Starting alliums from seed tends to mark the beginning of the beginning of the new garden season for me.
This is because I start the first of my seeds this time of year, and typically the very first seeds I start are alliums.
Today was no exception to that rule.
I started onions, shallots and leeks, along with some Coreopsis, some Mexican Sunflowers and Miscanthus. I have not tried Miscanthus from seed before… and I don’t even know if it’s the right time of year to start them, just decided since I had some space left over in the tray, why not give it a shot?
The flowers and grass are a “side-effect”, sort of. My main goal today was to get my alliums started.
I ordered some seeds a week ago, and since I am practically neighbors with Territorial Seeds they arrived very quickly.
As for the actual seed starting, there is not much to it. I just fill up some 2 inch starter pots with potting mix, sprinkle the seeds across the surface, and then cover with soil. The seeds should be about 1/2 inch deep, from the surface of the potting mix.
Then I water them in well, and place them on a heat mat. The heat mat is barely needed, because alliums will sprout nicely at about 65ºF. Since I have a heat mat, I do use it and set it to the lowest heat (which with my heat-mat is 68ºF) This way they will retain an even heat, even at night. I have them by a window, so they get sunlight to sprout.
I just want to give special mention to the Camelot Shallots. I love, love, love these shallots. The first year I ordered the seeds, I confess I was a bit skeptical. Having always grown shallots from bulbs, I was thinking the result might be disappointing, as in small shallots. I was in for a very positive surprise indeed. Camelot grows really large, and the taste is fantastic! These are the only shallots I grow now. See the photos below, and you’ll see how lusciously big they get.
Veering away from the actual topic of this post, “starting alliums from seed”, since I included some other seeds with my onions, shallots and leeks, let’s talk a little about those other seeds as well. The Coreopsis and the Mexican Sunflower needs light to sprout, so if you decide to start those from seed make sure to just gently press them into the surface of the soil, don’t cover them.