We recommend starting your seeds no sooner than the first week of May up to the 3rd week of June depending on your climate and weather. Seedlings take approximately 3-4 weeks to be strong enough to plant in the field. The optimal planting window is June 1st to July 15th. Planting any sooner than June 1st may risk early flowering and potential stress and failure from cold/wet weather.
Planting any later than July 15th may reduce yield because plants won’t have time to grow very large before flowering starts.
*Regions that are warmer at night may be able to plant a little earlier but may risk early flowering in some plants due to fewer daylight hours.*
Planting in the field in the beginning of June will result in larger plants and a higher yield per plant than if planting the same amount of plants later. Many farmers have had success planting as late as mid-July, but with around 3000 plants per acre as compared to around 2000 plants per acre planted June 1st. Later planting produces smaller plants but with a third more plants per acre, yields are similar to that of less, larger plants planted earlier. Planting later can be good also since plants may have less pest and disease pressure as they are in the field a shorter time.
It is preferable to start seeds in a greenhouse using adequate supplemental lighting if starting early.
We recommend a minimum of 16-18 hours of light until planting seedlings into the field or mid June when natural sunlight is 16 hours a day.
For germination, we recommend either 50 cell trays 3” depth if you have the space, or 72 cells for planting density. Plant seeds about ¼ to ½ “ deep in pre-watered and tamped soil and lightly cover with more soil. Water in with a gentle shower head made for seedlings. Do not over water as this can cause seeds to rot.
Water only as needed being mindful of the delicate nature of the seedlings at this point. Keep soil moist but do not over drench. Conditions in the room or greenhouse should consistently be between 70-75 degrees F and about 40-60% humidity. In about 3-4 weeks, seedlings should be strong enough to plant into the field.
*If infrastructure etc. is problematic for getting your seeds started for your farming operation, consider purchasing seedling starts from us. We will be offering the same seed varieties as starts beginning June 1st. We are currently taking deposits for seeds, seedlings and clones for 2019.*