This time of year, every flower farmer is busy starting seeds. Many annuals need this head start to summer blooming. That way, when it is warm enough to plant outside, you start with a bigger plant that will be ready to bloom earlier.
Timing is key with this. If you start seeds too early, you run the risk of having leggy, weak plants that will take time to recover once they are in the ground. Check your seed packets for this information. Most annuals are started about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. This is a date that you can lookup on the NOAA site and it is based on climatology averages. Many garden and nursery sites also list these dates. Get to know the date that is for your area. It will be helpful in your gardening choices and serves as a guide for planting. Be aware that this can differ from year to year depending on the type of spring that is occurring.
Anyone can grow seeds! Get some seed starting mix, seeds and trays and you will be ready to start. Doing your own seed starting allows you more choices of types and colors of flowers or vegetables that you want to grow. It offers a world of opportunity beyond what your local store has to offer.
There are plenty of resources available. Many seed companies have information sheets as well as videos. My favorite seed company is here is Maine, Johnny's Selected Seeds. Check out their Grower's Library for lots of useful information. More specific to flower growing are two sources that I can recommend. Lisa Ziegler uses soil blocks like we do and recently expanded her business to include seed starting supplies. Her web page, www.thegardenersworkshop.com has several "how to" videos. Erin from Floret Flowers has some of the most comprehensive blogs on her website, www.floretflowers.com. They cover numerous topics related to growing flowers. On February 22, she posted "Seed Starting Basics" and shares how she starts seeds for her farm. She uses different seed starting trays than we do but the same ideas are there on how to do it. Her photos are exquisite and she shares the process step by step.
With a few basic items, you can start your own seeds. It is a joy to see all that green when they break through the soil. It serves as a reminder that spring is here and summer is not far behind. Before you know it, it will be time to plant your seedlings outside and you will be on your way to summer flowers!
"Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower." -John Harrigan