starting seeds 3.21.2019

I started seeds this week. The last frost date where I live, in Madison, Wisconsin, is around the first week of May. So I have about 7 weeks until then to get my plant babies grown large enough to transplant into my garden outside.

All the seeds I’m starting in advance are flowers. The red letters you see written on the front of this seed starting tray are from last year. This year, I cut up lids from plastic yogurt containers into little strips, and labeled each individual plant. I planted between 3-10 seeds in each little square of dirt. If all the seeds sprout and push up through the soil, I’ll transplant each plant into individual pots after they have their first set of true leaves.

I placed the trays in a big south-facing window. Most garden experts say that’s not enough light, but I’ve done this every year for decades, and my plant babies make it with no extra lighting other that daylight.

The first seed to pop up is the Zinnia! She showed herself three days after planting! Half the seeds I planted are brand new seeds that I purchased. The other half are seeds I harvested and saved from my previous years’ gardens. And I didn’t plant all the seeds – I saved some to plant outside, which will hopefully give me more staggered bloom times.

This little four-pack planter contains perennial lavender seeds, and the instructions were to place in the fridge or freezer for a few weeks. They need a cold spell in order to germinate.

Underneath the soil in these pots are dahlia corms that I overwintered in my basement. Dahlias like to be planted in warm soil, so instead of transplanting outside after the last frost, I wait a few weeks, after the earth has warmed up a bit. But because of the short growing season here in the midwest, I need to give these dahlias a head start by planting them indoors for a couple months. Once the weather is warm enough, I’ll move these pots to the back porch where they’ll get even more light. Then, in late May or early June, I’ll transplant them into the garden.

I’ll post more pics of my plant babies later this spring and summer!


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