Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sowing Seeds Indoors
Yes, it's time to think about starting those seeds indoors. You could be thinking of giving your gorgeous flowers a head start or your veggies or herbs a jump start so that you can either take  advantage of a double planting season or maybe harvest sooner or even have a short planting season if you are in the great, white tundra.  Some people have the mistaken idea that they need to go out and buy all kinds of stuff for this . . . peat pots, topsoil, fertilizers, yada yada.  I've had pretty good luck doing this on the cheap and I've found some pretty cool inexpensive ideas as well.  Egg shells, egg cartons, plastic fruit containers, and milk cartons all make excellent plant containers for the new seeds.  The egg shells are my favorites because you can put those directly into the soil and crumble them up as you transplant them.  Another option that is really nice 
and you can move directly into the garden, is the little pots made of newspaper.  I found an excellent tutorial online that gives step by step instructions for even the very blackest thumbed gardeners.  (Newspaper seedling pot instructions)

Let's talk for a minute about those seeds while we're at it.  You might have some seeds left over from last year.  Don't throw them out.  Test them out to see if they're any good first.  You may be surprised!  

  1. Put about 5 or 6 seeds between 2 paper towels and spray them with a water bottle with water until wet but not sopping.
  2. Fold or roll up the paper towel and put in a plastic baggie and label with date.
  3. Place in a warm place and check after a few days.
  4. The back of the seed packet tells how long it should take for germination.  If it is taking a lot longer than this for you to see the seeds sprout, they are likely not viable any longer.
  5. If 2 of the 6 germinate, then you will need to sow 3 times as many seeds as you want plants to grow.  
These germination charts should help you to know what to expect from your seeds:

Germination Time for Common Seed-Grown Annuals

Common NameGermination Time
Ageratum5 to 14 days
Alyssum7 to 14 days
Baby Blue Eyes7 to 14 days
Baby's Breath10 to 15 days
Bachelor's Button7 to 14 days
Bells of Ireland25 to 35 days
Black Eyed Susan Vine10 to 15 days
Calendula7 to 14 days
Celosia3 to 6 days
China Aster8 to 14 days
Cleome10 to 14 days
Coleus10 to 15 days
Cosmos5 to 10 days
Geranium10 to 14 days
Globe Amaranth10 to 21 days
Impatiens10 days
Larkspur15 to 20 days
Love-in-a-Mist10 to 15 days
Love-Lies-Bleeding10 to 15 days
Marigold5 to 7 days
Mealy-Cup Sage14 to 21 days
Mexican Sunflower7 to 14 days
Morning Glory5 to 10 days
Nasturtium9 to 14 days
Nicotiana14 to 21 days
Petunia10 to 14 days
Poppy8 to 10 days
Purple Hyacinth Bean Vine7 to 14 days
Scarlet Runner Bean Vine7 to 14 days
Snapdragon7 to 14 days
Sunflower5 to 12 days
Sweet Pea14 to 21 days
Verbena14 to 21 days
Viola10 to 20 days
Zinnia7 to 10 days

Germination Times for Common Seed-Grown Herbs and Vegetables

CropGermination Time
Basil7 to 10 days
Bean7 to 14 days
Beet10 to 14 days
Broccoli7 to 10 days
Brussels Sprout7 to 10 days
Cabbage10 to 14 days
Cantaloupe5 to 7 days
Carrot10 to 14 days
Catnip7 to 14 days
Cauliflower5 to 7 days
Chervil14 to 28 days
Corn5 to 7 days
Cucumber7 to 14 days
Dill10 to 21 days
Eggplant7 to 10 days
Fennel10 to 21 days
German Chamomile10 to 15 days
Lettuce4 to 6 days
Mint12 to 15 days
Parsley21 to 28 days
Pea7 to 10 days
Pepper7 to 10 days
Pumpkin7 to 10 days
Radish3 to 5 days
Spinach7 to 21 days
Squash, Winter7 to 10 days
Tomato7 to 14 days
Watermelon5 to 7 days

Flower cart from Provence in France

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