After four years, and many life changes, I'm writing a fresh post!
The start of every year, begins with seed catalogs...! this season, I'm planting seeds of fool-proof plants that can take the extremes of Midwestern weather, and still produce quality cut flowers.
This list is topped with Zinnias, followed by Cosmos, then tall Marigolds, Snapdragons and Sunflowers. there are many more plants to trial, but these are mainstays of the summer cutting garden.
Of course, I MUST plant Sweetpeas, a yearly ritual that brings me back with memories of me and my Dad in his garden. My father learned to plant the fragrant flowers from his Auntie, who also had Peonies, Iris and a large vegetable garden for the house- a necessary element in a turn of the century household. sweet peas have been growing since before Christmas, and later varieties are just coming up now.
the old timers would say to plant seed outdoors by St. Valentine's Day, but I find that I get better cutting stems if they are started much earlier. the real secret to decent bloom before the heat hits, is to not let the young plants get pot bound, and to move them up to larger sized pots as they grow.
I like to use recycled beer cups, the kind you get at a sports event.
You can use new cups of course, but in any case, good drainage is a must! I stack many together, then use a drill bit to make four uniform holes in all the "pots" at once.
bright sunlight or quality artificial light for twelve hours a day gives you stocky, lush growth. keeping seedlings of all types well watered and fed can and should be a daily habit .
time spent now, nurturing the small seedlings will pay off big in the near future, I'm itching to get growing outside!