1. Seeds are started the first week in April in standard ten row tray inserts filled with a fine seed starting mix.
Seeds are planted about 1 inch apart and covered to a depth of about 1/4 inch.
Each planted row is watered as needed to keep the soil damp, but not soggy.
Outside rows need water more frequently than inside rows.
Seeds will germinate in 7-21 days under a variety of conditions. Percent and speed of germination will be greatly increased by providing bottom heat.
Heating cables are wonderful and the warm top of an old refrigerator or freezer will do almost as well.
2. When the plants have reached the point where they have two or more sets of true leaves (about five weeks) it is time to transplant.
In order to conserve effort, we let the plants stay a little longer in the seed trays, and transplant them directly into jumbo six packs filled with soilless potting mix.
There are a number of good mix-your-own and pre-mixed potting soils.
My personal preference is Levington Seed Compost.
The jumbo six packs are filled and tamped using the bottom of another filled six pack.
3. A dibble is used to start a planting hole in each cell.
4. The hole is then firmed and enlarged using the traditional index finger.
Hole should be large enough and deep enough to accept the root-ball of the seedling.
5. Seedlings are worked loose from the seed starting tray using a special little trowel, named a dibber.
Seedlings are always steadied and handled gently by one of the, The leaves lowest down on the seedling.
This pair of leaves will die soon so if it is squeezed a little to hard it is not fatal to the seedling.
6. The seedling is then set into the preformed planting hole and gently pressed into place.
7. Four more weeks in a greenhouse or under bright lights gives a sturdy plant which is ready to transplant.
8. A bulb planter with a thumb activated dirt release is the ideal tool for making a hole for the root-ball coming out of the jumbo six packs.
9. After stirring a small handful of bone meal into the bottom of the planting hole, the seedlings are put in place, backfilled and watered individually.
10. The plants are planted 18 inches apart in staggered rows--9 inches on either side of a common soaker hose. Large plant cages or two stakes in the middle and at the ends of each row provided the anchors for stringing up a seedling support system of poly-cord.
11. Each of the five blocks in the seedling plot was 6-1/2 feet by 18 feet and contained two double rows of 12 plants each for a total of 48 plants per block.
Size of each block includes the carpeted path.
12. By early August the seedling patch was producing new blooms daily.
13. Seedling patch provides many interesting blooms, you can get all types and shapes, and colours many singles.
As they start to bud up, you will fined that all the double flowers, will most often have a pin hole right in the centre.