Week #3 – January 22
The seeds are here!
As we settle in for the first real snowstorm of 2016 this weekend, I will be happily organizing my seed order, which just arrived in the mail. (Don’t let that little box fool you by the way… there are thousands and thousands of seeds in that little box and it cost me several hundred dollars!)
Organizing the seeds is really a matter of preference. I used to store them alphabetically but now I store them according to when they should be planted. The first seeds I will plant will be the flowers that take the longest to bloom like verbena bonariensis and dianthus as well as the flowers that like the colder weather and can be planted out early like snapdragons, delphinium and ammi.
I use an organic soilless mix that is light and fluffy – seeds do not like regular potting soil and often will rot in that growing medium.
Another critical item that we use to start seeds are heated mats that go under the flats of seedlings to keep them warm. Many times the big box stores do not carry this item and it is really essential to get things growing. (I was surprised when even the employees at these stores had never even heard of them?!?!) The two things that seeds need in order to germinate are heat and moisture – not light! The light is essential after the seed germinates and sends up its first leaves, but prior to that it is just heat and moisture. (Think about April showers and the seeds laying under the leaves in your garden after the temperatures warm up) You can usually find this item on line or with a reputable seed company. Google “heat mats,” and you will be sure to find it.
So, after we shovel ourselves out I will be setting up the grow lights and tables to transform my entire dining room into a greenhouse. (Since I only use that room once or twice a year, I am happy to get some use out of it!) We made a video this time last year that really demonstrates how we start our seeds. Take a peak on this winter weekend while you are stuck inside.