Using Extra Space For Seeds

By Mary H. Dyer | March 3, 2021
Image by Alfira Poyarkova
by Mary H. Dyer
March 3, 2021

Until recently, I never thought much about starting seeds indoors. It wasn’t due to lack of interest, but to a serious lack of space. Four years ago, my husband and I moved into a larger house with a “spare” bedroom.  For the first time in years, I actually had a little empty space.  

I’ve decided that George Carlin was right: Our houses are just places to store our stuff. When our houses become too small, we buy bigger houses to store more stuff. It didn’t take long for me to figure out how to use that extra space””growing seeds!

Starting Seeds Indoors for the First Time

My husband built a simple but sturdy shelf system with four shelves. Each shelf is wide enough for two seed-starting trays, with two fluorescent tubes hanging over each tray. The next investment was eight warming mats””one for each tray.

Growing seeds indoors has been a real learning experience for both of us and it’s been a whole lot of fun. The first year I felt inclined to grow food among the flowers, so I tried cucumbers, beans, and of course, tomatoes. The vegetables were a total failure and it’s not surprising. My heart wants to grow flowers.

Starting Flower Seeds Indoors

That first summer I had scads of beautiful miniature zinnias. They’re pretty and bright, and more importantly, zinnias aren’t on top of the list for hungry deer. I grew petunias (beautiful), marigolds (so-so), and ornamental grass (a lot of work with zero reward). Salvia performed wonderfully, and much of the yarrow I planted is still growing (it’s a native plant here in eastern Oregon).

Every year I plant my favorites, including petunias, lobelia, and zinnias but I also experiment with one or two new annuals, just for fun. I’ve learned that geraniums need to be planted in February, and so do calibrachoa, which have finally passed the 20-year patent period. Wave petunias have also outgrown their patent. They’re simply amazing and so easy to grow.

To sum up these wandering thoughts, here’s my advice: If you have space, grow seeds. If you don’t have space, make some (or take Carlin’s advice and move into a bigger house). Grow veggies if you want to. Otherwise, grow flowers and have fun! 

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