Archive for August, 2008

Starting Pansies from Seed

August 16th, 2008
Growing these pansies from seed was easy, and saved money!

Growing these pansies from seed was easy, and saved money!

Pansies are my favorite annual of the year. They bloom all fall and winter, and then really crank up for spring. I love them!

We had about 50% success rate our first time growing pansies from seed.  Not too bad, but well do better next time.

We had about a 50% success rate our first time growing pansies from seed. Not too bad, but we'll do better next time.

They’re also the most expensive annuals I plant, because I plant eight plants per square foot in my beds. Yep. I put two plants in each hole and plant each pair six inches apart. Try it one time and you’ll never want to plant them any other way. They completely cover the bed with mounds of gorgeous color for months.

So, I start my pansies from seed. Pansy seed is on the pricey side too. But, if you plant alot of pansies like me (20 flats or so a year), you can buy them in bulk. I got my seed this year from Hazzard’s Seed. It is a wholesale seed company that will sell to anyone. They have seeds in packages of 250 and 1000. » Read more: Starting Pansies from Seed

Fall Gardening Starts Now

August 16th, 2008

It’s hard to believe in our sweltering August heat, but fall is just around the corner. Time to think ahead. Have you ordered bulbs? If not, don’t delay. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, snowdrops, etc. all need planting in fall.

When I think Fall, I think mums and pumpkins. Mums are the very essence of the season. Problem is, they’re difficult to grow in the Deep South. There are a few good perennial ones that grow here: Sheffield, Ryan’s Pink, Clara Curtis, and Ryan’s Yellow, to name a few. They all have daisy formed flowers and they all tend to be pretty aggressive plants. I grow them anyway. But I want a deep gold or bronzey red colored bloom for fall. If I buy mums at the store, they’re expensive, they bloom only once, and if it’s hot outside, they don’t last more than a week. Answer? Marigolds! If you plant some marigold seed in pots now, they’ll be fresh and blooming by October and will keep blooming until frost, which, in my area, can be as late as Thanksgiving.

If your daytime temps are over eighty now, you’ll need to get the seeds germinated indoors. I sow seeds into potting soil, water well and drain for a good half hour. Then I slip the pots into Ziploc Bags and put them in bright light. They’ll germinate in a week or less, and once they have a set of true leaves, you can move them outside. Put them in bright shade for a few days, and then harden them off by moving them into the sun for a couple of hours the first day, an hour or so longer the second day, etc.  If you have a day or two of rain or very cloudy days, that’s the perfect time to move them into full sun. By the time the clouds are gone, the plants can take the full heat and glare.