Starting Seeds Indoors

For years, I learned from and helped on other people’s farms. Most of my time was spent on flower farms, one in Vermont and one in California (Tanglebloom Flower Farm & Cabin in Vermont is owned by my dear friend and number one mentor, Melissa Masters– many thanks to her!!).

This year, however, I finally have the space to cultivate my own dreams of growing flowers, albeit on a much tinier scale. It’s the start of my micro micro micro flower farm in Minneapolis! I am working mostly within the landscape and some raised beds at my generous and encouraging partner’s house. It’s a city plot and we are in planting zone 4b.

Seed catalogs start arriving in the mail in January; so it begins. We snuggle up in blankets with hot tea, eagerly turning the pages and making long lists. February I sort my seeds and order new ones, take inventory of the supplies I have, and form more concrete plans. Mostly I get antsy.

March is time to get dirty! This year I started a few things (pansies, ranunculus and anemone) too late, actually, so next year I know the yearning can be quieted a few weeks sooner (Gardening in February!? Wahoo!).

I calculate the last frost being in early May. It’s safe to count on May 15, but I like to be more hopeful than that! So March 1 is loosely 8-10 weeks before the last frost. This month, I started the following seeds:

Pansies 12 weeks before last frost // 60 days to maturity
Ranunculus 12 weeks // 90 days
Anemone 12+ weeks // 90 days

Sprouted Ranunculus Corm

The flowers above will bloom in April/May and prefer chillier weather. The ranunculus and anemones are grown from corms, and I am growing them in crates (thanks to Melissa, Linda of Little Farmhouse Flowers, Floret and JayFlora for info on that process). Varieties below are tender annuals and need to be kept safe from frost- it’s not recommended to plant them out until nights are consistently in the 50s or so.

Snapdragons 8-10 weeks // 110 days
Ageratum 6-8 weeks // 80 days – old seeds were a bust
Asters 6-8 weeks // 110 days
Rudbeckia 8-10 wks // 90 days – old seeds germinated
Statice 8 weeks // 110 days – used old seeds
Strawflower 6-8 weeks // 75 days – used old seeds
Celosia 6-8 weeks // 90 days – used old seeds
Matricaria 8-10 wks // 100 days
Stock 8-10 weeks // 90 days
Sweet Peas 6 weeks // 75 days – prefer cool weather

Columbine and Hollyhock have been planted too, just for fun. I used old seeds for varieties that don’t mean as much to me, so those are just an experiment and help keep me busy until spring unfolds further 🙂

First Seedlings of 2019! Apricot China Aster

PS: Growing Food

Winter Sowing is a method that’s new to me, but I am trying a modified version of it with much excitement. My partner and I grow edibles mostly on the deck in containers, and this month we started cold-loving spring crops: sugar snap peas, lettuce, chard, broccoli, beets and carrots. We gather recyclables that are clear and use them to make tiny greenhouses over the seeds. It’s our first year trying it! I will update you all next month!


Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply in St. Paul has a free seed library outside, but also is a way to support a woman-owned small business when you’re buying your seed starting supplies.

Johnny’s Seeds is my go-to when I need very specific varieties, and the website is my best source for growing information. It’s all very thorough and helps me out when other seed companies neglect to include important details.

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