Meet The Seeds — Part One

This plaque, a gift from my friend Maria, hangs in the potting shed.

Simply put, I’m a sucker for seeds.  I can’t really say if it’s magical or spiritual, but I am amazed at what is locked inside each oddly shaped, variously sized seed.  Just provide the right environment, and it’s as if the Big Bang is put into motion.  Roots, stems, leaves, blooms, seed — it’s an ongoing cycle that is so simple (and yet so complicated) that it helps keep me grounded in this hectic world.  It’s one thing to stop and smell the roses, but it’s another thing to stop and plant a seed and wait and then smell. 

My Park Seed and Select Seeds order has arrived, and very soon, I will begin my own cycle of planting and watering and thinning.  I admit, I went a little heavy on red — but I do love red in the garden.  It’s hot and vibrant and passionate — and  it comes in so many shades, from bright to brick to bold. 

And now, without any further delay, I would like to roll out my red carpet.

Zinnia is one of my favorites for a number of reasons: easy to grow, somewhat drought tolerant, and a full season of flowers.  This year, I selected “Big Red” and “Swizzle Cherry and Ivory.”  

After the potting shed was built, I began to venture out of my easy seed comfort zone.  With Geraniums, I found a friend.  They were easy to handle and sprouted quite successfully.  I’m also impressed with the variety of colors available in catalogs, although this year I’m keeping to the red standard, “Elite Red.”
When I began to plant Impatiens seeds, I failed miserably.  Every book advised me to not cover the seeds since they needed light to germinate.  They also said to cover the potting mix with plastic wrap to hold in moisture.  My result was the same: either dried out soil (without the wrap) or an overheated pile of mush (with the wrap).  Now, I cover the seeds very lightly with seed starting mix, and I’ve had stronger results.  Here is “Sunny Lady,” which Park Seed claims is more sun tolerant.  We shall see.
I’ve grown Amaranthus in the past, usually “Summer Poinsettia” or “Love Lies Bleeding.”  However, when I saw “Green Thumb” in the Select Seeds catalog, I was mesmerized by its greenness — like living Absinthe.  I’m not sure if the photo was color enhanced, but I am very excited to see if the real plant resembles the picture.
There’s a huge dry area along the rear patio that recieves full sun all day — and I have reserved the area for “Strawberry Fields” Gomphrena.  I must admit, though, not the best picture of it from the Park Seed catalog.
One of my most favorite things about seeds is that I get the chance to challenge myself and experiment.  I have three experiments for this year, and here is the first: Ornamental Banana.  Park Seed says the tree is a “super fast-growing” specimen — able to grow 10 feet in a single season.  I’ll keep you posted, so to speak.
As for the other two experiments, as well as the rest of the red carpet, stay tuned.  The reveal will happen in a few days in Part Two of this post.  Until then, be well.

53 thoughts on “Meet The Seeds — Part One

  1. Gosh, the Amaranth is fabulous, irresistable. Can you eat it?

    Ornamental banana sounds scarey…ten feet in a single season, that could be dangerous in our warm/hot climate (Queensland, Australia)

    • Hi Lilith. You know, I really don’t know if it’s edible. I do know that the ornamental bananas are not edible. I only hope that I can get one foot of tropical growth before autumn weather arrives. 🙂

  2. If you grew up seeing things grow, growing from seed is in your blood. I love to grow from seed and do not have the space to grow everything I would like to. I need acres and an army to help with the work.

    • 🙂 I sometimes think I live on acres and acres, especially when I see how many seeds are sprouting. It is truly an addiction, and I have consciously restrain myself from going overboard.

