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SEEDING FLOWERS INDOORS

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Seeding Flowers Indoors: An Inexpensive Way to a Beautiful Summer Garden



Every year you plan that THIS will be the year you have pots and pots of lush plants on your balcony or deck. Then you visit your local nursery in the spring and reality hits -- the cost for your fantasy is just outrageous! Sound familiar?

But you can have the planters of your dreams at a fraction of the cost and with a choice of varieties far beyond what the local garden center offers. How? Start your own flower seeds now.

If you've never grown from seeds indoors before, it's best to begin with just a few types. Easy starters: Trailing lobelia and petunias make a bright and simple garden for sunny spots. Licorice plant and dwarf nasturtiums are also attractive.

Once you've decided on your plants, you must know two things to determine when the seeds should be started: the last frost date for your area, and the time required before transplanting.

. The last frost date is the date beyond which there is a low chance (usually about 10%) of temperatures at or below the freezing mark. This is important because many traditional plants for hanging baskets are tender, that is, they will not survive when frozen. You may already know what the frost date is for your area. If not ask gardening neighbors or your local gardening center.

. The time required before transplanting is different for each type of flower. You'll see this listed in seed catalogs or on the seed packet. For example, a packet might tell you to "start indoors 6- 8 weeks before last frost date." Some seeds such as nasturtiums, zinnias, or cosmos may be sown directly outside but if you have to wait after the danger of a frost has passed, you may want to get a jump on spring by starting those inside too.

Licorice plants and geraniums need 12 weeks to sprout from seed. So if my last frost date is May 15th, I'll want to start them around the last week of February. Petunias, impatiens and lobelia require 10-12 weeks, so I would start them around the first of March. Morning glories, which make a beautiful privacy fence from a plain piece of latticework, need six weeks from start to transplant, but can't be put outside until two weeks after the last frost date. This would mean starting them indoors about mid-April. I'd start nasturtiums and zinnias about then too.

Your goal is to promote germination (with heat and water) and seedling growth (with light) while preventing your seedlings' chief enemy, "damping-off" (with air circulation and proper drainage). Here are some tips for successful seed growing.

. Use plastic containers, about 2" deep, fairly wide and with multiple drainage holes. Growers' cell packs are ideal but you can also use yogurt or cottage cheese containers as long as you sanitize them with a mild bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water) for 15 minutes and then punch several holes in the bottoms.

. Use commercial seed-starting mix. It's sterilized and contains the necessary food to aid germination. You might also want to try using a product specially formulated to prevent damping-off.

. Plant seeds sparingly. You'll have to thin them anyway. Some growers plant only two seeds per cell pot. If you're planting in flat trays, place seeds 1/2" to 1" (1 to 2.5 cm) apart, depending on the seed size, and space the rows 1 1/2" to 2" (3-5 cm) apart. Make a depression in the soil with your finger or a pencil and plant the seed about three times as deep as its diameter. If the packet says the seed requires light to germinate, then put it just on the surface of the soil.

. Set the containers in a water-filled tray. This allows the pots to draw water from the bottom without disturbing the seeds. Cover tray and pots with plastic to help hold moisture and heat.

. Place the entire set-up on a heat source between 75 - 85 F (24 - 29 C). Although a heat mat designed for this purpose is ideal, you can also use the top of a fridge, or a spot near a radiator or space heater.

. Once the seeds have germinated, remove the plastic and put the pots (with the water tray) near a light source at a reduced temperature. Good light is crucial at this point to ensure good growth. Fluorescent shop lights within a few inches of the tops of the seedlings are perfectly suited. You can also try a sunny south window but ideally the light should be on the plants for 16 hours out of each 24-hour period. In my climate, we just don't have 16 hours of daylight this time of year! Seedlings respond best to daytime temperatures of 60 - 70 F (16 - 21C) and night temperatures of 50 - 60 F (10 - 16C).

. Here's where it becomes critical to prevent damping-off. One way to do this is to let an electric fan blow gently across the surface of the soil during daylight hours. There are also specially formulated products on the market that can be applied to the surface of the soil when you are planting seeds that will help stop damping- off from developing.

. When the seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves (not the round little germination leaves), pull all but one plant per cell. It's hard, I know, to pull up living plants but it's necessary to prevent overcrowding that will kill all of them.

