Twiddling green thumbs
With winter storms outside the window, a gardener is starting to t h i n k a b o u t g re e n shoots, colorful foliage and tasty fruits this time of year. The middle of February is often the time most gardeners begin to get the itch to put hands to soil and for some of us it won’t be much longer.
Many gardeners, both amateur and seasoned, catch their eyes on seed displays this time of year found in most any hardware store, garden center or Wal-Mart. Displaying colorful pictures of what might be in our garden this spring, seed packs are so tempting to our idle hands. Often times the pull is too great for me and many others to simply walk by these “siren like” displays-they call to us, buy, buy, buy. So, I buy!
What seeds to buy from these displays is ultimately determined by where they are going to be planted and by whom? The fact is, some seeds are much more difficult to grow while others are almost as simply as plant, water and forget.
This year I am looking online to seed/bulb sites such as Vesey’s for many of my core seed requirements. For many of these sites, quality is high and shipment is easy. Vesey’s for example, has detailed descriptions of each species available and the varieties within each species are illustrated.
Before you rush to the computer and start to add to your online cart, make sure you have taken account of where you want to plant when summer actually comes. Are you looking for shade plants, rock garden specimens, tall and colorful or low and foliage based?
The fact is, seeds are not cheap, at least not the good ones. Many gardeners save little money by growing their own unless you’re growing hundreds like some of my friends and I who end up giving away trays of annuals each summer. Growing your own bedding plants can be fun and relaxing for most gardeners, as long as you have the room to start them indoors months before the frost is gone for good.
For the average seed selection you would require seed cell/ trays, good potting soil with vermiculite mixed through, light liquid fertilizer such as 5-5-5 or 20-20-20 if it is watered down, and a bright location with cooler nighttime conditions (if possible).
Here is a list of some of the more basic bedding plants that can be easily grown from seed by starting them indoors.
For shade, Impatients would be a good selection.
For sunny locations where height is not an issue, tall Snapdragon, Marigold, Aster, and Nicotiana are all excellent choices.
In rock gardens and other locations where shorter specimens are desired Verbena, Pansy, Viola, Lobelia, Alyssum, Dusty Miller, Portulaca and Livingstone Daisy can all be started in a bright indoor location before moving outside in late May or early June (in Eastern Newfoundland).
If you have large pots around your garden each season, seeds may also be a cheaper and more fulfilling way of filling them.
Lobelia, Wave Petunias, and other ideal pot/hanging species can be grown in your indoor trays for a great deal cheaper then filling your pot with nursery grown specimens.
It is important to note that starting/potting dates for each species can vary greatly; this will be discussed next week.
If you have questions about growing your own bedding plants or any other gardening issue contact me through email email@example.com.