The highlight of my summer garden has not been the produce, but the pollinators and pests that have had a party in my backyard! I have two Milkweed plants that have been deemed party central. Some visitors are welcome friends, others not so much. But I still find myself constantly amazed at the variety of garden life that abounds right outside my back door. This post will give you a snapshot of the wildlife I was able to capture and a brief bit about their role in my garden.
Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.
There is nothing more fulfilling than infusing my day with flowers that I have grown in my garden. From the moment I plant the seed, I become inextricably vested in the wellbeing of each and every flower yet to bloom. When the seeds germinate, they begin to tug on my heartstrings and they never let go. No matter the weather, I go out every morning to care for them and once again each evening. It is a joy to nurture them over. When they burst into bloom, so does my heart with joy. I’m joyful because they are beautiful and easy to grow. And because they represent what is still slow in this busy world. I think I have cared for them, but in hindsight they have cared for me. I’m joyful because they are there for me when I need to escape.
Seed starting is in full swing here! I always sow extra seeds to ensure I have enough to germinate. If I’m lucky, I will all the plants I need plus some extras to share with friends and family. I like to start seeds in 4-inch pots with three or four seeds spaced apart in each pot. If most of the seeds germinate, I run into the issue of having to thin seedlings. Thinning so hard for me and I’ve heard that is also heart-wrenching for many of you. After nursing my seedlings for weeks, I simply can’t choose to save some and not others. So instead of snipping unwanted seedlings with shears, I choose to transplant healthy seedlings to individual pots.
Even though thinning tugs on my heart-strings, it is essential for healthy seedlings. Multiple plants growing in a small space doesn’t allow each plant proper space to grow. Plus crowding reduces air circulation and forces plants to compete for critical nutrients and water.
So how do you know when it’s time to thin your seedlings?
Seedlings can be thinned when you see the first set of true leaves. Seedlings develop true leaves at different rates, so check daily to see when they appear. Most plants will be about 2-3 inches tall when true leaves appear.
I started Chianti Hybrid Sunflower seeds on 19-Feb-2018. The seeds sprouted quickly and popped through the soil in just 3 days! Their first true leaves appeared in about two weeks. For more on recognizing true leaves, check out my previous post.
I prefer to thin seedlings by simply pulling out the extras. I water each pot liberally on the morning of ‘thinning day’ to help the fragile roots ease out of the soil. Sometimes the roots are entangled with neighboring seedlings, so I work slowly and meticulously to separate the roots without damaging them. However, if any seedlings break in the process (and some will!), don’t fret…..simply save them to eat in a salad or on a sandwich later.
Let me know if you have any questions about thinning your seedlings!
I’m so excited to be starting seeds again! After a winter that seemed to last F-O-R-E-V-E-R, I am overjoyed to have my hands back in the dirt. I could buy starter plants from a local garden center, but growing from seed feels so good to my soul. The joy of seeing sprouts pop through the soil and the daily nurturing required to keep them healthy creates a bond between plant and gardener that is indescribable. I’m kicking off my seed starting season this week with a variety of flowers seeds. Here’s my starting line-up:
|Zinnia||Lilliput Mixed Colors|
|Zinnia||Giant Double, Mixed Colors|
|Nasturtium||Jewel, Mixed Colors|
|Aster||Pastel Color Mix|
|Calendula (Pot Marigold)||–|
|Calendula (Pot Marigold)||Zeolights|
|Calendula (Pot Marigold)||Pacific Beauty Blend|
|Sunflower||Mammoth Grey Stripe|
|Sunflower||Girasol (mixed colors)|
|Sunflower||Autumn Beauty Mix|
|Sunflower||Strawberry Blonde Hybrid|
Why do you start plants from seed? What seeds are you starting right now?
Have you ever dragged your feet on doing something even though it was extremely simple to do? Something that you knew would be easy to tackle, would require little effort and afterwards you would be so glad you did it? Well, that is my story when it comes to growing microgreens. Unopened seed packs have been sitting on my kitchen counter for months. Then one day, out of the blue – I stopped planning and started planting.
I get really excited about the beginning of a new year. I enjoy the process of ringing in the new year with family, choosing a fresh new calendar, refining my diet and exercise habits (again), and setting the intention for my garden for the upcoming year. Whether you are in the midst of a frigid winter like me (temps were 12 degrees F last night) or joyously growing in a warmer climate, January is still the perfect time to think about the purpose of your garden. To get your gardening juices flowing, think of one word that encapsulates one thing you want give your energy to this year? Your options are endless. So, what will be your 2018 garden word of the year?