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Michigan Gardening: Anything under to grow lights yet?

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Zinnia1
Clinton Township, MI
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2010
3:02 AM

Post #7500776

Frustrating time of year for me. Seed orders have arrived, too early to start! Since they need to get going in January, I have started my geraniums and they are 'under the lights.' I start geraniums from seed just to quench my need to grow something this time of year. They may not be the giants that come from cuttings, but fit very nicely in containers and window boxes and do get quite substantial and beautiful in late August when my other annuals are starting to wane. I like the Orbit series and order them from Jung's. I have been germinating Jung geranium seeds for almost 10 years and have a 99.9% success rate so I keep with what works for me.

I also start a few herbs to put in my kitchen window and some french marigolds to put in a pot on my kitchen table to brighten up the place in Feb. The front wall of my kitchen is built like a big bay window, and the windows take up almost 3/4 of the space between ceiling and floor so I get a TONS of natural light coming in and just about whatever I put there grows quite nicely.

Have you started anything yet?
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2010
4:01 PM

Post #7502014

Hi, I got my seeds delivered this past week. All vegetable seeds. I love to try to grow something new to eat each year. This year it will be a soy bean called Edamane. I'm also trying a new pumpkin seed and some new green beans. I love being able to start from seed because it opens up a huge world of varieties not offerered in the local greenhouses and stores.

I actually bring my geraniums in the house in late fall and put them on a long bench in front of an east facing window. They live all winter right next to me here at the computer and are in bloom right now. I do this as a cost saving measure. I also hate to kill a plant if I can possibly save it and reuse it the next year. For the first time I dug up my pentesedum rubrum or red fountain grass and put it on the stairs by the back door. I have a huge 5' x 5' glass block window that allows all the hot west facing sun in so it has thrived. I cut it back first and now it has grown taller. I think it will be bigger and more beautiful this year in my containers. I may try to divide it before replanting outside. It's a perennial in warmer zones. It's expensive to buy ($10) so I'm trying to keep it going so I don't have to spend money to buy it over again.

I do have a plant growing light unit out in our bunkhouse. It's huge and I have no place for it in the house. Ideally, I'd like to bring it into the basement and if I ever clean out my basement I might do that. :) The basement is small though and every inch of space is devoted to a bathroom, freezer, washer/dryer and 4 large shelving units full of canned goods. I just can't squeeze in another thing. My light unit has three tiers and each tier has four 4' long grow light bulbs. Each tier holds four large trays that I can fit about 50 plants into each tray. I will start my tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli and peppers under one tier. I direct sow most of my seeds like for the squash and beans and cucumbers.

As far as flowers go, most of my gardens are perennials. My latest love are the Knockout double roses. They are all safely tucked under their styrofoam cones for winter. I have honeysuckle vines on the two trellis and a wisteria on the other trellis. I have bushes too like lilacs etc. I do have some containers that I will pop some wave petunias into. I usually buy a flat of those. One plant goes a long way with those and they bloom nonstop all summer and spread. The deer and rabbits aren't too fond of them either. I have started petunias by seed and they germinate easily. I probably should buy some seed and start my own since I have the room in my light unit. I just like to visit the local fruit market and buy something. :) I'm always there on opening day and love looking at it all.

I am not good with hanging baskets of any kind. I am bad about watering them. When they fail or start looking badly it makes me feel guilty. I've decided this year not to buy any. I'll hang birdhouses or windchimes on my Shepherds' hooks instead. :) I did buy two of the upside down tomato bags I'm eager to try but they'll be hung by my deck where it will be easy for me to water often. I also plan to grow some lettuces and scallions in tubs on the deck as well.

Last year I hired help to dig up the thousands of daffodil bulbs that had multipled and took over my perennial bed. I then had them replanted all along my ditch for hundreds of feet. I can't wait to see how that comes out this spring. They can run all they want to now with no problems. I will plant some puple wave petunias across the front of my raised perennial bed in between my new double pink Knockout roses.

I put my geraniums in planters here and there. They do really will all summer too and I can get away with a once a week watering which isn't too bad.

