If you have seeds leftover from previous years, rather than throwing them away, test them out now and save yourself some money.
I like to test them out by using conditions similar to what I normally use. I put in three seeds in each cell and mark each with the name of the seed and the date. I cover the seeds with a plastic lid to keep things moist and also use a shop light to keep things warm inside.
If the seeds germinate, then you know you can use them this year.
I used some vermiculite I had, but you can use any good potting mix. I don’t plan on keeping these plants – they are just letting me know the germination rate.
Note – I am also testing some new seeds from dollarseed.com
Marigold Cracker Jack – 3 days – Dollarseed.com
Zinnia – California Giant – 3 days – Dollarseed.com
Tropical Milkweed – 7 days – Dollarseed.com
Maltese Cross – Dollarseed.com
Dames Rocket – Dollarseed.com
Purple globe amaranth – Toms – 3 days – almost all seeds germinated.
Zinnia – small gold – 4 days. – one seed germinated.
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.
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.
Collecting 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.
After 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.