Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back At It

Today, I transplanted the last twelve Geraniums that were baggie-started, but tonight it looks like two won't make it. They were small and I should have given them another day.  I'm too impatient!  That brings the total to 30 out of 41 or a 73% germination rate using the paper towel and bag method. Only a 68% survival far...if I don't kill anymore. The seeds started in the soil have 3 sprouts.
I put 479 Schizanthus seeds on paper towel (counted using an enlarged photo).  Not even sure I'll be able to transplant these as they are awfully tiny seeds, but I'm willing to give it a try.  Worst case scenario is I've wasted two packets and have to start over.  Best case scenario, I have surgeons hands and can do it!
I also packaged up 161 Verbena, 132 Pansy Swiss Giants and 38 Pansy Tidal Wave Mix.  Everyone is safely tucked in darkness.
Look at these little guys go.  Last year I didn't have very good luck and only ended up with five Geraniums that made it to summer and pots in the yard.  Hoping for a little more success this season.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


No planting today.  Of course, there should have been lots, but when weighing the garden vs the kids/house/husband the latter always wins out.  Tomorrow I've got to get moving.

More than I thought.  I took a peek expecting nothing and look!  Only 48 hours at 66*and I've got some seeds that need dirt. I'm going to have to stay on top of things if I'm going to use the baggie method. 

No slacking tomorrow!!

Starting the Geraniums

02/19/2010....I am finally starting to plant some seeds.  It's been busy around here and I feel like I'm behind already, but I'm sure it will all work out in the end.

I picked up some seeds at Fred Meyer the other day.  I had a $23.69 rewards rebate so nothing came "out-of-pocket".  Last season many of my seeds were from Fred Meyer and to be honest they had the highest rate of germination so maybe the other companies with "higher quality seed" are just over-priced?  Almost all of the seeds I ordered from Burpee didn't grow at all and I won't be using their company again.  Ironically, that's where my mom ordered all her seeds from 40 years ago and she had the most amazing flower beds.  I will place an order to Harris seeds as I had great luck with them last year and that is where my Wave Petunia seeds come from.

The first seed to hit the dirt this year was Geranium's. (Actually, only paid a $1.37 X 2 for the seeds on sale).
I've been doing some reading online and decided to try the paper towel/baggie method for some seeds this year.  I had an awful lot of flats under lights without anything sprouting and want to see if I can avoid such a big waste of electricity.
41 seeds were placed on a damp towel and put into a baggie.  I set the baggie in a tray and covered with another tray as these seeds germinate in the dark.  I also read about using folder coffee filters and may try that as well.
I am going to split the starting method with half baggie and half in soil until I learn what works best for me. Last fall my son's carried buckets of dirt mixed with compost to fill two 55-gallon drums in my plant room. Last year I spent about $300 on potting soil and do not want to repeat that.  I also spent a good deal on perlite and vermiculite, and it's something I just can't afford.  We have gathered some free Styrofoam so using my $1.00 Walmart chopper I am breaking it up and adding it to the dirt. This will help with compacting and provide the air pockets new roots need.

I've never been concerned with sterilizing anything as I don't think we have a lot of garden pests in this area or if we do I have just been lucky.  I decided this year to take that extra step, but wasn't going to go so far as to bake the soil/compost after reading horror stories of the smell lingering in a home.  I did moisten the soil with boiling water which will gives the same effect.  See the steam rising? It didn't smell very good either.
46 seeds were put into cells, lightly covered with soil, warm water was added to the tray and then it was topped with another tray for complete darkness.  Now we wait and see.....