Monday, February 6, 2017

A Growing Addiction

There is something about success that is addicting, 
as if a giant sign suddenly appeared that said 
"You've figured this out so do it again!"



It doesn't matter if what you're doing is mindlessly easy to others. We all have our own mountains to climb.



I grow a lot of rudbeckia hirta because it's so easy. This year I'm also growing the herb monarda citriodora. I bought a few organic plants last year (pink flowers above) and loved them so much, I'm starting them from seed. They're also super easy.

I've figured out how to grow many annuals from seed but don't be impressed. I specialize in growing plants that are easy to grow but I'm ok with that.
 Life's hard enough. 
I don't need to make it harder by torturing myself. 


'Frosted Flames' snapdragons have cool variegated foliage

The vast majority of the plants you buy at garden centers and even many online nurseries are full of pesticides so every annual I want that attracts pollinators is grown from seed. Sometimes I grow a few herbs, too, although the organic ones are pretty easy to find.


Most of these plants were grown from seed.

It's not hard.


Pink 'Summer Jewel' salvia grows and blooms quickly.

I buy big red plastic drink cups and poke holes in the bottom with a hot screwdriver I've heated on my stove. I fill them with moist soil and scatter the seeds on top. The only seeds I ever bury are the big ones. I cover the cups with plastic sandwich bags and put them on a heat mat under some cheapo grow lights. 


Seed grown dahlias are pollinator magnets


It's not hard.  

Once the seeds sprout, I take off the plastic bags. This year I'm starting almost 50 different types of seeds. I'd probably grow more if I had the room. Is that crazy? Maybe. But life's short so a little crazy is ok, too. It beats boring.


Cups full of monarda 'Bergamo' and monarda citriodora

This summer when my patio pots are bursting with organically grown, pollinator friendly plants I can stand back and say, "I did this!" 

To track how my plants are progressing, check out my So Seedy page.

46 comments:

  1. I'm glad to see that Fling, work, and the general craziness of life in these United States haven't kept you from your healthy addiction with growing plants from seed. I didn't try starting any seeds in pots in the house this year but I'm pleased to say that I have some viable snapdragons, as well as California poppies growing from seed scattered outside this year. You wouldn't think that it'd be hard to grow California poppies in SoCal but it sure hasn't been easy for me the last few years. However, this year, we add a lot of rain courtesy of Mother Nature and voila!

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    1. If I didn't grow all those little plants, I'd miss them. I scatter CA poppy seeds outside every winter, too. I'm so glad the rain is bringing you poppies! :o)

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  2. Awesome. I'm going to try Monarda citriodora - and Monarda fistulosa - this spring too!! :)

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    1. I love monarda in every form! I have loads of it.

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  3. Picked up a few different seed packets at the Seed Exchane this year, but not as many as in previous years. I guess it's time to start plantin'. I do it on the cheap, too.
    Ray

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  4. I love seed starting too. I'm starting quite a few things from seed this year too, and I also focus on the ones that are pretty easy.

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    1. There's nothing wrong with easy, especially when you're dealing with seeds. :o)

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  5. You embrace seed sowing bigtime and I love that! I also love that you are championing the easier to grow seeds. Every year I take on the challenge of trying a couple of difficult seeds and quite frankly it is never as rewarding as when I get nigh-on 100% germination from the less demanding candidates. Not only that, I usually have to wait for ages for any signs of life from the trickier customers. Far better to succeed with seed and enjoy the garden - as indeed will all the pollinators.

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    1. I did try one seed (Pocketbook Plant) that I was unsure about and out of 15 seeds, I have one seedling, which is ok with me. It was a cheap risk so I'll take what I can get.

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  6. Plant on. The pollinators can never ever have enough gardeners like you. :-)

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  7. Damn it. I just finished a seed order. Should have included monarda. Love that pink 'Summer Jewel' salvia too.

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  8. Clearly this works for you and how! Keep on with your healthy addiction--pollinators need you,

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    1. Thanks! Another huge section of woods near my home was recently leveled, which makes the habitat my garden provides even more important.

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  9. Wait - you grow dahlias from seed? Amazing. I haven't gotten past the zinnia and sunflower stage.

