Thursday, February 23, 2017

Seed starting tips and supplies

It’s just about time to sow seeds indoors and here are some ideas to get you started. First, starting plants from seed is a great way to get exactly the variety of peppers and tomatoes you want. In addition, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant require long growing seasons and do best by starting them early indoors. Beans, peas, radishes, lettuce and many other vegetables do best when sown directly into the garden. You can start these vegetables indoors, but they typically don't transplant well. You're better off to seed them directly.  In fact, many of these vegetable seeds can be planted in the ground in early March.  
Begin by selecting the variety of tomato or pepper you want to grow. For best results, select a quality seed from a local supplier.
Next, you'll need seed starting trays and inserts. There are a number of inserts you can use to start your seeds, including different sized trays as well as plugs such as Rapid Rooters.
You can also choose peat pots in a variety of sizes to start your seeds in. Peat pots can be planted directly, which reduces transplant shock.
Add a 2" or 7" dome to help keep in the moisture, while your seeds sprout. This setup features a tray, Rapid Rooter insert and 2" dome.
Once you have your starter containers, pick up some seed starting mix. Use seed starter, not potting soil. You'll have much better results. It's a good idea to moisten the seed starting medium before you sow your seed.
Check the back of the seed packet for sowing instructions. The seed package will tell you how deep and how far apart to plant the seeds. Heat mats help seeds germinate faster and root deeper, by keeping the soil temperature constant. Even if the room cools off at night, the soil stays warm and seeds will sprout faster.
Once your seeds are up and have grown two or more sets of leaves, it may be time to add some supplemental lighting. An easy way to do this is to purchase a grow system like Jump Start. This system comes complete with a stand and T5 grow light. You can also buy T5 grow bulbs individually, as well as T12 grow bulbs that will fit your shop light fixtures. Providing adequate lighting is one of the most aspects of growing strong, healthy seeds indoors. 
Feed your seedlings with a mild liquid fertilizer once they've developed three or more sets of true leaves. As your plants grow, ruffle them once a day with your hand. This helps them grow stocky and strong. As for timing, the first or second week in March is just about right. Starting your own seeds is a very rewarding way to extend your gardening season.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Spring Classes at the 'Bin

We believe the more you know, the better your garden will grow and to help you continue to develop your gardening skills, we’re offering six very special classes this spring. All of our classes are free, but we do ask that you sign up in advance for each class. Sign up is easy. Call 303-772-3454 and tell us the classes you want to take and we'll sign you up. Or, sign up in person when you're in the store. Sign up sheets are right by the coffee bar.
We start this season's spring classes with Kirk Fieseler speaking about the wide variety of native and alpine plants and how to bring the beauty of these plants into your own backyard. Kirk has hands-on experience with designing and building many rock gardens and his passion for alpine and native plants will inspire you. Whether you've got a rock garden you want to improve or have always wanted to build one, this is the class for you. This class is scheduled for Saturday, February 25th at 11am.
Well-known local author and speaker Don Eversoll loves his heirloom tomatoes and in this class, he will teach you how to grow the best heirloom tomatoes ever. This class is scheduled for Saturday February 25th at 2pm. 
Edible landscaping is a mixture of beauty and utility. There are tasty and ornamental plants for almost any garden setting. The Flower Bin's Perennial Specialist Kara Gonzalez's will teach you how to create a beautiful garden landscape that is also edible! Kara’s class is Saturday March 4th at 11am.
As gardeners, we're always looking to ways to do things better. Michael Morris will lead a discussion on how to get the best out of your garden this year. This class will be a great place to get answers to all your gardening questions. Attend Michael’s gardening class Saturday March 4th at 2pm. 
Love to garden but don't have a lot of space? The Flower Bin's own Kim Jackson and Ramona Mooney have the solution. Their class on gardening in small spaces will include container gardening, straw bale gardening and square foot gardening. These techniques will help you grow a lot of great food in a small space. Kim and Ramona’s class is scheduled for Saturday March 11th at 11 am 
For many gardeners, choosing the right plants for your landscape can be confusing, especially if you want to grow more native varieties. Pat Hayward has more than 35 years experience in Colorado's garden and nursery industry, including 9 years as Executive Director of Plant Select®. In this class, Pat will share some of the best native plant selections to grow in your garden. Pat’s class is scheduled for Saturday March 11 at 2pm.