Starting Flower's From Seed

Growing your own plants from seed is neither difficult nor expensive. For one thing, you don't need a collection of costly special tool and equipment.

Losses from severe winterkill, over-crowding by more belligerent plants, and neglecting to divide and reset took away a number of species I consider essential to a good perennial border. So last spring I ordered some new seeds and prepared a bed. Previously, I tried starting perennials in cold frames in February and March, and also made fall plantings in September,

A few annuals were also planted in this seedbed and, probably because it quickly exceeded in growth seed planted 2-weeks earlier where it was to remain. The planting was done the first week in june, and by the first week in July I was able to transplant some of the perennials to their permanent beds. While we were getting some nice rains.

Lupines, in particular, need to be transplanted when very small, for they have a long taproot, and do not do well if this is broken. This is also true of hollhocks, and it is really better to plant these where they are to remain.

The gilia. or standing cypress, one of the most striking plants in the border when in bloom, is not difficult to grow if it is plantted where water will not be over the crown during the first year of its growth. It is not a long-lived perennial, and perhaps should be treated as a triennial with new seed planted each year. Once started, it will reseed itself. Just remember to set the plants on higher ground, and do not let leaves mat on it during the winter. Small branches may be placed on the plants before the leaves drift over them to help protect them over winter.

Not all garden seed catalogs list gilia, but the rubra variety will grow from 4 to 6-feet high, with great spikes of scarlet blooms. By watching the plants and the weather, I am able to transplant all the plants that I have places for by August, keeping them watered. Thus they become well established during the fall growing season, ready for immediate growth when spring arrives.

There are three requirements, or rules which must be observed by any gardener; be them a rank beginner or the most experienced green-thumber. 1) A well-prepared level seedbed of good organic soil. Notice the emphasis on level. Fine seed, and much seed is fine, must be planted very shallow. Even a slight slope will erode with the hard rains common in spring, and

valuable seed will be washed out or covered too deeply. So select the spot

for a seedbed with this in mind. Prepare the soil carefully, leaving no

clods, and firm it well. A board laid down and walked on several times,

repeating until the whole bed is well flattened, is the best way to

accomplish this, or, wait for a good rain to settle the soil.

2) Never let the surface of the bed dry out. Make the bed within reach of

the garden hose, so that it may be thoroughly showered every day with a

fine spray of water.

3) Secure fresh seed from a reliable garden seed catalog. Do not depend on

a packet of seeds from your local supermarket. Flower seeds are very

short-lived, and many will sprout only the first year. No reliable seed co.

will send out old seeds, and most will guarantee satisfaction.

Another advantage in ordering from a garden seed catalog is that you have a big variety to choose from. There are many newer introductions of almost every species, and it may have been one of these you admired so much in one of your friends garden. So it is advisable to inquire as to the particular variety when viewing other gardens.

Copyright · 1995 Flower's