I started my first round of seeds today, it felt good and productive. Usually I start during the last week of January and keep my fingers crossed for at least a few nice days in March so that I can get a small cold frame up and start to move stuff out of the basement. The addition of our hoop houses last fall is helping to alleviate some my anxiety in that regard. This first round of seedlings will get planted into my new hoop house, which is sooo exciting. Not only will I have flowers earlier but I will have more room in my basement to get more plants started for later.
This is my new germination chamber, it holds 16 flats and right now they are all 72 cell. These guys are going to be in the basement for a while and will need room for their roots to grow. Seeding at this time of year is a definite balancing act. It is possible to start things too soon and have stressed out plants in the spring. First on my list are always cool weather loving plants that can tolerate a light frost and are generally slow growers. We are not technically frost free until the first week of May and I need to get out plants way before that if I want flowers in June. I have planted out to the field snapdragons, stock, godetia, bells of Ireland, campanulas, scabiosa, and sweet peas as early as mid-March if the soil is ready to be worked. Some of these varieties were on my seeding list for this week and some will get started next week. It’s a bit of a gamble, but when you make your money selling flowers you get used to taking chances with the weather. This year with the addition of the hoop houses some of my anxiety in that regard has been alleviated as well.