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Planting flowers from seeds

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by MikeG on October 11, 2005 07:08 AM
A newbie here with a few quick questions...

1) Should I plant indoors or outdoors?

2) If I plant indoors now, they will probably be ready to be planted outside before spring arrives. Is this not a good time to plant then?

3) Can I plant prennials and annuals in the same tray?

4) I don't want to have to plant them, repot them when they grow a little bigger (but still not ready for outside) and then put them in the flowerbeds outside when they are ready. So is it ok to just plant them in the pots (or trays) deep enough for roots to grow until I can just put them outside and avoid the middle step of repotting them?
by Jiffymouse on October 11, 2005 07:34 AM
quote:
Originally posted by MikeG:
A newbie here with a few quick questions...

1) Should I plant indoors or outdoors?

i'd start any plant you want to see in early spring indoors, otherwise, start them outside, it's simpler
quote:

2) If I plant indoors now, they will probably be ready to be planted outside before spring arrives. Is this not a good time to plant then?

i am waiting until late december or even mid january before i start my seeds. you might want to wait at least that long, 'cause dallas gets colder than it does here in savannah.
quote:

3) Can I plant prennials and annuals in the same tray?

yep. i use trays of "jiffy pots" (check the walmart or other garden centers) and plant what ever i feel like in each one. but be sure to mark them so you know what is what so you put them where you want them...jiffy also makes plant markers or you can do what i do, cut up a styrofoam plate, mark with numbers and then have a chart for the info...
quote:

4) I don't want to have to plant them, repot them when they grow a little bigger (but still not ready for outside) and then put them in the flowerbeds outside when they are ready. So is it ok to just plant them in the pots (or trays) deep enough for roots to grow until I can just put them outside and avoid the middle step of repotting them?

i usually "transfer" my jiffym (peat) pots to news paper pots, that way, they can just be plonked in the ground without having to disturb the roots.

hope this helps!
by MaryReboakly on October 11, 2005 08:20 AM
Jiffy - whaddya mean by news paper pots? Im totally into the plonking thing! Can you elaborate on how you do this? how many sheets of newspaper, etc? Thanks! [Smile]

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by Jiffymouse on October 11, 2005 08:27 AM
well, last year, i made them too thick. i used a half sheet, doubled over wrapped around twice, so they ended up about the size of a soda can with 4 or 6 layers of paper. this year i am going to make them only 2-3 layers thick.

i wrapped the paper around a glass with the bottom of the paper about 3 inches off the glass. then i kinda crumpled the bottom, (like folding a coin wrapper) and slid it off the glass. then i folded the top like a cuff to hold it on the around side. takes more time than tape, but biodegrades better. does that make sense?
by Jiffymouse on October 11, 2005 08:29 AM
by the way, you can make them as big around as you like, but if they are much larger than 4" you might need to use some paper tape on the bottom. you know the brown stuff that you have to wet. you can get it at a postal supply store. it biodegrades pretty good.
by MaryReboakly on October 11, 2005 08:52 AM
hmmmm very cool. I follow ya - just not sure I could get the cuff thing to work. Sounds complicated for a klutz like me [Big Grin] I'll give it a go, though, thanks for the tip! [Smile]

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by Patty S on October 11, 2005 08:58 AM
Hi Mike G. [wayey] I'm glad I'm not the only Newbie on this site! I do know this much though: Whenever I've been in too much of a hurry & planted indoors too soon, the plants got too leggy & didn't do as well, once it was time to put them out, as when I just waited & soaked seeds in a wet paper towel (overnight, or until they show a sprout). Of course, depending on what you are planting... some seeds are too small to soak, but the teeny ones are usually fast growers anyway.

The peat pots are great for early seeding, & Jiffymouse, I REALLY like the news paper pot idea! (Thanx!) I already figured out the home-made marker thing, only I cut strips from milk jugs & write on them with a permanent marker, & that stays with the plants when they go into the ground. (I learned the hard way NOT to label the Jiffy Pots! When they are wet, you can't see the writing, & you don't dare let them dry out so you can see what kinds of sprouts you've killed! Interesting guessing game I played that year, until plants were big enough to ID!) [nutz]

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by Jiffymouse on October 11, 2005 11:21 PM
[Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin] patty, i didn't move my markers year before last, talk about a mess [Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin]
by tkhooper on October 11, 2005 11:24 PM
Hi Mike,

Planning a garden sure does take a bunch of time and effort. And it seems to be very very true that after you decide which plants you want to have in your garden what you have to do is research each and everyone.

