Six on Saturday: Jan 19

Winter has arrived again.  It comes.  It goes.  The needed blanket of snow only lasted a couple of days before melting and exposing the plants to unneeded excess moisture and harsh winds…again.  Right now, there’s freezing rain.   It’s going to be minus 10 degrees on Monday, but according to my records, it’s time to start seeding…actually a bit past time for pansies and violas for our area (Zone 5, north central Indiana.)  Uncharacteristically, I just have not been motivated to do it.  However, I know that IF 2019 mimics 2016 with a lovely, very early warm spring I’ll be really, really unhappy if the seeds weren’t planted as scheduled.  IF 2019 resembles last year, there’s no need to rush, but how’s a gardener to know?  Better to have plants ready than not, so here are the six steps toward seeding that work best for me:

seeds in freezer  1) The seeds that need stratifying by freezing were put in a plastic bag in the freezer a week ago so they are ready to sow.  This includes pansies, violas, parsley, and all hardy perennials.  seed trays washed  2) Seeding trays, plant markers and domes have been washed thoroughly and soaked on a 10% bleach solution to kill any lingering diseases or insects.

seed tub  3) Leftover seeds and newly purchased packets have been carefully sorted by planting dates with dividers that indicate the date to plant.  There’s one box for indoor seeding and another one for direct seeding outdoors.  Here’s a close-up of two of the dividers:dividers The dividers tell me the date the seeding should occur (upper right hand corner.)  Seeds that are in the freezer  are marked with an “F” in blue.  Those that require light (L in yellow) to germinate will be seeded together in a flat and not only left uncovered by soil but given a clear plastic dome.  I can’t tell you how many seeds I spoiled before I learned which ones need total darkness and which ones need light to germinate.   Sometimes it’s surprising to know that gomphrena needs total darkness, celery needs light!  “D”  (in red) means not only do the seeds get covered with soil, but the flat will get a solid cover or be put in a black plastic bag until germination occurs.  Those without a letter just get lightly covered with soil and a clear plastic dome.  The peppers should have an “H” indicating they need to go on the heating mat to germinate.  I’ll have to fix that!

potting soil  4) A bag of potting mix has been moved indoors to thaw out and reach room temperature prior to seeding.  seed rack  5)  The light stand has been cleaned and sprayed with a 10% bleach solution.  Bulbs have been checked and replaced.  I made this stand over 30 years ago.  I justify the saggy shelf by using it for taller seedlings!  Warming mats have also been cleaned with a bleach solution and are ready to go to work.

seed journal  6)  The Seeding and Transplanting portion of this year’s garden journal has been set up, sharpened pencils at the ready.

That’s my six items for this Saturday, and actually just doing all the prep work has put me in a seedy mood!  Today is THE DAY!  If you’d like to read the thoughts, actions, and observations of other gardeners around the world, visit The Propagator, who hosts this meme.

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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18 Responses to Six on Saturday: Jan 19

  1. A wonderfully organised seed set up.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am super impressed and eager to hear how it goes when you get started. Do you record germination rates?

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    • carolee says:

      Not mathematically, but I do note if there is “low” or “no” germination. Then I try to figure out why it’s that way and correct it, or at least do some research and try another method in a later seeding. Thanks for reading.

      Like

  3. Cortney says:

    Impressive! I have much set up but nothing actually in the works yet. I need to get on that! You’ve certainly inspired me!

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    • carolee says:

      Keep in mind that for over 40 years, growing was my business and I had to get it right…or starve! Sure is lots more fun now…less pressure but being organized does save lots of time and energy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. After reading this, I now realize I will never be successful at growing seeds.
    I never enjoyed it and after several years of rather lame results I am ready to accept that seed growing is not my forte.

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    • carolee says:

      Oh NO! The magic of planting seeds is not to be missed. But, until one is experienced perhaps it is best not to get overwhelmed. Start with one easy thing, like beans or marigolds and just enjoy that miracle of birth. You don’t have to seed everything but do seed something….please!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. cavershamjj says:

    Very organised! I sowed some perennials this weekend. I love a bit of seed sowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      I did feel much more positive after seeding…a good thing since the temperatures plunged to minus 17 F and the upcoming forecast is miserable: single digits swinging to warm enough to rain, then immediately back to frigid and snow. Good thing the basement is warm and dry! It will be nice to see something green when seeds sprout!

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  6. grafedie says:

    Hi, I have been setting up a small greenhouse in my cellar. Last winter was spent organizing raised beds, lights, reflective sheeting etc. I have successfully grown some basil and chard this past fall, but this has been the first winter that I actually had attempted to grow indoors. I am struggling with relative humidity, thrips and pillbugs! I want to start actually growing onions, basil, and vegetables but I am not sure if the micro-life will intefere with seedlings! Do you have any advice? . If you check my blog under gardenspot, you can get an idea of the kind of space I set up and how my outdoor garden has evolved as well.
    I am following your winter organizational tips as I write this! Thank you for the inspiration!

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    • carolee says:

      Thank you for following my blog. I looked at yours but didn’t find where you live, zone-wise. There’s no way I could grow basil in my greenhouse overwinter, or even lettuce. Last night it was minus 17F! I can’t afford to run a large enough heater to keep plants alive in there in the winter months. Basil needs at least 70 degrees F, and more sunlight than we get in Zone 5, so that means artificial light. High humidity can be helped by a circulating fan. I run one constantly once there are plants inside. It also helps prevent disease and make stronger stems. Pillbugs/sowbugs (I can never tell the difference) will eat roots of new seedlings. Don’t think I’ve ever had thrips. Get a thermometer that will record your high/low temps to see what range your greenhouse runs, then you can get a better handle on what might grow there. Love your photos!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. grafedie says:

    I think the size (roughly 13′ x 13′), and the fact that it is part of the basement enables me to keep the temp around 70-75. Humidity is 20-30 percent most of the time. I am in 7a/6b hardiness zone.

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    • carolee says:

      Oh! Lucky you…that sounds much more doable than mine. Your growing season is much longer and easier than Zone 5. Experience will help, so try a range of crops. Salad crops should grow quickly. Diatomaceous earth helps with pillbugs. Supplemental lighting?

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  8. Wow – such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your organization tools! I have a binder, a pocket calendar, and a book that I’ve been going by. I just learned this year that some plants need darkness to grow – i had no idea! And some of them don’t even need light until they start to sprout….oh the ins-and-outs of all of this! So complicated, yet so simple! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your journey this year!

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  9. Helen Johnstone says:

    How organised. I used to start out well with the journal, dates etc but then it would go a bit wrong. I would forget to prick out seedlings in a timely way, or I would run out of space for seedlings. I have decided this year to take a year out and take the pressure off myself. Good luck with your plans

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: It’s SOW exciting! | herbalblessingsblog

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