Even though the bulk of my yard is used for growing vegetables, I also like to include a few annual flowers in my beds. Annuals brighten up the yard and attract bees too which is needed for cross pollination of my fruit trees and garden veggies. While you can buy complete trays of annuals for $25 or more, I much prefer growing my own annuals in flats. Growing your own is easy, cheap, and really quite rewarding. Here’s how it’s done.
Assemble your supplies
Growing your own bedding plants requires a packet of seeds, potting mix, a planting tray with lid (no drainage holes), and small pots to plant the seeds in. These can be anything from the bottom half of paper egg cartons, small peat pots, to recycled 6-count plastic pony packs saved from last year. If reusing old pony packs, be sure to wash thoroughly before using to prevent the spread of disease.
Place your pots in the planting tray and carefully fill with potting mix. Water until the soil is completely moistened. Plant seeds (one to a container) following the directions on the back of the seed packet. Lightly sprinkle potting mix over the seed to cover to the required depth. Spritz the soil with a spray bottle and then cover with the plastic lid (or clear wrap). Place in a warm, sunny window.
Depending on the variety of annual seeds you’ve planted, germination can occur anywhere from 3 days to 14 days. During this time it’s important to keep the soil moist though not soggy. Once the seeds have germinated, the lid can come off.
At this point, it’s just a matter of watching your annuals grow. I bring mine outside during the day in an area of filtered light, gradually working them up to full sunlight. Once the danger of spring frosts have past (for us it’s June 1), seedlings that are at least 4-5″ in height can be transplanted into hanging basket, containers, and in beds. The transplanted annuals will need a little extra watering for at least a week or until the plant generates new growth.
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