. When the seedlings have developed their second set of true leaves, start watering them (from the bottom) with fertilizer diluted to quarter strength.

. A week or 10 days before you plan to plant them outside, start "hardening off" the tender seedlings. Stop fertilizing, and cut the amount of water in half. If possible, keep them in a cooler space inside and start introducing them to the direct sun and fluctuating temperatures of the outdoors. Begin by setting the trays outside for an hour in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon ad gradually lengthen the time to several hours. Don't put them out in heavy rain or cold, strong wind and be sure to bring them indoors at night.

Follow these steps and you'll have a bounty of young, strong plants to fill your hanging baskets and pots. This year, you'll have the planters of your dreams!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHIITAKE 2/27/2010 11:28PM

   

Do you grow a lot of your flowers from seed, Sandy ? If so.....I'm proud of you,
girl ! lol Reading your blog gives me extra hope that spring is just around the
corner ! My grandfather always had to plant his peas every year, on St.
Patricks Day....no matter what ! lol And that is not far off ! Yippee !! lol
Thanks for the great article, my friend !

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WENDI_WA1 2/27/2010 6:26PM

    Hi oh how pretty, good plan too. Are you seeding inside to bring over the mountains??? My mil does a lot of seeding now for her amazing gardens. I have some seed packets I want to try best get on it. Have a great week mf.

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LEROYJL 2/27/2010 4:12PM

  THEY LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL! THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION! emoticon emoticon

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PJSTIME 2/27/2010 1:35PM

    Thanks for the info I have never tried growing them from seeds before. Onward and Downward in 2010. PJ

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MARTYLYNN1 2/27/2010 12:36PM

    Thanks for the great info!

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DETERMINED_ME 2/27/2010 12:24PM

    Thanks for sharing...Great information!

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CEB2007 2/27/2010 10:23AM

    Thanks for the information.

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MS.ELENI 2/27/2010 10:18AM

    Thanks for all the info. emoticon

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SUNNY332 2/27/2010 9:21AM

    Awesome - I am saving this to re-read. I usually plant directly in the soil when the soil warms up. When I have tried to start seeds before, they look great at first and then start dying from the stems up. Maybe too much water? Maybe not enough sun? I don't know.

Thanks for a great post. Thanks for being my buddy this month.

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TSISQUAUSDI 2/27/2010 9:01AM

    Great info, Girlfriend! I'm lucky that I live in central Florida, though. With care for the few weeks of "cold" weather, I can garden all year long. I especially love my fresh herbs! emoticon

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SHOCK72 2/27/2010 8:50AM

    Marigold are also an easy flower to seed. I always wet my soil before putting into the pot, this way some soil is bone dry and won't soak up the water. Also I always put my seeds on top with a covering vermiculite on top, depending on the seed whether it gets a covering or if it gets a light or heavy covering.

Great article.

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GRANNY1972 2/27/2010 6:34AM

    Wonderful information!

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LUVSBULLDOGS 2/27/2010 5:01AM

    Good info.

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TENACIOUS-ME 2/27/2010 3:09AM

    Loved your blog - I'm a gardener and living in NZ so we're just heading into Autumn - reading your blog made me think of the new Spring 6 months away!! Thanks - I love positive uplifting blogs. :o)


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~~~~MY SEAGLASS~~~~

Friday, February 26, 2010



I DIDN'T HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF TIME TO BEACH COMB BUT I DID COME UP WITH SOME PRETTY GOOD SEAGLASS SPECIMENS, I FOUND SOME SHELLS BUT I STILL HAVE TO CLEAN THEM UP.
I THINK I AM GOING TO ENJOY LIVING ON THE BEACH!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHIITAKE 2/27/2010 12:46AM

   

Don't mind me....but I've never heard of seaglass before ! It is beautiful ! What
are you going to do with them ? I have a feeling you are going to love being at
your new summer place !!! Lucky you !!! Have a great weekend, my friend !!
emoticon

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ALLBW2U 2/26/2010 10:05PM

    Very fun, Sandy. You could be an insulator collector, too. Think about it....that's partly how collecting insulators started at our house. :-) They would look SO good at your summer house. I hope that you have wonderful weekend....Bill





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TSISQUAUSDI 2/26/2010 8:10PM

    Really pretty! I think this new vacation home is going to be really wonderful for you!

