February 02, 2023
Starting seeds indoors is a fun and exciting way to bring the garden to life! Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a newcomer to the world of indoor seed starting, there are a few key things to consider to ensure success. With the right planning, you'll be well on your way to growing healthy, strong seedlings that will be ready to transplant into the garden in no time.
In this blog post, we will cover the important details to review on a seed packet, how to determine when to start seeds, how many seeds to start, pot or tray sizes, and how to make a schedule. So, grab your notebook and let's get started together!
The first step in planning your seed starting journey is to write down what you want to grow. Shoot for the moon and the rest of the process will weed out an overzealous list.
For example, if you are new to growing a flower garden, we recommend starting with a manageable 3-5 flower types. The more you grow, the more complicated it can feel. It’s not worth overwhelming yourself and getting defeated. Get a feel for growing before expanding.
Listed are flower types that can all be started at the same time and will yield simple, but beautiful mixed summer bouquets:
Zinnia, Marigold, Cosmo, Dill
Zinnia, Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower), Cosmos
Sunflower, Zinnia, Cosmo, Marigold, Celosia
Zinnia, Dill, Celosia, Cosmo
After a season or two, consider adding in an earlier round of seeds to start like snapdragon, strawflower, statice, or gomphrena.
Reviewing the seed packet or online growing information is an important step because it contains vital information about the seed, including the planting time, growing conditions, and spacing requirements. Here are the key details to look for:
The next step is to determine when to start seeds. This is an important step because starting seeds at the wrong time can lead to plants that are not ready for planting outside or are ready too early in which they outgrow their pots and suffer leading to a poor quality plant.
Here are examples of how many weeks we count back to start certain seeds:
6 weeks: zinnia, sunflower, marigold, cosmo
10 weeks: snapdragon, strawflower, statice, gomphrena
12 week: foxglove, eucalyptus, lisianthus, rudbeckia, dianthus
Once you have determined the ideal time to start seeds, the next step is to determine how many seeds to start. This is an important step because starting too many seeds can lead to overcrowding, while starting too few seeds can leave holes in your garden. It's time to draft your garden design!
1. Determine your garden size as seen in the graph above. The example includes a raised garden bed that is 4 feet by 12 feet.
2. Review the growing information for spacing between seeds and growth height. Knowing the height will determine where you place the flowers in your garden. Taller plants display better in the middle as a focal or in the background, while shorter plants are visible in the front or near a border. Note: On the chart, "T" is listed for tallest plants at the top and the flower list descends to "S" for shorter. A spacing of 12 inches was used in between each plant.
3. Determine the number of plants you need based on the size of the space you have in your garden. The design calls for 46 total plants. Once the design in complete, count back how many of each type are needed.
4. Calculate the number of seeds to start: Based on the ideal spacing and the number of seedlings you need, calculate the number of seeds to start. You will also want to consider the germination rate of the seeds, which can be found on the seed packet. It's a good idea to start extra seeds to account for any failures. A general rule of thumb is that 20% of the seeds planted won’t make it to the garden, so account for the loss. If you want 10 plants, start 12 seeds or multiply your desired amount by 1.2. 10 seeds x 1.2 = 12 total seeds. It's always better to plant more than you need!
The size of the containers you use for seed starting is important because it affects the health and growth of the seedlings, will determine how much space you need, and reusability. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting pot sizes:
Finally, it's important to make a schedule for your seed starting journey. This will help you keep track of the different flower types start dates and allow you to make improvements the following year. Use the charts made earlier to plug in your frost free date, then count back the weeks to plug in your groups of flowers to start.
Set an alert on your phone so that you don't miss it! Smart phones can even set a yearly alert so that you can 'set it and forget it."
Document your start dates and make future adjustments as needed to the schedule. Light and heat variations can either speed up or slow down growing conditions. You'll need to refine what works best for your conditions.
In a nut, proper planning before starting seeds is key to your seed starting success. Plan now to “set it and forget it” later. By reviewing the seed packets, determining when to start seeds, calculating how many seeds to start, selecting the right container sizes, and making a schedule, you will set yourself up for a successful and enjoyable seed starting experience.
You want to be observing growth and monitoring when to water - not fiddling with start dates. Monitor the growth is where all the good stuff happens and will help you to develop your green thumb quickly.
Below is an easy to follow, thoughtful resource to help guide you through the planning process.
Unable to post at this time.
March 24, 2023
Dahlias are a magnificent flower and beloved amongst gardeners everywhere due to their vibrant colors and stunning blooms. Starting dahlia tubers indoors is an excellent option for those looking to get a head start on the growing season. But, when should you start dahlias indoors?
March 16, 2023 1 Comment
March 09, 2023
We a family-run speciality cut flower farm growing in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter