It is a perfect time to place orders for your seeds. If you don’t have enough seed catalogs, borrow some from a friend or go online and search for “garden seeds and plants.”
You will surely locate few great seed companies that will send you a catalog or take your order online. You can search for “garden seeds” and find a treasure trove of seed companies specializing in organic seeds, heirloom varieties, exotic and unusual seeds, as well as your favorite varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees, and shrubs. Don’t overlook the specialty companies, which feature potatoes, garlic or tomatoes.
If you plan to start a vegetable garden you can start onions from seed. Seed 20 to 30 seeds in a 6-inch pot filled with seed starting mix. Give them lots of light, a cool temperature, water as needed and fertilize with weak, liquid fish fertilizer.
If they get too tall and leggy, trim them back and use trimmings for salad or stir-fry. When the weather warms a little, expose the whole pot to outdoor conditions gradually. When you get ready to plant them, dump out the whole pot and carefully separate the individual plants by teasing apart the roots. Starting onions this way protects against transported disease and allows you to try lots of different varieties, not just the ones available as starts at the nurseries.
For flower lovers, it is the best time to start perennials from seed. Yarrow, hollyhocks, purple coneflower, dame’s rocket, blanket flower, salvia, speedwell, pansies, and others germinate readily. When growing plants indoors, be sure to provide lots of light either from sunlight or grow lights and slowly expose them to cold before planting them outside.
It is best to plant young perennials in a “nursery bed” the first year where you can keep track of them and baby them just a little. The next year they can be planted in their permanent home. Many will not bloom until the second year. This is a cheap way of adding perennials to your yard — if you have the patience.