Spring AT LAST and there’s so much to do! A great way to get sunshine, exercise, fun and family time all in one activity! Spring is Seed Time! Try at least one new item in your garden this year!
SPRING IN THE NORTH
Many of you cannot plant outdoors until May 15 or later. So there’s plenty of time to start seeds indoors of peppers , tomatoes and eggplant 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost. Start seeds of impatiens and geraniums now. All these vegetable and flower seedlings are slow-growing and need a good headstart indoors. Some folks also like to start broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower indoors now. You may want to start seeds of lavender and rosemary now indoors. A fluorescent shop light 6-8 inches above the tops of the seedlings will provide adequate light for growing plants. Keep the lights on for 12-18 hours per day, off at night. Raise the lights as plants grow. Use a light, clean soil mix to start your plants. Jiffy Mix is the perfect mixture for seedlings.
Clump Test: Before you can work your garden soil, it must pass the ""clump test"". Take a small handful of soil and squeeze it together in your hand. When you let go, the soil should fall apart in large clumps -- dry enough to dig. When you’re ready to plant, prepare your garden soil by tilling or digging to about 12"" deep. If this is a new garden, we suggest testing the soil for acid balance and nutrient levels. You can easily do your own soil test or have your county extension service do the test for you. After preparing the soil, plant as soon as you can (because weed seeds will begin to germinate right away) and mulch the soil as soon as you can. For vegetable gardens, use a dark plastic mulch stretched over the soil, cut a hole, and plant through it. Mulching will save water later, and control weeds.
FLOWERS FROM SEEDS
Sow seeds of perennials now. If you get them in the ground early enough, some varieties may bloom this first year! Examples of first-year bloom: Summer Pastels achillea, Alpine Blue aster, Early Sunrise coreopsis, Pizzicato Oriental poppy, Summer Carnival hollyhock, Ornamental Fountain grass and Blue Spike veronica. Plant seeds of hardy annual flowers (the ones which bloom early) now: alyssum and aster, baby’s breath and bachelor button, calendula and candytuft, dianthus, larkspur, poppies, rudbeckia, snapdragon and statice, stock and sweet pea. Take me to Flower Seeds.
Enjoy the colorful bloom of flowering bulbs you planted last fall. Daffodils and tulips make great bouquet flowers. Cut the stems short and dip immediately into lukewarm water. The Hold & Cut Flower Gatherer is an excellent tool for flower lovers. Arrange and set in a cool place for longest vase life. Change water in the vase every day. Put some Holland Bulb Booster fertilizer around bulb plants when they have finished blooming. When frost is past, plant summer-flowering bulbs. These need sun. If you have shade, plant begonias, callas and caladiums.
VEGETABLES AND HERBS
Plant seeds of these early vegetables as soon as you can work your soil (see ""Clump Test"", above): beets and collards, carrots and endive, kale, kohlrabi and leek, lettuce, mustard, onions, Chinese cabbage, pak choi, peas, radishes and Swiss chard and turnips. Take me to Vegetable Seeds. Plant seeds of perennial herbs now: catnip, chives, garlic chives, lemon balm, oregano, parsley, roquette, sage, spearmint and thyme. If you have a running stream, plant watercress now. Take me to Herb Seeds.
Northern lawn grasses prefer it cool. In spring, plant seed in April for best results. Please make sure to water diligently until the seedlings emerge. Take me to Lawn Seed.
PLANTS, SHRUBS AND TREES
You can put container-grown plants, such as perennial flowers, ground covers, flowering shrubs, evergreen shrubs, fruit trees and ornamental plants, into the ground now. Dig large, deep holes, add organic material such as peat moss or leaf compost, or the Grow Brick. Mix with soil, and plant at the same level the plant was previously (soil line usually shows on stem). Water well after planting, then mulch to conserve soil moisture for the coming summer. Water all newly-planted plants weekly all during their first growing season for best root growth and plant success.
SPRING IN THE SOUTH
Plant heat-loving vegetables such as beans, cantaloupe, cucumbers, sweet corn, okra, pumpkins, squash, tomatillo and watermelon now. Set out your eggplant, pepper and tomato plants after a week or so of gradually exposing them to outdoor light and temperatures. If you have limited space, grow a patio vegetable garden in large barrel or pot. Take me to Vegetable Seeds. Plant seeds of all herbs now, especially anise, basil, borage, caraway, chamomile, caraway, cilantro, dill, summer savory, sweet burnet, and sweet marjoram. Take me to Herb Seeds.
