Ready, Set, Sow

You spent January and February dreaming with seed catalogues, and all those seed packets have arrived. Now’s the time to start planting.
Some suggestions for you:

1. Your seed packet will tell you how many weeks before the last frost to start them. Our last frost date in Barrie is May 26. Count backwards from that date to establish the date for planting your seeds. I usually group my seed packets according to planting dates and plant a batch at once. If you plant your seeds too soon they will become leggy and will take longer to get going once you plant them in the garden.

2. Some seeds should be sown in situ (right in the garden). Those plants that need to be sown in the garden usually don’t transplant well. But, if you’re the adventuresome type, try starting some indoors anyway. Take care to disturb the roots as little as possible when you transplant them. Try planting them in pots they will grow in until they go in the garden to avoid transplanting the seedlings. But … save some seed for outside sowing, just in case!

3. Some seeds need to be soaked and/or nicked to break dormancy. Again check the seed packet. For some seeds, a couple of hours is enough; for others, an overnight soak is better.

4. Seeds do not necessarily need to be kept in the dark to germinate. In fact, if no light is a requirement, the packet will usually tell you. Most seeds can be put in light right away and will germinate fine.

5. Keep your seed packets for reference. You will not likely remember the characteristics of the plant (height, colour) when it’s time to plant them. In fact, keep your packets all summer and write your comments on them for reference next year. It’s annoying to grow a plant that you simply adore and not be able to remember the variety name!

If you haven’t started your own seeds before, this year is a good year to start. When you start your own plants from seed, you often have a bigger choice of varieties and are able to grow plants that you won’t find in your local garden centre. Ready, set, sow!