From Seeds to Seedlings

The pansies sprouted and were transferred from the top of the fridge to the garden window about 4 weeks ago.

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I’m doing all I can to ensure their success – they are about 3 inches from the grow light and are sitting on a heating pad set to low.  The grow light is set on a timer so they get 10 hours of light a day, in addition to the indirect natural light this window receives.  The garden window tends to be a bit chilly, so the heating pad keeps the soil from getting too cold for good root establishment.

Here are the impatiens that I started about 2 weeks after the pansies.

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A few are robust, but for the most part, they all look rather gangly.  I’m not sure what more I can do for them.  Just keep them watered, warm, and enlightened!

I plan to start the sweet peas and a few other direct sow seeds this weekend.  The forecast in my area is predicted to be sunny with temps in the upper 50s and low 60s.  Sounds heavenly!  I’ll be out digging in the dirt!

Have a marvelous weekend!

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Seeds of Organization

Those of you who know me well are not surprised that I actually want to organize my seeds.  It’s a project that has been a long time coming, tho.

This old shoebox had been as close to organizing the seeds as I’d ever come.  photo (2)Not real sure about what was contained here, but at least I knew where the seeds were!

I started out by weeding out the seeds that were more than 5 years old.  I tested a few this past spring and got 0% germination rate, so I felt pretty good about tossing them.

I have many packets of store-bought seeds and many zip lock sandwich bags of seeds that I have gathered from nature.  For the store-bought variety, I placed the seeds in these small 2×2 zip lock bags I purchased online.

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If you search on Amazon.com for “2×2 baggies”, you will find many vendors to choose from.  I then cut the envelope front for a picture of what will grow, and cut the back for directions on how.

For the seeds I gathered, I made sure to label the zip lock bags with a description and a hint of where they came from.

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For both sets I included the date, either of the “packed for” year or the year I gathered.

These trading card pages are the perfect size to catalog and store the seeds.

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I bought mine at Wal-Mart, and you can get them at any office supply store.  I sorted mine by flower v. vegetable v. herb.  I haven’t done much vegetable growing, so most of my seeds are flowers.  I have many collections of columbine and marigolds, so I have a whole page dedicated to them.  I also used “post it” type notes so that when I run out of the seeds in that pocket, I can reuse the pocket.

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Keeping the seeds in a binder, labeled and sealed, makes it so much easier to visualize what might be started come springtime!

Thank goodness for seed catalogs!

I spent my lunch hour browsing through a few of the seed catalogs that have graced my mailbox these past few weeks.  They start arriving soon after the first of the year, just in time to lift you out of the letdown of post-Christmas.  And the anticipation starts then, of waiting till Mother’s Day or even Memorial Day in my Hardiness Zone 5a, so that we can start setting out and planting!  Oh, it’s like waiting for Santa – will he EVER get here!!

I may be a little late to start the garden from seed, though.  My dad used to get the tomatoes started in January!  He was always racing  to get the first red tomato by the 4th of July.  He was also very secretive about when he started his seeds.  Wait a minute, was  he was racing me?

I have a shoe box full of seed packets, some actually belonged to my dad.

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They are pretty old.  I recently came across a great idea for cataloging your seed collection.  Thanks to Dirt, dishes & design for this great idea!

Now that I’m realizing how old my seed collection is, I have been stopping at every seed display I see, just browsing through the virtual garden in my mind.  I know I will try to start some impatiens, at least.

I was reminded today about the Phipps Conservatory May Market and National Public Market Day – an annual garden sale held right across the lawn from where I work, and I think I will make a visit there this year and pick up some vegetables to grow in containers on the deck.

Just in case the seeds from my shoe box decide not to sprout!