Between my “Summer Job” and still working at the high school, it’s been a bit tough trying to find time to blog – hopefully once school is out, in two weeks, I’ll have a bit more time to devote to blogging and other creative projects.
This week I’d like to review my seed-starting experience for this year’s garden. I’ve prep’d a small area near an old tree house that my parents relocated to the ground in their backyard. I’m hoping to grow vines up the sides and flowers and herbs just out from the vines.
I should probably mention the me and my sisters live next to my Mom’s corner lot (on either side), and we basically share an acre of space as our “backyard.”
I started seeds in three seed trays, planting on March 16th – germination for nearly all of the seeds was on March 23rd & 24th. The seed trays were initially covered but I uncovered them after noting some fungus. I treated the fungus with Hydrogen Peroxide, which seemed to do the trick. The trays were placed near a very large West facing window, where they received afternoon sun. Here is what I started:
Tray 1 (6 of each):
- Amaranth – Love Lies Bleeding
- Chamomile – German
- Basil – Cinnamon
- Chamomile – Roman
Tray 2 (6 of each):
- Lunaria – Silver Dollar Plant/Money Plant
- Coreopsis – Threadleaf
- Wormwood – Absinth
- False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
- Phacelia – Sky Pilot
Tray 3 (5 of each):
- Moon Flower Vine (Ipomoea alba calonyction)
- Sweet Pea
- Cypress Vine
- Hyacinth Vine
The germination rate was either great or dismal depending on the plant. Most did really well, so I’ll just point out the bad ones:
Sweet Pea – NONE of these germinated, I even soaked them prior and usually have no problems sprouting these “no brainers.” So I’m not sure what I did wrong here – I’ll direct sow these later, as I usually have better luck with that anyway.
Lunaria – NONE of these germinated either. Granted, the seed that I have is pretty old, so it was mainly an ‘experiment’ to see if they were still viable. I’ve got a lot of this seed, so I will try direct seeding these as well once the hard frosts are over (just had one last night May 12, for several hours at 25-26F). Supposedly that’s supposed to be our last freeze – crossing fingers, ‘cuz I’m going to be planting out like a maniac this weekend.
Wormwood – Only two of these came up, and one died during the hardening off phase, so I only have one to plant out. I’m probably not going to try any more of these because you really only need one – they self seed like mad.
Hyacinth Bean – Only one of these germinated and it’s already setting buds! Not sure why the others were so obstinate. I will be direct seeding some of these as well.
Cumin – I actually had most of these germinate, but they look just awful, very floppy and generally poor appearance. They didn’t perk up much during hardening off, but they didn’t die either. So I’m not sure what to think of these. We’ll see how they do after planting out.
Sky Pilot – I didn’t expect many of these to germinate, because they’re known to be difficult. But I did get a couple of them, for which I’m very happy. I hope they do well after planting out. I do plan to direct seed some of these as well.
All of the others germinated very well and are growing strong. I’m really excited to get everything planted out in the garden this weekend.
Some things I should mention are that before setting the plants out for hardening off (we had a warm spell in late April with night temps in the low-mid 40s), I transplanted the seedlings into 3″ pots. I used 24″ round, plastic drip trays to move the seedlings out into dappled shade, under a lilac bush situated near a large outbuilding that provided a good windbreak.
Yesterday (May 12) I planted up some more seed trays, which I will just leave outside on our South facing deck to germinate. Here is what I planted for ‘Round Two:’
Tray 1 (6 of each):
- Lemon Balm
- Red Orach
- French Chervil
- Lunaria (I had forgotten my dismal early experience)
- Ma Huang (Ephedra)
Tray 2 (6 of each):
- Alamo Vine
- Sweet Basil
- White Evening Primrose
- Cosmos, White
- Carnation, ‘Giant’
I have a 3rd tray that I will plant later today. Mainly I’m going to try “surface” germinators in that tray. Once I have that done I’ll update this post with the contents. And Hopefully I’ll also get some photos of the process, or at least the conditions used for the process.
I hope all is going well in your world, and that you’re having a great Springtime adventure, Enjoy!