In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
January, 2004
Regional Report

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In the eye of the beholder: Do you see edible clover sprouts or grotesquely overcrowded seedlings?

For the Love of Seeds

I suspect we all have our own secret addictions. My own is to seeds. Or, to seed packets in January to be more exact. I am addicted to them. I covet them. I collect and I hoard them. I find the pictures on the packets irresistible. Especially in mid-winter. There is no more enjoyable way to pass a wintry evening than flipping through the seed packets, organizing them by starting times, germination needs, growing preferences. Or by flower color, or days to yield and maturity dates, or by plant height or ... you get the idea.

From Seed to Setting Out
Indoor seed starting is a long-term commitment. You need to plan ahead and research the plants you will be growing, the conditions they need for germination and for growing on. When the time is right, you plant the seeds in a controlled environment to their liking, wait for them to sprout, nurture the seedlings carefully over the coming weeks (six to eight weeks or in some cases ten to twelve weeks), acclimate the plants to the rigors of nature via a cold frame, and then, finally, transplant them into the garden where the groundhog will eat them for breakfast. Or not, depending on your luck and how well the garden fence is holding up.

Bountiful Harvest
So, all in all, seed starting is a wonderful thing, offering hours of puttering entertainment and cheerful anticipation. Just think: fields of bluebells, carpets of marigolds, towers of sunflowers, bushels of tasty, healthy, home-grown tomatoes, and oh! at this point even the idea of home-grown spinach is a delicious treat the children are certain to relish!

Yes, a single packet engenders the most amazing of garden visions in my head. So check out the garden center display racks and peruse those catalogs and snap up your favorite seed packets; don't wait to order or your choices might sell out! A seed packet is full of not only seeds but promise and delight. Just think what could happen. . .


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