 to 12 inches apart. Fennel prefers well drained soil and full sun. Heavy clay soils will hinder seed growth. The beds should be kept moist for 2 weeks or until the first leaves appear. Take care then not to overwater. 75 Days Maturity
PARSLEY—Planting: Sow seeds outside in spring. Push Seeds into the soil 1/2 inch deep, and then cover with soil. Thin to about 3 inches apart. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Soaking seed in lukewarm water for several hours before sowing is beneficial. You can sow indoors, from late winter to early spring, and then outdoors in early spring, before last frost. 70 - 80 Days Maturity
SUMMER SAVORY—Planting: Use fresh seeds to start summer savory as seed viability decreases after one year. Sow seeds directly into the ground or in flats no more than 1/8 inch deep, or just scatter on top of the soil. Space or thin to 10 inches apart. Successive sowings may be made in spring until mid-summer. If plants start to lean over, mound soil up around the base. 60 Days Maturity
SEED SAVING BASICS
Things are getting round and ripe in your garden. That means it’s time to think about saving seeds from your best tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and melons. If left to themselves, these fleshy fruits would naturally fall to the earth, where some of their seeds would sprout when spring arrives again. Saving seeds from these plants mimics nature’s way—and it’s not at all difficult to do.
But remember, only seeds from open-pollinated, not hybrid, plants will produce the same crop next year. (The packet that the seeds came from will tell you whether the variety is open-pollinated or hybrid.) And, except for tomatoes, the plants shouldn’t be cross-pollinated by insects (which would happen if several varieties grew in the same area). Such saved seeds might grow into something that resembles the parent, or something tough and tasteless. Tomatoes are self-pollinating. So if you avoid hybrid varieties, you’ll be able to grow the same tomato next year from seeds you save this year—even if different varieties were grown close together. That’s not the case with peppers and eggplants. Their flowers can be cross-pollinated by insects, so different varieties of these must be separated by at least 500 feet for the seeds to be pure. Cucurbits—such as squash, cucumbers, gourds, and melons—need even more personal space. All of these garden favorites must be pollinated by insects. So unless close relatives (of the same species) are separated by a half-mile or more, you’ll get a surprise if you grow the seeds.
For example, a zucchini and an acorn squash (both Cucurbita pepo) in the same garden will cross, thanks to pollinating insects. And the seeds probably won’t produce a replica of either parent plant. But if you’re growing zucchini and a butternut squash (C. moschata) in the same garden, you can save the seeds from each and expect to have your plants come up true to type when you plant them next year, since they are different species. EASY-TO-SAVE SEEDS
Seeds of tomatoes, peppers, melons, and winter squash are ready for saving when the fruits are ripe and ready to eat.
Peppers are the easiest. The seeds are mature after the peppers have changed color, indicating final ripeness. Cut the peppers open, scrape out the seeds onto a plate—reserving the flesh for eating—and let the seeds dry in a non-humid, shaded place, testing them occasionally until they break rather than bend. What could be simpler? (Note: Dry all wet seeds on a glass or ceramic plate. Spread the seeds evenly over the surface of the plate and stir twice daily to
ensure even drying and to keep them from clumping together. Don’t dry seeds on paper plates or paper towels—they’ll stick like glue. A food dehydrator set at 85ºF works well, but don’t dry them in a warm oven or any place the temperature exceeds 95ºF.)
