Heavy rain washes out seeds and smashes tender seedlings.So remove any mulch on the surface and dig down 6 to 8 inches, breaking up clods that seedling roots won’t be able to penetrate.If you can, mix in a couple inches of compost to improve soil aeration and add nutrients.Soil should crumble when you squeeze a handful — if it stays in a ball shape, it’s too wet.If you have really small seeds, such as the moss rose in the photo above, mix them with sand in a salt shaker so you can see if you’re sowing them evenly.If they need to be covered, spread soil from your prepared bed lightly over the top.Never use potting mix to cover the seeds — it can wick moisture away from seedlings.Whether you line seeds up in formal rows or broadcast in a drift, space them a little closer than you would starters from a pack.After seedlings have developed true leaves, you can always thin and share extras with a friend.Use the mist setting on your watering wand so you don’t wash the seeds away or you might end up with clusters of plants and bare spots.Continue to mist until the tiny plants have a couple sets of leaves, usually in two or three weeks.Later, when the plants reach blooming size, switch to a high-phosphorus fertilizer, such as 15-30-15, that will encourage flowering.A light layer of mulch at this time can help conserve moisture. .

Growing Annual Flowers from Seed

Once the seedlings have their first true leaves, carefully tease them apart and transplant into separate growing cells.Though my garden is now smaller and my ambition has mellowed a bit, I still start many flowers from seed.Say you want to plant a 12-foot row of zinnias along your walk, or put 40 white impatiens in your shade garden.Buying these plants at your local nursery will probably set you back at least $50, whereas a packet of seeds will run you about $4.All too often, people find themselves at home with a stack of colorful seed packets and no idea where to begin.The packet usually won't tell you whether the seeds should be started indoors under lights, or should be planted right in the garden.You won't be told if the seeds need light or darkness to germinate, or if the seedlings are frost hardy.These days, with so many unusual varieties available from seed, you may also wind up purchasing seeds for something exotic, like the Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia) that even a highly experienced gardener would have difficulty bringing into flower.Give yourself a year or two with these foolproof favorites before you venture into growing some of the more challenging annuals in the next list.This is a tricky one because growth rate is genetically programmed, but is also influenced by growing conditions.But if you start your zinnias eight weeks before transplanting, they'll be root-bound and too tall by the time they go into the garden.I agree that it's not worth the trouble to grow these seeds indoors for just three to four weeks, and also run the risk of transplant shock.This is a tricky one because growth rate is genetically programmed, but is also influenced by growing conditions.But if you start your zinnias eight weeks before transplanting, they'll be root-bound and too tall by the time they go into the garden.I agree that it's not worth the trouble to grow these seeds indoors for just three to four weeks, and also run the risk of transplant shock.The seed packet should tell you how many "days to bloom", which means how long it takes from germination to flowering.If you have a short growing season and the packet says it will be 80 or 90 days to bloom, you will need to start the seeds indoors if you want to see them flower for a couple weeks before frost.The easiest annuals to start from seed (see list at right) usually come into flower very quickly, often blooming just 50 to 70 days after planting.The seed packet should tell you how many "days to bloom", which means how long it takes from germination to flowering.If you have a short growing season and the packet says it will be 80 or 90 days to bloom, you will need to start the seeds indoors if you want to see them flower for a couple weeks before frost.The easiest annuals to start from seed (see list at right) usually come into flower very quickly, often blooming just 50 to 70 days after planting.Seeds of hardy annuals can be planted directly in the garden as early in the spring as the soil can be worked.Once the seeds have germinated, the young plants will usually tolerate a light frost and temperatures down to about 25 degrees F. Half-hardy annuals can be started indoors six to eight weeks before transplanting, or planted right in the garden once the soil has begun to warm up.Most will tolerate a light frost, but be prepared to protect young seedlings if temperatures drop.Tender annuals can be sown directly in the garden, but only after all danger of frost has passed.Transplant into the garden when you are confident that nighttime temperatures will stay above 40 degrees F.If you are interested in starting lots of annual flowers from seed, consider investing in a seedstarting reference, such as Eileen Powell's excellent book: The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Flowers from Seed to Bloom.You'll find important information about germination requirements, plant hardiness, time to bloom, etc. .

How to Grow Any Flower From Seed

Growing plants from seeds is not only easy to do but is also one of the cheapest ways to fill your garden with abundance. .

How to Plant Flowers in 5 Easy Steps

Flowering plants always make your garden look more exciting (and can stop neighbors in their tracks).Then, if you already have established flower beds, you can easily place new annuals or perennials wherever you need to fill in some holes.Squeeze it into a ball, then toss the soil onto a hard surface such as a rock or pavement.place plant root balls into holes Credit: Brie Passano.Garden flowers generally need 1 to 2 inches of moisture every week to perform well, so water if you don't receive enough rain.It's best to water deeply and less frequently than shallowly and more often so the roots of the plants grow deeper.A layer of mulch like shredded bark around your new plants will help slow down evaporation and reduce how often you need to water. .

Planting Wildflowers

Many wildflower enthusiasts and nature lovers prefer to leave their plants standing throughout the winter as habitat for insects.Many wildflower enthusiasts and nature lovers prefer to leave their plants standing throughout the winter as habitat for insects.Raking away the clippings will open things up at ground level, which allows sunlight to penetrate young perennial plants.Many wildflower gardeners like to scatter extra seeds, especially single-season annuals, to add more color to young meadows.The easiest and most effective way to add more seed if you have not recently mowed, is to take a steel rake and rough up small areas, or "pockets," throughout the planting site.You can then sprinkle the seed directly over these roughed-up areas, giving it a quick compression with your foot to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.The work you do during this time can help to reduce the growth of aggressive weeds and can also encourage your flowers to bloom more frequently.Part of the attraction of wildflowers is their ease of care; however, when weeds begin to take over your planting (usually an outcome of skimping on site prep work, or overseeding) it can be difficult to pull the weeds without damaging flower roots and disturbing the overall feel of your planting.A few passes with your scissors every other week will greatly reduce the threat of weeds and put your wildflowers back on top as the dominant species in your meadow.Additionally, when you cut back dead and dying flowers, you're sending a signal to the plant that it should focus its energy on producing even more blooms.A hard frost signals the end of the season for many flowers, but there is not one perfect time to mow your wildflower meadow. .

Your First Garden: What You Need to Know Before You Grow Plants

Starting vegetables from seed may have been the single most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my gardening career so far.I strongly feel that starting flowers from seed puts us more in tune with nature and the seasons.But knowing that many seeds need to be started and cared for indoors before transplanting them outdoors, I’m nervous that I may not be up to the task.Which plants can be directly sown in the garden? .

Direct Sowing: Starting Seeds Outdoors

How to Plants Seeds.Direct-sow tap-rooted vegetables, such as carrots or radishes, that do not transplant well as seedlings.Some flowers, including Sweet Pea, Larkspur and Bachelor's Buttons, germinate best in cool soil and should be direct-sown early in the growing season.Annuals that require a long time to grow from seed are best started indoors.How to Plant Flowers from Seed: Step-By-Step.When sowing extremely small seeds, such as carrots or nicotiana, mix seeds with sand to aid in dispersal.Moisture Matters – After planting, water seeds with a gentle mist or shower.Identify Seedlings – Learn what your seedlings will look like so you don't mistakenly pull them as weeds. .

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