Planting Seeds

It is time to get out in the garage, or the kitchen or your own little gardening corner and plant seeds.

First things first: you need soil, containers, water (a mist bottle) and seeds.  I use Jiffy Pro-Mix “soil” (there’s no actual soil in this, just peat moss and other things) for planting seeds- I get it at Jungs.   You can get similar things at Home Depot, Menards or other garden centers.  The price is between $5 and $20 a bag depending on the size and quality.  Don’t use real soil from outside, it is too heavy(retains water) and has bugs and fungus and other problems.  I buy enormous bags and store them in a plastic wheelie garbage can in my garage.

Jiffy Mix

 Now for the seeds: read the packages- some seeds are “direct sow,” which means you sow the seeds outside after Mothers Day in our region.  Others can be sown in containers in the house up to 8 weeks before last frost, which for us was St. Patrick’s Day.  I mostly grow direct sown seeds- marigolds, cosmos, nasturtiums, and morning glories.  Inside I am starting dianthus, echinops & verbascum (amongst others).

Seeds and Trays

Seeds and Trays

I use two types of containers:

Seeds in old deli containers

Seeds in old deli containers

deli containers like this (this is the four croissant pack at Copps) and smaller containers that you can buy wherever you are buying potting soil (pictured under the seeds, above).  Jungs garden centers have these (for about $1 per pack), and I’m sure most garden centers do as well.  Note that you will need to put something under them to prevent the water from running all over your house.

Then I mist everything really well, so that water comes out of the bottom of the container. 

Sprinkle on the seeds– I usually pour them into my hand first so I can get a good feel for how many seeds are going in an individual section.  Be careful if you have poisonous seeds (like nicotianas) that you don’t sow these with children around- you’d hate to drop some and have a kid eat them.  Or a pet. 

Sowing Seeds

Sowing Seeds

I mist the seeds again and cover them- close the deli lid container or put on a lid for the jiffy pots.  Then put them in a very sunny window and wait!  I’d recommend putting them in the sunniest window you have- particularly south facing ones.  Note that some seeds prefer to germinate in the dark, but the back of your seed package will tell you if you need to do this.  If so, cover them with a black plastic garbage bag- or put them in the closet. 

Check them periodically to see if they need water, if you’ve done a good job, they probably won’t, but mist them every now and then.

Like magic, in four weeks, you’ll have this:

dianthus crimsonia seedlings- 4 weeks later

dianthus crimsonia seedlings- 4 weeks later

The gardening season has started, ready or not!

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4 Responses to Planting Seeds

  1. katelloyd says:

    When should I rake off all of the leaves left on the ground after winter? I feel like they are suffocating my tulips!

  2. gwendolyngarden says:

    Now is the time, m’dear. They are suffocating your tulips. The same goes for everthing else– trim your dead perennials, pick up leaves and garbage– just generally uncover everything that was covered (except those endless summer hydrangeas. I wait until the tulips bloom for those naughty things.

  3. katelloyd says:

    Crap. That is what I was afraid you’d say. But I don’t want to! So much work! Do you put your leaves in your compost bin?

  4. gwendolyngarden says:

    yes– or I use them as a base layer in a new bed, like I did this year.

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