|My kids do a project every year to raise money for a charitable cause. Last year we planted flower and vegetable seeds and sold the plants to raise money for the food pantry. This year we would like to do this again, but we would like to have blossoms already opened on the flowering plants to entice more people to buy them. We are starting to gather supplies and seeds now to get going. If our sale is in mid-April, what plants do you recommend we start that would flower quickly without becoming leggy?|
|You and your kids are doing a wonderful thing! Perhaps you'll eventually start an entire garden to fill the food pantry!
There aren't many flowers that bloom from seed in only 8 weeks. If you could delay your sale until Mother's Day, you'd have a much wider choice. These are annuals that are relatively quick to blossom, based on information from the Stokes Seed Catalog (http://www.stokeseeds.com; ph# 800-396-9238). Give these a try for your April sale:
alyssum, coleus (flowers late, but the leaves are very colorful!), Ladybird cosmos (dwarf variety), dwarf marigolds ("French" marigolds), nasturtium. For best results (if you don't have a greenhouse), start them indoors under flourescent lights (with grow light tubes, or one "cool" and one "warm" bulb per fixture), and keep the plants within an inch of the bulbs. Place a fan in the room to provide air circulation, and also to induce the plants to grow sturdy and stocky. Fertilize with the minimum amount recommended for the type of fertilizer you use to keep growth steady and slow.
Also, if you'd like, you're welcome to advertise your plant sale on NGA's on-line GoGarden Calendar. Please visit the NGA Web site for details: http://www.garden.org. Best of luck with your project!