Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
The forecast has kept me from fully uncovering perennials, and yesterday's snow kept me from looking out the window. So where to look for hope of spring? I look no further than my sunroom, where tiny seedlings stretch to reach the strengthening sun.
I first got into seed starting not to save money, but to lay my hands on the many jewels that pack seed catalogs. A particular lavender double impatiens I couldn't find locally, heirloom tomatoes with story-book names, obscure herbs I was sure I'd find recipes for -- they all crowded the sunroom to the point that watering them was like playing a game of Twister.
At one point I grew tired of the fuss, and I vowed I'd never start seeds again. I even went cold turkey for a year. But then once again I couldn't resist starting "just a few" ... I've decided it's not spring without tiny wanna-be tomatoes, and won't be summer without the fruits of the grown-up versions. So now I get my dose of spring by hovering over them as they sprout their first true leaves, waiting for that first whiff of tomato scent. Can a plate of deep-pink-cheeked Julia Childs, jewel-like Blondkopfchens (yellow cherry tomatoes) and some Mrs. Maxwell's Big Italians be so far off?
So, diehard seed starters, what plants can't you live without? What new varieties are you trying? Do you use heat mats and grow lights or keep it low tech?
And if you're new to seed starting, what lured you in? Fair warning: You might get hooked.
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