starting seeds indoors

So, I now have a few window sills full of sprouting seedlings and more beginning near the woodstove…my tomatoes are ready to move into their ‘big’ pots as are the basil sprouts.  They each have grown their second set of leaves, the ‘true’ leaves – the signal that it is safe to transplant them into the next size pot and into potting soil.

My flowers have also taken off – I’ve started marigolds, zinnias and teddy bear sunflowers – tomorrow I start poppies. Beautiful poppies – absolutely stunning red/orange blossoms with black centers and soft greens – gorgeous!  While marigolds are fairly mediocre (in my opinion) they are great to plant alongside tomato plants to ward off tomato worms, which I had a problem with last year – I regrettably didn’t do any companion planting, why, I do not know? Companion planting is a method of planting vegetables, herbs and flowers to compliment and help each other thrive – without the use of pesticides or chemicals. One plant helps the other…

Instead of buying marigolds, I thought I’d simply start them – less cost.  I’ve never started marigolds, but I’m always up for trying out new plants, fingers crossed. Marigold seeds are an interesting looking seed, very similar to a porcupine quill – long, thin, pointy on both ends with dual colors – much more interesting than the plant itself – apologies to all marigold lovers…hopefully they ward off those nasty tomato worms. 

Last year was the first year I planted zinnias – and I was so pleased that I did! I had what seemed like an endless supply of cut flowers to place around my house – they just keep flowering. The colors are brilliant, the blooms are varied in texture and size and they last a long time in arrangements…mix them with a variety of greens and you’ll have fresh flowers in your home all summer long – and they are easy to grow. No need to start indoors, simply plant outdoors when the weather warms, water and wait…I wanted to see blooms super early, so I’ve started a few seedlings indoors…oh, and they last well into the fall – which means cut flowers for months! Definitely worth the investment. 

The teddy bear sunflowers are so cute. I couldn’t resist. I always grow sunflowers and I always start them indoors (again, I like to see blooms earlier – we do have a very short growing season in Maine). I save seeds each year, so the following year they grow taller and stronger than the last. My sunflowers last season were incredible – some were over 12 feet tall – they were perfect for the south side of my garden…though, I’ve never grown teddy bears, so I thought I’d give them a try this year.  They are a much shorter variety, but super cute. They are ‘fuzzy’ looking without the classic seed center – and also a good cut flower. I love cut flowers. Mae West said, “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my fingers”. Nothing says beauty more than freshly cut flowers from your garden – or anyone’s garden…place them around your house for an instant ‘lift’ (for very little cost).

The poppies I’m going to start are perennials. While annuals are fun, perennials are better. You plant them once and year after year they continue to grow and thrive…I look forward to owing my own property and tending my perennial gardens. Until then, I will continue to plant and enjoy my gardens here and hope that they will continue on, be enjoyed and appreciated well after I’ve left…What’s not to appreciate about a beautiful flower?

Plant, water and wait. Enjoy for months…