, Muskogee, OK


January 14, 2009

Gardening: Work to get seeds started in January

There are seeds that you plant directly in the ground outside and others that should be planted in sterile seed starting soil inside.

Cosmos, marigolds, corn and carrots are planted directly into the ground in the spring. Poppy, chamomile and larkspur seeds are planted outside in January.

The seeds of many perennials and some annuals need to have a chance to freeze and thaw before spring weather arrives. Perennial shrubs and herbaceous plant seeds were planted last September so they could get the alternating temperatures (vernalization) they need to grow.

This month, the seeds of onions, leeks, chives, Chinese cabbage, pansy and other cool weather lovers are planted inside.

Pete Carson of Carson Borovetz Nursery said that the seeds to plant now include those that enjoy a cool start such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

“I start peppers now, too,” Carson said. “Pepper seeds take 14 days to germinate and you need a heat mat under them to give them the 80-degree soil temperatures they need. Home gardeners can put pots of planted seeds in a hot water heater closet or other warm spot.”

Carson said to be careful about fertilizing. If pushed too soon, young seedlings will be weak and spindly. You want them to be stout and strong.

Sharon Owen, owner of Moonshadow Herb Farm, said she planted pans full of Butterfly Weed and echinacea seeds outside a few months ago.

This week Owen planted: Thyme, parsley, lovage, sage, fennel, onion chives, Welsh Onions, Greek Oregano, Salad Burnet, Sorrel, Alpine strawberries, Valerian and others.

“I also plant slow growing Lemon Grass and White Sage around this time,” Owen said. “Parsley, Lovage and Alpine Strawberries require a longer period of darkness to germinate, so they're among the first ones I try to get sown. Once they germinate they can be uncovered and on their way growing with the other perennials.”

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