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Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Feb 10, 2016 12:44 PM CST
Hello!

I am planning my garden right now, and me AND my mom have some questions concerning growing vegetables from seed. Whenever we did it they always die.
Here is a picture of what I have:


Thumb of 2016-02-10/jnicholes/414822

My questions:

How early do you start these seeds indoors to ensure their survival outdoors?

What soil is the best for these plants?

How much fertilizer?

Now my moms questions:

What is the best kind of fertilizer and plant food?

Any help for me and my mom would be greatly appreciated.

Jared
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Feb 10, 2016 12:58 PM CST
Hi Jared. Some prefer to start them early indoors, but I prefer to direct sow beans, corn, and squash. All 3 germinate quickly and have large seedlings that are easy to weed around, and all 3 prefer warm temperatures. I usually sow those in late May or early June.

Tomatoes and peppers are good candidates for starting early indoors. Peppers always grow slower for me, so I'd start those 6-8 weeks before your forecasted last frost date. A lot of folks start peppers and tomatoes at the same time.

To best know what fertilizer to use I'd recommend getting a soil test. That way you're not adding unnecessary nutrients and you know how much to use. Without knowing I fertilize very lightly- better to err on the side of caution. I prefer compost and organic fertilizer for food crops (I usually find some to choose from at Lowe's).
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moonhowl
Feb 10, 2016 1:01 PM CST
Hi Jared.

Give this link a look. It is filled with good info and it is right here on ATP.

http://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=post+falls+idaho

And some info on fertilizers and soil

http://web.cals.uidaho.edu/idahogardens/2012/08/soil-prepara...

http://web.cals.uidaho.edu/idahogardens/fruits-vegetables-an...


I think these should answer most of your Mom's and your questions.

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
Feb 10, 2016 1:26 PM CST
I agree that "less is better" with chemical fertilizer until you know that your soil is too "lean".

"Everyone says" that the only way to know what your soil needs is to get a soil test. But a lot of people never bother. They add compost until the soil "feels good" and only add a little chemical fertilizer iof crops seem yellwoish or grow slowly ... and then respond well to a little fertilizer, like they "green up" and grow faster. You can fertilize one small patch of each crop to see if that helped. Nitrogen is probably the thing most often deficient, but it also is the most toxic thing when added in excess.

Too little fertilizer might slow their growth down a little, or turn some leaves a little yellow.

Too much fertilizer can kill or damage the plants rather severely. Leaves curl and "burn", root hairs die or lose their beneficial root-fungi. If the soil becomes saline, the plants may even become unable to take up enough water and die promptly.

Less is better, with chemical fertilizer. If you can see at a glance that your soil is just AWFUL, like sandy and NO organic content and nothing grew well there before, not even weeds, you might consider light chemical fertilization as the lesser of two evils.

But adding organic matter - even a lot of mulch and compost - is almost always safe and beneficial. The only downside is that adding mulch on top of the soil takes years to break down and add organic matter. Sheet composting on top of the soil might only take months, but it adds organic matter slowly, too.

Adding compost ("finished" compost, decomposed compost) is almost an instant improvement in tilth, water retention, and soil structure (aeration and drainage). It also liberates mineral nutrients (the only thing that chemical fertilizers CAN add), but gradually. That is safe for the plant, and it delivers nutrients the way they are "used to" in nature: slowly as microbes digst the compost and release its minerals.

Also, humic acids are produced and released in that process. They slowly dissolve and make soluble the surfaces of rock grains, releasing mineral nutrients very slowly.

(Sometimes someone might add a whole LOT of semi-composted manure all at once, like a 4-6 inch layer, before rains have had time to leach out excessive salt, which some manure might have. Where I live, worrying about saline compost is pretty funny: you would have to build a roof to keep the rain off, to allow salts to build up. But I hear that too much "salty manure" can be an issue in dry climates or desalinized soil.)

Compost never burned any roots! Adding a 2-3 inch layer or more of finished compost (if you can get your hands on that much), and turning it under the top 12" of soil and mixing, will improve almost any unimproved soil. Then add another 1-2 inches once or twice per year, even if you don't till it under. If you can't get or make enough finished compost, you can "sheet compost" or mulch with things that break down quickly. That adds organic matter too, but more slowly.

The organic matter in compost and mulch feeds the soil life (fungi, bacteria, insects, worms, grubs, and many others).

Symbiotic or helpful soil life maintains the soil structure and releases minerals and interacts with root hairs in supportive ways. Many soil organisms destroy or inhibit plant pathogens. Root hairs secrete things analogous to hormones that signal and attract some microorganisms, and repel or inhibit others.

