Nancy’s Tomato Chronicles – Week 7 of 2010
(Week 7 is Feb 15th to 21st)
Timely Tip: Sweet peas are cold tolerant and should be planted early in spring. To keep the seed from rotting before it sprouts, pre treat it by soaking for 24 hours and pre-germinate it indoors before planting.
If the magic garden genie ever appears in my dreams and grants me three wishes, my first wish would be that every gardener through out the land would be compelled to grow a few plants from seed.
It wouldn’t have to be a big deal. Those who are short on time might begin by dusting the seeds of sweet alyssum between the cracks in their sidewalks and scattering lettuce seeds among the petunias.
Folks new to gardening might start with easy growers like sassy sunflowers, Cosmos or bachelor buttons.
Flower gardeners would be driven to search out new varieties and veggie gardeners would reap a three-season harvest. American seed houses, currently hounded by flat sales will halt the downsizing of their inventories; there would be lots of extra food to feed the hungry and our world would be a prettier to live in.
Growing plants from seed is not difficult and starting seedlings indoors in March and April helps to stave off the late winter ickies that plague so many of us this time of year.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog (www.johnnyseeds.com 207 437 4301) has a great selection of seeds and seed starting supplies for growing a great garden. Start by ordering Nancy Bubel’s “New Seed Starter’s Handbook’ (Rodale $15.95), a thorough easy to read how-to on gardening from seed. Bubel also gives lots of tips on how to grow a garden without spending a fortune.
But like all hobbies, once you get into it you may want to invest in some tools that will help you garden smarter.
Also from Johnny’s there’s the Hydrofarm Seedling Heat Mat. Professionals know that bottom heat is the secret to fast starts and quick growth. This easy to use waterproof mat will give you the grower’s edge. Easy instructions and growing tips are imprinted right on the mat. It’s available in two sizes to fit one or two standard seed trays, priced at $36.00 and $50.00.
Johnny’s also carries the Hydrofarm Green Thumb Grow Light System, an award winning new and improved grow light stand for starting seedlings that is lightweight, easy to assemble and a snap to adjust for height. It’s also quick to disassemble for easy storage. Priced at $128.50, the unit includes two Argosun full spectrum fluorescent tubes that can also be used for growing flowering plants, such as miniature roses and African violets, as well as seedlings.