Some flowers need to be planted outdoors in the fall. This is true of many early spring bloomers that come from bulbs. Tulips, crocus, and things like that are planted outdoors in the fall for early spring color. There are probably lots more too but I'm just beginning to study gardening so I don't know much.

I bought some christmas rose seeds and they require 2 weeks of 70 degree temperature and then 4 weeks of cold and then take 5 to 18 months to finally sprout so they are going to get started inside now then put outside when it chills down. I'm planting in the cardboard egg cartons this year. Last year I tried to avoid the transplant thing and did one big flower box type thing. I lost many many of the plants. The egg cartons are bio-degradable and they will get plonked right into the next size of container necessary to keep them going or directly into the ground after hardening them off.

There are other plants like lettuce and celery and stuff that are cold weather plants so they have to be planted spring and or fall to produce well. I planted my lettuce to early and lost it. One of these days I will get it right because I love lettuce.

Anyway let us know which plants you would like to have in your garden and I'll bet if there isn't a plant profile for it now there soon will be.

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by Jiffymouse on October 11, 2005 11:28 PM
tk, i'm glad you mentioned the egg cartons, i have 2 right now, and almost threw them away! (well, composted them [Embarrassed] )
by MRS.D on October 13, 2005 02:53 AM
hya all

great idea that newspaper thing, will definately try that...and the egg cartons, but just a quick question...do you have to put a small drainage hole at the bottom of these? or do you just leave them as they are and plant them on straight into the soil?

Many thanks

take care

Mrs.D. [wayey]
by comfrey on October 13, 2005 03:23 AM
Another alternative to egg cartons, newspaper pots & peat pot (which I hate! the peat pots) Is strofoam cups or paper drink cups..They do need a drainage hole poked in the bottom. I have never had a problem transplanting anything using cups even hard to tranplant itemsThe plus to the cups is that you can write on it to label the plant dates etc. When it is time to plant just water alittle and tear the cup away from the soil and place the whole ball of soil and plant in your hole. I can even get them out without tearing the cup by tapping lightly on the bottom, hold your hand over the cup around the plant and turn upside down in your hand and place in the hole you have prepared. Cups are very cheap, they are all I use to start my tomato, pepper, squash, & melon plants in..I also use this method for flower seeds. If you want see what they look like:(tomato seedlings..the picture was too big to display here)

http://photobucket.com/albums/a283/SageJean/

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by MikeG on October 13, 2005 04:08 AM
Comfrey, do you think that these cups are deep enough to host the plants until they are ready to be transplanted outside or do you transplant it to a bigger pot first?
by floweraddict on October 13, 2005 02:02 PM
A couple things i do automatically every time i set out young tender plants:

1)Lightly powder the area with Sevin Dust (u wouldn't believe this but it's true... last weekend a grass hopper nearly devoured a small seedling that i just set out before i had a chance to put the dust down!)

2) sprinkle the perimeter with slug pellets (the fact that i find many dead snails among my young plants the next day demonstrates the need for using it!)

Protecting your plants at the very start will help keep you from getting discouraged.
You are making an investment (time and money)- protect it!

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Bob
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by Jiffymouse on October 13, 2005 10:45 PM
i don't use the cups because of several reasons:

1, i am lazy, i don't want to have to pull the plant out to set it out. i prefer the plop method

2, i try not to generate any more garbage than necessary... my own little quirk about be eco-responsible

3, i'm am frugal. i don't usually buy anything that i know will get thrown away, if i can help it. just my own quirks.

but, that said, i have recycled drink cups for plant starters and they work great! one thing i did was to bury 2/3 a cup in a pot of wandering jew, kept water in the cup, so that i could cut and place cuttings as i walked by. worked great and i had a very full plant!

to answer about the egg cartons, if you use the paperboard ones, (not the foam) you don't need a drainage hole. if you use foam, you do. and if you use foam, if you put a piece of paper in each cup before you put the soil, it makes the transplant easier.
by comfrey on October 14, 2005 12:32 PM
quote:
Originally posted by MikeG:
Comfrey, do you think that these cups are deep enough to host the plants until they are ready to be transplanted outside or do you transplant it to a bigger pot first?
Well I use the bigger cups (not the little coffee cups)I poked one small hole in the bottom and My tomato plants were at least 12 inches above the top of the cup when I set them out, with no ill effects...I also have some cups that are 5 years old and still holding up to yearly use. I grew herbs and also individual zinnia seedlings in these cups with no problems..in fact some of the zinnias never got set out and stayed in the cups outside and even bloomed while living in the cups. I do start my seedlings in flats(what I use for flats is any container that is short, but the plastic boxes (not clear ones) that meat come in from the store work real well for seed flats (don't forget to poke holes in the bottom of flat) and most people throw these away when they have a use..LOL (I save everything if I can figure out a use for) Then I transplant each individual seedling to its own cup.

