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Gettin' them seeds goin'

Category: gardening | Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:00 pm

Time has FINALLY come to begin getting just a wee bit serious about planting seeds for this summers vegetables and flowers. January 21 saw gerberas (African Daisies that take 6 months to reach blooming size), lemon catnip (gotta keep the neighborhood cats happy!), asters, bushy Evening Primrose (to "treat" the hummingbird moths) and edible dandy-lions sowed, today it was Red Russian kale, Golden Ace cabbage, fringed decorative kale, Bon Vivant leaf lettuce and smooth-leaf spinach. The crops planted Jan. 21 are coming up, now the wait starts for today's.
The aster seed was taken from "volunteer" plants this past season, the wild Evening primrose seed came from a lovely plant I discovered growing out behind the workshop and was too nice to pass up, just had to collect some seed off spent spikes and save it! Am not a big seed-saver, so was very leary of expect, if anything. The asters were up within 3 days; the minute seedlings of the primrose are just beginning to show today and those brought great JOY to behold! As the primrose is classified as a biennial, I'll be really surprised if it blooms this year, but know it will in 2009 so is something to look forward to there. As for the double-flowering asters, time will tell if they're the annual variety or perennial, left the Mother plants alone, after a cutting back, to see if they'll return later in the season and, if not, I do have the new ones.
The Jan.21 planting of seeds were done in a seed-row planter, will all need transplanting into larger cells/pots/soil within next few weeks. Everything else has been planted in deep cell 6 paks, are in waterproof 1020 trays, covered with plastic domes and are on heat mats for bottom warmth to aid germination.
From the beginning, I leave the plastic domes propped up a bit up to allow for some air circulation, and once all seedlings appear, the domes come totally off, trays of plants that don't need bottom heat any longer are moved to a cooler section of the plant room to grow on. Using the deeper cells for germination would require huge amounts of seed staring medium to fill them, but came across a method in an English gardening book that I just LOVE, and results are GREAT! The bottom 2/3 of the cells are filled with regular dampened potting soil, and only the top 1/3 is filled with the dampened starting medium recommended for starting seeds. What this does is allow the seeds to be planted in a sterile medium and by the time a good root system forms, they are down into soil that affords what they need for good growth..and away they go!
Once seedlings get their second set of "true leaves", they get a light application of a 3 month timed-released pelleted fertilizer simply applied to top of soil (making sure it isn't touching the stems as it will burn them) that I press slightly in, and the watering slowly released til it's time for the plants to be set outside in their respective containers or beds. Works beautifully with any type container used to start seeds, and DOES help eliminate the "did I, or didn't I fertilize" syndrome by taking all the guesswork out of it as you can see the pellets on the soil's surface and know it's been done. I have been doing this for 3 seasons now with unbelievable success.
Have only scratched the surface, so far, starting seeds for 2008, will be an almost constant thing now from mid-February thru early May as I plant by lunar and astrological signs, and gotta get them seeds goin' when the time is right! Happy growing all!!!

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eileen wrote on Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:09 pm:

Gosh you're waaaay ahead of me!! I've just got round to looking at all my seeds and putting them into groups for planting, starting February. Never mind, it shouldn't take me too long to catch up.

BTW your evening primroses may well flower for you the first year - mine did.

I hope all your seeds grow strong and healthily for you.


Droopy wrote on Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:36 pm:

Well done, good luck and keep us posted!


Biita wrote on Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:26 am:

Good luck with all your plants an planting. I plant by lunar phases, this works up here very well. and by mid summers eve, all is in the ground. so i celebrate,,,yah!!! I have heard of astrology planting but don't know alot about it. is there a chart or something. just curious, this sounds fasinating, an does it really work. can you PM or make a new blog telling about it,,, i would really love to hear about this way of planting. altho i know nothing about the astrology, i am always wanting to know more. great blog!


cajunbelle wrote on Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:35 am:

Thanks for the tip on saving seed starting medium. I have already went through one bag and am starting on another and have many seeds left to start. I will try this. Could the potting soil already have time release fertilizer or use the one without.

weeds n seeds wrote on Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:07 pm:

Thank you all for nice comments!
Biita: try this EXCELLANT info on the method and what it's all about. They have a calender available that leaves nothing to the imagination as far as planting/when/best signs to do it under, costs $15. 2008 Old Farmers Almanac also has SUPER tips in it this year.

CAJUNBELLE: use either soil in bottoms of cells as a "filler". Fertilizer that comes in direct contact with seeds will definately burn them, but once they've germinated and a good root system forms, there's no worry. That's why the sterile medium is used on top.

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