Cool season crop planting – experimental methods

My garden this year has had a decent run, particularly tomatoes (beefsteak, grape, early girl, and Cherokee purple). My cooler season crops did poorly though, with the exception of the lacinato kale (a partial harvest pictured).

My carrots are still going, and various leafy greens continue and will be harvest ready in a month i imagine. But my radishes, broccoli, and arugula were total failures. We had unusually cold then warm weather early this year, and the cooler summer while nice, has been punctuated by hot and then cool alternations – causing many to bolt. I’m finally on top of planting schedules this year, so I’m taking it one step further to see if I can try my hand at multiple harvests, which is very doable here in temperate Washington.

I’m looking to grow from seed right now, so I want to accelerate the germination a bit. I’ve always had good luck with water soaking, usually warm water (and in the case of some tropicals, nearly boiling) for about 24 hours seems to do the trick quite readily. In fact, unless I direct sow, I always do a water soak first.

However, looking to sow quite a few different types of vegetables, I didn’t want to put them all in one or two big bowls, as this would mess up my planting grid. I couldn’t find anything as useful as what I settled on, which is a small tackle box I had just today emptied of screws (destiny?)

I think an ice cube tray would be better, but we don’t own any on account of having an ice maker built into the fridge. I may have to pick some up though, for the uniformity alone. I used a paper to jot down references to each compartment for later planting (ideally tomorrow). We’ll see how this goes, but I’m happy with the idea so far.

Had to throw this in. Water soaking for a day and a half yielded germination time of two days for these red clover.
A few recently harvested tomatoes and peppers. Many more coming since late july, August is ideal here.
Rhubarb, and some of the more successful cool season crops
Filling the box compartments with water and laying out all the things to plant

After spreading them into their respective compartments
Also a few other things for kicks. Licorice, and some seeds I wanted to get rid of. I like the fact these all close, this is going to be an important quality if I switch to something else.

5 thoughts on “Cool season crop planting – experimental methods

  1. I think the only problem with a multi-compartment tray is getting the seeds back out again! I tend to reuse little condiment pots that come with a click on lid. They are a little lightweight so liable to get knocked over a bit easy – I could do with a safe tray out of the way for them. I haven’t tried generally soaking seeds though – just tend to do legumes and sweetcorn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I think this method can be greatly improved! If there was a way to presoak within a biodegradable container like pucks or coir, I’d go that route. They need about 24 hrs submerged from what I’ve seen, and I think these things might disintegrate. I like your separate pots approach though. I’ll post some updated picks – I use a water dropper to suck them up and shoot them into the holes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You could perhaps lay the seeds on a bit of tissue or newspaper, then soak that? It would have to be reasonably strong when wet, and it would be perhaps more difficult to see when the seeds were rehydrated.

        Liked by 1 person

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