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Garden Guru: Growing winter veggies from seeds

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles

 A couple weeks ago I had a class at work, which was about winter vegetable seed planting. Unfortunately, with that hot spell we had I talked those in attendance into waiting a bit for cooler temperatures — then start seed planting.

Seed planting the winter veggies is pretty cool and easy.

First thing is, stay away from such summer veggies like peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, etc. Now is the time to start cool season stuff like, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and so on. If you are hard-set on getting tomatoes and peppers into the cool season, get them in one-gallon planters or larger starters at your nursery. With our “mild” winters you should have some luck with a “first frost” crop.You will find starter winter veggies in your nurseries now, but don’t go to crazy and start a bumper crop with the seedlings, because we still have the October warm days that might ruin the fun.

Still starting the winter seeds now is a good idea.  Here’s the deal.

Start the seeds in little Dixie cups, egg cartons, in a cool dry place. Don’t set them in full sun yet! Not too dark a shade, so a bright shady is best. Use a seed starter potting mix. Seed starter is lighter than regular potting soil. If you want to use potting soil don’t keep the soil too moist.

I like to use a spray bottle so you don’t wash the seeds away. Keep the soil slightly moist, but not saturating wet.

Always read the seed packet to see how many seeds and depth to use in each starter soil.

When the seeds sprout at about 2-3 inches then get them in the soil or a larger pot.  Also, get them acclimated to the sun little by little.

I think I’ve covered everything you need to know for successful winter seed planting of veggies, but feel free to post any questions.

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Emilio “Elmo” Telles is a garden expert at Armstrong Garden Center  5816 San Fernando Road, Glendale  91202.

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