How to start certain seeds?

Mari_88(7a)May 6, 2012

Hey everyone! I recently admitted to myself that starting flowers from seed is really the best way to do a perrenial garden, instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money on started plants from the nursery. It shall be a lesson in patience for sure.

I have read that various seeds should be sown in different ways...what are some general guidelines? Any advice or suggestions would be great, thanks!

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zen_man

Hi Mari,

"...what are some general guidelines?"

If the seeds are relatively expensive, I start them indoors under fluorescent lights. Inexpensive seeds can be started outdoors in the garden. Plant them according to the instructions on the seed packet, and sprinkle them with water everyday to keep them moist until they come up.

ZM

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:42PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Mari, this is one of the better online seed databases for perennials, trees, shrubs, annuals. Save it to your favorites or bookmark it, then refer to each plant individually (and yes, you'll need to look up the botanical name :)). It will tell you whether to cover the seed, if it needs pretreatment like a moist chill before germinating later in warmer temps. And its fine to use your refrigerator for those seeds that do need a period of cold (it's always moist) - 35-40F works, do not use your freezer.

A wonderful book for all methods of propagating including growing from seed is Making More Plants by Ken Druse. Well illustrated, reliable. You might get it from your library, or look for a used copy if new to sowing - my own copy is out and on my desk always.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clothiers germination database

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:49AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

One 'general guideline' for growing anything at all ... Don't over water!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:47AM
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Mari_88(7a)

Thanks everyone for the advice! Morz i will stop by the library this afternoon and i may have more questions after i look into the link and the book. In the meantime, what are some tried and true seed starting mixes yuns have used? And, what are some easy seeds to start? So far I have sucessfully started alyssum and morning glory from seed.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 10:20AM
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zen_man

Hi Mari,

"In the meantime, what are some tried and true seed starting mixes yuns have used?"

I use Premier's ProMix BX, which is available at a few garden centers. You would probably have to call around to find a place that stocks it. I drive about 50 miles to get mine.

However, with a zone of 7a, you probably can plant most everything outdoors safely now. There are a number of books on seed starting. I have the one by Bubel, which is still good, although it was published some time ago. I didn't notice it in the Amazon list, but I also have and use Park's Success with Seed book. It has lots of good pictures.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 11:08AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

And be sure to read through all the FAQs here (linked on the front page) as they cover all the basic info.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing from Seed FAQs

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Mari_88(7a)

Dave, the FAQs were helpful! The reason I am starting things in pots is because i have puppies that dont care where the yard stops and the flower bed begins, so small things get trampled! I figure stuff might have a better chance of survival this way. Ill admit that after reading the FAQ section and the suggested materials i am overwhelmed. Im not sure ill be able to grow much of anything now. I am going to do my best to start small and just learn from my mistakes.

I would like to start larkspur, moss rose and candytuft to name a few. I also want to sow some catnip because its better entertainment than tv! Any thoughts on these flowers? Oh also, i read that dill, fennel and coriander attract good bugs to the garden,
agree? What about starting these from seed?

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:24PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

The things you mention would all really better started outdoors. Not just to save work but because they actually do better that way. It's a good beginners' collection as they are all easy from seed but none of them transplants very well. For the fennel it is because it develops a long tap root. For the dill, coriander and the flowers it is because transplanting promotes bolting, ie premature flowering, before a good strong plant is established. I think that your money would be best spent on some chicken wire to keep the dogs off the seedbed than on potting mix and containers. JMO

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 5:10AM
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Mari_88(7a)

Flora,
Your post is encouraging thank you! The specific info on each plant is exactly the kind of stuff i need to know. Ill consider fencing the seed beds but i have a lot of spots to landscape and i dont know how i feel about chicken wire all over the place.

I appreciate everyones suggestions and info. Anymore need to know facts about starting common flowers from seed? What are some difficult plants to start? Just curious, thanks!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:05AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Hi again Mari - I wasn't really thinking of 'fencing' as such. More bending the sheet of chicken wire into a sort of arch and placing over the ground. It makes the ground uncomfortable for digging paws and squatting animal backsides. The seedlings should subsequently grow through the wire and hide it. I've never had dogs in the garden but this method works for keeping cats off newly sown seeds. Even simpler is to lay down twiggy or prickly prunings.

Here is a link that might be useful: Something like this....

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 4:45AM
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Mari_88(7a)

Flora, that never would have occurred to me! I think i can take down the ugly UGLY chicken wire fence i put around the veggies last night (i am at wore with the new puppy) and just cover the beds instead. So great!

I am about to pull my radishes and want to start some celery seed in that spot, any suggestions?

Thanka again for all the info!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 1:47PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Celery is slow to germinate from seed which is why it is usually started indoors 6-8 weeks before plant out date.

For now you'll do best sticking with things that call for direct seeding. That is indicated on the seed packet in most cases.

Seeds that require special germination conditions such as specific soil temps, stratification or scarification, special lights or the absence of light, etc. are normally started indoors well before the gardening season.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Mari_88(7a)

Dave,

I read some more on celery after that post and I agree. I will spend the winter making room to start seeds like that indoors. Ill stick to "direct sow" and chicken wire for now.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 6:17PM
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Mari_88(7a)

Flora, just wanted to let you know I laid down chicken wire over my seed beds and so far so good. I actually saw the puppy avoid the chicken wire area and go around it! I have started dill, parsley and chives so far, more to follow! Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 1:11PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Good news. I just wish it kept out snails too!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 2:30PM
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