FLOWERS FROM SEEDS
Plant seeds of these annual flowers now, directly in the garden: amaranthus, balsam, ornamental basil, castor bean, celosia, cleome, coleus, cosmos, dahlia, dianthus, four o’clock, globe amaranth, kochia, lavatera, lobelia, marigold, melampodium, moss rose, nasturtium, nicotiana, nigella, ornamental grass, phlox, pincushion flower, salvia, strawflower, sunflower, tithonia, verbena, vinca and zinnia. Plant seeds now where they are to grow for these lovely vines: ornamental bean, cardinal climber, gourds, moonflower and morning glory. You can also plant seeds for perennial flowers now, but they may do better for you if started in August-September instead. Take me to Flower Seeds.
Plant begonias, callas and caladiums in shady areas. Plant summer-flowering bulbs in sun. These will all grow as perennials in your garden unless you have extended very cold temperatures in winter. If you already have these bulbs in your garden, they may need dividing. Dig up the whole clump, separate (give some extras to friends and neighbors) and replant at wider spacings.
Bermuda Grass will give Southern lawns a sure green carpet and stand up to the brutal summer. Plant from seed, then make sure to water diligently until the seedlings emerge. Take me to Lawn Seed.
PLANTS, SHRUBS AND TREES
Plant container-grown perennial flowers and azaleas, camellias, magnolias, fruit trees and evergreens now. Dig large, deep holes, add organic material such as peat moss or leaf compost. Mix with soil, and plant at the same level the plant was previously (soil line usually shows on stem). Water well after planting, then mulch to conserve soil moisture in the coming summer. Water all newly-planted plants weekly all during their first growing season for best root growth and plant success.
GROW FROM SEED — THE EASY WAY!
IS IT EASY TO GROW FROM SEED?""
Yes! So many people who garden buy little plants in expensive little packs, instead of growing their own plants from seed. Starting seeds seems to be a mystery today -- but it needn’t be! There’s nothing easier or more rewarding in gardening than planting seeds, and the plants are healthier and grow just as fast as little plants some folks buy. And it’s more economical to grow plants from seeds. You’ll have More Plants For Your Money! Try some perennial plants from seed.
DIRECT-SEED YOUR OWN CABBAGE.
In frost-free areas, direct-seed even your peppers and tomatoes! Seeds sown where they are to grow actually grow better, stronger and healthier. Why? Because they are subject to the natural outdoor cycle of temperature, moisture and light. They put roots down which are not disturbed later. And their growth is sturdier due to outdoor temperatures and sunlight. So...What are you waiting for? Start your garden with some Ferry-Morse seeds this spring!
THREE STEPS FOR USING SEEDS
1. Direct-seeding in the garden is easy. First, prepare the soil in spring as soon as it has dried enough to dig. Loosen the soil to about 8-12 inches, then smooth the surface. Plant seeds at the time suggested on the seed packet. Keep soil evenly moist until seedlings appear.
2. Thin the plants to the suggested spacing, so they have room to grow and branch normally.
3. There are a few vegetables and flowers which really need an indoor headstart because they are slow-growing. These are: tomato, pepper, eggplant, impatiens and petunia. Everything else can be planted directly outside in the garden. For indoor seed starting, try Ferry-Morse Grow Kits. They contain everything needed except sun & water. That’s it -- success with your garden from seeds! Click here for a book about seeds.
MARCH IS TOMATO TIME
TOMATO LOVERS, START YOUR SEEDLINGS!
March is the time to start tomatoes from seed in most parts of the country. You think it’s too late? No -- really! Many folks start tomato seeds indoors too early. Tomato plants can’t be planted outside until all frost is past -- which is about 6 to 8 weeks from now for most areas. Started in March, your tomato plants will be just the right size and age to go out into the garden. Take me to Tomato Seeds.
STEP BY STEP TOMATO PLANTS
* Start your seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last spring frost.
* Use sterile seed-starting mixture for best results.
* Provide 12-18 hours of light daily from fluorescent fixtures 6-8 inches above the plants. Turn the lights off at night.
* Raise the lights as seedlings grow.
* Use a fertilizer dissolved in the water, at about half strength, each time you water, starting when seedlings have 2 pairs of leaves.
* Thin plants as suggested on seed packet.
* When frost is past, take your seedlings outdoors during the day, shading them from direct sun. Bring seedlings in each evening. After a week or so, the plants have ""hardened off"" and you can plant them into the garden.
* Tomatoes need sun, all day. Pick a sunny area where water does not stand after a heavy rain and trees do not cast shadows.
* Plant seedlings a little deeper than they were in the pots. Provide stakes about 6 in. from plants, and tie plants up as they grow.
* Prune the suckers (branches) off your large-fruited varieties to give you bigger fruits.
* Keep your tomato plants evenly moist all through the growing season, and fertilize regularly with a formula low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus and potassium.
