NO GREENHOUSE, a tiny house, and various other obstacles notwithstanding, I’m madly coaxing along one crop after another of seedlings over here. Want a little tour of how to start seed indoors (well, at least Margaret’s improvised method, that includes some outdoor steps, too)? [read more…]
How to grow garden plants from seeds, including vegetable seeds and herbs and annual flowers and vines. Browse the archive below for tips on topics like growing the perfect tomato, what grow lights and other seed-starting gear to use, when to sow peas or spinach or a second crop of beans, and even if you can grow Clematis from those fluffy seedheads it produces.
DEAR GAYLA: Well, this is just perfect. You are publicly blaming me for the fact that you are about to be overrun by giant Nicotiana in your smaller garden, and I am in turn holding you to task for the fact that I am suddenly obsessed with growing dwarf tomatoes in pots in my bigger one. (At least we’re keeping all our finger-pointing in one botanical family: the seductive Solanaceae.) Seriously, though: Thanks for the unusual tomato seeds you sent, and the advice on how to grow them. Thanks to you, I’m starting tomato seed today. [read more…]
WHAT DO YOU WANT in a ‘Butternut’ squash (besides sweet flesh)? I wanted ones that really lasted, to keep me in “fresh” orange meat all winter long, and I got my wish, after buying seed from a catalog that said they’d been selecting their seed strain for just that quality. It really pays to read the details—to look for little specifics like this that make a big difference between one ‘Butternut’ and another (or any open-pollinated vegetable or flower variety you might be growing). My squash adventure. [read more…]
A MAJESTIC ANNUAL I loved last year and someone I plan to invite back: the silver-leaf sunflower, Helianthus argophyllus, a native American wildflower of great substance and stature. But why is it so hard to track down seeds or plants of this very tall, multi-branching beauty, with its handsome foliage and extra-long bloom season? It’s worth the hunt, which I’ve been doing this week with both your garden and mine in mind. [read more…]
PLANTING PEAS—that first traditional first task of each new food-growing year—took on new significance this spring. I’d just finished watching a lecture on Gregor Mendel and his pea-breeding experiments in an online biology class I’m taking, when the snow finally melted and the soil warmed enough—well, almost enough— to have at it. The peas I like best, and how I plant them, all with a new reverence for the genetics built into a single Pisum sativum seed: [read more…]