Ask a Question forum: Sowing vegetable seed in pots

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 8, 2015 4:25 PM CST
The planting calendar is one neat tool! Answered lots of "when" questions. However, I do a lot of gardening in big pots - all of my greens, carrots and some radishes. The pots sit in a sheltered but not heated area outdoors until they're moved to a sunnier growing site. Will the same planting dates apply? I'm in zone 5 at the tip of Lake Michigan.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Apr 8, 2015 6:24 PM CST
Shadegardener said:The planting calendar is one neat tool! Answered lots of "when" questions. However, I do a lot of gardening in big pots - all of my greens, carrots and some radishes. The pots sit in a sheltered but not heated area outdoors until they're moved to a sunnier growing site. Will the same planting dates apply? I'm in zone 5 at the tip of Lake Michigan.


I don't know about "potted veggies" but ...

@Newyorkrita, do I remember correctly that you grow many veggies in pots on your driveway?

Can you advise Shadegardener / Cindy about sowing dates or transplanting dates into pots as compared to in the ground?

I know that pots warm up faster than soil if they are in the sun, and sitting on top of blacktop, surrounded by blacktop, must warm them up even earlier. But it sounds like Cindy's pots would be sheltered and maybe shady at first.



[Last edited by RickCorey - Apr 8, 2015 6:25 PM (+)]
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Apr 8, 2015 6:59 PM CST
Humm, this is an interesting question. I plant peas by saeed in pots at the same times I would put them in ground. They simply germinate much faster in pots.

I plant vegetable seedlings in the pots same times as I put them in ground. But my pots are out in the warm sun on my asphalt driveway.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Apr 8, 2015 7:08 PM CST
Thanks, Rita.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Apr 8, 2015 8:49 PM CST
Seeds in shaded pots will take longer to germinate.
I use clear plastic bags (vented by cutting corners off) over my pots to increase the warmth.
A garden staple holds bags from blowing away.
Most of mine are in sunny positions too.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 9, 2015 7:44 AM CST
I should have provided more details. My planted pots sit on my concrete patio, protected from some still-cold wind (until late April) from the north and west and get southern exposure. They're also protected from some of the driving rain we can get until they're a little older. They do get sun for 4 to 5 hours a day while they sit on the patio. They'll get moved to sit on concrete pavers surrounding a small garden bed once that gets planted with more vegetables like peas, squash, cucumbers and tomatoes. The pots will also get more sun there. Our average last frost date is around mid-May.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 9, 2015 8:54 AM CST
Cindy, I am a garden gambler and love to push the zones, I'll admit. I would think you could risk some seeds or a few transplants and plant those pots now. They certainly will warm up sooner than the ground, and in that sheltered spot will stay warmer, too. If you watch the weather forecasts and can just cover them with blankets or sheets (not plastic!) for the cold nights going forward, the accumulated heat from the concrete patio might keep them warm enough to give your veggie garden a month's jump start.

Note, the trick is trapping heat that rises from the concrete around the plant, so don't just cover the foliage, make a tent that goes right down to pavement level, and weight the edges so the wind doesn't get under the tent. I do this a lot in winter here because even though we do get temps down into the 30's, the ground is always warm so making tents over the plants works great. I have tomatoes and peppers bearing right through winter doing this.

The "risk" is if you do get one or two more really cold nights, below freezing for more than a few hours, the pots could freeze even in your warm, sheltered patio. But, as I said, I think it's worth the risk. If there's cold rain, or more snow predicted can you move the plants under an overhang? Or if there's a patio table, put the plants under there, and use it to make your tent? That would make an awesome shelter!

Here's my big frost cloth tent covering 5 Earth Boxes and a whole bunch of tropical plants in pots. I use it so often in winter, I've put it on a roller so it's easy to deploy. I fasten the edges together with bulldog clips and if it's windy, weight down the bottom corners with watering cans filled with warm water just before I go to bed. (added heat and humidity)
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Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 9, 2015 9:21 AM CST
Elaine - more good tips! Thanks!
And a big thank you to everyone for your encouragement. I'm rather new to vegetables - only a couple of years into it - and have traditionally waited until into May to do this. But I'll be gardening this weekend for sure. Beats spring cleanup anytime. :)
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 12, 2015 3:21 PM CST
Woo-hoo! Went on a planting spree today with my pots which are all at least 15" across. All are in combinations of a couple of different kale plants, 3 different lettuce plants, some senposai, 'Ching Chang' bok choy plants (along with a rooted supermarket bok choy), French breakfast radish seeds, 'Nantes Scarlet' carrots along with some 'Danvers Half Long'. Even got some daikon radish seeds in the ground. Holding the Chinese cabbage for a couple more weeks. And reinvigorated a big pot of rainbow chard that spend the winter in a cold frame. Everything (except the daikon) is close to the garage so that if it gets really chilly, I can lug them inside for the night. If marginal weather, I can cover with a sheet. You all made my day with your posts!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Apr 12, 2015 9:04 PM CST
Hi Cindy -- how weird that we are both supposedly in zone 5 when you are at the bottom of L. Mich. and I am at the very top!! well, whatever...

All of the things you mentioned planting are pretty cold hardy and I don't think you'll have any problems even if the weather does get unexpectedly cold. Just covering with a sheet or some "floating row cover" would likely be plenty of protection. (I have a Chinese cabbage sprouting back up that overwintered in the garden...)

I hope you have a great gardening year!
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 13, 2015 7:33 AM CST
Weedwhacker - thanks for that info on your Chinese cabbage. Maybe I will get that planted in a pot today after all. It's too wet after a rain early this morning to do too much in the garden but I can certainly plant up more pots.

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