In Barb's Garden
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

November 29, 2009

Now that I have my new seed catalogues I may never be able to put them away. I've found seeds for house plants, as well as flower and vegetable seed. The Coleus is an easy plant to grow from seed and it can be grown on as a house plant. Cactus seeds are available and given plenty of light and exceptional drainage can be grown as houseplants. I've also found Palm seed, which after presoaking for 48 hours will germinate in 20 days if held at 70 degrees F.. It will take about 4 months to produce a good size Palm plant, perhaps a good Christmas gift for next year! The Palm seed costs only $1.50 for 15 seeds. Or in 9 months one could grow Philodendron plants at a price of only $2.15 for 10 seeds. Seed is also available for Umbrella Tree a.k.a. Schefflera.

Seed for Sinningia speciosa or Gloxinia, Gesneriads sp.,and Streptocarpus (all related to African Violet) are readily available in current seed catalogues. The Gloxinia, and I expect the others of the same family are germinated at a steady 75 degrees F. in a moist medium for 20 days, then grown on at 70 degrees F.. Choose a fine soiless seed starting mix. Fill a well drained container with premoistened seed starting mix, level, and firm the surface lighty. Sprinkle the seed sparingly, and press them gently to the surface of the starter mix, do not cover the seed. Spray the surface with a fine mist of lukewarm water. Cover the container with plastic or glass and place the container on a water proof tray, in a warm 75 degrees F. site. Do not set the container in direct sunlight the or the seed will cook in the intense heat. About two weeks after germination and at one month intervals thereafter, the seedlings will need to be pricked out and transplanted in a sandy compost, increasing the distance between the plants with each transplant. When the plants are about 4 inches across they may be planted in individual 4 inch pots. A sterilized light potting soil mix of Peat or Leaf mold, Sand and Compost is ideal for the Gesneriaceae (African Violet) family. The high humidity requirement can be achieved by setting the pot on a tray filled with small pebbles immersed in water to just below the top of the pebbles.

The water should not actually touch the bottom of the pot. Never water with cold water, try to avoid wetting the leaves or crown of the plant. Avoid exposure to direct hot sunlight especially during the summer months. Watering is best achieved by immersing the pot in room temperature water until the soil is saturated, but never more than one half hour. Do not water again until the soil surface is dry to the touch. Fertilize only after the soil is moist, at two week intervals with a good liquid plant food. Transplant and divide in spring after plants become root bound.

Your questions and comments are most welcome.

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