This year I have made a valiant attempt to save money and grow everything from seed. I had two three level indoor greenhouses perched right up against our wall of windowpanes in the great room. It has been a revolving door of peat pots since early March. Our main goal was the vegetable garden. Getting a head start on plants for the newly tilled over earth seemed like a good idea. The garden sits at the southern portion of our grassy area before the fields give way to hay production for the horses who live down the road on another farm. We dedicate about five acres to hay every season. The other goal was to grow our own Annuals and Perennials which seem to be getting ever more expensive at the local nurseries. I started seeds for Black Eyed Susans, Forget Me Nots, Marigolds, Morning Glories, Nasturtiums, Poppies, Purple Cone flowers, Snapdragons, Sweet Peas, and Zinnias. It was a bigger list than I had anticipated but I knew that there was just not going to be the disposable income for buying these plants full grown. The planted areas here at the farm are pretty extensive, and the weeding that accompanies these areas is exhaustive. The more we get planted it seems, the less weeding there is to be done. It is a nice thing to be able to see beautiful color and know you are saving yourself from knee and back-breaking work. I love gardening in every sense of the word, but there is another reason we have to keep up the appearance of the farm. It doesn't happen often, but my husband's art brings clients to the farm to discuss their projects and see his wood shop. It is an awful thing to bring a client to a house that is unkempt. You may as well just place a "I'm disorganized" sticker on your forehead. And yes, while we can be disorganized, I don't like to announce it with an unkempt yard! The seedling project has educated me about growing flowers. Some varieties are just not meant to be grown at home by a novice. For instance, poppies do much better broadcast in sand into the places where you wish them to grow. Growing them in peat pots is near pointless. Sweet peas can be tough to germinate, as can Black Eyed Susans. Cone flowers take a while to grow, whereas their bought in four inch pot sisters take off growing like wildfire. Snapdragons have to be thinned and then wilt and die if you miss a day of care. Marigolds, Nasturtiums, and Zinnias can be grown by someone with a brown thumb and four brown fingers they are so easy.
So it was that one of my local favorite nurseries ran a special on beautiful Snapdragons in reds, whites, and yellows. The seedlings I had grown were meant for our front entrance under two newly planted Lilac trees that our old trees had given birth to. Needless to say, my seedlings of Snaps had failed miserably. Snapdragons may be one of my favorite Annuals because they just cannot help but bring a smile to your face. They are a cheery group indeed.
On the whole, I would say the seedling experiment is a success. Most everything has survived and is flourishing, and I spent nary any money in flowers this year thus far. That is not to say if I had unlimited funds for flowers, I would be hitting those nurseries every weekend, because I would. There is no place more exciting or adventurous than a nursery decked out in all its floral regalia. Here's my local favorites: Greenfield Plant Farm in the Landon Maineville area, Allyson's Gardens in Lebanon, and the local Lebanon Farmer's Market held each Thursday at noon near the town library. I have found some wonderfully healthy plants at the Market that I haven't seen in the nurseries. Greenfield's has the most extensive selection in the area and gardeners who know just about everything I have ever thrown at them. Allyson's is smaller but again just as knowledgeable. One of her gardeners has a Shaker garden that was on last year's garden tour and it was to die for. So while I am learning to grow my own, I'll still be popping into the locals. I think this is important because gardening just would not be the same without them.