Seeds forum: How early do you start seeds?

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Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Nov 15, 2011 9:43 PM CST

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Even though I've barely got my garden put to bed for the winter, I'm thinking about the seeds I'll be sowing for next year. Normally, I wait until after the first of the year to begin my spring seed-starting.

However, there are several types of seeds I start that have a long germination period, and a long-time til bloom. I think I'll be starting some things even earlier this year. Specifically, I will be starting lisianthus, rosemary and lavender so I can get some seedlings of decent size before time to plant out in the spring.

Do you have any seeds that require a long germination/growth period?
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Nov 15, 2011 10:07 PM CST
I start my seeds around the last week of Dec. in the greenhouse. I plant seed geranium and Dragon wing begonia. The geraniums come up fast but they take a long time to grow to flowering stage. The begonias are just slow. The first part of Feb. I plant others like salvia, impatiens, heliotrope. Then in march petunia. I ususally work some experiments in too. Love to try new things.

Love your herb badge!! It turned out nice.

I'm already looking for seed. Not much new this year.
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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
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Onewish1
Nov 16, 2011 5:31 AM CST

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I have a bunch of garden stock seeds.. the ones I grew last year just started flowering now.. not in spring.. duh.. was thinking they should be started way sooner.. too bad I don't remember when I started them Whistling but I think it was march.. impatiens feb for sure..

thanks for the reminder to do the geraniums early SC!!.. I did bring in some small plants from my seed grown last year .. worked out well this year from last years seeds.. before feb I always forget to start anything.. I do have some more that take forever just can't think of which right now

Happy Birthday Linda!!!
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Nov 16, 2011 6:09 AM CST

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Happy birthday, Linda!

Timing is my biggest problem in seed starting. By late winter- early spring, space under my little light set-up is at a premium. I end up moving some cuttings to windows, have seeds under lights. Then I switch things around. My indoor seedlings are just always too early to maturity or too late. That's probably why I rely on wintersowing so much- I don't have to decide anything. I stick them outside and am usually happier with those than the indoor ones. The problem is me, though, not the method. And I usually don't do things that take really long, like lisianthus.

Last year my indoor impatiens were ready to plant out way too early. They were half dead by the time I could actually plant them out. I don't remember when I started those, either.

Karen
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Nov 16, 2011 7:55 PM CST

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Thanks for the birthday wishes, ladies.

Spring--I never even thought about growing seed geraniums. I've only tried wintersowing perennial geraniums. Where does one get seed for seed geraniums? (I know that sounds like a really stupid question). And heliotrope--what a lovely plant. Where do you get your seeds from? I'm so intrigued. You're so fortunate to have a green house. Our climate and home-owners association don't permit this, so I'm relegated to my basement (although I'm grateful to have that).

Karen--timing is always huge problem for me because of the number of annual herbs I need to grow for our MG plant sale and demonstration beds. I always am out of space, and the weather never cooperates with getting seedlings out early. My only option is to buy more shelving/lights and I really don't want to do that. I already have $ shelving units with a total of 14 shelves with lights, and I hate to invest in any more (not to mention the space issue).

Allison--I thought stock needed to be sowed in the fall for bloom the following spring. Might give that a try for an earlier bloom.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Nov 16, 2011 8:30 PM CST
Penstemon took so long (January to May?) wintersowing that I had long since given up. Fortunately I waited to dump that soil out, and eventually saw some green sprouts that I thought at first were Perlite with algae.

More months went by and the WS sprouts were still 1/4" - 3/8" tall.

If I set out anything that small, the first slug that wandered past would obliterate it.
Just a few days ago, I finally split them apart and potted them up - if you can call something 3/8" tall "potted up". I would have to get a magnifying glass to see if those tiny blobs were cotyledons or true leaves.

That was my first year WS, so it might have been my clumsiness.

Right this moment they're indoors under flourescents because I got lonely, and also wanted to be gentle to them right after transplanting. I suppose I need to harden them off and leave them outside over winter, before they get used to 60F indoor temps.

I think these were the surviviors:

Penstemon strictus 'Rocky Mt. Blue'
Penstemon digitalis 'Mystica'
Penstemon smallii 'Violet Dusk'
Penstemon cobaea 'Showy Beardtongue'
Penstemon calycosus 'Calico Beardtongue'

(Some day I really want to succeed with Penstemon eatonii 'Firecracker'.)
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Nov 16, 2011 8:43 PM CST

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Yep--I've grown penstemon from seed and they do take forever. I've grown mine under lights though--haven't tried wintersowing them. Probably not feasible in our zone.
I've also grown angelonia from seed for a few years (also under lights). That's another slow-grower, but because it blooms late and lasts until a heavy frost it's worth it. I saved seeds from a Proven Winners variety, and it comes back true every year. (Shhh....don't report me to the Proven Winners people) Whistling
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Nov 16, 2011 9:08 PM CST
Linda
I buy my seeds from different sources. Summer hill seeds, stokes,hazzards, Thompson and morgan, Horticultural products and services. Its an event for me to look forward to right after the holidays. Mini marine heliotrope is he best one to grow.