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by MikeG on October 14, 2005 10:20 PM
quote:
Then I transplant each individual seedling to its own cup.

This is what I am trying to figure out. If you have to transplant each seedling to its own cup then why not plant right in that cup from the very begining? Any good reason? Is it because not all seeds germinate? Or is it because the starter soil is good for the germination/is more expensive, etc.?
by comfrey on October 14, 2005 11:20 PM
Ok..This is how and why I do it this way...it is also the way alot of smaller greenhouses start their plants.

I do use a soiless starter, and in the flats it is easier to control the right conditions for germination,(also I have found there is a higher germination rate using this method) Then when seedlings have their first or second set of "true" leaves I transplant into good poting soil filled cups...By doing this I can throw out any seedlings that don't look right or that is small or spindle etc. Or sometimes a seed of a different sort gets mixed into the seeds you are wanting, this can be weeded out. Also if I waited too long to transplant each seedling and they have gotten alittle leggy, you can compensate for that when transplanting...I use lights and controlled heat and provide air circulation to the plants according to their needs. I do not have a greenhouse, I turn an extra bedroom into a "greenhouse" each year when I am ready to start my seeds.

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by MikeG on October 14, 2005 11:36 PM
comfrey, thanks alot for your guidance. One last question... how deep are those flats that you use?
by comfrey on October 15, 2005 05:24 AM
They are only 2 inches deep..these boxes came from Wal Mart with 2 lbs of hamburger in them.

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by MikeG on October 15, 2005 08:00 AM
Thanks a bunch!!! [Smile]
by neko nomad on November 15, 2005 01:46 PM
I hope this is helpful.
Mid-November has generally been a good time to start my perennials, and this year it's Gentiana asclepiada , or willow leaf gentian.
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Now's a good time, because the outside temperature is just above freezing so that stratifying the seeds can be done conveniently by placing them outdoors.

I find the plastic containers that you get pastries in at the supermarket work fine for starting seeds. Mine came with raspberry danishes for about 3.50. Wash the container with a cleaner such as Fantastik and rinse thoroughly.

Pour in about an inch and a half of vermiculite. and dampen with about half to three quarters cup of water:

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Make furrows in the damp vermiculite and place seeds.
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Tamp the seeds in the furrows with a wooden pencil or something similar. I found using my finger wasn't satisfactory.

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Close the lid and snap shut.
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Place outside, against the side of the house, to chill for a few days, a week for good measure.
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After chilling, the container will be placed on a window sill in the garage for about a week, after which I'll put it on top of a kitchen cabinet until germination occurs. After that, it;ll sit on a sunny window sill until the seedlings are ready to place in covered window sill starter frames.
There's usually enough extra seedlings to pass around to acquaintences who are willing to take them.
by neko nomad on January 15, 2006 12:09 AM
Two months later, the results are encouraging:
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click photo for a full-screen sized picture.

In a month or so the seedlings should be ready to place in cell packs to go inside a covered window mini hotbed.
by weezie13 on January 15, 2006 05:43 AM
What a very neat set up you have there neko nomad.

We were just talking about stratifying the seeds
(for Bells of Ireland actually) but what a great
idea you have for that process....

Thank~You for sharing that with us..
That really is great info *and pictures..*
[thumb] [Cool]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by neko nomad on January 15, 2006 09:08 AM
My pleasure, Weezie; stay tuned to this thread for
further developments on these plants come planting time and beyond,like a tutorial series.
by weezie13 on January 15, 2006 09:20 AM
You had better believe it..
I've got this thread clicked with my
email notification...
so, I'll keep my an eye on it...

I love the gentian flower..so pretty,
so delicate...
I have one growing *I've abused it..a wee~bit,
let something crowd on it..* but it's still there..
The blue flower is so pretty..

