Sowing Times
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Penny Parry
Posted: Before April 1998

I’ve just ordered, through a local store in Vancouver, a number of your herb seeds. I note in your catalogue that you list plantings as early spring, late spring etc. Since I’m at a different end of the country, I wonder if you have any temperatures attached to these terms - esp. night time lows.

Because our seeds are sold all over the world it is impossible to provide specific planting directions that would be appropriate in every situation. By necessity the directions tend to be non-specific, liberally dosed with general terms such as "early spring" and "late spring".

"Early spring" means before outdoor planting time in your area. If your last frost date is April 15, then you would plant the seeds a few weeks or more before that date indoors so that the plants will grow enough to be ready for transplanting by April 15. "Late spring" means at or soon after the outdoor planting time in your area. The "late spring" herbs are generally planted directly in the garden after the threat of frost is over.

Also, a general question: do you know the "make-up" of vermicompost? I have a great little one and used some of the castings in my seed mix last year and my seedlings sprouted like crazy, but I have no idea what nitrogen, etc. is in this stuff and so what it is likely to stimulate etc.

Vermicompost simply refers to the organic material and castings left by worms after they have broken down raw organic material. As in any compost, the nitrogen level is relatively high (higher than that of garden or potting soil). Vermicompost should be mixed with soil to make potting or sowing mixes; it should not be used by itself because if the nitrogen level is too high the seedling roots will "burn". Growth will suffer or the seedlings will perish. Other than that, vermicompost provides organic material which always has beneficial effects, such as increasing the ion-exchange capacity, increasing the water buffering capacity, and promoting micro-organism activity which help free up normally unavailable nutrients.

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