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LEROYJL 2/26/2010 6:00PM

  THE SEA GLASS IS SO BEAUTIFUL! emoticon

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GRYPHON55 2/26/2010 4:26PM

    I love seaglass hunting - you're so lucky to find that blue and especially the red ones!

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WENDI_WA1 2/26/2010 4:02PM

    Hi how pretty and what a nice find and good haul. Have a great week and hurry over the mountains.

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PJSTIME 2/26/2010 3:17PM

    I have never found or seen seaglass before they are beautiful. I am always looking for rocks and shells when we camp. Usually we are around lakes. streams and rivers so there isn't any seaglass. Onward and Downward in 2010. PJ

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DETERMINED_ME 2/26/2010 2:08PM

    Beautiful!

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MARTYLYNN1 2/26/2010 2:01PM

    How fun! We love to take the grandkids & hunt seaglass when we are out there too.

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IDAHOTRAILRIDER 2/26/2010 1:59PM

    They are beautiful!

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LUVSBULLDOGS 2/26/2010 1:47PM

    I'm anxious to see what project you'll come up with to use the sea glass. Very nice, Sandy. I'm so glad you found that wonderful house.

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MS.ELENI 2/26/2010 1:35PM

    I am so jealous. You are so lucky.You are going to have a wonderful time there.That glass would make an awesome mosiac. Oh how I miss being able to walk on the beach.

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DOGSNRODENTS 2/26/2010 1:30PM

    Sea glass is awesome!

