Seeds for the next season arrived Monday,so now is the time to start them off for setting out come May or June.
The featured plants for this coming year are paeonia mlokosowetschii
--"Molly's witch"-- and gentianopsis crinita
, Greater Fringed Gentian.
Here,then, is the stuff I use to get those seeds started (click photo):
Two plastic pastry holders are used, because the peony seeds need warmth to germinate, whereas the gentian seeds need to be chilled first before germination will begin; thus, the gentian seeds will be placed outside, to stratify, for acouple or three weeks before being placed back indoors to continue with the process.
The peony seeds-- all seven of them --are tamped firmly, not completely covered, into the dampened vermiculite(click photo) with the eraser of a pencil, and by what the instructions say,will be kept indoors for the duration of the winter.
I placed the peony pack in a lighted spot,on a bookshelf by the patio door. Venetian blinds on the door will protect it from direct sunlight, preventing overheating.
The height of this spot is about four inches lower than that of the room's thermostat, which will be set at the recommended germination temperature, 20 degrees C.
The gentian seeds are set up for sowing like this, using a folded square of
bond paper to sow into furrows pressed into the vermiculite:
Press the seeds firmly into the damp vermiculite. Pressing the length of a pencil works fine.
Close cover and snap shut.
Place outside for about a month to stratify.
All this activity was observed with keen interest by myconstant gardening supervisor.