Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Monday, January 14, 2013

Starting zinnia seeds

On my way to work at 6 a.m. this morning, I thought spring had come early. A balmy 59 degrees! But that came with a price.....drizzling rain. I will take it. I hate cold weather.  I grabbed the new Country Living Magazine, thinking I might get a minute to read the article on starting seeds. I have never had any luck bringing those little seedlings to fruition, and was hoping that this lucky 2013 year would be my year.

I think I will start with something easy like zinnias. Their bright colors and ability to thrive in the hot south, makes them a good choice to brighten up the split rail fence in my yard. There's a tall variety that grows over three feet tall that would be perfect.

About 6 weeks before the last expected frost date ( which would be around April 21st in north Georgia ) I can start my seeds.  Individual little peat pots may little more expensive, but they can be planted directly into the ground.
Place two seeds in each pot of soil and cover lightly.
Water enough to be wet, but not soggy. Cover with plastic wrap to keep moist. Place in a warm location with a temperature around 70 to 75 degrees.  I believe this is where I often have trouble with germination.  My house is never that warm, because I keep the thermostat down.  This year I believe I will purchase a grow mat to place under them.  After a week to 10 days the seeds should germinate. Remove the plastic wrap and keep the seeds moist, but again not soggy.  Once the plants develop two true leaves, remove one of the plants if two have germinated.  Cut one of the plants down with scissors instead of pulling it, to prevent damaging the tender roots of the other plant. About two weeks after the last frost, plant your zinnias outdoors in a sunny spot.  Keep watered until well established.  It won't be long until you will have these pretty flowers to enjoy.

Hurry Spring!

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