Saving tomato seeds takes a little more time, but it’s just as easy. Harvest ripe tomatoes from several different vines of the same variety, cut each across the middle, and gently squeeze the juice and seeds into a bowl. You’ll see that each tomato seed is encased in a gelatinous coating. (This prevents the seed from sprouting inside the tomato). Remove this coating by fermenting it. This mimics the natural rotting of the fruit and has the added bonus of killing any seed borne tomato diseases that might affect next year’s crop. To ferment the seeds, add about half as much water as there are tomato seeds and juice in the bowl and stir the mixture twice a day for about 3 days. Keep a close eye on the mixture—especially if it’s a warm area, as fermentation happens more quickly at high temperatures. As the mixture ferments, its surface will become covered with white or gray mold. Don’t keep the bowl in the kitchen, anywhere it can be tipped over by animals or children, or where you’d be able to smell it—it will get pretty rank. When bubbles begin to rise to the top of the mass, or when a thick coat of mold has formed, stop the fermentation by adding enough water to double the mixture, and stir vigorously. The clean, good seeds will settle to the bottom of the bowl. Gently pour off mold, debris and any seeds that float (they're hollow). Add more water and repeat the process until only clean seeds remain. Capture the seeds to be saved by pouring the liquid through a strainer, wipe the strainer bottom with a towel to remove as much moisture as possible, then dump the seeds onto a glass or ceramic plate to dry. Stir twice a day to ensure even drying and to prevent the seeds from clumping together. Warning: Tomato seeds will germinate unless you dry them quickly. To speed drying, you can use a fan, but don’t put the seeds in sunlight or an oven.
MELONS AND SQUASH
Muskmelons, watermelons, and winter squash? Super easy. Cut muskmelons open, scoop the seeds into a strainer, rinse, and set out to dry. Watermelons are almost as easy. Put the seeds in a strainer and add a dash of dishwashing liquid to remove any sugar left on the seeds. Rinse and dry. Winter squashes need to be carefully cut to expose the seed cavity. Don't cut straight through the center of the squash—you'll cut through some seeds, too. Just stick the knife in as far as necessary to cut through the flesh and move it around the circumference. (Be careful—some squashes will fight back!) Pull the seeds from the fibers, rinse, and dry. And don't cut a squash before you're ready to eat it—seeds can be saved from most winter squashes many months after harvest (although a few of the long-storage varieties may have sprouted seeds inside after 6 months or so).
SEEDS THAT NEED MORE TIME
Eggplants, cucumbers, and summer squashes must ripen beyond the normal, ready-to-eat stage to allow viable seeds to develop inside.
To save the seeds of your eggplants, you’ll need to wait until the fruits are far past the stage when you’d pick them for eating. Any seeds saved from table-ready eggplants will be immature and won’t be viable. If left on the plant, purple eggplant varieties will ripen to a dull brownish color, green varieties to a yellowish green, and white varieties to golden. Eggplants ready for seed saving will be dull, off-colored, hard, and sometimes shriveled. Cut the ripe eggplants in half and pull the flesh away from the seeded areas. If you want to save more than a few seeds, use a food processor or blender to mash the flesh and expose the seeds. Process (without peeling), and put the pulp in a bowl. Add water, let the good seeds settle, and then pour off the water and debris. Repeat until only clean seeds remain. Add a bit more water and pour the mix through a strainer with a mesh fine enough to catch the tiny seeds. Dry the bottom of the strainer with a towel to absorb excess moisture and dump the seeds out onto a plate to dry.
After cucumbers ripen, they change color and become soft. (Remember, if you stop picking cucumbers, their vines will stop producing new fruit, so pick your fruit for seed saving toward the end of the season.) Cut the ripe cucumber in half and scrape the seeds into a bowl. To remove the seeds' coating, rub them gently around the inside of a sieve while washing them or soak them in water for 2 days. Rinse and dry. (Note: Make sure the cucumbers you use for seed are disease-free; some diseases can be carried on seed and could affect your future crop.)
You’ll need to let summer squashes ripen past the tender stage, too. When you can’t dent the squash with a fingernail, the fruit is at the right stage for seed saving. Pick it, cut it open, and scrape the seeds into a bowl, wash, drain, and dry.
COLLECTING – Collecting bean Seeds, Pea Seeds, Corn Seeds and the Like
To save beans and peas, wait until the pods are ripe. When beans and peas are fully ripened they turn dry and crackly on the vine and the seeds rattle inside. This may take up to an additional month after you would normally harvest the peas or beans to eat. After you collect the pods from the plants, spread them out to dry in a well-ventilated area to dry. Let them dry at least two weeks before shelling.