Category Archives: Seeds

Finding Seeds

I was recently asked where I found my seeds for the different plants I grow.

The best place to get seeds is your own garden. Save them in paper bags and label them.I like to let them dry on the plant and then put them in a paper bag. If you save your own seeds, then you don’t have to buy them.

The 2nd best place will be MY garden.I save lots of seeds every year in St. Louis. You are welcome to come over and get seeds in the fall.

The 3rd best place for seeds is Google. Do a search with the scientific name and you will find numerous seed resources. Many times I will visit the Missouri Botanical Garden and find a new plant I want to try. Take a picture of the plant and its name and then there’s a good chance you can find it online.

Another option are some of the Facebook online groups. Sometimes, many of the people are willing to share seeds for the price of a SASE.

Here’s a list of plants I have bought in the past and where I may have bought them. https://butterflygardening.wordpress.com/plants/

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Seed Starting Tips

Most of the seeds I grow need about a soil temperature of 70 degrees. That’s what Shaw Nature Reserve uses and what has worked well for me in the past.

Note – I used a Laser Infrared Thermometer to get the soil temperature.

In the past I have used heating mats to achieve this temperature, but I noticed a difference this year since I have started using different lights.

I now use and recommend, Lithonia Lighting, 4-Light Grey Fluorescent Heavy-Duty Shop Light. They use T8 bulbs. I now uses these bulbs close to the seed trays with a plastic cover.

As you can see from the picture, there isn’t much difference between trays with or without bottom heat. In fact the bottom heat tray seems to have poorer germination. I did notice that the bottom heat trays got up to 97 degrees while the trays with just the 4 bulb lights got up to 77 degrees. I eventually turned off the bottom heat since it seemed to be to high.

I probably won’t use my heating mats in the future since my new lights put out enough heat to get seeds to germinate.

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Seed Collecting – October 6th

seeds-paperbag-600Collecting seeds in the fall is the easy way to start hundreds of plants for no cost. If you figure that many plants can cost $10.00, you could save hundreds and thousands of dollars by collecting and planting your own seed.

I’m opening up my gardens to anyone who wants to collect seed.
Oct. 6th – Saturday – 10 a.m.
9016 Robyn Rd – 63126

Bring: paper lunch bags, black marker, pruning shears or scissors.

Here are seeds available in my yard at this time of the year.

  • Blazing Star – fall
  • Bronze Fennel – fall/spring
  • Cleome – Spider Flower – fall/spring
  • Echinacea – purple cone flower – fall
  • Gomphrena – spring
  • Helenium – fall/spring
  • Ironweed – fall
  • Lantana – spring
  • Marigold – spring
  • Milkweed – asclepias incarnata – fall
  • Partridge Pea – fall
  • Rudbeckia – black eyed susan – fall
  • Rue – fall/spring
  • Salvia purple – perennial – fall
  • Salvia – red – annual – fall/spring
  • Skullcap – fall
  • Verbena bonareinsis – spring
  • Verbena hastata – fall
  • Veronica – veronica – fall

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SLC Grower’s Mix

SLC-Growers-MIx-600After watching a couple of years of Monty Don on “Gardeners’ World,” one of the differences I noticed was he doesn’t use peat moss in the U.K. He mainly uses a lot of compost, perlite and grit.  I’ve also never seen him use fertilizer other than compost which he makes himself.

You would be hard pressed to find this mixture in any nursery or big box store.

What I have found is a mix which seems similar to what Monty Don uses.

SLC Grower’s Mix has a combination of pine bark fines, compost and PBH rice hulls, although they wouldn’t tell me the exact percentages.

When I talked to SLC they did indicate that they would recommend using Osmocote if I was planning to grow from small size to large size in a pot. He recommended using a medium dosage.  They do include a small starter nutrition in the mix and a micro-nutrient charge.

The product will be a bit drier since it drains so well. You may have to water more often.

I’m going to be doing some tests with this product versus my standard BX ProMix.  The SLC mix is only $6 per 2 cu. ft. bag.

