What to sow? Your guide to which plants to grow when, for maximum results.

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:

Sowing Chart

Sowing Seasons

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:

Seeds sprouting

IMG_20140611_084351

 

 

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
Beet 20 Oct-30 Direct Oct-Nov Aug-Nov
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
Cabbage 20 Oct-20 Transplant Sep-Oct Jun-Jul/ Oct-Nov
Capsicum 21 15-25 Transplant Nov-Jan Jul-Aug/ Oct-Nov/ Jan-Feb
Carrot 25 Oct-30 Direct Aug-Sep-Oct Aug-Nov
Cauliflower (early) 25 25-27 Transplant Mid-June Jun-Jul/ Aug-Sep
Cauliflower (late) 18 16-20 Transplant Aug-Sep-Oct Jun-Jul
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
Frenchbeans 20 16-30 Direct Feb-March
Lettuce 20 Jul-27 Transplant Sep-Oct Oct-Dec
Melon 27 22-32 Direct Jan-Feb Oct-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
Radish 30 Oct-30 Direct Aug-Jan (Depending
Sembeans 30 25-35 Direct Jun-Jul Jun-Jul, Aug
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
Turnip 30 15-35 Direct Oct-Nov Oct-Nov
Watermelon 30 20-30 Direct Jan-Mar Oct-Jan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

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