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Jolly Greens: Sprouting Tips

By Jennifer Bronson

This is the time of year when gardens full of color and wildlife are enjoyed from picture windows. Gardeners wrapped up in cool blankets of air conditioning, sipping iced drinks can sit and watch and hope that the morning’s watering holds. No one wants to be out in the heat and humidity these days. This is what makes summer the perfect time to stay indoors and plan a fall gardens.

Fall is an important time to plant flowering plants and, even better, cool weather vegetables! Plants must be chosen, seeds sown, and beds designed ahead of time to ensure a successful planting. So now is the time to choose color palates for bloomers and tasty vegetable crops for dinner treats. First decide whether to start with seeds or seedlings. This decision hinges on which plants you choose to grow, but fall is a wonderful time to plant from seed, which keeps down cost and offers more control over your garden environment. Similarly, starting vegetables from organic seed is an easy way to ensure an organic product.

The biggest advantage of starting from seed is the huge selection of seeds available at local nurseries. However, remember that a large selection does not always mean good seed. Good seed can mean the difference between succeeding or failing in the garden. NLM sells Seeds of Change brand whose mission is “to preserve biodiversity and promote sustainable, organic agriculture.” Seeds of Change only produce certified, organic seeds.

Combining both vegetables and flowers in your beds will create a cottage style garden. Planting flowering plants near food crops also attracts beneficial bugs—a must when gardening organically. The best vegetable crops to plant from seed include beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, endive, lettuce, mustard, spinach, and tomatoes. For flowers try delphiniums, larkspur, snapdragons, poppies, sweet alyssum, violas, bachelor buttons, and sweat peas.

Nurturing a garden to life from seed can be a very rewarding experience, but to ensure good results, plans must be made ahead of time. Know your site. Jot down sun and soil conditions. Sketch what you would like the garden to look like full-grown, and make selections based on colors, maturation size and your interest. In the end when the seeds have sprouted and plants are thriving you will feel the satisfaction that every gardener feels when succeeding with seeds!

Starting and caring for seeds takes time and a bit of research as well, so check out the following websites for more information:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VH026
www.seedsofchange.com

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