If you are planning to start your vegetable plants from seeds, this is the time to begin, so that they will be ready for planting in 6 to 8 weeks.
This last week was when my parents started all the seeds for our vegetable garden. My parents never buy seeds; they always keep seeds from the previous year for planting in the next. In fact, all of our vegetable seeds came over from Calabria with us, in the early 1970s; they are truly heirloom varieties. Once the seedlings are ready for transplanting, they bring them over to my garden and plant them. Since we live in California they can start the seeds outside; if that is not possible in your climate you can start the seeds indoors and then move them outside once the temperature is warmer. My parents use large pots or recycled containers for the seeds, and the soil they use is a fluffy rich soil.
If you are ready for planting, sprinkle the seeds evenly over your soil and cover it with a thin layer of more soil, about a quarter of an inch. Now for my parents’ secret to keeping the seeds moistened evenly: instead of watering the seeds directly, they take a thin piece of cloth, typically a piece of an old t-shirt or thin kitchen towel, dampen it, and keep it over the soil until the seeds germinate. This way when they water the seeds they stay in place rather than getting washed around. The picture shows you various pots that are covered with the cloth.
They then place the pots in a sunny spot, and once the seeds sprout, which can take up to two weeks, they remove the cloth, exposing the little seedlings to sunshine. If it rains or gets too cold they move the pots in a sheltered area. They treat those little seeds like babies.
I have found two online sources for Italian seeds, both of these sites carry many of the vegetable seeds that we grow.
In the next couple of weeks we will make our annual manure trip to the farm and start preparing the soil. See last year’s post on how to prepare the garden for planting.