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seedstarting part 3

This past 2 weeks I finally was able to put out most of my seedlings and transplant them into the garden. I had 2 trays of cosmos and one of zinnia, most of which were getting so large the roots were growing out of the pot. I was a bit worried about putting them into the ground; what if they just didn’t like the transfer out into different dirt or the intense humidity we’ve been having?

There’s nothing like starting something from seed and then finally watching it bloom in your garden bed. For a first-time gardener, these blooms are truly miraculous. After a week or so of being in their own little bed the cosmos are flowering, and the zinnias all have ready-to-open buds on them.

For both the zinnias and cosmos, it has been about 8-10 weeks since I first sowed them into their pots to flower. It took about 1 week for both to germinate, another week to show the “first set of leaves”. I put them outside about 4 weeks later, and then they spent about 2 weeks in their trays outdoors until I planted them sometime early April. Now I know why all that seed packet information is so important. I’m considering getting a book with information on times from sowing to germination to bloom, so that I have a bit more foresight on when to plant what.

I thought I could wait until fall to start my seed adventures again but boosted by my success, I put about 3 new trays outdoors with summer-heat loving plants: gomphrena, echinacea and moonflower. All 3 have already germinated in a week. (The echinacea seeds were in the refrigerator for over a month, which I read would help start the germination process, and apparently it worked, as many of the seeds are germinating.)

As for the others which I started, the foxgloves came outside last week for the first time. It has been incredibly humid and I am not sure if they will be able to survive it. However, I planted them two days ago and they seem to be doing fine. I know they will probably not flower this year but I do hope they survive the summer and come back in the spring. The foxglove seedlings are approximately 11 weeks old and have about 3 sets of leaves.

I didn’t mention this in my other posts but I also sowed the same foxglove seeds directly into a garden bed last fall. They germinated in the fall and stayed quite small but lived through the winter. Now they are about 1 inch tall and each have about 1 or 2 extra set of leaves–smaller than what I started indoors so I know now that I can get much better results sowing them indoors and nurturing them over the winter.

My final ongoing experiment, the oriental poppies, have survived their apparent drowning and I have about 25 growing seedlings and they are still indoors. I have seen other more mature poppies in the nurseries wilting in the humidity and I am sure these little guys would have a lesser chance. They are alive but quite small and from their looks could be at least 3-4 weeks before they flowered. I know if I do poppies again I will sow them much earlier, perhaps in the fall, so that they could be planted in late winter or very early spring.

All this seed adventuring has definitely gotten me scouring seed racks at nurseries. There are far more seeds available than live plants, and very little to lose in case something fails. Now I know why people love greenhouses! It’s not too far into my future!

seedstarting part 1, seedstarting part 2