Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
For those with large cutting gardens, starting plants from seed makes sense. There are various advantages to this method.
First, you can get exactly the variety you want, which isn’t always true when you’re buying plants.
In most cases, you can save money if you need a large number of any specific variety. Both annuals and perennials can be started from seeds.
For annuals, it is practical to start them indoors so you can transplant outside after the danger of frost is past.
In addition, some annuals can be direct sown where they are to grow. Whether this is practical depends upon how quickly they produce flowers. If it takes three or four months from the time you plant the seed, I would prefer to do this indoors to save time.
For perennials that bloom the first year, the same thing is true. However, certain perennials don’t bloom until the second year. You can just as well wait until the danger of frost is past and either direct sow those seeds in the garden or sow them in pots or containers outdoors.
Along with the new containers or used ones you’ve washed and disinfected, you’ll need some sterile seed starting mix. These measures will minimize the danger of damping off.
To ensure success when planting seed you need to know the proper planting depth and other details about that particular kind of seed. For example, some seeds need to be soaked. Others require a chilling period. Some may need completely covered to exclude all light, while others don’t need covered at all. Because of all the information that is needed, I highly recommend “Park’s Success with Seed” by Karen Park Jennings, which was published by the George W. Park Seed Co. this invaluable guide walks you through the entire seed planting process from start to finish, including care tips for your plants once they’re in the garden.
The first chapter deals with all the basics, such as choosing containers and soilless mix, when and where to start the seeds with details on how to get the best germination results.
Separate chapters focus on starting your own seeds indoors and outdoors, and how to care for the seedlings.
The plant encyclopedia features two sections, one for edibles and herbs, and the other for ornamental plants. For the most part, the flowers for cutting gardens and everlastings are found in the ornamental section.
The appendix contains very helpful plant lists that will help you succeed when you are dealing with seeds. So make full use of these. There are lists of plants for various situations, and uses, including everlastings. Each encyclopedic entry has color photos of the plants, seeds, and seedlings. It notes which species are easy or difficult to start from seed. There are complete details on the germination, growth, description, care, and uses for each plant species, including the ones that are used as cut flowers and everlastings. The helpful index is cross indexed by common and Latin name.