Gardentalk – Planting and seed starting

Cucumber and pumpkin starts as seen under a LED grow light.
Cucumber and pumpkin starts as seen under an LED grow light. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

If you haven’t done so already, now would be the perfect time to start planting some of your garden vegetables. Hardy vegetable bulbs or seeds could go straight into the cool ground now, while other veggie plants need to be started indoors before they are strong enough for transplanting outside.

Master Gardener Ed Buyarski had some planting advice and answered some questions sent in by listeners during the latest edition of “Gardentalk,” which airs on KTOO’s “Morning Edition” every Thursday.

This week, Ric from Auke Bay writes:

“My garlic is already 4 inches high. When can I plant onion bulbs in my garden? How far apart for green onions? … Do shallots do well in Juneau? Where is the best source for a small bulb to plant?”

Listen to the April 11 “Gardentalk” segment on starting seeds and hardening off your starts before you plant them outside in the soil.
Buyarski said shallot and onion bulb sets can go into the ground now, and the cool, moist soil will stimulate root growth. Green onions can be planted thick — about half an inch to 1 inch apart — and then be thinned during the season until they are 3-4 inches apart. Onion plants should go in later when the ground warms up more.

Along with leeks, Buyarski recommends protecting shallots and onions from the onion root maggot by covering with Reemay horticulture fabric.

“They will burrow into the roots or bulbs of these things, and you end up with rotten little plants, which is what you don’t want,” Buyarski said.

He suggests leaving them covered with the fabric, either as long as possible into the summer or until the plants start lifting up the fabric.

Indoors, Buyarski said he just started tomato seeds, and soon he’ll start cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. He’ll wait until the soil gets warmer before starting cucumber and zucchini seeds, since transplanting them usually occurs only 3-4 weeks after germination.

He recommends reading the back of seed packets to check seed timing and plan ahead for replanting outside in the garden.

Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he’ll answer your question in an upcoming segment.

Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the “Gardentalk” page, so you’ll never have to worry about missing Thursday’s live radio broadcasts.

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