BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

20 Great Edibles to Start From Seed

0 17

Vegetables (and some fruits) are some of the easiest plants to start from seed. And that’s a good thing, since a lot of us want to grow veggies from seed before any other kind of plant. Many edibles can be sown directly into the garden without much fuss, but others need a bit more attention because they need to be started indoors. If you’ve ever wondered why your corn didn’t sprout (you may not have pre-soaked the seed) or why your beets never fully formed (you may have forgotten to thin the seedlings) then read on to get a plethora of insider’s tips and tricks for growing fruits and vegetables from seed.

Swiss chard

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall

Yield: Several stalks per plant

Days to germinate: 15 to 20

Days to maturity: 30 to 60

Germination conditions: It’s best sown outdoors in early spring when the ground is still cool; in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 and 10, direct-sow in fall, as well, for a winter harvest.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun to partial shade and in rich, well-drained soil. Space 4 to 6 inches apart in rows.

Seed note: Collect the seeds as they mature by routinely shaking the maturing seed heads into a paper bag. Sift from the chaff, and store.

Swiss chard

Spinach

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall

Yield: Continual harvest of leafy greens

Days to germinate: 8 to 10

Days to maturity: 30 to 45

Germination condi­tions: Soak seeds for 24 hours before sowing. It’s best sown outdoors
in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Sow indoors in spring or fall a few weeks before planting out.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in evenly moist, rich soil with excellent drainage. Thin or transplant seedlings to 4 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart. It is a cool-season crop that suffers in the heat of summer.

Seed note: When the leaves turn yellow, pull up the plants and strip off the seeds with your hands. Dry the seeds thoroughly, and store.

Spinach
New Zealand spinach

Turnip

Size: 12 to 20 inches tall

Yield: One turnip and several greens per plant

Days to germinate: 8 to 10

Days to maturity: 45 to 65

Germination conditions: It’s best sown outdoors after all danger of frost has passed but the ground is still cool. Sow indoors a few weeks before planting out. In Zones 8 and warmer, sow in late fall through spring for continual winter harvest.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Thin or space seedlings to 3 to 4 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart.

Seed note: Allow the seedpods to dry on the plant until they turn light brown. Pick the pods, and remove the seeds by hand. Sift out the chaff, dry, and store.

Turnip
Brassica—turnip ‘Snowball’

Summer squash

Size: 1 to 4 feet tall

Yield: Three to five squash per plant per week

Days to germinate: 7 to 10

Days to maturity: 40 to 50

Germination conditions: It’s best sown outdoors in spring after all danger
of frost has passed. Sow indoors two to three weeks before planting out.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in well-drained soil. Space 2 to 3 feet apart in rows 4 to 6 feet apart. Fertilize every three weeks until harvest.

Seed note: To save the seeds, allow the squash to overripen. When the flesh can be dented with a fingernail, it’s ready for seed harvest. Cut open the squash, and scrape out, wash, dry, and store the seeds.

Summer squash

Peas

Size: Climbing to 5 feet

Yield: 20 to 35 pods per plant per week

Days to germinate: 7 to 10

Days to maturity: 55 to 75

Germination conditions: Direct-sow in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. Bury the seed 2 inches deep. In Zones 8 and warmer, direct-sow in fall for a winter crop. Sowing indoors is not recommended.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in fertile, sandy, well-drained soil. Thin seedlings to 2 inches apart. Vining types should be in supported rows that are spaced 30 inches apart.

Seed note: Allow the pods to turn brown on the plant for about four weeks after you would harvest them to eat. If frost threatens, cut the entire plant back and hang it upside down to dry indoors. Remove the seeds from the pods, dry for a week, and store.

Peas

Arugula

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall

Yield: Continual harvest of leaves

Days to germinate: 5 to 8

Days to maturity: 45 to 55

Germination conditions: Direct-sow as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. Sow indoors three to four weeks before the last frost. Keep soil evenly moist.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in sandy, rich, moist, well-drained soil. Plant in rows 12 inches apart. It performs best in cool climates.

Seed note: The seedpods develop on the flower stalk Allow them to mature as the leaves turn brown. When the seeds rattle inside the pods, collect, extract, and store them.

Arugula

Corn

Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Yield: Averages three cobs per plant

Days to germinate: 7 to 10

Days to maturity: 55 to 95

Germination conditions: Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours prior to planting. Direct-sow in warm soil after all danger of frost has passed. Sow indoors two to three weeks before the last frost.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Thin seedlings to 3 to 12 inches apart. Keep well fertilized.

