Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Seed Starting Update

In late February (a little over a month ago) I posted about my seed starting, both inside the greenhouse and outside in plastic storage bins. You can read about that here. I figured it was time for a progress report.

I've managed to pot up many of the seedlings that sprouted in the greenhouse, although I'm running out of room, as well as pots. I still haven't sowed all I bought.

All my blue Echinops have been potted up and most are thriving

Since my last post I sowed 'New Zealand Purple' Castor Bean and they are shooting up like mad

Cardoons took their sweet time germinating, but I finally have some good size seedlings potted on

The huge amount of Lupine 'My Castle,' Dahlia 'Black Beauty,' and Erysimum 'Blood Red' that I sowed and potted on were taking up too much shelf space so I moved them into storage bins with transpiration holes drilled into them, and have set them outside for hardening off. On hot, sunny days I'll take the lids off and let them get some fresh air.

Please ignore the horribly weedy gravel

Lupine 'My Castle'

Erysimum 'Blood Red'

Dahlia 'Black Beauty,' which would be taller but I pinched them back a couple of days ago to encourage side shoots, and I'm actually starting to wonder if they need slightly larger pots

So, let's take a look inside the storage bins to see if there is any germination going on inside. These seeds have been sowed without any heat mats or lights, just using whatever heat is generated by being in the enclosed space of the translucent storage bin on the south side of the greenhouse on sunny days.

There are holes drilled in the lids to let air out and water in. You can see there is lots of condensation on the inside of the lid

Hmmm..not a lot of sprouting here

A few Butterflyweed babies

Some Knautia 'Mars Midget' but they have true leaves

So, that was a bit disappointing. What will we find in the next one?

Much better!
Rumex sanguineus aka bloody dock

Scabiosa 'Black Knight'

Eryngium 'Blue Glitter'

And the next?

Lots of babies!

Dianthus 'Black Adder'  -- a Sweet William with a dark purple/black flower like 'Sooty'

Oodles of Verbascum 'Shades of Summer'

Coreopsis 'Mahogany Midget'

Erysimum 'Blood Red'

The next bin has quite a lot of sprouts too.

Ruby Swiss Chard

Salvia nemorosa 'Violet Blue'

Let's keep going.
Plenty more sprouts

Centaurea cyanus 'Black Boy'

Ruby Red Orach

And one final look.

Sprouts in every pot

More Salvia nemorosa than I know what to do with -- actually I plan to fill a drought-tolerant bed with it

Some Shasta 'Crazy Daisy'

That's my seed report for March. It's only been a month since I sowed most of those seeds, some even sooner, and they've been outside in the cold for that entire time. We did have some sunny days recently, but for a few weeks in February we had some nasty, snowy, cold, unseasonal (for us) weather. Some of those seedlings have true leaves, and you may have noticed there is no legginess on most of those sprouts as well.

I'm pretty happy with them. I can't wait to get them in the ground.


  1. The warmer weather coming up should get them going. I've put all my seed trays in the green house as well. I was fed up with turning the lights on and off.

  2. Impressive! Can't wait to see where you plant them all. Ruby Red Orach is a gorgeous color already. Now about those sunny warm days you mentioned, where are they?

  3. You're amazing! Seriously. You're gonna have to start a nursery in your driveway...

  4. wow! Your going to need a booth at the Farmers Market ! Very impressive array of seedlings.

  5. Wow, Alison! You're a seed growing maven! I can't wait to see you summer garden. I'd been planning to direct seed my summer sunflowers and zinnias in the raised planters in my cutting garden but, as the fall sown seeds got off to a slower start than I'd expected, I think I need a plan B. I'm not even sure what I'm going to do with my dahlia tubers.

  6. SO much fun watching this progress. Super impressive. Prolific mama of seed babies!

  7. Wow! that's a lot of babies! And a lot of transplanting! And a lot of planting! And hopefully, a lot of pretty.

  8. This is great stuff! It looks like you are going with a pink-red-purple color scheme. You'll have the best cutting garden and wonderful IAVOM options. Whoever is going to attend the next plant swap event with you, will not be disappointed.

  9. Holy cow, Alison, that's exciting! I've got about 25 winter sown milk jugs on the deck with various perennials, and a bunch of annuals going in my basement under grow lights. We're having an exceptionally long winter here in Minnesota, and I'm really over it. Happy gardening!

  10. Very impressive! Can't wait to see all those seedlings fully grown and in bloom.

  11. You've got an actual small nursery going on there! Well done.


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