Creative Organic Gardening – Starting Perennial Plants Indoors

If you start perennial plants from seeds they needed to be started earlier than garden annuals. Perennial seed take longer to germinate and grow when they are young.  I start my perennials in January first in the house, then move to a greenhouse with the plan to transplant them into a larger pot at least once before setting them out. My plants are grown using creative organic gardening methods and no chemicals.

My planting plans for perennials always depend on our winter weather but through the years I have learned that January seems to work well. I also include starting perennial herbs.

Many perennial seeds need a cold treatment (putting the seeds in cold temperature to shock them into sprouting when they warm up.) I place my perennials seeds in the refrigerator for several weeks. When I take them out I place them in wet paper towels to help soften the outside of the seed covering for a day, then plant according to the directions on the back of the package.

I start the plants in the downstairs apartment kitchen area. It has the perfect lighting for seed starting. As soon as they are two inches tall they are moved out to the solar greenhouse. In a few weeks they will be transferred into bigger pots and depending on the weather may be moved to cold frames. Pennsylvania winters are very unpredictable so the plants may have to stay in the greenhouse.

I start about 30 varieties of perennials each spring and fall. They are added to my perennial gardens. I try to choose plants I am either low on or new plants. This will be my first year for being open to the public as a perennial gardening business. Before this I grew plants for friends, family and as gifts.

I find starting my own perennials gives me a wider selection of plants I can grow. The plants are also healthier due to not being transferred in cold temperatures and left in unsuitable conditions. They are also grown in fresh organic compost that I make myself just for the plants and fed my own fertilizer tea blend.

Tips:

I use clear milk jugs to add extra warmth to the greenhouse, cold frames and in the gardens in the spring.

Perennials also make great indoor plants. They may need a timewhere they can rest or that you cut them down to let them rest and regrow, but they really add to your house and creating an indoor garden oasis.

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Denise

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