DENVER — While it's still way too early to sow most seeds, a few that need a longer growing season can be started now. These include pansies, petunias, artichokes, foxgloves and dianthus.
Most seed packets offer instructions on when to sow seeds, such as "6 to 8 weeks before last average frost date."
Check your seed packets; some may require sowing up to 12 or 14 weeks before that date, which is May 10 along the Front Range.
If you're starting seeds now or soon, plan ahead. You'll need a good potting mix, plastic cells or pans, trays and labels.
It's tedious. Take your time and put on your specs. Some seeds are so small that they're very difficult to sow with any precision. Some very tiny seeds come in pelleted form, meaning they've been coated to make them bigger and easier to work with. They're still tiny.
That's why I've resorted to using shallow plastic pans. They're like four-packs but without the divisions. I sprinkle tiny seeds on the soil and press them in gently with my fingers.
Once you've planted, place the pans or cells in a tray and water from below. This avoids washing the seeds away. The soil will absorb the moisture from below.
Add enough water until the soil is uniformly damp. Cover with a clear plastic dome to create a humid environment. Place in a bright, warm place. A heat mat speeds germination. Avoid too much direct sunlight or you'll cook the seeds.
Once the seeds germinate, remove the cover and give them lots of sunshine.
Pay attention to the timing recommendations on the seed packets. Don't even think about planting tomatoes, peppers or marigolds. That's a project for April.
More Proctor's Garden:
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