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Are you starting your pansies in the dark this week?

My goal for 2016 was to take you through the growing of our Urban Potager in the city from January and share with you all the projects or activities I am doing each week to keep our Potager producing for us and nature all year long.

I have learned over the years that certain plants need to be started at certain times and need specific growing conditions to germinate. I have found when you first tackle growing a flower, herb or vegetable from seed check out what it needs to germinate. Some seeds need no light and others need light to germinate.

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Details as to how to take care of the seed is found on various sites but before you can have success growing from seed I suggest you read as much as you can about what others have found helpful growing. Each type of plant you grow requires different germinating strategies ( nicking seeds or soaking), soil types, light or not light and so you need to research a bit so you can have success. I would look at several resources and it does help if you find someone who has grown from seed a particular plant in your area. Each growing area is very different.

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The first week of January I start my historical pansies. They are my favorite spring plants and I can’t imagine not seeing their smiling faces. In my growing area they may come back but I have found them not to be reliable since I do rotate my beds each year. in 2016, I may leave a few beds with them in an area to see if they will return. I do have a problem  with very HOT days. If they are not in a shaded area by mid summer they often succumb to our summer heat.

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I love mixing them with spring vegetables. Each year I find a new place to squeeze more historical panises into my garden. One year I grew some in containers. I was able to move the pots to a shaded area once our summer got a bit too humid. They did pretty well and when I cut them back they returned with beautiful blooms in the fall.

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I start my pansies in the dark in a soiless growing medium. They prefer cool growing conditions to help them germinate. The picture above is of a soiless growing medium I used a few years back. I prefer cocotek now for my soiless medium for germinating seeds. Various sites claim they usually germinate between 10 – 20 days. That sounds about right with what I have experienced.

I usually transplant the best looking seeds into paper pots that I roll each season. I then put them under a growing ight  (I use T5’s).

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By April I have trays of pansies ready for the garden. All I have to do is dig the hole and place the newspaper pot and plant right into the ground. No going to the local garden center to  pick up pansies. I grow my own for pennies. No extra plastic pots to clean at the end of the spring planting. I like that part!

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I can’t imagine spring salads not decorated wtih histroical panies! I hope after reading about historical pansies you might order some seeds and give them a try in your garden and in your spring salads!You can read my post last year-Historical Pansies are a healthy addition to your spring salad! (read here) or another post in 2014- Historic Pansy Mix saved  to take us back to days gone by…