Garden Seeds

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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All you really need to start plants--whether flower or vegetable--from seed indoors is warmth, good drainage, and plenty of light. This might mean a full-fledged greenhouse, a $20 grow lamp, or just a good southern exposure in a kitchen window with lots of TLC. The idea is to give the plants adequate lead time in protected conditions before moving them outside.

Some seeds, of course, need more time than others. Among the flowers that want to be planted early are Begonia, Salvia, Pansies, Petunias, and (ironically) Impatiens. Among the vegetables that need it are broccoli, leeks, tomatoes, and eggplant. You can find the basic information you need on the seed packet itself. Almost without exception, these feature detailed growing, planting, and care information on the back side.

Garden Seed Package Instructions

Let's look at an envelope for sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) as an example. Toward the top or otherwise prominently displayed will be a brief description of the sweet pea as an annual climbing vine that is hardy to frost and blooms in spring and summer. Somewhere on the packet, whether front or back, is usually a colorful description.

You'll also want to see a quick planting chart. In the case of the sweet pea, it would probably advise planting at one inch depth, two to three inches apart, between January and June or, in mild climates, in the fall, in full sun. Germination is generally indicated, in the case here, this would be between 10 and 14 days, to reach about seven feet at maturity. Growing notes--such as ideal soil, drainage, and climate--are also usually included.


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