Grow Racks as Hostage-Takers

Published on 22 May 2023 at 16:49

How hard can it really be to start plants from seeds?  Apparently, some seeds are simple, trouble-free growers while others are veritible hostage-takers needing constatnt vigilance.  Like little chlorophyl babies, they need time, attention and monitoring throughout the day.

For my first year as a "flower farmer" I threw it all-in so to speak and bought seed packets from a wide range of beauties - I know I over-purchased but I'm a learner thru doing kind of gal.   I setup the racks, warming pad, fan, timer, lights, plastic on the floor, reflective sheets on the walls, prep table, bucket of water, spritzer.  It was the last week in February and I was planning on a mad scientist sort of experiment with me tending my seeds.  That was totally fine until about the end of March and the farm to-do tasks began mounting and the few trays of difficult-to-grow seeds didn't hold my interest as much as their easier seed friends did.  

My hardest seed to start under grow lights in March was Lisianthus (needed a certain temp and lots of time), Delphinium, and Larkspur (needed cold striation and light).  I also had trouble with Ranunculus which knocked the pants of me since I was careful soaking, sprouting, planting them.  I think they suffered from a variety of issues since they all look rather sad.   

Happier topic: my easiest seeds to grow under lights were Snapdragon, Sweet Pea, Marigold, Mignonette, Lupine, Zinnia, Sunflower, Stock, Angelonia, Dahlia.  They all sprouted reliably and if they failed it was my lack of fertilizer, water or time hardening off.

Beyond seeds, I love propagating existing plants to make freebies since it feels like they're already 1/2 way into growing already.  Bring on my favorite propagators from cuttings:  Dahlia, Sweet Pea, Chrysanthemum, Impatient, Coleus, Hydrangea, Lavender

Knowing me, next year, I'll try turning those difficult seeds into darlings.  Maybe I can live without growing Lisianthus?  No, I don't think so. Well, plugs are always an option!


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