I wish for a bigger greenhouse but need to be happy that I have one. A girl can wish!!!

I grew some penstemon from seed this year. I think it was called true blue. That is so slow from seed. One of mine is blooming now. Not sure what to do with it this late in the season. Plant out or back in the greenhouse. After all this time hate for it to die. Its still in 4 inch. I'll post a picture soon. Angelonia is fun too but yes slow.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 16, 2011 9:12 PM CST
>> I saved seeds from a Proven Winners variety, and it comes back true every year. (Shhh....don't report me to the Proven Winners people)

The way I read things, it is only "asexual propagation" that plant patents or "prpagation prohibited" make illegal.

Anything with the word "seeds" in it is sexual propagation, and we're always free to do that.

I think it was part of the legal definition of what they had to do to get a patent: propagate sexually and select the offspring. That counts tpwards developing a new strain, and experimenting.

So the descendents of seeds you produced are your own strains, and you can propagate those all you want.

I think it might not be very considerate to market your strains in heavy competition with the original developers, until you developed something distinguishable from their strain. After all, they have to make back their investment or they won't develop many more new strains.

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 16, 2011 9:13 PM CST
>> Not sure what to do with it this late in the season. Plant out or back in the greenhouse. After all this time hate for it to die.

Yes! Exactly! Me too!

(Except mine aren't flowering, and they're way less than 1/2" tall.)
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Nov 17, 2011 6:03 AM CST

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I swear the stock seed packet said 6 - 8 weeks.. maybe I need to do some research.. can always start some now and hope for the best

my seed geraniums came from summer hill seed and a few others.. think I picked up a few packs from park seed too.. but don't remember

I WS'ed penstemon iron maiden.. they did not bloom for 3 or 4 years.. but sooo worth it.. they are very pretty.. the large flowered shell one took 3 years to bloom.. and the low growing one took 2 years.. but I don't remember seeing it this year.. might have left me... will have to look up names for you
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
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kqcrna
Nov 17, 2011 6:25 AM CST

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I wintersowed penstemon smallii years ago, and I just don't remember it being unusually slow, though maybe it was. It bloomed second year. It has been a beautiful plant but seems to be dying off. Guess I need to start a replacement.

There are some that are supposed to bloom first year from seed but I haven't tried any of them. I have found, though, that any plant that blooms in the first year tends to act as an annual or very short-lived perennial.

I never baby stuff in a jug for very long. I plant out everything when very small. I've even slid out the whole blob of soil and planted the whole thing in the ground intact if the seedlings were too small to handle. I just get sick of having jugs sitting around and sick of pampering them. Once planted out, they either make it or they don't. I don't fret over the things.

I grew angelonia from seed once, inside under lights. I don't think they bloomed till about August. I'm not likely to try them again.

I've not done pelargoniums, either, only from cuttings. Have you seen the new yellow ones? I think it's Burpee that's selling them (plants, not seeds).

Karen
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Nov 17, 2011 10:14 AM CST
I did see that yellow pel. I don't like Burpee plants. I ordered there once and the plants were way too small for the price. I stick with there seeds.
I do have trouble with the geraniums/pelargoniums in that they bloom so late, I have kept them dry dry, watered with bloom fertilizer and put them under lights for longer day length. Nothing works, darn things bloom around July. When they do bloom they last round here until the first frost.
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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Nov 17, 2011 10:35 AM CST
My Penstemon
Thumb of 2011-11-17/springcolor/6e2afe

Thumb of 2011-11-17/springcolor/5d1f47

Thumb of 2011-11-17/springcolor/eca308


Not blue like the picture but purple. Why do people in the business call purple blue? My dad did that (a landscaper). He was color blind so I thought it was just him but more and more I hear this.
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Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
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kqcrna
Nov 17, 2011 3:00 PM CST

Moderator

Pretty penstemon.

I never order plants from Burpee, I'm not sure I've ever ordered the seed, either. I don't think so, but I have bought it locally.

Karen
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Nov 17, 2011 4:40 PM CST
I'm not sure where this seed came from.
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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Nov 17, 2011 5:19 PM CST

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very pretty!!
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Nov 17, 2011 8:46 PM CST

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Spring--love the color of that penstemon.
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
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Gymgirl
Nov 29, 2011 9:06 AM CST
Spring,
Could you please post a pic of your mini marine heliotrope? Thanks!

Linda
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Nov 29, 2011 10:22 AM CST
Sorry, the mini Marine is gone for the year. We have had a few frosts. I will look though my pictures to see if one is in my container pictures. It is easy t grow from seed. I sow them in flats with seed soil,they are small seeds so don't cover. I use bottom heat about 68, a plastic cover to help keep the sil moist. In about a week or so the little ones have there heads up. Then they go into 4 inch with HP soil. I sow them the first of feb. If you don't hav a soil heater the top of the frig works good if it is in a bright spot. My seed came from Hazzard seed.
Sorry if that was too much info. I love that plant.
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