This will be my first try at planting seeds for some of my annuals and perennials. Is it easier to start off with seeds that I sow directly into ground (we are the rain capital of the world :) or should I start some indoors. It has been raining here for 4 days and is forecasted to rain everyday until next Friday. Hmm.. wouldn't my seeds wash away? Of course we are just coming out of a drought, so who can tell about the weather if it is going to rain or not.
I have been doing some extensive research and reading, but all the info is getting a bit much for me.
My zone is southern 8/b 9/a (I'm right on the line) It is very warm here most of the time, with the exception of a few freezing days in Feb/March, I think. My last predicted frost is March 18th.
I have a shop that is right off the back of my house.(Actually an enclosed porch) It is air conditioned/heated , just like the rest of the house. Usually stays around 75 degrees. It has 6 flush mount fluorescent ceiling lights. Each one is 4ft x 2ft.
Also about 6 sets of shelving. The shelves are about 4ft wide x 2ft.deep. There are four shelves on each, about 24" apart. The shelves have holes in them and are pvc, so watering directly on them would not be a problem. (Similar photo of them at the bottom of post.) They can be separated if I would need to suspend them under the ceiling lights from chains. Or I think there is enough room between them to hang individual shop lights if necessary.
The shop also has 6, 4ft wide x 3 ft tall windows. 2 of them are facing west and 4 of them are facing north. I can also add shelves under the windows to sit the trays on when or if necessary.
I also have a shade house(tent) outside with black shade screen and a tan vinyl roof if that could be of any use. With the screening it prevents bugs from bothering them and with the tan top during sunny days it has good light glow in it.
So now here are my questions LOL if you could help me.
If you were new to seeds, how many would you try to start with (varieties). Should I sow outdoor seeds? Should I start some inside?
Oh, Debbie, you certainly should be able to start some seeds! It sounds like you have the facilities. Now, if you are organized and can remember to water, you'll be in business! (-:
I of course, am no expert on seed starting, but I think on the other thread where you edited out your post, someone mentioned the so called 'cole crops' like kale, etc. which like cool growing conditions and would be good to start now if you want some produce later in the fall.
Many of those can be started outside if you can maintain moist and correct growing conditions. Some people find that if they start these sorts of seeds in a pot or handy container they can 'monitor' the growing conditions a little bit better (take them in on super hot days, keep them in the shade, protect the seeds from torrential downpours, move them around, etc.)
As for general seed starting for next spring's flowers, I suggest you carefully read the backs of your seed packets for instructions on each different seed. And then if you have additional questions about each particular plant you want to grow, make a new thread (or search DG) for the answers for each different plant. It is hard to generalize as each has it's own germination requirement, as you probably have found out. And many gardeners who start seeds are like me and like to try several different ways/methods, even for the same seed. Sometimes you just have to give it a try (with a half packet of seeds, and try another way later, for instance.)
Some perennials require 'cold treatment' or 'scarification' before they will grow and you will want to look into the "Deno Method' and some other ways to provide cold treatment (I'm not sure how cold it gets in winter where you are).