Product – Update/LED Grow Trays

To say they are exactly what I hoped for is an understatement. LED grow trays, Kennedich Seed Tray Kits, are performing beyond my expectations. No leggy seedling growth is occurring beneath the intense lights. Hooray! These, and other similar trays, are still available for purchase online. In combination with seedling heat mats, even seeds three years old are sprouting in days.

Planting – Garden Goings-On/Seeds and Sprouts


Poppy Seeds are sprouting in my winter sown containers. (gallon milk cartons) Poppies are always one of the first seeds to sprout when winter sown. This is absolutely, at least for me, the best way to sow and grow poppies.

poppies 004

Here is a picture of me, probably two summers ago, beside my near five foot bread seed poppies. If you look to the right of my shoulder you can see the big poppy buds ready to burst into bloom. These poppies were sown with the winter sowing method and grew in my Square Foot Gardens, one plant to a square. Here’s a link to the blog of Mel Bartholomew, the creator of the Square Foot Garden Method. Square Foot Gardening


My winter sown crop of seeds are sown now. I have found that for a few the soil has begun to dry out a bit. I have needed to place them in a pan of water to enable them to wick up a bit of moisture. You can find a post on winter sowing here: Winter-sown seeds.


The coleus seeds I sowed with my small seed sowing method have sprouted and because they are well-spaced out have not developed any fungal or damping-off disease. They are a bit leggy, but when I repot them separately in a few weeks, I will cover some of the leggy stem with soil. They should begin to develop color within a week or two.


The Martha Washington Geranium I over-wintered with bare roots is leafing out nicely.


The green onions I rerooted and potted up are growing terrific stems. I just used a few cut up into beautiful green rings in a Cheesy Potato recipe. The original post on how I regrow the bottoms of the onions can be found here: Regrowing Green Onion Stems


Most of my seeds, except for larger varieties such as zinnias and four o’clocks, have been sown into plastic containers. I use recycled grocery containers for most of my seed sowing.


Parsley, always rather slow-growing for me in the house, has been repotted into separate pots. It will be moved into the garden very soon. Parsley is cold tolerant and after hardening off for a few nights, will probably grow fine in the herb or square foot gardens.


Spider babies, rooting in water, are doing well and will soon be combined in a hanging basket for the patio. The new spider plants will join the mother and sister plants rooted up in previous years. My collection keeps expanding. Spider plants are one of the best houseplants for filtering toxins and impurities out of the air. Happy Gardening!

Quick Tip – Seed Sowing 101/Seed Packet Storage and Sowing Seeds

seed packet 1

I’m afraid I must admit that many of my older seed packets look like the one pictured above. Tearing off the top, resealing with scotch tape, creates a ragged and ripped mess when I try to reopen. I know it sounds silly to even take time to give write a tip like this, but it is more a reminder, than it is a tip, on how much information is contained on the small space of the packet.

seed packet 2

For instance, if I tear away the top of the seed packet shown above I will never again be able to rely on the terrific and almost poetic description of the contents printed on the top of the flap.

“Crisp textured loose heads have broad frilled and crumpled leaves.”

There are also height, width, sunshine and water requirements printed on the packet. To save as much information as possible cut away with scissors the smallest fraction of the packet top when opening.

seed packet 3

In the past I have often taped the top of the my packets down when I am finished sowing the seeds they contain. If I don’t firmly close them in a way that will stay secure I will end up with hundred of seeds, completely unidentifiable, on the bottom of my seed box. A small, tight paperclip holds the twice-folded seed packet top closed without possibility of loosening.

seed packet 4

Another important tip is labeling the small white packet inside some varieties of seeds. Burpee packages its seeds with an inner foil pack. Take my word for it, all these look alike if you mix them up. Unless you are a real professional at identifying seeds, it will be plant and hope for the best if you mix up the inner packets. I’ve learned my lesson and I now label the inner packet with a permanent black felt-tip pen.

I know these tips might seem rather self-evident, but hey, it’s so easy to get excited about planting and lose track of what you are doing in the pursuit of the perfect garden. These are just a few of the simple ways I make the whole experience enjoyable and less frustrating at the time of planting and in the future.

I received a terrific idea through the comment section of this post. I thought it would be a good idea to edit the post and add the comment as another alternative for saving the information on the packets. Thanks so much Tulani!

Tulani comments, “Here’s an idea in dealing with the torn/frayed tops of the seed packets. If you have an all in one printer, make a copy of the seed packet BEFORE you open it…that way you have all that precious information intact & semi easy to read whenever you may need it. If you do not have an all in one printer, many of the local drug stores & other businesses have copy machines & charge $0.10 – $0.25 per copy.  Libraries are another place to go for copies too! When you have all these copies made, they can then be cut down so you only have the picture of that packet, & store them in a photo album. If there’s a problem with the plant, or the seeds, you’ll have all that info at your fingertips, & you will know whether or not to buy them seeds next year. It may not be foolproof, but it sure beats dealing with torn/frayed seed packets.”

seed packet 5

Another quick tip – For larger seeds I often dump out the contents of the packet onto teacup saucer. The little indentation in the center holds the bulk of the seed. I then pull a few seeds up onto the lip of the plate. Because the dish curves upward, it is easy to slide a few seeds to the edge of the plate with my forefinger and then grasp one or two between forefinger and thumb and place each where I want them on the soil. I know that many people “broadcast” the seeds across the top of the planting medium, but I have found over and over again that this method causes crowding and is the forerunner of damping-off disease. Happy Gardening!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Planting – Winter Sowing Seeds

Winter Sowing is the process of planting hardy and half-hardy seeds in clear or transluscent containers (milk cartons, 2 liter soda bottles, juice containers.) The containers are then sealed with duct tape and placed outdoors in the winter weather. This method of sowing seeds has been attributed to Trudi Davidoff.

The above photograph is a record of my first attempts at this process. Over the next week or two I hope to Winter Sow more of my perennial seeds, and later in the season some of my vegetables, annuals and herbs.

A good source of information and discussion about Winter Sowing can be found on the Gardenweb Winter Sowing Forum.

I’ll update my success with this method as the season progresses.