On the first day of spring (this was not intentional; the seeds just happened to arrive in the mail that day) I started a partial flat of petunias. Not paying attention to the seed count on the packets, I didn’t have enough seeds to fill an entire flat. Lesson learned. I never grew petunias before, so I was surprised to see (barely!) how tiny the seeds were. I am growing Sophistica ‘Antique Shades’ Petunia and Dolcissima ‘Flambe’ Petunia. It took 5 days for the first tiny bit of green to emerge from one of the seeds, and now, nearly two weeks later, they are still unbelievably small. It’s hard for me to imagine that these nearly microscopic flower embryos will burst into gorgeous, bushy petunias, but I’m hopeful just the same.
A week after sowing the petunias, I started another flat, this time filling it with marigolds. There are different schools of thought when it comes to marigolds being effective pest control in the gardens (aphids apparently don’t care for the pungent, skunky scent of them), but folks have planted them in their vegetable gardens for years. I’m growing Eskimo, Happy Days Mix, and Burpee’s Best Mix. They shot up out of the soil in two days (no kidding) and are well on their way to becoming strong little seedlings.
I’m also going to be planting clumps of sunflowers in various parts of the gardens. I’ll be sowing them directly into the ground once we get past any dangers of a last frost here in USDA Zone 7 (May 1st). But I did start some Autumn Beauty sunflowers under my grow lights, because they take about 2 weeks longer to bloom than the others I’ll be direct sowing. I figured I’ll get a jump on the season and maybe end up with them being the first to blossom if I give them a head start inside under the grow lights. They went into the soil the same day as the marigolds and are already about 2 inches high. I’ve got some 3″ peat pots on their way from Amazon. These little babies will outgrow their current situation in a matter of days, so I will need to replant them sooner than later! Once I make room in my seed flat next week, some zinnia seeds are on deck to get started next.
And speaking of grow lights: after doing some research, I found this fabulous set up by HydroFarm that provides light to two flats of seedlings set end to end. It’s super light-weight, simple to put together, and using two sets of a 72-cell seed starter flat, gives you the best chance to start a garden full of flowers or vegetables without having a greenhouse or other elaborate system.