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    1. They're ultra easy!! You should give them a try. :o)

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  10. When I am retired I will grow plants from seed. With my travel schedule, it is not really an option. But you are right that what like what we can do well and we tend to do well at the tasks we like.

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  11. I usually grow plants from seed, as well Tammy. I do this because to buy seedlings is expensive and in the same time I have my own seed harvesting them from the flowers in fall.

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    1. Growing my plants from seed is very rewarding and I'm able to add plants to my garden that aren't available at garden centers.

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  12. I've always been intimidated by growing my own plants from seeds - I may give your method a shot this year.

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  13. You do crazy so well...that's a big part of why we love you so.

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    1. Awww.... thanks! I just gotta be me! I have no idea how to be anyone else. :o)

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  14. I think you should commandeer a second space, it's not good to have one's passion checked.

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    1. I agree! I've already expanded into a second area of the basement and put up folding tables covered with grow lights. There may be more on the way. :o)

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  15. Very impressive, Tammy! I've been growing more plants from seed in recent years--especially annuals. I have several local sources for pesticide-free plants, which is helpful. But it's really fun and rewarding to be able grow some plants from seed. Your photos are amazing! I love that Dahlia!

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    1. Thanks! It's all pretty easy. I wish I could get more pesticide free plants locally but that isn't an option so I grow them instead.

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  16. Great post! I love it when people make seed starting simple and straight forward and leave all the complications to the people who want to be experts. It's supposed to be fun after all, and doesn't always have to come out perfect.
    I grow a bunch of things each winter and luckily the seeds are cheap enough that I don't care if most of them don't make it. Actually it's a good thing since I'd never find them all a decent home!

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    1. thanks! I'm definitely not an expert, that's for sure! I have way more plants than I need but I have a couple of friends already lined up to take them off my hands.

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  17. Collective seeds and then sowing them sparawia not my problem. The problem is planting seedling transplanting into the ground. My spine anymore I can not stand. That is why I have little flowers annuals from seed. Regards.

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    1. There are many other ways to enjoy the garden besides sowing seeds. I hope you are able to do so. :o)

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  18. Another great advantage it is much cheaper than buying all those plants! I love your 'Frosted Flames' snapdragon!

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    1. Many of these plants aren't available locally so the only way to grow them is by seed. :o)

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  19. Hello Tammy, I distinctly remember your crazy seed growing set up with lots of foil, trays, cups and lamps, it's nuts but the results are incredible. Over here I still tend to go for perennials in the garden borders and annuals are bought from the garden centre as pot plants for the patio and hanging baskets. We're planning a very large herbaceous border where the only way we'll be able to afford it is to grow from seed given the number of plants we'll need!

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    1. It works! Growing from seed isn't as hard as I thought it was years ago. But I've only grown one perennial. Annuals are pretty easy to start. Good luck!

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  20. You are not crazy! I am right with you, I love growing the easy ones that I can just start from seed. I don't have to purcahse the chemical + hormone + stuned plants from the big box store. I love growing things from seed:-) Your not alone, I am crazy I guess too:-)

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    1. We're all crazy together, which is why we get along so well. :o)

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  21. Seedy, cheap, and easy. No wonder we're friends! Seriously, good for you for doing this; you've encouraged me to start some seeds myself this season. There are quite a few kicking around the house.

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    1. Plant them up and I'll see you in June, hopefully!

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  22. I'm so glad you are a seedaholic too! Your seedlings look great! Isn't it wonderful to grow everything yourself. I always feel so proud when everything flowers and I can claim responsibility for it from start to finish! I haven't tried growing dahlias from seeds yet - one more thing to try. Can you let me know the date of the garden bloggers fling thing in DC again - was it May? I'm going to see if I can make it!
    - Kate xx

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    1. I hope you can make it! It does feel like a huge accomplishment and all I really need to do is water them. The plants do all the work! :o)

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  23. Lol! I actually just saw the info at the top of the page - I'll see what I can do! Loved the info in the So Seedy section too. Some of these I have tried myself so its great to compare and some not - I will check out that list of dahlia seed suppliers - thank you!

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    1. Growing dahlias from seed is super easy. I hope to see you in June!

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