Thursday, March 17, 2016

Late Seed Sowing

I'm not starting seeds indoors this year. In past years I haven't been that successful. I have grow lights and starter flats, and trays to put them on, but never figured out an easy way to keep the mess of water and soil and misting and thinning under control indoors.


By the time I transplanted the tiny seedlings that germinated, they would languish in the early garden. They were a pain to harden off, they stubbornly resented our chilly springs, and they were always so spindly despite having constant light indoors, that I just decided the bother wasn't worth it.

Most seeds that I direct sowed outdoors in late May did better than the struggling seedlings I transplanted after starting indoors.

But the real reason I'm not starting any seeds this year is that we'll be away the first half of May.

That's exactly when indoor seedlings need the most care. They are gangly and thirsty by then, needing daily moisture in the thin mix of their starter cells. They need hardening off outside every day, and the lights still have to be turned on and off. That's too much to ask a neighbor to do while we are gone.

But the minute we get back in late May, I want to start some seeds outdoors. I have a bunch of seed packs from last year that I want to plant. I'm hoping they are still viable. Here's what I have:

Nasturtiums -- a pale yellow 'Moonlight' 6 foot vining nasturtium that I have enjoyed in past years, and some 'Whirlybird' mounders in red, tangerine and gold.
'Moonlight'                                                                                       'Whirlybird'

Basil -- a compact, short 'Genovese' variety that I'll put in a pot.

Tobacco -- I love the tall white perfumed Nicotiana alata 'Grandiflora' plants that were in the Birch Garden last year, and want more. And I have seeds left of the very tall sylvestris that I liked at the back of the Birch Garden, so I'll try those again.  I also have more of the 'Baby Bella' short, low red ones.
Nicotianas, both white and red

Dahlias -- a 'Variabilis' pompom mix that I have grown in the past, and 'Redskin', a variety that has a different color flower on each stem! I've never grown that before.

Salpiglossis -- I've never grown this before, but the description of 'Royale Chocolate' with its velvety red flowers sounds wonderful.
Salpiglossis sinuata 'Chocolate Royale'

I'm already feeling anxious, knowing that I won't get these plants going until summer is well under way. I'll be behind. Nothing will come up in time. It will all be too late, too late I tell you!

But that's the plan this year.

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