January is Pajama Gardening Month!
January 8, 2014
I know, it's cold outside. Most of you aren't really that interested in getting out into the garden. BUT, if you plan to be tiptoe-ing around your veggie garden this spring picking homegrown tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and any number of other veggies and herbs, now is the time to start your seeds!
That's why I like to call January "Pajama Gardening Month". You can get your gardening fix indoors, all whilst still in your PJs. Starting seeds indoors is fun and rewarding. You just have to get the timing right and have a few good tools. If you're in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, here are some things you should be starting from seed this month indoors:
Cole crops: You can start your last succession of cool season crops indoors now. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard, collard greens, kohlrabi, cauliflower and more.. Seeds need supplemental light so make sure to use a good setup. After 5 or 6 weeks you can transplant these seedlings outdoors, in February.
Warm season crops: Start tomatoes NOW, then you can start peppers, eggplant inside starting now through February. These crops take a bit longer to get to transplant size, about 8-9 weeks. In the DFW area, tomatoes can be planted outside late-February through the end of March for a June harvest. You can continue planting peppers and eggplant through April and May. If you want to start a second fall crop of tomatoes from seed, you’ll do that indoors in May.
Herbs: Start seeds indoors of warm season herbs such as basil, oregano, sage, thyme, chives etc.
Salad greens: You can still start salad greens both indoors and by direct seeding outside right now through February. Remember that lettuce seeds need light to germinate, so don't cover their seeds with soil when you plant them. Simply press them into the surface of the soil and keep moist until germination.
Indoor seed starting equipment: I use the Jump Start system from Hydrofarm because the lighting is perfect for seeds, the lamp can be adjusted to different heights, and it's a good for small spaces. You can use small trays with a seed starting soil mix, or the little compressed pellets from say Jiffy. I use those a lot and they work great. Make sure you have a humidity dome (plastic cover) for your tray. If you're using posts or pellets, make sure you have a water tight seed tray to set them in so you can cover them with the dome. The picture at left is only one example of the many different options available. Sometime you just have to experiment to find the option that works best for you. Also, a seed starting heat mat is necessary once you get into fall and winter, and you're starting seeds for spring planting.