Hello again!

It’s time to start selecting var ieties to plant in our gardens for the upcoming season. The fun thing about starting your own transplants is that for a very small investment, you can grow unique var ieties that are not available at the garden center as plants, or on grocery store shelves! Heirloom var ieties, unique colors, shapes and textures of vegetables are great options from our seed suppliers. Not only do edible crops come in seed, but offerings in annual and perennial plants are available as well.

We offer seeds from Lake Valley, Botanical Interest and Tri-Star at the store. I know for sure we have something unique for your garden from one of these suppliers.

Here are some FAQs about seed starting:

What is the correct time to start seeds indoors?
I’ll have a target date in mind for planting transplants outdoors. On cold or early season crops, I hope to plant them in the ground late March. Plants like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts can be planted with a bit of protection from temperatures in the 20’s, so can seed potatoes and onion sets. As a general rule, I start seedlings 8 weeks ahead of the target planting date. Warm season plants such as tomatoes and peppers that have a target planting date of mid-April should be started mid to late February since they aren't as cold tolerant.

What is the best media to start seedlings in?
Any commercially available media labeled as a seed starter will work. We carry ferti-lome Seed and Cutting Starter as well as Jiffy Seed Starting Mix. The key to seed starting mixes is that they contain fine sphagnum peat moss with vermiculite or perlite blended in.

What containers should I use?
I always suggest using clean, new trays and pots when starting and growing plants. You’ll find a good selection of trays and containers from Jiffy at the stores. Jiffy is also the leader in peat pots as well as Jiffy-7 Peat Pellets which are great to grow transplant seedlings in until it’s time to plant outside.

What is the optimum temperature for starting and growing seedlings?
I target 72 degrees for seed germination. A seedling heat pad uses very little electricity to maintain optimum temperature for germination and growing seedlings.

Should I fertilize seedlings?
Yes! I use ferti-lome All Purpose Water Soluble Plant Food with a balanced analysis of 20-20-20 at half rate after transplanting into containers, every other watering.

One thing indoor gardeners should do is to ‘harden off’ their plants before planting outside. By putting the plants outside with cooler temperatures the plants will not grow as fast, but will be stronger plants once in the ground. I advise then to leave the plants outside overnight as long as the temperatures aren't below freezing.

If you've got kids around, get them involved! Let them plant a few pots with fast growing plants such as green beans or sweet corn. The seeds will germinate in a few short days, grow quickly and will keep the kids interested in the garden.

We are excited to see you this spring. If you have any questions about your lawn or garden, or need to know where to start, we're here and happy to help!

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center