I know that it is difficult to even consider spring with the latest round of tough weather. As gardeners, it helps to keep one step ahead of the season. I am planning my spring and summer garden right now at the end of January with nary a green leaf in sight and all those sad looking freeze damaged plants staring at me.
Seeds can be planted indoors between 6 and 4 weeks before the date of the last frost which is usually March 15th. Check on the seed packet for the exact time span. I just looked at some of my seed packets and realized that they are written in Dutch. I bought them at the airport in Amsterdam. I wanted to bring plants and bulbs back, but the little sniffer Beagles at the airports in this country would have a field day with my suitcase. Seeds are okay though.
I really like to order seeds from either Johnny’s Seeds or Park Seeds. Park Seeds is located in Greenwood, South Carolina and is one of our nation’s oldest seeds companies. Both have excellent seeds with a good germination rate.
Right now I have several containers of seeds and seedlings on my plant tray by a sunny window. Take out containers with clear plastic lids make great mini greenhouses. Poke drainage holes in the bottom container and fill it with seed starter soil mix, available at any big box garden center. I use MiracleGro. Plant the seeds according to directions and place the clear lid on it. I planted Bunny grass and it germinated in three days. I have individual containers of larger plants where I am putting only 2-3 seeds in each one. I have put a plastic drink glass over the top for a greenhouse effect. (a good one- not the one threatening our planet) I have a spray bottle to mist the soil and I keep a small watering can nearby. I always keep the watering can full of water. Leaving tap water in over night allows some of the chemicals to dissipate and is better for the plants, especially seedlings.
I am also going to think about what plant I can propagate this spring. I have taken many Geranium (Pelargoniums) cuttings. I usually put them in water to grow roots. You can plant them into a soil mix and see if they grow roots that way. Rooting hormone on the tip of the cutting can help it get going. Thai basil also roots from cuttings very easily. It is a super plant for bees, but it is an annual so it dies down every winter. I probably have five new plants on my porch made from cuttings and I will keep on making more and more from the new plants.
Succulents can be easily propagated as well from a stem. Insert the stem into soil or sand and water well. You should get a new baby in a few weeks.
I have told you before that during the winter I do a lot of “creative staring” at my garden to figure out trouble spots and new areas to plant. This year I am thinking about making a small gravel garden in an area where nothing seems to do well.
Stay tuned for this adventure. If I decide to proceed, I will document each step. I was fortunate enough to get a how to lesson from the owner of Denman’s Garden in West Sussex, England last May. The prep work may take awhile because there is an irrigation head right in the middle and a gravel garden is by nature, a dry bed.
It should be fun to experiment. I think that pushing the envelope and trying new things is one of the most fun gardening adventures you can have. Keep staring at your garden and let us hope for an early spring even though it will mean pollen.