I think we just got through the hottest summer ever. I’m super happy that the rains are around the corner. This means a much awaited respite from the heat of summer and more importantly the beginning of the sowing period! If you have had as much failure in starting seeds in the past few months as I have – you should be happy too –the good cool days are upon us. In fact, just last Saturday, I decided to start sowing a whole range of seeds and guess what – I got a cool 85% germination rate!
So what is it that really affects seed germination? A whole range of factors ranging from temperature, moisture, humidity, light, storage conditions and of course the most important SEED QUALITY! Seeds that we get in India are not always the best quality of seeds and in my experience deliver no more than 60% germination, sometimes 70% if you’re lucky. It is possible of course that I’ve been buying seeds from the wrong people. Connect with us and let us know if you have a good seed supplier – the community at large will be thankful!
This past weekend was busy. I noticed how the weather was quickly changing and knew that if I wanted a successful harvest this year, I had to start planting now. Over the years I’ve discovered that there is only one way to increase your odds of having a successful harvest – more plants. So I brought out my Jiffy’s and my seeds and decided based on temperature what I should sow.
What should you sow? This is a question that comes to every grower. It’s simple really – if you’re growing indoors and with control of environmental factors such as temperature and lighting, then there really is nothing to stop you from growing whatever you want to grow.
On the other hand, if you’re growing outdoors and don’t have any control of the environmental factors then grow plants that would thrive in the season you’re growing them in. Here’s a chart to get you started. Thanks @GeekGardener for sharing this:
|Month||North India||South India|
|JANUARY||Brinjal||Lettuce,Spinach, Gourds, Melons, Radish, Carrot, Onion, Tomato,Okra,Brinjal, Bean|
|FEBRUARY||Applegourd, Bittergourd, Bottle gourd, Cucumber, French Beans, Okra, Sponge, Gourd, Watermelon, Spinach||Same as January|
|MARCH||Same as February||Amaranthus, Coriander, Gourds, Beans, Melons, Spinach, Okra|
|APRIL||Capsicum||Onion, Amaranthus, Coriander, Gourds, Okra, Tomato, Chilli|
|MAY||Onion, Pepper, Brinjal||Okra, Onion, Chilli|
|JUNE||All gourds, Brinjal, Cucumber, Cauliflower (Early), Okra, Onion,Sem,Tomato,Pepper||Gourds, Solanaeceae,Almost all vegetables|
|JULY||All gourds, Cucumber, Okra, Sem, Tomato||Same as June|
|AUGUST||Carrot, Cauliflower, Radish, Tomato||Carrot, Cauliflower, Beans, Beet|
|SEPTEMBER||Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Peas, Radish, Tomato, Lettuce||Cauliflower, Cucumber, Onion,Peas,Spinach|
|OCTOBER||Beet, Brinjal, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Spinach, Turnip||Brinjal, Cabbage,Capsicum,Cucumber, Beans,Peas, Spinach, Turnip, Watermelon|
|NOVEMBER||Turnip, Tomato, Radish, Pepper, Peas, Beet||Beet, Eggplant, Cabbage, Carrot, Beans, Lettuce, Melon, Okra, Turnip|
|DECEMBER||Tomato||Lettuce, Pumpkin, Watermelon, Muskmelon, Ash gourd, Ridge gourd, Bitter gourd, Bottle gourd, Cucumber, Chilly, Cabbage,|
I live in Pune, and June/July are by far the best months to start planting. I chose to plant 5 different kinds:
10 of Chinese Cabbage
10 of Broccoli
10 of Iceberg lettuce
5 of pumpkin
5 of Yellow pear tomatos
I prefer to use Jiffy plugs for sowing because of the ease of use. Here is how you use them.
After sowing, I covered up the tray with clingwrap and kept it in a cool, dark place. (Remember, I’m in Pune, so “cool” roughly translates to 25-27 degrees C. ) I left the tray unattended for 3 days and saw the first signs of sprouting. Here’s a picture:
You will find through practice that seeds too have different requirements, ranging from how deep you sow them to the weather conditions. I found the following chart, also developed by the GeekGardener (god bless this man!) very useful to determine which seeds to plant to achieve better results:
|Vegetable||Ideal C||Range C||Direct/ Transplant||North India||South India|
|Tinda||25||20-30||Direct||Feb-Mar/ Jun-Jul||Feb-Mar/ Jun-Jul|
|Bittergourd||25||20-30||Direct||Feb-March/ June-July||Nov-Dec/ Dec-Jan/ Jun-July|
|Bottlegourd||25||20-30||Direct||Feb-March/ June-July||Nov-Dec/ Dec-Jan/ Jun-July|
|Brinjal/ Eggplant||30||21-35||Transplant||Jan-Feb/ May-Jun/ Oct-Nov||Jun-Jul/ Oct-Nov/ Jan-Feb|
|Capsicum||21||15-25||Transplant||Nov-Jan||Jul-Aug/ Oct-Nov/ Jan-Feb|
|Cauliflower (early)||25||25-27||Transplant||Mid-June||Jun-Jul/ Aug-Sep|
|Cauliflower (midseason)||15||<16||Transplant||Sep-Oct||Jun-Jul/ Aug-Sep|
|Cucumber||16||16-32||Direct||Feb-March/ June-July||Jun-July/ Sep-Oct/ Dec-Jan|
|Okra||25||20-32||Direct||Feb-Mar/ Jun-Jul||Jan-Feb/ May-Jun/ Oct-Dec|
|Onion||22||Oct-32||Transplant||May-Jun||Mar-Apr/ May-June/ Sep-Oct|
|Peas||22||Oct-22||Direct||Sep-Oct, Nov||Sep-Oct, Nov|
|Pepper||30||18-32||Transplant||Nov-Jan/ May-Jun||Jan-Feb/ May-Jun/ Oct-Nov|
|Spinach||22||Oct-22||Direct||Sep-Nov/ Feb||Sep, Oct, Nov|
|Spongegourd||22||20-30||Direct||Feb-Mar/ Jun-Jul||Feb-Mar/ Jun-Jul/ Oct-Nov|
|Tomato||30||20-30||Transplant||Jun-Aug/ Nov-Dec||Jan-Feb/ Jun-Jul/ Oct-Nov|
I’m now awaiting the seeds to develop their first true leaves. In the meanwhile, I’ll keep myself busy cleaning up my system and having it ready for transplant. Once they are ready this is what I have in store for me. Check this space in a few days to see how my little seedlings react to their new homes.
Start some seeds today. Grow Happy.
(Many thanks to the GeekGardener who compiled the above charts. Check his website www.geekgardener.in)