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…

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer