It Started With A Seed ...
When you visit Connie Hansen Garden in the summer, you will often see flowering annuals and perennials you might never have seen
One of our volunteers, Joan, loves to peruse the seed catalogs. She frequently finds some unusual varieties to try and can’t resist purchasing the seed. She also saves seed from many varieties that she likes, to grow
If you want to save seed, too, be sure to collect the seed when it is fully mature and the weather is dry. I put mine in small paper bags in a dark
dry place for a week or two to be sure it is totally dry. Then I crush any pods, if necessary, to release the seed and store it in a small envelope, cool and dry, through the winter.
Be sure to label your envelopes with as much information as you know about that seed— name, color, location for growing, etc.
Starting seeds is usually not difficult, but there are a few important things to know. Larger seeds such as sunflower, calendula, nasturtium, cosmos, sweet peas and such are best started where they are to grow, after the soil warms and can be crumbled to a fine texture. Cover the seed with a quarter inch of soil, pat it down to compact the soil a little bit, and water well. Keep the soil moist until seedlings appear and become established, then provide moisture when needed.
Be careful not to start indoors too early!
Indoor starting to plant out later requires a cool, very bright location. A fine soil medium or purchased potting soil works best. Barely cover the seed with soil or sow right on the surface. Mist gently to keep moist. When the seedlings
reach about half an inch high, transplant them into individual pots, 2 to 4 inches in diameter and continue to provide bright light. Cool temperature will encourage sturdier seedlings.
If your timing is right, the seedlings will be ready to put out as soon as the weather allows. Seedlings kept indoors too long will stretch into spindly, useless starts.
Then you say, “but you have a greenhouse!”
Indeed I do, and it is kept at 60 degrees or less, and is as light as it is outdoors. If you just don’t have a useful location, take advantage of the
plants sold by nurseries in the spring to give you happy summer color.
This “Painted Daisy” – Chrysanthemum carinatum, started from seed purchased from a seed catalog, under the name ‘Jolly Joker’; also sometimes sold as ‘Court Jester’. Easily grown annual, gets about two feet high, with showy daisy blooms with bands of various color around a dark center.