I won't start my seeds till the beginning to middle of April. I've found starting too early leads to leggy plants even under my good light unit. Of course, all seeds have different germination times so if it's something that takes a long time to germinate I'd be starting it sooner. Also, by waiting till April the light unit produces enough heat I don't have to heat the bunkhouse. Last year we had baby chicks in rubbermaid totes in there with heat lamps on them so it was nice and warm for everyone. :) No babies this year.

Brenda
RankinFile
Alto, MI

January 31, 2010
8:58 PM

Post #7516113

Hi,
I don't know if this counts, but Ihave Daylilly seeds under lights and growing. I will have roughly 200 ssedlings by spring. The first batch was planted in right around Halloween. Roughly 25 of them should be repotted and moved into 4 inch pots around February 14. I will be planting Geraniums around that date as well.
notmartha
Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

January 31, 2010
9:47 PM

Post #7516287

soon i will start the tomatoes n peppers!!
thats about all i will be growing from seed

I still have daylily seeds in the frig from 2 summers ago! lol
i didnt even collect any last summer!!
good luck to all!

Thumbnail by notmartha
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nancyruhl
Dearborn, MI

February 1, 2010
11:58 AM

Post #7517971

Not Martha, do the daylilies grown from seed seem to come true to the parent plant or do you get new varieties. I've not tried them.
I do have a lot of seeds from perennials in pots up at the cottage trying the wintersown methods found elsewhere on this website. Unfortunately, those pretty blue spring phlox came up in the late fall, and I transplanted them into flats. Don't know if they made it. The rest will be interesting.
Since I am in Florida for January and February, I start my geraniums, salvias, and daturas out on the southfacing patio. This year they have spent a lot of time indoors, however. They are growing very slowly. I save the seeds from last years geraniums, mostly the various black velvet series and some angel ones. I don't buy them because they are so very expensive, but I covet those bullseye cherry ones. I don't get the germination Zinnia 1 gets, however. In the early fall, I try to make cuttings to also keep more plants, so I can spend my money on other plants I just have to have. Just sent in an order to Forest Farm for some TDF stuff.
DH got me one of those lighted plant stands for Christmas, so that's where I'll start the fifty varieties of heirloom tomatoes I'll be growing this year, in the basement, in March. Whew. Nancy
notmartha
Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

February 2, 2010
8:13 PM

Post #7523106

daylily seeds do not come true from parents thats why they are fun to grow-you never know what you will get!
i think i will start the tomatoes mid feb this yr!
we had a cool summer and they seem to take forever to get going so a lil jump start for 2010.
wiggiej
Ann Arbor, MI

February 7, 2010
12:33 PM

Post #7537922


I'm starting morning glories from seed this year. They are one of my favorites and I'm very tired of waiting every year until September to get any flowers to speak of. Especially when the first frost arrives
several days later! I am still somewhat disgruntled about the cold / nearly tomato-less summer last year, and I figured this is one way to strike back. That and the pack of tomato "cozy coats" I picked up a few weeks ago!
glevely
Sanford, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 7, 2010
11:58 PM

Post #7539749

I AM SOOO READY FOR SPRING !!!! at least the sun was out to day and so was I ;0)
Gloria























detheo
Macomb, MI
(Zone 5b)

February 9, 2010
12:28 AM

Post #7543053

I'm with you Gloria!!! It was great to see the sunshine today!

Spring Hurry Up...
glevely
Sanford, MI
(Zone 5a)

February 9, 2010
12:34 AM

Post #7543073

oh yaa and snow tomrrow I hope not to much I have to take hubby to get his cataract out and then on
wednesday back to the eye Drs. and I'm not fond of driving in a lot of snow ;0(
Gloria
toofewanimals
Trenton, MI
(Zone 5b)

February 11, 2010
6:56 PM

Post #7551458

zinnia, I've started my geraniums from seed already too. Just love to see the curly little leaves unfold. I think this is my 3rd year for the geraniums.

I've started a couple other seeds also just for fun. I'm trying my hand at Lisanthius, heard they are pretty hard to keep growing.
Hmmm. what else ... just a few seeds of pansys, stawberries, Pentas, Sweet Annie, Dusty Miller, Osterospermum, coleus, Nepeta Pink Dreams. Couple others I won't name cause you will think I'm crazy.

Got a few Penstemons in the fridge.

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