DENVER — Tuberous begonias and calla lilies are summer stars. Get them started now to be ready at planting time. In addition, sow seed of leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, kale and broccoli.
Tuberous begonias have big, beautiful flowers and thrive in shade. If you get tubers now, start them inside so they'll be big enough for planting in mid-to-late May.
The tubers have a top and bottom. The top in slightly concave; the bottom is rounded and slightly "hairy." You can plant them in individual pots or in a tray with drainage. I prefer the tray. Snuggle them into the soil so the top is right at the surface. Water and cover. Place the tubers in a bright area - but not direct sun or you'll cook them. Growing them under lights is also great.
Plant calla lilies the same way but with about two inches of soil over the tops. Summer callas come in a wide variety of colors and bloom in June or July. The classic white calla lily is a winter bloomer and not suitable for growing outside in Colorado.
After the begonias and callas have sprouted, remove the plastic covers and provide sunshine. When they're several inches high, the plants can be individually potted or moved to bigger pots that can contain several plants.
Cool season crops need to be planted outdoors early - usually in April. Sow seeds of cabbage, kale, broccoli and leafy greens inside soon. Use plastic six packs or shallow plastic pans. Wet the soil first. Space the seeds about a half inch apart. Cover and place in bright indirect light. After the seeds germinate, remove the plastic cover and provide sun. Seedlings can be gently pulled apart when they're about an inch or two high and planted in individual pots.
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