Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Gardening >
May 26, 2009 05:29 AM

Easy gardening – seeding to go with the flow (of rain!)

I’ve been slow getting my garden in in Upstate NY. I planted my tomato, lemongrass and leek plants yesterday, seeded some chard, scarlet runner beans and mignonette (a heavily-scented flower near the pool sitting area) My herb garden is all in except basil.

Today however is my big seeding day and the reason for my post . . . It’s going to rain for two days starting tonight! Today is a great time to plant my seeds so I get a big boost in keeping the seeds “moist until germination. “

In my many years of gardening, I never thought about taking advantage of the rain this way in timing when to put seeds in the ground. Easy, go with the flow. I guess I’m finally learning!

I am seeding:
Italian zucchini (love those blossoms!)
Haricot vert bush beans
flowers – cleome, cosmos, sunflowers (3 kinds!) and nasturtium.
(I also have seeds for zinnias and tithonia, though I probably should have started them ahead of time indoors, and don’t know if they’ll bloom this summer.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I know what you mean. Mother nature cooperated most of the long weekend which I devoted to gardening. After a spell of horribly hot weather (it's May in NH for heaven's sake) we got 70s weather with a lot of overcast skies. Breezy enough to help with the bugs but black fly season is mostly over. I thought this was perfect weather for putting in my tomato and pepper plants ... until last night's weather report predicted a frost. This is late, the average date is May 20 but I don't remember getting frosts in May. We scurried around covering everything that needed protection. A couple of frost sensitive plants (melons) did not get covered and looked pretty limp this morning. I'm happy to see rain is predicted for the rest of the week.

    After touting early gardening efforts in New England, I have to say I hope no one listened to me. Germination looks poor for some varieties and I don't think I'll have spinach as early as I did last year unless it starts growing faster. The bush sugar snaps are just sitting there a few inches high. I saw broccoli in other gardens this weekend that was about 18" tall. I should have stopped the car and begged for their secret.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dfrostnh

      I wish mother nature would cooperate with us. I just drained the last of my 2 rainbarrels and only have one left. No rain in the forecast for the next 2 weeks, but where I live that could change any day. This is however a ridiculously dry spring here. I am going to have to do a rain dance!

      1. re: cleopatra999

        I live in Toronto, Canada. We have 2 days of intense rain coming. I was afraid to plant any seeds in case they got washed away. Am I wrong?
        I just bought a package of Mild Salad Mix including red & green lettuce, arugula, amaranth, Red Russial kale, mizuna & beet.
        Should I soak these seeds first for 24 hours or sow them directly in the ground?
        There are no insructions at all on the package. Not even depth for planting seeds.

        1. re: Smachnoho

          I soaked my beet last year (only for an hour) and I had way better germination. I have never soaked my lettuces, would be interested to know the opinion about that. I have also not soaked my kale, and I get horrible germination, maybe that is my problem.

          I would think that seeds that are sown very shallow like lettuce may wash away if it is too much rain.

          1. re: Smachnoho

            I don't think you need to soak any of the seeds you list.
            Washed away? Probably only if you're gardening on a hill. Otherwise, it seems the smaller seeds-- such as lettuce -- make just move a bit.

            Lettuces, mizuna & arugula get planted very shallow. You'll see the seeds are small. I generally make a very small indentation along a row with a hand trowel, sprinkle in the seeds, and cover. Or just sprinkle in an area, and move the soil around with my hand to barely cover.

            Kale and beets get planted deeper -- maybe 1/4 inch for kale and 1/2 inch for beets. Those seeds are bigger. I generally line them up along a row (using a stake lain on the ground or string) at the suggested distance (3 inches perhaps) and then go back along the row and push them in with my finger. I generally mark the ends of a seeded row with small stakes (or sticks) so I know where I sowed seeds -- so I don't sow something else there, I know where to water -- to keep the seeds moist until germination -- and where to look for plants to sprout up!

            Here's a seed planting chart showing you distance and depth for planting.