I think that plants, soil and soil organisms all co-evolved over many millions of years, maybe more than a billion years, to promote more soil life and more plants.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Feb 10, 2016 2:23 PM CST
Hmmm. Post Falls. You're in my general neck of the woods (we're about 40 miles north of Spokane). I start pretty much everything indoors early, but I do have a greenhouse. I just planted pepper seeds and will probably start my tomatoes in a week or so. I'd hold off on the squash, though. It grows so fast that the plants can get a bit unwieldy by the time you can set them out. And you CAN start corn indoors. I've tried it (but the seeds need to be kept very warm to germinate) and had reasonable success. I started them in 3" square peat pots and then planted them pot and all. But, like squash, they do grow pretty quickly once they start.

I start everything in good quality potting soil (I like Black Gold--Miracle Gro potting soil is way too dense and soggy) in those little 4 packs, then transfer them to 4 inch pots when they get a little bigger. The tomatoes usually end up in gallon nursery pots before the weather here permits setting them out.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Feb 10, 2016 3:15 PM CST
Hello!

Thanks for the Info, Woofie. I just have one more question, when should I start planting the seeds and putting them in my greenhouse? If I should start, which ones?

Thanks!

Jared
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Feb 10, 2016 3:20 PM CST
Is your greenhouse the small type that is inside your house? or a full size working greenhouse outside?

Here is the ATP planting calendar for your area:
http://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=83854
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
[Last edited by greene - Feb 10, 2016 3:22 PM (+)]
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Feb 10, 2016 3:27 PM CST
Well, as I mentioned, I've already put my pepper seeds in to sprout. They are somewhat slower growing than tomatoes, so I start them first. And then I wait about a week or two before starting the tomatoes.
There is a nifty technique for starting seeds in vermiculite that cuts down on space and also relieves you of the fuss about keeping the seeds moist till they sprout. You can take a look here. I used this method last year for my peppers and it worked really well. I also did some tomatoes this way.
http://www.seedsite.eu/articles/sowing
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
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
Feb 10, 2016 3:31 PM CST
By the way - I noticed that your vegetables were all warm-season crops. No lettuce or peas or snap peas or broccoli or Bok Choy?

>> How early do you start these seeds indoors to ensure their survival outdoors?

I agreed with Neal: "direct sow beans, corn, and squash". Starting them indoors might be very hard. If summer is just too short to direct-sow, consider sowing under a plastic hoop tunnel, and/or a floating row cover, to get 2-4 more weeks of warmth.

But I cross-posted with Woofie and she knows your climate, so listen to her instead of me.


http://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=post+falls+idaho

I agree with Jean: Dave's garden calendar will suggest times to start things indoors or outdoors, based on your ZIP code's average weather over the last 20-30 years.

Those will be good approximations, but some varieties and some micro-climates will always steer you a few weeks earlier or later ... only experimentation over a few seasons will tell you. Idaho ... mountains? Elevation makes a huge difference in planting time. Garden calendars like Dave's always choose sowing and planting dates based on the average last frost date over the last 20-30 years. But all you care about is the ACTUAL last frost date that is going to happen THIS year ... for which you need a crystal ball. You might plan your dates in two waves: an optimistic wave that assumes no late frosts, and a pessimistic wave that won't give you any early veggies, but is very unlikely to be killed by unseasonable weather.

They always depend on this year's weather matching the average climate: an unusually late frost can kill plants or slow them down. An early spring means you "wasted" a few weeks waiting for the safe time. If you sow a few 2-3 weeks early, sow most on the calendar's date, and sow a few 2 weeks late, you'll have some crop even if the weather doesn't cooperate or your varieties happen to be "extra-early" or "late season" varieties.

I've heard that parts of Idaho have severe weather, including unsettled springs with cold snaps coming along any old time. And your seed packets are "Burpee". I think they are a mass-market, one-size-fits-all, national brand. IF you can find any seed vendor that specializes in varieties for your area, they will have varieties better suited to whatever your summers are like.

Once you find such local vendors, look over their websites and seed catalogs. They should mention varieties' unusual traits that are suited to local conditions - whatever they are. Like short summers, drying winds, cold snaps, drought, or whatever. Take note of the variety names that are particularly able to resist whatever your worst stresses are. Then look for those varieties all being sold by one vendor, so you can buy everything in one place next year. Or look at our plant database for that variety, see who owns it, and ask if they trade seeds.

I thought there might not be many Idaho seed vendors, but Googling "Idaho seed vendors" gave me a goodly list! I don't know if they're good, bad or clueless but here are some. You could check "The Green pages" to see if other ATP members recommend them. (But Dave doesn't have a space for NEGATIVE reviews, last time I looked.)

