Friday, July 26, 2013

Preparation for Starting Pansies

I think I am going to start some pansies for the Fall. I still have seeds I purchased from Baker Creek and Botanical Interests. I didn't have success with these when I tried them last Winter. I planted them in seed starting medium and refrigerated them covered in a dark bag in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. I don't know if I will refrigerate them first this time although I know they prefer cold to germinate. The temperature in the refrigerator may be too cold. Three years ago when I grew them all the seedlings germinated and did well without refrigeration. They germinated in my dining room at house temperature which can be warm in Summer when the air conditioner is not on. I will review sources I used before to see how others started them. The package has instructions but I also like to see what works for others. 

I have learned that it is good to keep a garden journal nothing expensive. I started last year using a composition book like students use in school. The problem is that I didn't  keep up with writing in it. It helps not to have to look for instructions on how to start a particular seed every time and to refer back to what I did last time that worked for me. Of course many seed packs have instructions on the back but some don't have enough information so I always read what methods work for others on the web. I also have a tiny booklet that came from Parks Seeds when I ordered seeds with instructions on when to sow different seeds and conditions for growing.

I realized that while I was busy living life in June, I should have been starting my pansy seeds since some sources say it takes 12 weeks for them to bloom and other sources say 6-8 weeks. I also couldn't locate the seeds in the house. I normally keep them all in one place unorganized in a container storage box. I found them by accident in my bedroom of all places. Now it's the end of July and they may not be a good size to transplant for the Fall. That's what I enjoy about gardening, you can always try and see what happens. If I don't have success I can always purchase plants from the nursery when they start to put them out. Because they are one of my favorite plants I really would like to be successful growing my own from seed. There are so many varieties and the fancier ones are usually higher if you buy plants at a nursery. The varieties seem endless from seed and you get so many seeds for a small price.

So, I cleaned up my seed starting rack so that one shelf  is clear for the seedlings. I use it for storing my gardening items in Spring after I put all my seedlings outside.

I like other colors and varieties also but I will use what I have and not order any more.

Instructions on inside of package of Botanical Interest Seeds
The pansy from Baker Creek is named Orange Sun (Viola X wittrocklama) fancy and is tangerine. It is from the Swiss Giant Family. Planting instructions say to surface-sow but there was no mention that the seeds require darkness to germinate.

Pansy Caramel Spice (Viola Wittrockiana) from Botanical Interest does state that pansies may do better with cold stratification (moist/cold treatment). It is recommended to sow them at 1/8" depth. This conflicts with the other instructions above that say surface-sow. I will surface sew them and gently press them so that they make contact with the seed starting mix.

Pansy Got the Blues (Viola Wittrockiana) also from Botanical Interest is a pretty blue pansy and one of my favorites. Mine were not successful from seed so I purchased them from the garden center this Spring. They are very fragrant. If I get up off the sofa I might actually get started, maybe later. I have to clean containers that I used during the Winter before I can start, the bad part of reusing containers. Its best to clean them though to avoid transmitting diseases. I will be using one egg carton container that I saved. I had many but I threw them out because I was saving all types of containers and it was getting ridiculous but free!

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