Friday, March 11, 2016

Start Seeds Indoors While Waiting for Spring

Spring lurks while it has not fully arrived according to the calendar the mild winter here in Western New York has us itching to get outdoors to start digging in the soil and tending to our gardens.  For seed starters, now is the time to plant. Over this past week, I have started some varieties in my basement under grow lights, along with the help of a much needed heat mat for good germination. Here are the plants I like to start from seeds and plant in my garden:


I started Deep Purple and Coconut, and they will be outstanding in combination plantings. These petunias are wonderful in beds as they will spread 3 to 4 feet across. I add some Worm Power when transplanting and the results were phenomenal last year. If you are not using any of the Wave petunias, I highly recommend that you do.


These dwarf snapdragons are absolutely gorgeous in hanging planters or containers. Bushy, compact plants will spread to 16 to 18" across, but only get 6 to 8" tall. These trailing snaps are bright and cheerful…they make my day.

Although you can directly plant zinnia seeds in the garden, I like to start them in my basement to get a jump on the season. Magellan Mix is absolutely the best zinnia for bedding and hedges. Plants grow 12 to 15" tall, and are loaded with large, colorful blooms.

I grow Zahara Double Fire and Double Cherry. These two varieties are truly knock-outs in garden beds. The intense deep orange and cherry red colors are a sight to behold. The plants will handle extreme weather better than others too.

Primo Red Tomatoes

This tomato variety has only been in the marketplace for a few years, and already it is a grower favorite. Modern hybrid tomatoes are not supposed to have great flavor, compared to older varieties, but not so with Primo Red. It matures very early, producing large, meaty beefsteak size fruit with a wonderful tomato flavor. It is my main tomato variety.


I love the bright yellow color of the roma tomato type fruit, and its eating quality for salads is exceptional. Golden Rave is a prolific yielder, so a few of these tomato plants go a long way.


Small, flattened round peppers, only 2.5 to 3" across are a true delight. The flesh is thick and very sweet, and I stuff and bake them for hors d'oeuvres or will often serve them as a main meal.   In short…these peppers are absolutely delicious.

Gordo Peppers 

I do not understand why more gardeners don't use this pepper variety. It will yield exceptionally large, flattened elongated peppers with very thick walls. Its thick flesh and long flattened shape make it ideal for roasting, and roasted and fried peppers in a tomato sauce are superb. Slice Gordo in half and stuff it for baking or try its very sweet flesh raw in salads.

I can highly recommend any of the above varieties for your garden. They are real winners as far as I am concerned.

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