Ready, set….Grow!

16-4960seedlings I like winter. Because, while the snow flies and temps hover in the 20's, I'm hanging out, planting seeds to fill my gardens and provide to others as well. I have a sunny, heated southwest porch that works pretty well for seed-starting, which usually commences in mid-January and ends mid-March. By mid-March, the porch is gets crowded and I fire up the greenhouse to finish and harden off mostly perennial and annual flower seedlings. IMG_1493So far, I've planted Candytuft, Lupines, Alyssum Mountain Gold, Cheyenne Coneflowers, Silver Princess Daisies, Mesa Peach Gaillardia, three varieties of Polkadot Foxgloves and more. Germination has been great. This week, I got my shipment of 800 2.5" pots and started potting up some seedlings.  Also planted six varieties of Wave Petunias, which are a challenge, and Oriental Poppies. I prefer Jiffy Mix, which is a mix of fine peat moss and vermiculite, and I add a little more vermiculite to enhance drainage. Some prefer to plant right into pots, but I seed down containers and pull the seedlings once the second set of leaves has emerged. This saves space and allows you to transplant only the strongest seedlings. I add light for 3-4 hours in the evening just to extend the light period and keep the seedlings from getting leggy. I've done this for about 14 years now and I just can't help but grow too many plants. It's gratifying to see something through from a tiny seed in winter to a sturdy plant, flowering beautifully in summer.

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