It is hard to believe but the holidays are wrapped up for another year and we are into 2017. If you’re like most gardeners your attention has quickly turned to spring. January is a long dreary month we get it. If you live in the Northern hemisphere, it is cold and days are still relatively short compared to those luscious summer days. We know you are all eager to kick off your 2017 gardening season but….
It is too soon to start your annual transplants for flowers & veggies
I know that is a buzzkill to learn it is too early to start seeds! However, I want everyone to have a successful 2017 season with a bountiful harvest. Starting your seedlings now will not accomplish that goal. First, if you do not use grow lights to start your seeds but instead use your window sill – January is going to cause chaos. January is cold and many of the plants we love to grow come from much warmer climates and with one seemingly innocent cold draft---kiss your plant babies’ good bye. Secondly, right now the Earth’s position in relation to sun gives us an angle that will not produce favourable growing conditions. Additionally, starting seeds now can result in leggy seedlings which equates to weak, unproductive plants.
It is cool, I have grow lights….
Grow lights up your game without a doubt but even with grow lights January is far too early. Starting now under grow lights and you will have to pot up your transplants several times. This takes up more space, time and money. What is manageable with smaller transplants, quickly becomes a nightmare with a large number of bigger transplants in the house. Starting your own seeds will save you money but only if you do it in a savvy way. First know your last frost date for your area, then based on the instructions given on your seed pact count back to know when to sow your seeds. Many annuals can be started 6-8 weeks before your last frost date, while there are some that only require 2-4 weeks before the last frost date. Additionally, if you are short on space inside, you can start seeds outside in May under cover – greenhouse plastic either by covering one of your beds or making mini-greenhouses.
Check out what the team at Savvy Gardening has to say about seed starting.
I NEED TO GROW SOMETHING!
We feel ya! And there are options to help you make it till it is time to start annual transplants. The cozy option is houseplants. Right after the holidays is a good time to pick up some houseplants at reduced prices like poinsettia, Christmas cactus and amaryllis bulbs to name a few. Winter is a great time to think about adding plants to help support indigenous insect populations. Many of these plants are perennial and indigenous to North America. Perennials such as Echinacea, bee balm, blanket flower, and woodland poppy have seeds that require special treatment. It can vary from cold-moist stratification or scarification. If you did not collect seeds from your own perennials last year, there is a great seed supplier in Ontario - Wildflower Farm. They specialize in indigenous North American plants and ship across the continent.
How do you plan to be successful with your seed starting this year?