Starting Seeds: Onions, Peppers, Eggplants and Parsley

Onion seedlings on the heating mat, ready to move  to a cooler spot.

Onion seedlings on the heating mat, ready to move to a cooler spot.

The date I aim for to set my frost tender plants out into the open garden is about May 1st in my coastal Connecticut planting zone, now 7a according to the new USDA Planting Zone maps (revised last year to reflect global climate change).   Enter your zip code here to see the zone in your area   http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/ (US only, sorry!)

I started my onion seeds two weeks ago and they are now up and apparently doing well.  I’ve moved them from my heating mat to a spot that is cooler, under the lights.  Onions are more cold tolerant and can be set out a little sooner then the real frost tender ones, but the bigger the better or onion seedlings.  Other plants to start early are bell peppers and eggplants.  Yesterday I started seeds of these varieties and put the trays of pots on the heating mat.  I also set parsley seeds in a bit of water to soak overnight.  This morning I planted the parsley seeds and moved them to the heating mat.  The days are getting longer and spring is coming.  These species take quite a while to get large enough to set out and they need to be started ahead of time if they are to bear fruit in our location.  Tomatoes grow more quickly and I start them about six weeks ahead of time.   We can save a lot of money starting our own plants instead of buying seedlings at the garden center, plus we can choose the varieties from a vast selection, getting just what we want.

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