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~~HAVE A HAPPY THURSDAY~~

Thursday, February 25, 2010



As we are leaving our Summer Home today to head back home,
we shall return when the sun is shining and the sand is warm.


~~~~~~~~HAPPY THURSDAY TO ALL MY FRIENDS~~~~~~~~

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJSTIME 2/25/2010 8:12PM

    Have a safe trip home Sandy. See you when you get back. Onward and Downward in 2010. PJ

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LEROYJL 2/25/2010 3:46PM

  HAPPY THURSDAY TO YOU AND SAFE TRIP BACK. WE ARE HAVING PLENTY OF SNOW HERE TODAY. WISH I WAS WHERE YOU ARE LEAVING FROM! emoticon

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TSISQUAUSDI 2/25/2010 3:24PM

    Thanks, Sandy! You have a happy one, too!

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SHIITAKE 2/25/2010 2:46PM

   

Have a safe trip home, Sandy......when you return it will look entirely different outside, and be
much warmer ! Have a wonderful Thursday, my friend !!!

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LUVSBULLDOGS 2/25/2010 12:18PM

    Have a great trip. Happy Thursday to you.

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MS.ELENI 2/25/2010 11:24AM

    I also love this picture. Have a great day emoticon

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DETERMINED_ME 2/25/2010 11:03AM

    I love this picture! Have a safe trip home!

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SUMMER HOME PICTURES

Wednesday, February 24, 2010






THESE ARE UPSTAIRS, I FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE MASTER AND THE OFFICE!!



LOWER LEVEL WITH FAMILY ROOM AND LAUNDRY AND THERE IS A FULL BATH DOWN AS WELL.

VIEW FROM THE KITCHEN WINDOW

UPPER DECK VIEW

LOWER DECK VIEW

A VIEW OF THE HOUSE FROM THE BEACH.

I THINK WE WILL HAVE A GREAT SUMMER LIVING HERE.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HERBKAT 2/26/2010 7:18PM

    So you got the place, hey! That's great! I'm just popping by on a borrowed computer to see how you are. :)

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REDBUBBLES 2/26/2010 3:24PM

    So how from Kayak Point are you going to be - haven't had time to pull up the local map. Is that Whidbey or Cameno Island that you are looking at? - I am so looking forward to seeing you later this spring. I am so happy you found a place, what a relief it is.

Kc

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SHIITAKE 2/25/2010 2:56AM

   

What a beautiful house, and view and everything !! I bet you can't wait for the summer,
Sandy ! WOW Sounds lke a road trip to me ! ( how many bedrooms did you say you have? )
emoticon

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ALLBW2U 2/25/2010 1:32AM

    Looks like a great place....but who would want to leave that view?? You might have to work out on the deck. :-)

Hope you have a great week.....Bill

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OUTDOORGIRL69 2/24/2010 9:42PM

    Nice home

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GRANNY1972 2/24/2010 8:50PM

    Beautiful house!! And what a view!! I'll get my suitcases packed and you let me know what day we're moving in! LOL

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LEROYJL 2/24/2010 8:40PM

  emoticon emoticonI'M SURE YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT SUMMER LIVING THERE.BEAUTIFUL HOUSE AND THE OUTSIDE IS JUST AS BEAUTIFUL! emoticon emoticon

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PJSTIME 2/24/2010 7:16PM

    Beautiful I think you might be meeting a lot of fellow sparkers as they want to come and visit you. PJ

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KETTLEBELLJUNKY 2/24/2010 7:16PM

    Wow! Sandy, that is fabulous! And it looks like the PERFECT place for the Sparks weekend retreat!
emoticon


Comment edited on: 2/28/2010 7:59:51 PM

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NEWINSIDEOUT 2/24/2010 6:16PM

    Looks divine. BTW the baby came on Monday!

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KENDRALONG 2/24/2010 4:28PM

    Wow! Very nice. What neighborhood are you going to be in?

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LAPRATH 2/24/2010 3:46PM

  Looks like many of your friends will be wanting to visit you.
I wonder what you will be able to see (with bi-glasses)out in the water! Looks outstanding.

BarbaraLa

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WENDI_WA1 2/24/2010 3:10PM

    Hi wow wow wow that is simply gorgeous, I have a friend who lives out there and her place is lovely but this one looks reallly beatiful. You will sure have a super summer house, can I come live there too lol! Have a great week!

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BECCACOATS 2/24/2010 2:42PM

    YEP! Like I said. WE will have to have some of our Spark meetings at your summer home..
emoticon WOW!! that is a BEAUTIFUL HOME!!!
emoticon

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MARTYLYNN1 2/24/2010 1:27PM

    Wow! You should have a great summer there. Do you take in guests?

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LUVSBULLDOGS 2/24/2010 12:56PM

    So glad you found this house!!! It is a very relaxing place to be and the boys will like it. Have a great summer.

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MS.ELENI 2/24/2010 12:28PM

    Awww That is so awesome.I loved every inch of the place. The stairs will give you plenty of exercise. I would be in heaven just in house and on the deck.I couldn't get up and down the stairs. You are going to have a lovely time. What beach is that

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DETERMINED_ME 2/24/2010 12:22PM

    Wow, that is just beautiful!

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THEHEALTHY3 2/24/2010 12:21PM

    Love it! What a great place to spend the summer!


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SCAROUSEL1 2/24/2010 12:17PM

    Lovely! Can I move in too? LOL! If we get the boat out on the water this summer we'll have to motor over and pick you up for some crabbing and fishing fun...

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DOGSNRODENTS 2/24/2010 12:15PM

    Holy cow!! Is Paul's company paying for you all to rent this place over the summer?! I can't imagine it's at all CHEAP!!!

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VERY BUSY AND FUN DAY!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


THIS IS WHERE WE ARE ON THE TULALIP BAY. I WILL SHOW YOU PICTURES OF THE HOUSE ON TOMORROWS BLOG.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHIITAKE 2/25/2010 2:49AM

   

emoticon

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CECEJAY 2/24/2010 7:15PM

    Wow!

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MICKEY341 2/24/2010 11:54AM

    Awesome! Enjoy the trip!

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DETERMINED_ME 2/24/2010 11:28AM

    Great area! Enjoy!

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SCAROUSEL1 2/24/2010 10:59AM

    Tulalip Bay is a wonderful place to be!

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MARTYLYNN1 2/24/2010 9:44AM

    Wish I was across the Sound from there playing with grandkids.

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MS.ELENI 2/24/2010 9:04AM

    Kewl. Enjoy

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GRANNY1972 2/24/2010 8:24AM

    Cool!!

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LOVESLIFE48 2/24/2010 8:06AM

    emoticon

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PJSTIME 2/24/2010 7:49AM

    Thanks for the map I had no idea where you were Onward and Downward in 2010. PJ

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VICIOUS421 2/24/2010 3:51AM

    It looks beautiful!!!

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