Once you pick a few local seed vendors and wonder which to trust most, you might ask in the PNW forum if anyone has tried those seed vendors, or who they DO buy from when shopping around for unfamiliar, locally-adapted varieties.
http://garden.org/forums/view/pacificnorthwestgard/


(this PDF has a long list of vendors in PDF form)
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publica...

(once you get here, search this site for "seed vendors:)
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/home/?cid...
like so:
http://usdasearch.usda.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=n...
containi9ng:

Plant and Seed Vendors (MT-57) | NRCS
[url=www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/home/?cid=nrcs144p2_057745]www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/home/?cid=nrcs14...[/url]
Plant and Seed Vendors for Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Eastern Oregon, Utah, Eastern Washington, and Wyoming. A printer-friendly version of this ...

Seed Source Selection (MT-67) | NRCS Montana
[url=www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/home/?cid=nrcs144p2_057709]www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/home/?cid=nrcs14...[/url]
Seed Source Selection, Use of Certified Seed, and Appropriate Seed Release .... For sources of certified seed, reference Plant and Seed Vendors for ...

Meadow Brome (MT-95) | NRCS Montana
[url=www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/plantsanimals/?cid=stelprdb1192502]www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/plantsanimals/?c...[/url]
Seed stalks are from 24 to 48 inches tall and extend above the leaf mass in an .... and Seed Vendors for Idaho-Montana-Nevada-Eastern ...

More Information About Native Landscaping | NRCS Montana
[url=www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/water/resources/?cid=nrcs144p2_057457]www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/water/resources/...[/url]
... Landscape Association offsite link image; Plant and Seed Vendors for Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Eastern Oregon, Utah, Eastern Washington, and ...

Technical References - Plant Fact Sheets, Plant Guides and ...
[url=www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/home/?cid=nrcs144p2_047763]www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/home/?cid=nrcs14...[/url]
Note 14 Seed Production Standards for Conservation Plants (PDF; 190 KB) ... Note 33 Plant and Seed Vendors for Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Eastern ...

More Information About Rain Gardens | NRCS Montana
[url=www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/homeowner/?cid=nrcs144p2_057469]www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/mt/homeowner/?cid=n...[/url]
Plant and Seed Vendors for Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Eastern Oregon, Utah, Eastern Washington, and Wyoming ยท Montana NRCS - Information About ...

[Last edited by RickCorey - Feb 10, 2016 3:33 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1055869 (9)
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
Image
RickCorey
Feb 10, 2016 3:41 PM CST
>> have some questions concerning growing vegetables from seed. Whenever we did it they always die.

That was the most interesting point. There is probably some one thing you could change that would make a huge difference.

Rather than ask a dozen vague questions about "Goldilocks" issues (moist but not too moist ... warm but not too warm ... cells "deep enough"), here are some ways to kill seedlings that I DO have experience with! Do any of these sound familiar?

1. Seeds dried out after germinating

2. Kept seedlings in tiny, shallow cells too long.

3. Over-watered

4. Set out too early and were chilled, rotted, or eaten by slugs, insects, birds or squirrels

5. Outdoor soil too heavy: seedlings could not push crust aside to emerge, soil too wet and cold so the seeds rotted

6. eaten by slugs

7. needed a warmer summer than I have, or a longer one, to ripen


The point at which they all died would be informative, and maybe someone will recognize those symptoms.

a. Seedlings fail to emerge?
b. seedlings emerge then fall over (damping off: rot at the soil line)
c. seedlings get a few pair of true leaves but then die
d. plants get several inches tall outside and then die for unknown reason
e. eaten by something, conspicuous disease, other reasons
f. fail to set fruit or fruit never ripens

Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
Image
jnicholes
Feb 10, 2016 3:56 PM CST
Hello!

Thank you all for all the help you have given me and my mom. I just looked at the links that RickCorey suggested and it gave me what we needed to know. we really appreciate this help. This year I am trying to grow a Dills Atlantic Giant Pumpkin. I am also trying to grow a 30 lbs Zucchini. I grew one that big a long time ago. Anyway, thanks SO much for all the help. I have an indoor greenhouse by the way.

we appreciate all the help,

Jared and his mom.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Feb 10, 2016 4:32 PM CST
Good luck! Let us know how things go for you! Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
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
Image
RickCorey
Feb 10, 2016 6:06 PM CST
Good luck!

The greenhouse gives you many options.

I looked at many seed packets and collated many source's advice for "how many weeks before or after last frost" seeds should be started indoors, or outdoors, or seedlings transplanted outside.

Then I built those into some calendars with dates inserted for my area. I aimed for 80%+ no-more-frosts, not 50% no-more-frosts.

Then I ignored the calendars each year, until it was too late.


Thumb of 2016-02-11/RickCorey/c5c737

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