If there is one flower I must have in the garden other than roses, it is zinnias. One of the easiest flowers to grow, Zinnias provide a multitude of blooms all season long. To get a jump start on the season, I typically sow seeds indoors in early March and by the time April comes round, i’m ready to plant them in the ground or in containers.
I start with Jiffy seed pellets. Very inexpensive (less than $3) at local stores.
Place the seed pellets them in a tray or other container. I have one seed starting tray that I bought several years ago for this purpose, and I reuse it every year, but any container will do. I also use pie pans, butter bowls or the proverbial dixie cup…..
add warm water to cover the pellets. (To encourage early germination, I use a mixture of composted manure tea and warm water.) The warm water will cause them to expand. It usually takes about 5-10 minutes for the expansion to occur. Like Jiffy Pop Popcorn, kids love to watch this happen.
I then dig into my trusty Seed Keeper and select seeds. The Seed Keeper is a great way to organize my seed collection.
Once expanded, I use the tools from my Seed Keeper to take seeds and insert into the top of the expanded pellet, then lightly cover the top of the seed.
The Ferry-Morse company has provided my garden with zinnia seeds for many years and I always select from varieties that will provide the best possible visual impact in the garden.
Cover the planted seeds and place in direct light for 5-7 days. According to most seed companies, seeds will germinate in 10-14 days. By adding the composted manure tea to the mix, germination will happen in 5-7 days. That may not seem like a big difference to some, but to me it mean additional days this summer I will have blooms and I’ll take all the joy I can get….