Spring in South Texas starts around February 15th – only 33 days away! We may or may not have another cold snap ahead of us, but it’s time to start planning our Spring projects and starting veggie seeds. The first day for planting Spring seeds is January 15th give or take a few days – aka RIGHT NOW! We are expanding our selection of seeds to include lots of open-pollinated and heirloom varieties like rainbow beets from Sow True Seed and Bosque blue tomatoes from Baker Creek, plus tried and true staples from Botanical Interests.
Simple Method for Starting Seeds
Starting veggie seeds indoors is great because you can keep the tiny seedlings protected until they’re ready to move outside. I’ve tried a few different methods for starting seeds but have been most successful using a damp paper towel, then folding the seed inside the towel and placing it in a sealable bag or dish. This will create a “mini greenhouse” effect and will help the seed germinate. I leave them in the bag for no longer than 24 hours, then plant them in light and fluffy seed/cutting soil in a seed starting tray or peat pot. When planting new seed be sure the soil is damp at the time of planting and always water with a light sprinkle. This will prevent your seeds from floating/washing out of the soil. I make the hole about a fingernail’s depth, gently place the seeds in the hole, and cover lightly with the damp soil. Check out my video demo of this process – quick and easy!
After the seeds sprout, you can slowly acclimate them to outdoor sunlight by moving them to a covered patio or other protected area. Be sure to keep them damp so the tiny roots don’t dry out. Then, a good rule of thumb is that once the seedlings have made their first true set of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into a larger container or directly into the garden bed out in the sun.
Seeds to Start in January
- Cold Crops and Greens: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, and mustard greens
- Root Crops: onions, carrots, beets, and potatoes
- Herbs: parsley
Check out our full Spring planting guide here.
FYI: If you want to skip seeds and start transplants outside now, you totally can! We’ve got broccoli, cauliflower, celery, spinach, onions, potatoes, and lots of herbs that are ready to go. We even brought in a few early tomatoes this week 🙂
My very large azaleas were touched by the cold spell. They are over 20 years old and this has never happened. Should I feed now? I watered them thoroughly and will keep doing that. Should I prune them or will new leaves appear? Thanks
The somewhat extreme response of your azaleas may be due to the fact that it was not cold enough to induce full dormancy before the freeze. I think it likely that they will recover. But you should not water excessively while temperatures are cool and they have few to no foliage to support. Use a moisture meter to see when soil moisture levels have dropped before watering, and I think you will wait 2-3 weeks between wateringsat this time of year. Do NOT fertilize until after azaleas have bloomed, feed monthly with azalea food March, April, May, maybe June if it doesn’t get too hot too soon.