Seed note: Store seeds in a sealed container to protect them from rodents.

Corn

Beets

Size: 8 to 12 inches tall

Yield: One beet and several stems of greens per plant

Days to germinate: 10 to 15

Days to maturity: 50 to 60

Germination conditions: Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours prior to sowing. It’s best sown outdoors in early spring when the ground is still cool. In Zones 9 and 10, seeds can be sown outside in fall.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in well-drained soil. The seeds are the plant’s fruits, which contain several seeds, so it is important to thin the seedlings to 3 to 6 inches apart immediately after they germinate.

Seed note: To collect the seeds, cut the plant to the ground and hang the foliage upside down to dry. Strip the seeds from the stalks, and sift the seeds from the chaff.

Beets

Melon

Size: Vining to 8 to 10 feet

Yield: One to five melons per plant

Days to germinate: 7 to 10

Days to maturity: 60 to 85

Germination conditions: Direct-sow in spring when the ground is warm. Start indoors three to four weeks before night temperatures are consistently above 55°F.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in well-drained soil. Plant three together on hills 4 to 6 feet apart. Keep the plant well watered as it grows, but allow it to dry out while the fruit is maturing to promote sweetness.

Seed note: To save the seeds, place the seeds along with the pulp in a bowl of water. The viable seeds will sink to the bottom. Dry the seeds for a week and then store.

Melon

Lettuce

Size: 5 to 12 inches tall

Yield: One head of greens per plant

Days to germinate: 7 to 10

Days to maturity: 50 to 85

Germination conditions: It is a cool-season crop that should be sown outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring or in late summer for a fall crop. In Zones 8 and warmer, direct-sow in fall for a winter harvest. Start indoors eight to 10 weeks before the last frost.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in moist, well-drained soil. Thin leaf lettuce to 4 to 6 inches apart; thin heading lettuce to 12 inches apart.

Seed note: Seeds mature erratically, so monitor the bolting plant closely for a month or two. When you notice some seeds are turning dark, shake the plant over a paper bag to catch the ripe seeds. Dry for a week and then store.

Lettuce

Artichoke

Size: 4 to 5 feet tall

Yield: Nine heads per plant

Days to germinate: 12 to 15

Days to maturity: 150 to 200

Germination conditions: Sow indoors six to eight weeks prior to the last frost. Sow outdoors after all danger of frost has passed but while the soil is still cool.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in well-drained soil. Mulch the entire plant to overwinter in Zones 6 and 7. It performs best in climates with long, cool summers. Space 4 feet apart.

Seed note: To save the seeds, remove the flower head from the plant when the white plumes appear. Dry until the flower head is brittle. Place the blossom in a bag, and hit the base with a hammer. The fluff will float away, and the heavy seeds will remain in the bag. Remove and store the seeds in a dry location.

Artichoke

Eggplant

Size: 1 to 6 feet tall

Yield: Six to eight eggplants per plant

Days to germinate: 10 to 15

Days to maturity: 50 to 80

Germination conditions: Sow the seeds indoors eight to 10 weeks before night temperatures are consistently above 55°F. Sow seeds outdoors only in climates with long growing seasons.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in deep, loose, fertile soil. Space 3 feet apart in rows that are 3 feet apart. Keep well watered. Eggplant is tolerant of heat and humidity.

Seed note: To save the seeds, let the eggplant continue to mature on the plant until it is dull, off-colored, and hard. Cut the ripe eggplant 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 to mash the flesh and expose the seeds. Wash off the seeds, and dry them until they are hard before storing.

Eggplant

Broccoli

Size: 2 feet tall

Yield: One central head per plant, with one or two possible offshoots

Days to germinate: 10 to 14

Days maturity: 45 to 60

Germination conditions: Because broccoli is a cool-season crop, it’s best to sow seeds indoors seven to nine weeks before the last frost. For Zones 8 or warmer, direct-sow seeds in fall for a winter harvest.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in rich, moist, well-drained soil. Space 18 to 24 inches apart. Mulch to keep the soil cool, and water regularly.

Seed note: To collect the seeds, allow the seedpods to dry on the plant. Cut the entire plant to the ground, and hang it upside down to dry for a week or two. Place the pods in a bag, and crush them with a mallet or rolling pin. Sift the seeds from the chaff, and store.

