Seed Starting Developments

Well, the seed starting is coming along nicely, not withstanding one unfortunate mishap.


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I’ve planted 3 varieties of Salvia: ‘Big Blue’, ‘Victoria’, and ‘Victoria Blue’. ‘Big Blue’ and ‘Victoria’ germinated at a pretty strong rate, and last weekend were big enough to be thinned.

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Somehow I got the idea that a grapefruit spoon would be a good tool for thinning. I was wrong. Fingers seem to work best. Judy hates it when I thin plants, she always refers to it as “the massacre of the innocents”.

The one mishap occurred when I distractedly pulled out all the tiny seedlings of ‘Victoria Blue’. Don’t ask how I managed to do that. I compensated by filling those cells with ‘Big Blue’ seedlings I had pulled out of other cells. So I guess I won’t have any ‘Victoria Blue’ this year.

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Aside from that little glitch, I’m feeling pretty good about potting up my home-grown Salvias later in the year.

This past weekend I also planted Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) ‘Torch’ and ‘Sundance’, as well as ‘Italian White’ Sunflower (Helianthus annuus). This coming weekend I’ll be planting lots of Zinnias!

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Mexican Sunflower seeds

I noticed that seed packets don’t always agree on how to sow the same kind of seeds. Burpee’s said I should just barely cover the Mexican Sunflower seeds with planting mix, but Johnny’s Select Seeds says to plant them an inch deep. I pretty much split the difference.

Anyhow, I’m having fun with starting my own seeds, and looking forward to many more seedlings to come.

31 Comments on “Seed Starting Developments

  1. Glad you are enjoying your seed starting. I usually thin mine using my herb scissors. Like you just experienced, I’ve yanked out too many things so easier just to snip out what you don’t want. I’m also going to try some tithonia. You got me all excited about that. I’m starting some indoors and some outdoors, I’ll let you know how it works out. And congrats on the wedding !!

  2. They’re looking great! I always feel bad thinning seedlings too. somehow it doesn’t seem fair…but then I guess none of them would do very well once they got overcrowded.

  3. I am envious. Your seedlings look so vigorous. My efforts are pathetic in comparison. What growing medium do you use?

  4. An inch deep? They self-sow, so scattering them on the surface of the soil should be good enough!
    I read on a Facebook sowing group just yesterday about inaccurate information on a Johnny’s seed packet. Said to freeze the seed before sowing, yet it was for a tender annual. No need to chilling.
    Your seedlings look very healthy.

    • Very good point. It’s a little discouraging when companies you like give out inaccurate info. On the other hand, what really matters is that the seedlings look health.

  5. Yes, there are often sowing info discrepancies on both seed packets and online. The first year (or two) is a bit of trial and error which is why good notes are incredibly helpful ’cause it’s pretty much a certainty (for me at least) that next year I won’t remember what I did (both in terms of successes and failures!).

  6. Pulling unwanted seedlings can sometimes damage the fragile roots of those you wish to keep so what I used to do was use a small, sharp pair of scissors to snip off those I didn’t want at the soil line. That will finish them and the roots of the keepers will be fine.

  7. Looks good Jason. I have got some Scabiosa seedlings doing well and will sow my Tithonia around Easter as I am away for a week before that and dare not leave my little seedlings alone!

  8. Very nice! I’ve got some flowers started, too, but will be doing most of my seeding after I get back from a trip later in the month. I usually use scissors to thin, though I’ve accidentally cut off all the seedlings in a cell before, too!

  9. If you want to avoid the massacre, plant one or two seeds per cell. Instead of thinning, snip off the runts. Your seedlings look healthy!

  10. I started my entire flower garden from seed back in tbe seventies. Once was enough. I still have a few of those plants still growing after all these years.

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