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Flower seed starting info by state or zone?

Posted by sujiwan 6 MD (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 15:23

Hi,

I'm no stranger to starting vegetables early, but every year I wish I had thought to get some flowers going much sooner. Part of the issue is my growing light spaces are taken up by vegetable seedling flats and it isn't until some things are removed that I can fit in a flower flat or two. I do have a couple places on widow sills that get southern exposure though.

I've thought on it, but I never seem to get around to doing winter sowing. Still, I'd like to know if there's anything that I can sow in late March to set out on my patio to germinate early--still freezes and frosts to go before the "safe dates" in May for me in upper MD,lower PA. Or at this point, is the "winter sowing" method pretty pointless?

I've got all kinds of perennial and annual seeds, but need to find or make a seed starting info sheet for my growing area that covers the flowers I ought to be starting or scattering right now the first week of spring.

Can someone give a bit of guidance to a earlier bird wanna be?


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RE: Flower seed starting info by state or zone?

  • Posted by uncle_t Z6 Ontario CAN (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 21:16

I know exactly what you mean. Much of my seedling staging is for veggies. I don't have the space, time or patience for annuals that take several months indoors to become seedlings. So, instead, I'll sow a flat of quick growers like marigolds or straw flowers (same start time as tomatoes). I'll also do flowering tobacco. Outdoors: Nasturtiums, Sweet Peas and Poppies should handle an early patio planting for a bloom in mid June or thereabouts.

I try to keep my flower focus mostly on perennials, so I only need a tad of these annuals when spring arrives. Hope this helps.


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RE: Flower seed starting info by state or zone?

Do you have a space in your flower beds on the south side, near the house to set up a cold frame? I used this to start flowers for years before I got my lights and greenhouse.

Near the house because it is warmer and on the south side because it is the sunniest. A simple cold frame costs only a pittance. You need 2 poles or something as long as your cold frame that you can staple plastic to. Next you need some heavy guage clear plastic and something to use for hoops. Heavy guage wire or dry cleaners hangers unwound and bent in a hoop shape. Look around and see what you can find--they only have to sit 2 to 2 1/2 feet high. You also need a couple of stones or bricks.

Cut a piece of plastic --doubled is best--wide enough to go over the frame with room to staple your poles on each side. Then gather together the ends and stretch it out past the last hoop. Put a brick or stone on this to hold it.To open it a little bring the end on the least windy side upto the first hoop and use a clothespin or clip to hold it there. On days you want it open more you can roll it up on the front pole. You will find you have to open it a little or a lot every day even couldy days. In a small space like that it doesn't take much for it to get too hot from just the sun. I opened mine around 9AM in the morning and closed it around 4 PM to let some heat build up

Set it up a week or 2 early to warm the ground. I suggest you plant your seed right in the soil. They take less care that way and do better than planted in pots. Make sure your plants don't touch the plastic or they'll freeze. The cold frame will protect your plants from a couple of degrees of frost. If you know it's getting colder than that throw a blanket or something over it

When transplanting these dig them out getting as much root as possible. Have your hole ready and fill it with water and let it soak into the ground, then plant your plant. Place an upside down colored--not clear pot over the newly planted plant. Place a clump of dirt or stone on top to keep it from blowing away. Leave it for 2 or 3 days. This allows the roots to get moisture right away and shades the plant so it can spread it's roots without coping with a too hot sun. When you take off the pot you'll notice a ring of moisture right around the plant and your plant is standing up and not wilting.

You can also use milk jugs or large pop bottles with the bottom cut out Warm the soil where you want them to grow like above. Plant 2 or 3 seeds and press the bottle into the soil over the seeds. Remove the lid to allow excess heat to escape. Check for water every couple of days and wait for them to grow. Again don't let the plant touch the sides. These are like little clouches and work great.

So there you have it. Hope it works for you


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RE: Flower seed starting info by state or zone?

  • Posted by edie_h 5bNY (Finger Lakes) (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 25, 13 at 3:57

You have plenty of time if you still want to try the wintersowing method. Technically it's spring sowing from equinox onwards. I keep sowing right through the first week of May, sowing tender annuals last. Come on over to the forum, we're friendly. Several people offer seeds for SASBE to wintersowing newbies. Please look at the forum FAQs first. There's a ton of information there, thanks to Trudi. There is a section specifically on spring sowing if you scroll down.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wintersowing FAQ


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