Broccoli

Bell pepper

Size: 20 to 36 inches tall

Yield: Five to nine peppers per plant

Days to germinate: 10 to 14

Days to maturity: 50 to 80

Germination conditions: It’s best sown indoors six to eight weeks before night temperatures are consistently above 55°F.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in rich, well-drained soil. Space 2 feet apart. Stake the plant if the fruit is too heavy.

Seed note: The seeds are mature after the pepper has changed color to its final stage of ripeness. Cut the pepper open, and scrape out, dry, and store the seeds.

Bell pepper

Kale

Size: 6 to 30 inches tall

Yield: One head of greens per plant

Days to germinate: 10 to 14

Days to maturity: 55 to 70

Germination conditions: Start indoors eight to 10 weeks before the last frost, and plant outside as soon as the soil can be worked. Seeds can also be sown outdoors in early spring when the soil is still cool. In cool areas, sow again midsummer for a fall crop. In Zones 8 and warmer, sow in late summer or early fall for winter and spring crops.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in rich, loamy, well-drained soil. Space 18 to 24 inches apart. Mulch to keep the soil cool, and water regularly. It is a cool-season crop, and frost actually improves the flavor.

Seed note: To collect the seeds, allow the pods to mature on the flower stalk but remove them before they burst. Place the pods in a bag, and hit the pods with a mallet. Blow the chaff away, and store the seeds.

Kale

Celery

Size: 12 to 16 inches tall

Yield: Several stalks per plant

Days to germinate: 14 to 21

Days to maturity: 85 to 100

Germination conditions: Sow the seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before planting outside. Do not cover seeds with soil. It is not recommended to start seeds outdoors.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun to partial shade and in extremely rich and consistently moist soil. Space 8 to 12 inches apart in trenches. Blanch by filling the trenches with soil as the celery grows.

Seed note: Collect the seeds by shaking the maturing flower heads into a paper bag as the seeds mature. Sift out the chaff, dry, and store.

Celery

Brussels sprouts

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall

Yield: 30 to 60 buds per stock

Days to germinate: 10 to 14

Days to maturity: 90 to 120

Germination conditions: Start indoors six to eight weeks before planting out. In Zones 8 and warmer, direct-sow in early fall for a winter harvest.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in rich, moist, well-drained soil. Space 18 to
24 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart; mulch heavily. Fall frost improves the flavor of late harvests.

Seed note: In the second year of growth, a flower stalk may appear in spring. Allow the pods to mature on the plant. Remove the pods when they are brown but before they shatter. Place the pods in a bag, and crush them with a rolling pin. Sift the seeds from the chaff, and store.

Brussels sprouts

Leeks

Size: 2 feet tall

Yield: One leek per plant

Days to germinate: 10 to 14

Days to maturity: 60 to 90

Germination conditions: It’s best started indoors eight to 12 weeks before the last frost. In warmer climates, direct-sow in fall or early spring.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in rich, well-drained soil. Water and fertilize regularly. Space 4 inches apart. For tender and sweet leeks, blanch by mounding soil around the base of the stems as they grow.

Seed note: To harvest the seed, cut off the seed head when you can see the seeds inside it and place it in a bag to dry. Rub the seeds out, and store.

Leeks

Cauliflower

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall

Yield: One head per plant

Days to germinate: 8 to 10

Days to maturity: 30 to 80

Germination conditions: It’s best sown indoors five to seven weeks before planting outside in cool climates. In Zones 8 and warmer, direct-sow in late summer for a winter crop.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in deep, rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil. Space 2 feet apart. Mulch to keep the moisture in and soil temperatures down. Feed every four weeks with a low-nitrogen fertilizer. It is a cool-season crop and will not form a head under hot and dry conditions.

Seed note: In the fall of the second year of growth, the plant sends up a tall stock that develops seedpods. Harvest them when they turn brown. Place the pods in a bag, and crush them with a mallet or rolling pin. Sift the seeds from the chaff, and store.

Cauliflower

Okra

Size: 3 to 6 feet tall; some varieties up to 10 feet tall

Yield: Continual production if harvested daily

Days to germinate: 10 to 15

Days to maturity: 55 to 75

Germination conditions: Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours prior to sowing. In cool regions with a short growing season, start seeds indoors eight to 10 weeks before the last frost. In warm climates, direct-sow in spring when the ground is warm and all danger of frost has passed.

Growing instructions: Plant in full sun and in well-drained soil. Plant 18 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. It requires temperatures to remain above 50°F.

Seed note: Okra seeds do not store well.

Okra

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.