Do you have spring fever? Are you SO ready to get outside and play in the sun? While we are chomping at the bit to start our garden, it is still WEEKS before any outdoor gardening can take place. I have to remind myself that this time of enforced indoor time is a blessing. I am notoriously bad about letting my record keeping lapse once I can get out into the garden so February is crucial planning and record keeping time. So, here's what's happening in (for) the garden this February:
Here at Petals By Pedal, floral design grew out of a passion for gardening, so we grow as many of our own flowers as possible. In my January Post I detailed where I buy my seeds from so if you are like me, you are now sitting on a few dozen packets of seeds and itching to get your hands dirty! Here I will detail the three crucial steps I take every February to prep for the growing season.
When my seeds first arrive I organize them into the following categories based upon how many "Weeks Before the Last Frost" (WBLF) they should be planted:
1. Cold Stratification
2. 12+ Weeks Before Last Frost (WBLF)
3. 10-12 WBLF
4. 8-10 WBLF
5. 6-8 WBLF
6. 4-6 WBLF
7. 2-4 WBLF
8. Direct Sow
Here in Boulder, Colorado the predicted last frost day is May 4th. With this date I can label the weeks in my calendar back to determine the following dates for sowing my seeds (I change the dates slightly to correspond with Mondays as that is the day I am kid free long enough to get my planting done) :
1. Cold Stratification* - 2/1/19
2. 12+ Weeks Before Last Frost (WBLF) - 2/4/19
3. 10-12 WBLF - 2/18/19
4. 8-10 WBLF - 2/25/19
5. 6-8 WBLF - 3/11/19
6. 4-6 WBLF - 4/01/19
7. 2-4 WBLF - 4/15/19
8. Direct Sow 5/4/19
According to the handy schedule I've made for myself, the 1st of February I put the seeds that require cold stratification into the fridge. *Cold stratification simply means that some seeds (like Verbena and Bells of Ireland) germinate better if they are first exposed to a few weeks of cold (you are basically replicating a mild winter for the seeds). By putting them in the fridge in early February I insure that they are ready to germinate when the time comes to plant them.
Then on February 4th I would normally start my first set of seeds. Now, I have travel in February and don't get back until the 16th. Caring for germinating seeds does require daily, if brief, attention so I will wait to start all of my seeds when I get back from my trip.
In my follow-up post I will detail the equipment I prepare for my seed starting that greatly increases seed starting success!