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There are lots of things that I get done in the winter and now one of them is deciding what to grow in the spring. If you grow year 'round, then I guess you get January off. Once February hits, its time to germinate!
This year seed selection wasn't necessarily about choosing as much as it was about what could I get. Everyone wants seeds this year. What I really needed was onions, tomatoes and corn (and beans people. Everyone needs beans). They were high on my list and I was lucky enough to get varieties of all. Some that I planned for and some surprises like Rossa di Miliano onions.
Rossa di Miliano onions need quite a bit of time to germinate. I started mid February. They really need 12 weeks time before transplanting - I got them in 3 weeks late. The issue, however, wasn't time or space. It was finding the location of the sun. I live in the biggest city in the United States, so space is tight. You need to be creative. I've seen friends germinate seedlings in their basements, or designated rooms in homes and apartments. Heck, one guy I know even turned his bedroom into a greenhouse. Initially I thought I might build a custom greenhouse on the fire escape out in the back of the house where I could keep it warm with a solar heater on the roof and pump warm air down into it using a solar fan. There was one big problem though.
I realized that the sun was on the south side of the house and therefore, in the front of the house. During the summer, the sun is in the back of the house and I just assumed that it was still there. I've never tracked it but this year I will watch to see when the transfer happens.
Just like my germinating calendar above, now I understand where the sun will be at key points during the year which will help me with germination (and transplanting). I can tweak the charts this year through observation to help me with planning. Since plants don't care about daylights savings time, it also gives me an idea of how long the day will be and to help maximize their exposure to sunlight in the coming months.
I ended up building a temporary shelf system by designing it into my window. I gave about a foot between each shelf just to make sure all the seedlings were going to get enough light.
Today, which is March 6th, the Rossa di Miliano onions have just crested the soil. which is on time and right where I need everything to germinate.