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Getting Ready to Plant Seeds
Temperature here in Ontario is -8 degrees Celsius. It is supposed to get better this Weekend. I heard 0 for Saturday and 4 on Sunday! Of course this includes rain over night with rain/snow showers Sunday afternoon. It is, Ontario and only mid March!
The Sun is out which is the biggest boost to feeling Spring Feverish in March. Like most I feel the end of winter is near… or is it wishful thinking?
I’m sure Ontario is in for some more winter weather but I also believe that this is the beginning of our thaw out. With the sun shinning in my sitting room, I feel like gardening…. indoors!
DO YOU START SEEDS?
I usually start some vegetable seeds like tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins and a few others just to jump start the growing season. I do plant a lot of seeds directly into the ground after the last frost, which in my area that is usually around May 20th, 2019.
In the mean time this is the perfect time to clean up and organize my plant area so I can make room to start some seeds inside and maybe propagate some new succulents!
If your like me who moves their plants around the house and has one central area that houses most of the plants especially in winter, than you will understand the Clean Up that I need to do first. I could just jump in and start moving things around (like I usually do) but in this case I want to be productive and not get side tracked….a check list is best!
My To Do List
- Move all plants off my main plant shelf unit.
- Adjust shelves with a plan this time! And to accommodate a 2nd grow light (for now) (Innova Led Grow)
- Sort through plants and determine which need bright light, indirect light and which ones would benefit from the new grow light with a blue bulb and a red light bulb.
- Start putting plants back on shelves. I have noted which ones need transplanting and which ones need “prettier pairing” but don’t get side tracked doing it now!
- Move\find new spots for some of the plants around the house to allow for more room to start seeds and leaf propagation under the lights.
- I filled two trays of 32 divided cell-pack with seed starter soil and set them up on a waterier with mat.
- I collect empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls (usually from February on). I now fold in the bottom in both directions to form a closed bottom which I then push on a hard surface to ensure it is flat. Fill these up with “seed start soil” and place in trays. See YouTube on how to make recycled toilet paper pots.
- I set up the lights and gather blocks to use under my seed trays to make it easier to adjust how close they are to the light.
- Plan out my seeds based on start times and test them out, especially if they are not new seeds or have been collected from the garden previously.
How to Test Seeds Before Use
The easiest way I know to test seeds is to use the paper towel method:
- Stack 3 sheets of paper towel and wet them with a spray bottle of water.
- Place 6 -10 seeds on the top of paper towels.
- Roll up the seeds in the paper towel.
- Place the rolled paper towel inside a plastic bag and in a warm place like on top of the fridge.
- After 5-6 days later, unwrap the roll and check the number of seeds that germinated. If 80% of them sprouted than the seeds are good to use. If the percent is a bit lower, you can either buy new seeds or use more seeds (if #’s are not to low)
Flower Baskets and Boxes
I usually have quite a few hanging baskets, boxes and urns that I fill with annual flowers. I really do go a bit crazy, but who doesn’t love flowers and plants around their deck, porch and pool.
This year I would like to try growing some of them from seed. I also have tried to winterize a few plants that were in my baskets, urns, and boxes last year. I placed them in one of the enclosed stalls in the barn over the winter. I installed a light on a timer and also a small heater that keeps the room at about 12 degrees Celsius. This is not warm enough to “greenhouse” them but it may be warm enough to keep them from dying? This was my first year doing this and although I have noticed a few that didn’t survive, It appears a few have… so far!
My plan moving forward is to remove the plants/roots systems from their existing pots and carefully keep only the ones still living. I will than clean the pots and re-pot them in new triple mix soil. I hope to add some flower seedlings around the existing plants and nurture them into full planters. This is a trial and error process to not only save some money but to see if I can reuse some of the plants year after year? I will update you on how this works or doesn’t work in the next couple of months.
Keeping in mind that I have limited time, I will choose some easy flower seeds to try like: Nasturtium, Petunia, Marigold, Geranium, Dianthus, Bacopa, Lobelia, cone flowers and Asparagus fern. I would love to try Million Bells (Or as my son calls them Minion Bells!) What flower seeds do you like to grow every year? Do you start them early or just throw them in once it is warm enough outside? Please share your suggestions.
Just talking about gardening and planting seeds is so exciting. Every year my garden and containers look different but variety is the spice of life!