When you just ‘gotta’ plant [UPDATED]Published 5:07am Monday, March 11, 2013 Updated 7:09am Monday, March 11, 2013
Are you getting itchy fingers, wanting to get dirt under your fingernails? Are your plant-starting pots only used for tomatoes? Get out of the rut.
After all, a rut is nothing put a grave with the ends knocked out.
Start some plants that need 10 to 12 weeks to get a proper start. If we have a late spring, you may be looking at 12 to 16 weeks before you can even harden off your seedlings.
So, what can you start now? For vegetables only celery and later, peppers. Celery takes a long time to get tall enough to repot.
It needs quite a bit more moisture to do well than most seedlings. Start it in a small container as you only want 2 to 4 plants.
If you can any tomato product, you will love the taste of home grown celery. It has real flavor.
Start peppers about the end of February.
Keep them nipped off and you will have nice, bushy peppers ready to start producing long before the tiny plants available in the spring.
If you want to have a lot of one flower, for instance, a path lined with lobelia, or six large planters filled with only white petunias, start your own.
A clump of flowers always looks better than just one or two scattered about. There are usually four to six plants in a pack in the nursery, and if you want 30, you might want to start them yourself.
Here are a few you can start today for spring planting: Edging lobelia, cupflower, heliotrope (these smell marvelous), ice plant, Livingstone daisy, monkey flower, wishbone flower and snapdragons and petunias.
Wait until the first of April to start tomatoes and any plant that only needs six to eight weeks from seedling to garden.
That 30 or whatever day to maturity isn’t from when you plant the seed; it’s from when you put the plant in the soil.
If you wonder if the seeds you have in that basement drawer are viable, here is a quick way to find out.
Lay 10 seeds on a damp paper towel. Wrap the towel into a packet and put it in a plastic bag. Lay the bag on top of the fridge, or any place it will be warm. Check it in about a week to see if any seeds have sprouted or if the towel needs more water. After two weeks, all the seeds that are going to sprout should have.
If all 10 did, you have 100 percent viability. If only two have, you have 20 percent. You can still use the seeds, just plant more of them for the same amount of plants.
If you have had onion plants or corn seedlings pulled out of the soil and left lying on top of the soil, don’t cuss the squirrels. It’s crows doing the dirty work.
Either they are hungry for fresh greens or they just enjoy watching you on your hands and knees in the dirt.
Bev Johnson is a master gardener in Otter Tail County.