Mine closes up when it's in bloom and it gets wet.. *like a hose or it's raining out*

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by comfrey on January 15, 2006 10:43 AM
Very informative neko nomad! Great pictures also.

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by neko nomad on January 16, 2006 12:26 AM
The hinged top certainly simplifies venting this makeshift humidor. The top can be propped open to prevent overheating on bright sunny mornings, an important consideration at this early stage of plant development.

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While venting is necessary, be careful not to allow the vermiculite to dry out. Rain water with a minute amount of fish emulsion fertilizer added is now used at this point.
by neko nomad on February 12, 2006 09:20 AM
Are you still with me?...You are? Good! Now, for the second step, the placing into cell-packs and in to a mini greenhouse....

After about bout a month the seedlings can be transplanted. You want the first true leaves to appear before moving seedlings.
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Moving the tiny seedlings may be with the point of a wooden pencil :
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I place into a small hole, made with the pencil's point, making sure all of the tiny roots go inside:
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I then give each seedling a bit of water for good root contact.
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This year's perennials are now off to a good start. This is my first year to start gentians from seed.
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I placed the covered minigreenhouse on a south-facing window in the basement and figure to set the plants out the first week of May.
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Stay tuned for the next step. To be continued...
by weezie13 on February 12, 2006 09:50 AM
Neko Nomad,
You must be a mind reader!!! [thinker]
I was was going to find this post down to see
how your plants/seedlings' were doing!!!

Thanks....

GREAT JOB by the way!!!

Thanksssssssss for sharing those...
They're great!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by neko nomad on February 12, 2006 10:39 AM
h, we're kindred souls, weezie....

are you there, Francine? I hope you keep these main points in mind:
1. Give your perennials seeds a good headstart -- like, November! Same could apply to you too, weezie, if you're in zone 5.
2. Make sure the seedstarter box is c-l-e-a-n.
3. Use NEW vermiculite,
4. Use NEW potting mix,
5. Stratify.
6. Place by a screened window
and ventilate on sunny days.
7. Keep DAMP, not wet.
8. Use rainwater or distilled water.

My next step will demonstrate hardening the plants prior to setting out.
by comfrey on February 12, 2006 11:41 AM
Wow neko..the pencil idea is great for the small seedlings, I am going to try that method when I have some of those tiny flower seedlings that are hard to seperate. You have done an excellent job of showing how to do this!!!!

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by neko nomad on March 29, 2006 02:38 AM
Hello, everyone; thanks for showing up for this next step in growing perennial flowers from seed.

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Hardening off of the plants has now begun.

I have placed the tray beside a window in the garage away from direct sunlight. The temperature in this spot is 50 degrees. It will stay here until the last day of frost, which should be about three weeks away, at which time I'll place it on the north side of the house until planting time early May.

The plants will continue to grow until that time, albeit somewhat slowly.
by weezie13 on March 29, 2006 08:40 PM
Neko Nomad,
What kind of plants are they????

Boy, I wish I was that far along...
They're looking gooooood!!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by comfrey on March 29, 2006 11:44 PM
Yes your plants are looking good.

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by neko nomad on March 30, 2006 02:47 AM
Thank you, thank you! Keep those compliments coming [Smile] !
Click Willow Gentian. The seeds were started mid-November.
However, they're not out of the woods yet, since, by checking around I've learned my USDA climate zone is out of its range. I'm kinda hoping that my garden is in a milder mini zone due to the nearness of Lake Ontario.

This is the way I've started primulas and cardinal flowers in the past, so it's safe to assume that it should work for perennials in general. It may be a bit tedious than necessary for milder climates. Just wanted to pass it on;pictures make explanation so much easier.

Stay tuned.
by neko nomad on June 13, 2006 01:47 PM
Hello,everyone ! Now for the next step in growing flowers from seed.

After hardening off outdoors, today the seedlings were ready to set out.
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They now grace a small path through the border, along with asters,daylilies,peonies,and evening primroses, adding to the ensemble of summer flowers.(click on photo)

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by weezie13 on June 13, 2006 02:04 PM
Wow Neko, that (click on photo) is looking great!!!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by neko nomad on June 13, 2006 03:04 PM
weezie --
You meant the photo ?

Tip: Use a tagged Image URL as the page location, to make that photo a link,in the URL posting steps.

Get it?
by jbaby7162000 on August 08, 2006 01:57 AM
ive used the strofoam cups and they work fine to.

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joanne

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