Depending on where you are in the world, Shishimai is generally sown indoors in the winter, in preparation to sow outside once the weather warms.
Here are a few tips to get your Shishimai off to a great start:
1. Sow indoors early: plan to sow indoors 8-10 weeks before planting time (when the weather is warm).
You can find out when your last frost date is by searching your location or zip code here. Count back 8 weeks from your average last frost date, and that will tell you when to sow. (If it's a little later, that's okay too.)
2. Keep them warm: sow into trays and keep on a heat mat at 80-90˚F until they germinate (8-10 days).
We usually recommend sowing into 20-row trays to save space, but you can also sow 2-3 seeds directly into 72-cell trays and thin to one per cell if you are growing a smaller number of plants.
If you've sown into a 20-row tray, you will need to "bump them up," meaning transplant them, into larger cells (a 72- or 50- cell tray, or six-cell flats).
3. Keep soil moist: wet-dry cycles can create a crust-like soil layer and delay germination. Bottom-watering trays and tray covers can help.
You can get clear plastic tray covers or even use clear plastic wrap so that you can see when your seeds germinate. If using plastic wrap, make sure that there is at least some air exchange (poke a few holes, or wrap loosely on one or two sides).
Bottom watering trays are trays that you would put underneath the row or cell flat. They hold water so that it can go up into the cell tray through the holes.
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