Planting Time

It’s been a long cold spring in Wisconsin and I am so eager to get things planted! My kitchen counter is cluttered with little pots of things getting a start indoors.I know it’s too soon for some things–tomatoes and peppers are best left until Memorial Day–but it’s not too early to plant peas, beans and other cool loving crops like broccoli and cabbage.

Bean seeds are easy to sprout, but can also be sown directly in the garden.

Bean seeds are easy to germinate, but also can be sown directly in the garden once the soil has warmed up and can be worked.

Have you ever tried germinating seeds in a damp paper towel before planting? I find this especially helpful for seeds I’ve had for awhile and I’m not sure if they will sprout. I write the name of the plant on one edge of the paper towel and then dampen the rest. I lay out the seeds on half the towel and then fold it over so the seeds are sandwiched between layers of damp toweling.  Then I put the towel in a plastic bag and store it in an out of the way place. Within several days seeds that are still viable will sprout.

Plant the seed while it is still resting in the paper towel. Cover will a bit of soil and keep moist.

I planted this pepper seed while it was still resting on the paper towel. Cover with a bit of soil and keep moist.


The tricky part is planting the seeds without damaging the delicate shoot. What I do is carefully cut the towel around the seed and plant the seed while it is still resting on the towel. The seedling will grow right through the paper towel. Once the seedlings are well established and the danger of frost is past, move them into the garden. I usually move a flat of seedlings into a sheltered area for a several days to protect them from wind and let them harden-off.  If it’s going to get really cold at night you can cover them or move back inside.

When it’s time to place the seedlings in the garden I like to use Uncle Mikey’s VermiChar in the planting hole and also as a top dressing for seedlings to give them a boost.

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