Ah, yes…Spring

Yep, Spring has finally hit the South Central Pennsylvania!  YEA!  It could go to winter again next week, who knows, but for now, it’s spring!

I’m experimenting with starting a few (maybe several) seedlings inside this year.  I don’t have a greenhouse, so I set up a growing room in my spare bedroom.  This is what I have going on as of mid April!  Zinnias planted in 72 cell trays.  I started the seeds March 19th.

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I’m also experimenting with soil blocking.  This is a European method of seeding that uses very little space.  Lisa Mason Zeigler of The Gardner’s Workshop has the low down on all things soil blocking.  She literally starts thousand of plants inside a 10×10 room with shop lights every year.  Its a very different process and I’m trying to figure things out, but so far, my snaps are doing great.  We learn from our mistakes, right……

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The seeds are planted into each 3/4″ block of soil.  They should be ready to plant out much earlier than if I would have started them in the plastic seed starting trays.  Much better for the environment, too.  I started soil blocking March 30th.

This is the equipment needed for soil blocking…

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I purchased the soil blocking mix, (the mix needs to be a special blend because you want the soil to stick together more than regular seed starting soil) seeds and tray from The Garnener’s Workshop.  The soil blocker I purchased from Johnny’s Seeds.  As you can see, I can get 40 seedlings on one 5×10 tray.

Lisa Mason Zeigler has great tutorials on her website and has written some very informative books on growing flowers. They are all listed on her website.

For the regular 72 cell seed starting kit, I filled the cells with wet (not dripping) seed starting soil, then seeded the tray.  I purchased my seed starting kits at Dollar General.

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I put the seed tray on a heat mat, purchased on Amazon, put the dome on that came with the 72 cell seed starter kit,  and within two days, yes, two days, 50% of the seeds germinated.  I then took the seeds off the heat mat and put it under regular shop lights.  The shop lights should be about 3″ above the seedlings.  Not all seeds will germinate that quickly. 

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Why a heat mat?  The room temperature in the spare bedroom that I’m growing my plants in (I don’t have a greenhouse) is about 68 degrees.  The soil temp in the seed tray is about 15 degrees cooler, so the heat mat brings the soil temperature up to about 70 degrees which is perfect.  Not all seeds want heat, so you need to read the back of the seed packets and research, research, research.

Why shop lights?  The seedlings need about 16 hours of light a day that way they won’t become too leggy.

I’ll fill you later with what made it and what didn’t…..

Talk to you soon!

Karen

P.S.  If you are interested in whats happening at Family Tree Farm, please click HERE for updates, tutorials, recipes sent to your inbox at least once a month.  Just for signing up, I’ll email you my free printable PDF – 5 Easy To Grow Flowers For Your Cutting Garden!

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How does the color, ultra violet (purple) make you feel?  Every year, mid-December, I get a phone call from my daughter, Sarah. “Hey mom, did you hear what the Pantone Color-Of-The-Year is”?  Typically, she has to tell me.  Sarah is artistic and is fascinated with color.  I love to hear her talk about it.  We discuss the colors and how much we love them or hate them or how we may see or use them in the future.

I didn’t really think about this until I started to write this blog post, but Sarah’s choice of floral colors for her 2016 wedding were inspired by the 2016 Colors-Of-The-Year!  In 2016 the colors were Rose Quarts (pink) and Serenity (blue). I see purple and green in her bouquet too.  A beautiful summer palette!

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Marcy, of Foster’s Flowers on Beaver St. in York, created the most gorgeous flower arrangements for Sarah and Garrett’s wedding. Wouldn’t you agree?

Do you eat purple food?  I, personally, love to eat anything purple. It’s one of my favorite colors!  According to some, the darker the skin of a fruit or veggie, the higher the nutrient value.  Check out this article from the Telegraph:   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/news/start-eating-purple-good-health-science-behind-2017s-new-food/

Last year, 2017, the Pantone Color-Of-The-Year was Greenery (green).  Think about it.  Have you been seeing a lot more green in packaging, paints, furniture, wallpaper, clothing, floral design,  etc.  Green plants are making a big come-back in our homes.  I love it!!!  Pantone sees color trends, selects the color of the year and the trend setters go from there.

Just because purple was chosen for 2018 doesn’t mean green is so yesterday…not at all.  The trends continue on for several years.   Think about green and purple together.  YEESSS!

The following is from Pantone’s website and announcement of the Color Of-The-Year for 2018:

Inventive and imaginative, Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.

A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.

What is purple?  It’s blue and red mixed together.  Complete opposites on the color wheel.  The last paragraph of Pantone’s announcement really hit home with me.  What do you think?

Want to guess what the Color-Of-The-Year will be for 2019?

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Hope to see you soon!

Karen Doyle