You would obviously be better off buying the mix in bulk, if you have a place to dump it.

The one odd thing about this mix is that it is in bags which say Cotton Blossom Compost.

cotton-blossom-compost-400

 

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Seed Test Results

Here are the results of my seed tests – they will be updated daily.

Seeds From My Garden

  • Agastache regular – 6 days
  • Agastache  Pink Rapp – 5 days
  • Blazing Star spicata
  • Bronze Fennel – 4 days
  • Cleome
  • Coreopsis lance leaf – 8 days 
  • Coreopsis Plains – 4 days – 100%
  • Dianthus barbatus – 6 days
  • Echinacea – CS
  • Echinacea – no CS
  • Gaillardia small – 5 days
  • Globe Amaranth pink – 3 days – 100%
  • Gomphrena Fireworks –
  • Helenium amarum – 4 days – 100%
  • Maltese Cross – 7 days
  • Marigold –
  • Partridge Pea – 
  • Rue –
  • Salvia pink – 4 days
  • Salvia purple – 6 days
  • Tropical milkweed – 6 days
  • Verbena hastata –
  • Verbena bonareinsis
  • Zinnia angustifolia – 3 days
  • Zinnia profusion pink –

Seeds I bought for 2018

  • Ajuga reptans –
  • Alyssum Royal Carpet – 3 days
  • Creeping Thyme Magic Carpet – 6 days
  • Creeping Thyme Mother of Thyme – 4 days
  • Pussytoes Red – 4 days
  • Rock Cress Cascading
  • Sedum acre – 4 days
  • Sedum Dragons Blood – 3 days
  • Sedum oreganum – 3 days
  • Snow in Summer – 6 days
  • Veronica repens – 6 days

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Seed Testing in January

seed-testing-bags-600If you have leftover seeds from last year or seeds that you collected in the fall, now is a good time to test the seeds for viability.

seed-testing-800

I prefer to test the seeds through my standard seed starting process.

  • I use the 36 per tray plastic cells in a 1020 tray.
  • I put this tray in a heavy-duty plastic tray.
  • I use my preferred potting mix as a base – BX Pro-Mix with some Osmocote.
  • Make sure the mix is well watered before you add the seeds.
  • I put 3 or 4 seeds on top of the mix.
  • I top the seeds with a light layer of vermiculite.
  • I spray the vermiculite with water.
  • I label each cell with the date, seed name and number of seeds. I use vinyl blinds that I have taken down. These are easy to cut and label with a pencil.
  • I also put in about 1/8 inch of water in the bottom of the tray in case the mix needs to absorb some water.
  • I cover the tray with a plastic clear top.
  • I lower my shop lights to within 1/2 inch of the plastic top.
  • I keep the lights on 24/7 to keep it all warm.
  • You can also use a warming mat to improve seed germination.

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Cold Stratification List

seeds-cold-stratification-01-400

Note – Shaw Nature Reserve uses 3 months Cold Stratification for most natives.

Plant Cold Stratification
Agastache 30 days – Surface
Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed 30 days
Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly Weed 30 days
Blazing Star – Liatris 60 days
Bronze Fennel Not needed
Cleome Not needed
Coreopsis lanceleaf 30 days
Coreopsis plains Not needed
Dianthus barbatus Not needed
Echinacea 0 – 30 days ????
French Hollyhock – Malva sylvestris Not needed
Gaillardia Not needed – press into soil
Gomphrena – globe amaranth Not needed
Helenium amarum – Sneezeweed Not needed – surface sow tiny seeds
Lobelia cardinalis 60 days – Surface Sow
Maltese Cross Not needed – do not cover????
Marigold Not needed
Rudbeckia 60 days
Rue Not needed
Salvia – purple perennial Not needed???? – needs light to germinate?????
Verbena bonareinsis Not needed
Verbena hastata – Vervain 30 days – tiny seeds
Zinnia Not needed

 

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