  3. I love your enthusiasm. I’m a consistent vegetable gardener, but I haven’t done much with flowers! You inspire me! I have all my seed catalogues coming in, but I’ve been slowed down in the process of getting the order in…I’d better get to it! Thanks for the push. I can’t wait to see what else you’re up to! Debra

  4. Wow, I just wish I had green fingers, but sadly any seeds I plant just don’t spring into life, but on the bright side I have a 5 year old granddaughter who DOES have the gift of growing, I give her a packet of seeds and they just grow, it started with cress, and we planted lettuce to put in our sandwiches, she has grown poppies and cosmos, my nan had green fingers and although I have missed out I am so glad she has it, she just loves the garden……

  5. Oooh! The excitement is almost toooooo much to bear…BUT…we must be patient…and wait. Keep us posted on developments as your ‘babies’ spring to life…so satisfying. My seed packets are poised ready for action but we still have ice n’ snow and my bags of potting compost are frozen (grrr…)Sheesh…look at me…all serious…n’ sensible.
    Off to give myself a good slap!

  6. Methinks you are a seed magnet Kevin. I have to take care not to overdo the reds. I gave up on trying to grow the Impatiens from seed, the tiny plug plants which is available mail order was the answer for me. I will keep a look out for progress with the ornamental banana.

    • I understand completely the impatience with Impatiens. My only reason for starting from seed is the variety. The nurseries in my area are usually full of the same kind — and I like to be a little different.

  7. Best of luck with your red zinnias and the ornamental banana. My seed addiction is right out there for everyone to see in the 150+ winter sown milk jugs lining both sides of my breezeway. This year (Y3) I’m growing several types of Japanese red maple, apple, crocosmia ‘Lucifer,’ cardinal flower & red twig dogwood. I’ll winter sow some zinnias once the worst of the cold weather is behind us. Looking forward to a bright RED spring!

  8. Good luck with all your plantings, may they be fruitful and beautiful. Do you save any of your own seeds? I am saving more each year. It’s cheaper and one is assured of clean (non GM) seeds, assuming of course one starts with non GM seeds.

    • Thanks. I have saved seeds in the past, but . . . I work in a school, and just when it could be seed harvesting time, school is starting, leaves are falling, the pool needs covering — and seed collecting gets lost somewhere. Someday, I will organize myself.

  9. I have grown the Strawberry Fields Gomphrena for years and this is one of my favorites. It dries wonderfully also. If you haven’t tried it yet, the Fireworks Gomphrena from Burpee is fabulous.The flowers are a little smaller and a dark pink but literally covers the plant until frost.

  10. What great choices in seeds Kevin. I love the Cherry & Ivory Zinnias. I am anxious to see the Green Thumb Amaranthus when they bloom. That is a new one that looks so interesting. I have hit and miss starting Impatiens seeds too. I do better with the seeds I save myself from those in my garden. I do better with a sprinkling of soil on them as well and uncovered in the sunlight.

  11. How exciting! Love the selections as I’m a fan of red too. Glad to hear geranium’s are not too hard to start. I’ve often wondered about these but have been chicken to try. I’ve grown impatiens with no trouble before, lightly cover the seed and put them in my little incubators but I used pelleted seed too so that might make a difference?

    • I was surprised at the ease of Geraniums. They just need about 10 weeks from your last frost date. I’m not sure if pelleted seeds are the trick — or just my having to learn by trial and error. Happy planting!

  12. Those flowers are going to look great in your garden, Kevin. And you can never have too much red – anywhere, any time.
    I have tried geraniums and impatiens from seed and I grew very healthy, large plants – that bloomed in October
    It is fun and quite cost effective to grow flowers from seed – when I first started the garden I grew quite a few perennials from seed: scabiosa, lupins and arabis alpina. Thx for the great blog!

    • Thank you do much for the nomination, but I just received this honor a few weeks ago. But I do appreciate your support, and I hope that you come back to visit often. Cheers!

  13. Pingback: Meet The Seeds — Part Two « Nitty Gritty Dirt Man

  14. The Amaranthus looks otherworldly in a “take me to your leader” kind of way. Can’t wait to see how it all works out. Thanks for the ruler pix…great idea.

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