Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Sowing Seeds

Organize Your Seed Packets According to Their Sowing Date

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Organize your seed packets according to the sowing date order so you remember just when to sow them. Source: Claire Tourigny, from the book Les idées du jardinier paresseux: Semis

If you sow only one variety of seed in a given year, setting up a sowing schedule is not that difficult. You only need to determine the best sowing date, which is probably indicated on the seed packet. For example, the packet may indicate “sow indoors 8 weeks before the transplant date.” You only have to count backwards according to this information. For example, if the date on which you plan to transplant is June 1st, you only have to remember that the contents of this packet should be sown about 8 weeks earlier, around April 1st. That’s not too hard to remember.

If ever this information is not given on the packet, you’ll find helpful lists of commonly grown plants with their best sowing date in the blogs When to Sow Over 80 Vegetables and Herbs and When to Sow Over 150 Annuals.

However, when you have many seed packets you intend to sow, things can get complicated. You’ll quickly learn that the needs of various seeds vary: if one variety prefers being sown 12 weeks before the last frost, another is best at 8 weeks, while yet another is best sown directly outdoors two weeks before the last frost … and the list of possibilities goes on and on.

How can you organize things to avoid any confusion?

Here’s a suggestion: Prepare envelopes (no need for new ones: you can recycle used ones) ahead of time, according to the dates you’ve calculated: March 1st, March 15th, April 1st, April 15th, etc. A personal diary or a small binder with pockets would also be effective. Now, as you buy seeds, simply place them in the appropriate envelope or pocket. That way, no confusion: you’ll always be ready to sow the right seeds on the right date!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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