Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Gone To Seed February 3, 2009

Filed under: Accessories,Indoor,Spring,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 3:13 pm
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0341Oh look! A punning title.

Whenever I post a photo like this I expect someone to comment on what I’m doing wrong. In fact given that I really don’t know what I’m doing and I would happily take some good advice. I still get to judge what is good and what isn’t though!

After planting late last year I thought I would really get ahead of myself this year by attempting to grow a few plants from seed. In typical fashion I have likely over-reached my ability and have multiple packets of seeds ready to go.

In an attempt to create order from chaos I picked the seeds that had the earliest sowing time to try first. The hope is that these will germinate in the heated propagator and then be ready to move to an unheated propagator in time for the next bunch of seeds to be sown. I have every reason to believe that this production line plan will fail almost immediately but then that’s the only way to learn isn’t it?

There’s quite a good guide to growing from seed on Remember though that the term ‘good’ is relative – it could be rubbish and I just don’t know it yet. But most of what it says is simple and easy to follow. It is also quite similar to the guide in a gardening manual I own (to be reviewed at some point) which gives me some confidence in its advice. Two independent sources couldn’t possibly be wrong could they!

So, taking some of their advice I’ve sown Geranium, Verbena, French Marigold, Lobelia and Aster seeds. Taking only the back of the packets as advice these seemed to be the ones that needed to start the earliest.

Initially I tried to plan how many of each I would likely need but that got very complicated very quickly. How would each plant do in the conditions? What should be planted next to what? Was colour an important condition? How many plants would fit in each box? Too much for this novice!

Pencil and paper was discarded and replaced by a much simpler idea. Will anything actually grow from seed?

Here’s hoping that some actually do. If there are too many then I’ll just have to accept passing some on or throwing them away. If there’s too few (much more likely) then a visit to the garden centre will fill in the gaps.

So now I’m like an old man waiting for the post to come – keenly checking and re-checking the propagator for signs of life. And they were only sown on Sunday! Thankfully work keeps me away from doing this every two minutes or else my sanity might be in further doubt.

More updates as they happen!


5 Responses to “Gone To Seed”

  1. Raquel Weber Says:

    Marigolds are a great bedding plant to seed with year after year…just collect the seed heads in a paper bag in the fall and sew indoors in late winter!

  2. northernwindowgardener Says:

    The marigold seeds were odd looking things, like minature brushes. Didn’t know whether to plant them or start sweeping up 😉

    It’s a steep learning curve I’m on at the moment – who knew there was so much to consider about seed selection! Organic, commercial, hybrids, etc, etc – my head is left spinning by it all.

    Hopefully by the time autumn is here I’ll have an idea about what seeds I can collect myself and which I should buy.

    Thanks for stopping by and giving me the hint Raquel!

  3. Flighty Says:

    I think that all gardeners are seedoholics as we all buy far too many packets of them! Everyone seems to have varying degrees of success sowing and growing them. It really does seem to be a constant round of trial and error regardless of what seeds, where you grow them and how you look after them.
    We all have that sense of anticipation waiting for the first signs of growth to appear and are elated when it does.
    There’s no doubt that you’ll have triumphs and failures but don’t get too downhearted at the latter, that is if you have any. If you don’t I’ll be slightly envious as I seem to have more than my fare share!
    Don’t forget to keep those green fingers crossed!

  4. northernwindowgardener Says:

    Thanks for the advice Flighty. What percentage would you say tend to make it from seed to healthy plant – 50%, 25%? Or is this a naive question!

  5. Flighty Says:

    You’re welcome! That’s actually a good question but the answer is that it really is very variable.
    For instance I would hope that all 4 of my cucumber seeds germinate but would be very surprised if all 150 of my carrot seeds do!

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