Welcome to the first Seed Sowing Saturday of 2011! Where all of us seed starting fanatics recap our weekly seed starting experiences and share with each other what we’re working on, how we’re doing it all, and of course the results!
I chose to start my seed sowing this week by starting shallots. We do a great deal of our cooking in the kitchen with yellow onions and I love the red ones grilled but I think by far the best all around cooking onion is the shallot. It doesn’t have the overwhelming strong taste like the red onions and has a nicer flavor than the yellow onions. The only problem with shallots is that they are so expensive. So to increase the quality of our cooking without raising the grocery expenses we are going to attempt to grow shallots.
I like to use everyday kitchen trays to hold out seed starting pots. They are cheap and easily available. I filled this one with 16 small round peat pots. In the past I’ve used all kinds of plastic yogurt containers with holes poked in the bottom but I happened to have some small peat pots in the garage that were handy.
I added a commercial seed starting mix. It’s one of the easiest ways to go and is available in organic versions. Many people make their own formulas for seed starting mix but I haven’t as of yet (I’m interested in hearing about your soil mix if you have one!) After adding the mix to the pots I watered the tray and allowed the water to soak into the pots and the soil.
In went the shallot seeds! I placed two per pot for a total of 32 shallots. I hope they all germinate but there will probably be some seeds that are no longer viable. Onions have shorter shelf life than many other plants and these seeds have been around a little while.Even if only half of the seeds germinate I’ll still have a nice crop of shallots.
In our upstairs closet I have a grow light set up for our seed starting. It’s just an old fluorescent shop lamp but it’s always done a great job. I like to adjust the height so that it is close to the seeds. Once the seedlings are old enough I’ll harden them off to the outdoors and plant them as onion sets in the garden.
Next week I hope to make my seed purchase for this year’s seeds. I usually go with heirlooms so that I can save the seeds but I may try a few hybrid summer squashes to see if any can resist the squash bugs, borers, and the rot issues I had last year. We love our summer squash around here and get cranky when we can’t grow it!