Flowers, On Your Mark!
February 23, 2010
This year I’ve decided to try my hand at starting flowers from seed. Over the last few years, I’ve collected and bought seeds then never really tried to grow them. I think my main problem is that some, like impatiens and lavendar, take so long to germinate and other require special care like darkness, soaking and chilling. Since I’m coming up to 11 weeks before my last spring frost, I’ve got lots of time to sow even the longest-germinating seeds. My problem is that there seems to be a variety of start dates for a particular seed.
Somewhere online I read that alyssum should be started indoors 8 – 12 weeks before the last frost and then I read that it was 4 – 6 weeks somewhere else. I looked around and couldn’t find a definitive guide to start dates for flowers. Looking on the back of the package didn’t really help either as some companies put more information than others. Then I wondered if there were different rules for a short growing season like I have here in my Canadian garden.
Checking my myriad of gardening books (mostly on vegetables, unfortunately) I found my Seed Sowing and Saving book by Carole B. Turner. I really recommend this book if you’re just getting started in learning how to sow and save your own seeds. It covers over 100 vegetable, herb and flower seeds and really breaks down the special treatments some seeds need to germinate. It gives you instructions on when/how to sow the seed indoors and outdoors, special considerations, hints for success and what to do to harvest and save seed.
It’s the best book I’ve got on how to start plants from seed, however, it doesn’t cover all types of plants. Anybody got a more complete resource?