Tag Archives: garden

Starting Your Garden Seeds Indoors….

seed traysI’m in hibernation mode with visions of seedlings dancing in my head.

The fact that I start receiving all kinds of catalogs with gorgeous flowers and healthy vegetables only encourages me. Thus begins my planning for the coming seasons’ garden. I start to get itchy to have my hands in the dirt, so I begin getting my “fixins” together and find things that work to start my seedlings. (I now know what to do with all of those laundry detergent caps that I save-you know- because someday I may buy one with out the cap-or it may get lost in the “land of the lost left socks” so it makes sense to have a million of them on hand-)They can make a great vessel for starting seeds-another great idea for seed starting (compliments of my boss’ wife) are the pods from your K-cups. I begin my list of what I would like to plant, then pare it down to what is reasonable. I learned that lesson after planting 280 tomato seeds one year-good thing I had access to a LOT pots and plenty of friends wanting them.  I always tend to have “garden grandeur” and think that I should have more plants than is wise for me because honestly, come July, I’m more interested in sailing than weeding. I received a schedule for indoor seed starting and thought it would be a good thing to share, compliments of one of my favorite catalogs: John Scheepers Kitchen Garden.

Here is the general Seed-Starting Schedule for seeds that should be started eight weeks before the last expected spring frost date.

Eight-week General Seed-Starting Timetable
Horticultural Zones 9 & 10: Start seeds indoors in early to mid January.
Horticultural Zone 8: Start seeds indoors in early February.
Horticultural Zone 7: Start seeds indoors in mid February.
Horticultural Zone 6: Start seeds indoors in late February.
Horticultural Zone 5: Start seeds indoors in early March.
Horticultural Zones 1-4: Start seeds indoors in mid to late March.

Here is the Seed-Starting Schedule for vegetables, herbs and flowers that require more or less time prior to transplanting out into the garden.

More-or-Less-Than-Eight Weeks Seed-Starting Timetable

Four Weeks: Melons, Bitter Melon and Cucuzzi Edible Gourds.
Six Weeks: Asparagus, Fennel, Onions, Rhubarb, Shallots, Tomatillos, Basil, Echinacea Root and St. John’s Wort.
Eight Weeks: Eggplant, Tomatoes, Chiles, Sweet and Bell Peppers, Chives, Sage, Stevia and Thyme.
Nine Weeks: Broccoli, Cabbage and Kohlrabi (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date).
Ten Weeks: Celery, Celeriac, Jicama and Lemongrass.
Eleven Weeks: Leeks, Artichokes and Cauliflower (transplant out four weeks before the last frost date).
Twelve Weeks: Cardoons and Brussels Sprouts.
Sixteen Weeks: Strawberries (for first year crop) and Rosemary.

Flower Seed-Starting Timetable

Five Weeks: Alyssum.
Six Weeks: Balsam, Cutting Ageratum, China Asters, Celosia, Cleome, Coleus, Catmint Nepeta, Echinacea, Euphorbia, Forget-Me-Nots, Dahlia, Nicotiana, Scabiosa, Snapdragons, Stock and Thunbergia.
Eight Weeks: Baby’s Breath, Black-Eyed Susans, Milkweed, Coreopsis, Gaillardia, Globe Amaranth, Helichrysum, Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Heuchera, Nigella, Phlox, Platycodon, Statice and Yarrow.
Ten Weeks: Dianthus, Digitalis, Lobelia and Heliotrope.
Twelve Weeks: Datura, Salvia, Verbena and Viola.

I hope that you found this helpful, and would love to hear your tips, questions, and comments below-

Happy Gardening!!



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Winter Rose Care

red roseDo you have questions about how best to protect your roses for the Winter? We suggest a few basic, easy to follow steps to help yours make it through the tough Winter months.

  1. Water well. A well hydrated plant can survive winter better than one that is dry and stressed.
  2.  Put a couple of shovelfulls of compost over the crown of the rose plant.
  3. Give your rose some non-nitrogen fertilizer. Late fall, after a hard freeze, is a good time to give your rose a dose of Epsom salts (about 1/2 cup per plant), along with rock phosphate (don’t use bonemeal — it attracts rodents) and maybe a little potash. These fertilizers won’t promote new growth on the canes, which can be hurt by frosts and winter. Instead, they will help promote root growth, which can continue well into December if the ground is mulched. And, they’ll have a chance to work into the soil through freeze/thaw actions and be ready for your plants to use in the spring.Composted rose at crown
We suggest that you trim them in the Fall, so that the wind doesn’t cause them to rock, which can be detrimental to the health of your plant. When they are dormant, in the late Winter/early Spring hard prune your roses. Roses are shrubs that benefit from a hard pruning.  The pruning causes the plants to sprout new, healthy growth. Many roses only bloom on new wood, hybrid teas included. For luscious flowers during the summer, make some time for pruning rose bushes. After all, it seems that many of us are happiest when we are working in our gardens, so why not incorporate some Winter gardening as well.
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Your Fall Garden-Part two

GrassesReady to head out into the garden?  A pair of sharp hedge shears will make your work go quickly. Keep pruners handy for the tougher stems.  Cut perennials back one to two inches above the ground, so you can still see where they are.  Pull out spent annuals. This is a great time to get the weeds out- doing this chore now can save a lot of headaches in the spring. Top dress your beds with a layer of compost or chopped leaves (I like to run them over with the lawnmower), being careful not to cover the crowns of the plants.


If you have a lot of Hostas and you don’t mind waiting for frost, they will turn to mush and can be easily raked up. Ornamental grasses can be cut back in late fall or, if you like the way they look in winter- left up until spring. Tie them up before you cut them to make cleanup easy. Cut grasses 12 to 18 inches high.

Some plants with attractive seedheads- Black Eyed Susans or Coneflowers, for example, can be left up for winter interest, and to provide food for the birds.

Questions or comments are always encouraged!

Cindy Hollett, MCH


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Your Fall Garden, Part one


Perennial gardens Hosta RhodiesWhen you are ready to cut back your perennial garden this Fall, keep in mind that certain plants should be left alone until mid to late Spring, when the weather starts to get warm.  It is fine to trim the spent flowers off of plants like Lavender, Russian Sage, Candytuft, and Santolina- but cutting into the woody stems could cause them to die back in the winter.

Heucheras, Hellebores (Christmas and Lenten Roses), and Tiarellas (foam flowers) remain mostly evergreen through the winter. Remove the old leaves in the spring when the new leaves or flowers emerge.

Some perennials need the extra protection of leaves to help them survive colder temperatures. Hardy mums and coreopsis return better and more vigorously if they are not cut back in fall.

While peonies can (and should) be cut back one to two inches above the ground now, tree peonies should never be cut back.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to comment in the space below-Happy Gardening!

Perennial hosta

Cindy Hollett, MCH (Massachusetts, Certified Horticulturist.)Vetorino’s Landscape and Irrigation

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