Seeds provide a gardening jump-start

By Richard Burke

Peppers and eggplant

Seeds are among the wonders of our world. With usually little prompting, just the right planting medium, moisture and light, they become seedlings that turn into mature plants with flowers, some of which become edibles and others that are simply a feast for the eye. Ultimately, they produce more seeds to propagate their kind and the process starts all over again.

Despite moving a little more gingerly this year, I was still moved to plant three flats each with 72 cells, many of which at the third day had sprouts pushing up toward the clear dome. It’s a gardening jump-start. The grow-op (no, not the kind that might attract the constabulary) is in a crawl space under the house. Each year for the past 20 years or so, it has been part of the magic coinciding roughly with the start of spring.


The timing is pretty simple: for most seeds, count back six to eight weeks from the time they’ll become part of the garden (it’s right on the back of the seed package).

I’m generally pretty meticulous, using a short bamboo stake about ¼ inch around I can press into the soil ⅛ to ¼ inch deep for one seed, thinking it shortens the process of selecting the best and pinching off the rest. This year, I just sprinkled a few seeds, figuring the best would still flourish and if more than one became best, there’s always a use for more seedlings.

Other than for friends who will gladly take them, the Lethbridge and District Horticultural Society has its annual Plant Sale May 26 and will need plants for the first phase of developing the new Legacy Ornamental Gardens in the Legacy Regional Park on the north side.


After just over a week, showing their green tops are several tomato varieties, basil such as Genovese, mammoth and purple, parsley, peppers, eggplant, among edibles, then annual flowers such as calendula, gazania, ageratum, lots of zinnias, decorative grasses like ponytail, purple fountain and – I’ll keep trying ‘til it works – pink pampas grass.

Because some are already displaying their true leaves, later this week will be the first transplanting. That’s when I can usually move them out to the greenhouse. But, looking ahead two weeks in the weather forecast, there isn’t a night that supposed to stay above zero, so I’ll need to find more space inside.

I’ve had trouble starting impatience from seed. Guess I have enough of that in my temperament.
Focusing on seeds sure beats watching huge snow piles melt.

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