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Starting Seeds

My Girl and I (with Daddy's help setting up tables and lights) started our first seeds of 2012 last night. 

We planted Onion Candy Hybrid, which I thought I had more seed of, but it was only a partial packet left over from last year so a rather sparsely filled flat.  I think I'll buy more (this seed was from the Jung's catalog) and direct sow more onions outside later for another crop.  The seed packet recommends starting indoors 8-10 weeks ahead of last frost-free date (around May 10th here), so we're around the 9 weeks mark.  Weird, I'm on time for something. 

Just for the heck of it, we also planted some old perennial seeds I had on hand.  Alchemilla mollis 'Thriller' was 2009 seed, but I am hopeful nevertheless.  It is supposed to germinate in 4-5 weeks at temps between 60-70 degrees, which our basement laundry room, location of the seed starting project, is.  I ordered the seed online way back when from Swallowtail Gardens in Santa Rosa, CA.  I think at the time it was one of the few places I could find Alchemilla seed online, but maybe I didn't look really hard.  I don't think I can ever have too much Lady's Mantle.  It's just too pretty:

Lady's Mantle, still my fav perennial.

We also sowed some 2011 seed I had ordered from Park Seed called 'Rare Succulents Mixed'.  I had envisioned a project involving a homemade birdhouse with a mixed succulent 'green roof'.  We'll see about that; the seed itself looked pretty doubtful.  Have you ever seen Hens & Chicks in bloom?  Ugly, right?  So's this seed.  The packet says they want temp of 70-75 degrees and germination time will vary from a few days to a year.  Well, they've got till spring when all the other seedlings move outside, since I'm definitely too impatient to wait a year.  They also want bottom watering and a half and half sand/soil mix instead of the regular seed starting mix I use for everything.  Whatever.  It's nice to want things. 

The last seed we sowed was Verbena bonariensis, an annual with awesome, abundant purple blooms, reaching about 3' tall.  I met this plant at the MN Landscape Arboretum a couple of years ago and ordered some seed from Park Seed which I meant to grow last summer but never got around to it.  V. bonariensis wants 70 degrees and bottom heat, but they'll have to settle for just being off the cold basement floor; they don't know how good they've got it.  I was supposed to start them 6-8 weeks ahead of last frost, so maybe I'm a little ahead of myself on this one.  I'm just so excited:

V. bonariensis in mixed bed at MN Landscape Arboretum, Summer 2012

Filling trays with potting mix

My Girl likes getting dirty.  Speaking of dirty, please ignore the laundry in the background.  Seriously.


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