APRIL AND MAY ARE FLOWER TIME
APRIL STEP BY STEP FLOWERS OUTDOORS
HARDY ANNUAL FLOWER SEEDS TO PLANT NOW:
Alyssum, Bachelor button, Calendula, Candytuft, Chrysanthemum, Dianthus, Gloriosa daisy, Larkspur, Pansy, Pincushion flower, Poppy, Statice, Stock, Sweet pea. Take me to Flower Seeds.
* Scratch up the soil surface.
* Scatter flower seeds.
* Cover lightly with soil.
* Keep evenly moist until plants emerge.
* Thin plants as suggested on seed packet.
APRIL STEP BY STEP FLOWERS INDOORS
If you’re anxious to get started planting, you can start any of these seeds indoors now so they will be ready to set outdoors after last spring frost: African Daisy, Ageratum, Amaranthus, Aster, Baby’s breath, Balsam, Bells of Ireland, Canna, Castor Bean, Celosia, Cleome, Cosmos, Dahlia, Four O’Clock, Gourds, Kochia, Lavatera, Marigold, Morning Glory, Ornamental Bean, Phlox, Salvia, Snapdragon, Strawflower, Zinnia. Take me to Flower Seeds.
* Start seeds indoors using sterile seed-starting mixture for best results.
* Cover flower seeds as packet directs.
* Provide 12-18 hours of light daily from fluorescent fixtures 6-8 inches above the plants. Turn the lights off at night. Raise the lights as seedlings grow.
* Keep evenly moist until plants emerge.
* Thin or transplant as suggested on seed packet.
* When frost is past, take your seedlings outdoors during the day, shading them from direct sun. Bring seedlings in each evening. After a week or so, the plants have ""hardened off"" and you can plant them into the garden. Enjoy your Flowers from Seed!
May is when flower lovers plant flower seed right in the garden!
Plant these annual flower seeds now:
African Daisy, Amaranthus, Aster, Baby’s Breath, Bachelor Button, Bells of Ireland, Canna, Cardinal Climber, Castor Bean, Celosia, Cleome, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Dahlia, Four O’Clock, Gloriosa Daisy, Gourds, Kochia, Lavatera, Marigold, Moonflower, Morning Glory, Moss Rose, Nigella, Nasturtium, Ornamental Bean, Phlox, Salvia, Strawflower, Sunflower, Verbena, Zinnia.
1. Scratch up the soil surface.
2. Scatter flower seeds.
3. Cover lightly with soil.
4. Keep evenly moist until plants emerge.
5. Thin plants as suggested on seed packet. Enjoy your Flowers from Seed!
SPRING IS LAWN TIME
Steps To A Successful Lawn with Seed
1. Decide what kind of a lawn you want. Just for looks? For kids and pets? For shade?
2. Prepare soil. Lawn seed must come in contact with the soil in order to germinate. Level the soil. Do a soil test to see if any soil nutrients are needed. It’s best NOT to add anything unless you’ve tested and know what is needed.
3. Add soil nutrients and work them in. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (NPK) are the major nutrients in any balanced fertilizer. Agricultural lime (ground limestone) may be required East of the Mississippi River. Use a tiller to loosen to a depth of 6 in. Level the soil surface with a tractor blade or back side of lawn rake. Lightly create small furrows with lawn rake.
4. Measure the area to figure what quantity of seed is needed, then plant seed. Use a broadcast spreader or a drop spreader. Set the seed spreader at proper setting (given on most lawn seed containers). As a rule, the smaller the seed, the lower the setting. Use half the amount over entire area; then spread second half of seed at 90 degree angle to the first. Protect from rain and birds -- apply light mulch using straw (sterile if possible) or peat moss.
5. Water your lawn. At least one inch of water per week during active growth season (spring-summer). Keep moist daily. You may need more than one watering a day, but without pooling or runoff. Mulch may dry out rapidly in warm, sunny or windy conditions. If your lawn area is less than 2,000 sq. ft., a small hand-held sprayer will do. For larger lawns, use sprinklers.
6. Mow your lawn. When grass is at least 1 1/2 times but not more than 2 times recommended mowing height. May need a second mowing rather quickly after the first. Once grass has grown 30% over recommended height, it’s time to mow it again. Establish the practice of mowing as needed so that you never have to cut more than 30% of the grass blade to reach recommended height.
7. Fertilize your lawn. Use a spreader to apply a balanced fertilizer high in Nitrogen (EXAMPLE: 20-10-10) in early to mid-spring, as grass begins its growth. Use quantity recommended on the fertilizer container. Apply fertilizer again 4 to 6 weeks after the first application, but not later in the season. Do not fertilize in hot summer months. Take me to Lawn Seed.