First time flower winter sower

Poolgoddess67(5b)February 22, 2013

OK, so I've finally gottn the hang of veggies, and partial success with herbs. Now I'm ready to tackle FLOWERS.

I"m in 5b, and I 've gotten seed packets for my area, with a variety of heights and colors. But I'm overwhelmed ( last counts was about 24 varietes), is it easier to plan with those in an excel format? Other than the basics: sun/shade, height, color what else should I track to make planning where to put all these easier?

And my seed packets don't all show bloom time, how important is that?

This is for a larger (to me) east/northeast corner front bed on a corner lot, so I wanna get it close the first time.
It's been lying fallow for 2 years, only pulling weeds out. I'm amending this spring--so how deep should I put the compost now? Can I just toss n till like my veggies?

Thinking about potting up another batch this weekend, gosh my deck is getting full, lol

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terrene(5b MA)

Poolgoddess, most likely you won't get it all right the first year, so try to relax. Some plants will grow taller, or wider, or slower than you expect or the packets say. In fact I am still working on design in garden beds that are 8 years old now. Fairly well ordered and the bones are in place, but plants die, are eaten by voles, get too big, decline, sun patterns change as trees and shrubs grow, etc. so I am always moving things around and adding new things.

I keep an excel sow chart every year, that includes the species/cultivar, date sown, # seeds, date sprouted, etc. In the first year I included sun preference, height, and moisture preference. I used the "wetland indicator" from the USDA plants database, which consists of a range between wetland, facultative, and upland plants (or you could wet-mesic-dry). But after I became more familiar with the plants I dropped those columns from the chart and added notes instead.

I haven't ever tilled, just hand dig the gardens. But the first year I would mix in compost and maybe leaves etc. using the shovel or tiller. Once the soil has a good texture, you don't need to turn it every year. After that you can topdress with compost or scratch in some fertilizer each year. Flowers need some nutrients, but generally aren't as nutrient intensive as veggies. Organic matter will attract worms which will also fertliize the soil.

But some flowers like it lean - fertilizer makes their growth floppy or too much nitrogen can encourage foliage growth over flowers!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Edie(5 NY (Finger Lakes))

The one thing I'm careful to note besides what's already been mentioned, is whether a perennial plant makes a taproot or is otherwise hard to transplant once settled. I'm more careful about placement of those plants. Anything else is fair game to "plunk and run" wherever I see a spot at transplant time. I figure, if I decide later it's in the wrong spot, I'll move it.

Annuals are temporary anyway. If I decide I don't like where they are this year I'll do it differently next year. For example, last year's larkspur was shorter than I expected, and planted in the back of the bed where it hid behind everything else. This year I'm planting some in front.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 6:21AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Great advice terrene and edie, although be careful what you wish for when it comes to larkspur. Mine was in a mixed seed pack a few years back and it grows tall and plentiful every year now -- it reseeds like crazy, and since it's outside one of my veggie gardens I'm pulling it like a weed from inside the fence as well. It is pretty when it blooms against the fence, though.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:14AM
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proudgm_03(6 MO)

Caryltoo I had the same problem with HH. They reseeded and came up everywhere in the garden. Those little suckers are impossible to pull by hand.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:46AM
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ladyrose65

Poolgoddess, how is the sowing coming along?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 8:27PM
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Poolgoddess67(5b)

They are all sowed, but it snowed again, so probably not till next weekend before I see sprouts. But spring will come! I did:
Nasturtium
Creeping Thyme
2 pots marigolds
snapdragons
Daisies-shasta and african
2 money plants
forgetmenots
pansy
coleus
columbine
hollyhock
dianthus
sweet william (biennial)
2 pots alyssum
2 pots petunias

some are probably too early, but I have more seeds of the multiples I did sow, so no harm no foul, lol

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:17PM
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ladyrose65

You will be good.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:06PM
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