Some people fly to Vegas to gamble–

My little sister gambles with seeds–

“Take my Astilbes,” she tells me.  “I bought a 3 dollar pack of seed from Summer Hill.  12-15 plants are up–and if they make it, that’s $7-10 a piece.”

The math is irresistible.  Seeds are the most cost-effective way to build your garden, and a whole of lot of fun to boot. 

NO wonder my sister turns her large, cool family room into a make-shift green house every year.  

She has large flower beds and focuses primarily on perennials and biennials.  Hollyhocks are her favorite, and there are about 5 or 6 varieties in the family room right now.   

An almost endless selection is another big bonus of starting from seed.  Summer Hill offers two and a half pages of hollyhock varieties alone.  You’d never find all those choices at the garden center–there just isn’t enough space.

A few more tips from the master (who just reminded me, our last frost date  for zone 7, April 15,  is only 8 weeks away):

  • Start with warm, moist growers mix.  She keeps her’s in a plastic bin in the  house (don’t tell her husband).
  • Bottom water seed trays with warm water, but don’t let  plants stand in water endlessly and get soaked.  There is a big difference between moist and wetWet kills baby plants.
  • She also uses a camomile tea bath to prevent “damping off”, a condition that levels sensitive  seedlings.   
  • And starting from seed is for people who like to check their seeds everyday.  If you have 16 little kids, travel a lot or work 18 hours a day,  maybe it’s not for you.  (Then again, maybe it will save your sanity)

But even if you fail, it’s not big deal.  With seeds the risks are small, the rewards large. 

Tomatoes, peppers and vines  are my favorite seeds–How about you?  What do you enjoy starting from seed?