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by Carole Schwalm Picture of a number of garden seeds organized in bowls.

"…Zen … When gardening is relaxing, spiritual and you savor every moment as you interact with your landscape: to smell the fragrance of the flowers, to enjoy the taste of healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables, whether you have a yard or a balcony."

One way of interacting is to start your plants from seed. Seeds give you the advantage of planting flowers and vegetables that you cannot buy in your local nursery. Instead of buying one plant for $1.99, you have a packet of seeds giving you many plants for just a little TLC and patience. Actually many seedlings pop up in less than a week. Start seeds inside from 5 to 6 weeks before the last frost is “expected.” The latter can be tricky as a gardener knows.

For best results use a seed-starting soil mix or vermiculite for a growing medium. Find a spot where the seedlings receive at least eight hours of sunlight a day. A south or southeast window works well. You can use grow-lights. Keep the soil evenly moist. Some plants grow quickly. Make sure that you check the root development and place them in the next size pot if roots start to peek out from the bottom of the current container.

A close up photograph of a small seedling breaking through very rich soil. When the soil temperature has reached 55° F you can re-plant outside in containers or flower beds. You can also sow seeds directly in the soil or a favorite container.

Last year for minimal expense compared to nursery stock, we had 15 snapdragon plants, 8 nasturtiums, 4 flowering vines that attracted hummingbirds, and many lovely salads from a mesclun salad blend, all in containers. All were started from seeds and replanted outside.

Share your seed germination experience or if you'd like more information.