Seed starting isn’t the worst thing to do in the winter, but having your May seedlings sprouting in February is definitely not a good idea. It all started with last year’s massive seed starting failure. As usual I filled a few dozen pots and set them out in the cold to wait for spring, but the results were far from good, and only a few things sprouted. I thought it might be the weather, but now I’m leaning more towards a bad batch of soil. So this year for a bunch of seeds I figured I’d skip the soil and go back to the Deno method (click here to see how that works) of sprouting seeds in plastic bags. I set up a bunch of seeds which I thought would benefit from a nice bit of cold before sprouting, but also thought it might be a good idea to give them a week or so of warmth first. You can guess what happened.
So now I’m faced with a bunch of seedlings which will somehow have to survive my care under lights for at least 2 more months. Even with the cool temperatures out in the winter garden slowing down their growth it will still be a long haul. Another not so smart thing was finding a baggie of needle palm seeds which I must have given up on two years ago. Apparently there was a (now brittle and cracked) outer shell which I didn’t know about and which probably should have been removed prior to sowing. It will be a true testament to the lives of seeds if these go ahead and sprout now.
I’m much more optimistic about seeds I received from this year’s HPS seed exchange. I potted up this happily sprouting red buckeye (aesculus pavia) seed yesterday and will try and find a cool spot for it until things warm up outside. Also arriving pre-sprouted are two packets filled with Southern Magnolia (m. grandiflora) seeds…. don’t ask about that, I don’t need one borderline hardy southern magnolia let alone two dozen, but I should have plenty of time to think that one over since I’m hoping they’ll be slow growing.
The rest of my seed exploits should also be in better shape. I did go traditional and put out two trays of little pots to suffer through the rest of winter under the deck, and they will hopefully not run into problems this year, but the rest of my perennial seeds went into baggies and are sitting in a box in the fridge. It all feels pretty promising to me. Even the ones that had already sprouted in their baggies are coming along nicely after a few days under the growlights.
My little primrose continues to make me happy, and I’m sure you’ll also welcome seeing yet another picture! 😉
Never fear, I also have a few onions sprouting so not everything is odd and nearly useless flowers…. but I also have to warn you there are two more primrose divisions on the cool windowsill which are only now starting to put up buds. If the weather keeps going as cold as it is you might be stuck looking at them all through March!