Today is the day I decided to make time to sow some seeds for fall vegetables. It is time to start cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, collards and a few other things in our part of the world. I did some planning and determined I will need about 250 plants for us and for the Impact Community Garden. Probably 75% of them will go for the Impact garden. Since the gardeners there missed having any of these veggies for spring it will be nice if they have lots of them for fall. Many of these vegetables do better in our area in fall anyway, especially the broccoli and kale.
When I have a lot of seeds to sow, I am a fan of using plug flats. I have several different sizes, but the 200-cell version gets the most use. It seems to have just the right amount of room for starting many of the things I grow. The plants will only spend about two or three weeks there before being transplanted out into larger quarters. And I can get 200 seeds going in the space of a standard flat. I will start these under lights in the basement and then move them out to the greenhouse once they are up and growing.
I like to use a fine soiless mix at this stage, something like Promix BX or Promix All-Purpose Growing Mix. I’m mostly concerned with not introducing diseases or insects to the tiny seedlings, and when I transplant them I will use a soil mix that has some compost in it. I will also start feeding with a dilute fish emulsion solution at that time.
That’s pretty much how I do it here. You can refer to my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule for the times I usually sow and plant vegetables here in our gardens. Timing is key I think, and starting these veggies now will get them going so they can produce before really cold weather gets here. And keeping the garden producing all season long is one of my goals for sure!
Thanks a bunch for the Seed starting and Planting schedule link. I live in indiana too and this is so helpful.
I was planning on growing kohlrabi in a the bed that currently holds some onions (which I’m assuming will be vacant around the end of July). I have never grown it before & was going to start transplants, but then I read that it should be direct seeded. From this post I’m gathering that you start transplants, which I would definitely prefer to do so that I could get an earlier start (our first frost date is the first week of October). So I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on direct seeding vs. transplants for this one.
I’ve grown kohlrabi from transplants for years, and it always works for me. Our weather is usually so hot and dry this time of year that direct seeding of anything is difficult. But I also like starting inside and early, because it gives me a jump on things. Plus the birds are quite fond of tiny seedlings, so I figure if I can set them out when they are a little bigger then maybe they will survive better!
This is a great reminder that I should also start sowing for my fall garden. That 200 cell flat looks very handy. I only have the larger kind and have often thought they are not ideal for starting a lot of seeds.
I got my plug flats from Johnny’s Seeds, and I’ve been using them for 5-6 years now. They have been holding up quite well for me.
I sowed my fall veggies a week ago. My garden gets a lot more shade as we get closer to fall so I need a bit more time than you. Hopefully I’ve given them plenty of time.
Why do you start fall vegetables indoor in the basement? Is it due to the cooler temperature indoor? Would the seedlings be happy if you place the plug flat outdoor to get direct sunlight? Thanks!
Great question! It’s too hot here to start seeds outside. Direct sun would probably dry the soil out and require watering several times a say. It could also scorch the tender seedlings. And my greenhouse is even hotter. So the basement is a much more favorable place in my situation. If it’s cooler where you are, and you can keep an eye on seedlings throughout the day, then outside might work for you.