Starting Seeds Inside

Last week I started flower and herb seeds under grow lights. Some are already germinated and growing!  Growing your own transplants is a great way to add annuals, perennials and herbs to your landscape for pollinators. I started basil, borage, blue salvia and calendula.

Spindly growth is a common problem when growing transplants indoors. It is best to place the seedlings under artificial light.  It is not necessary to have a grow light plant stand. A standard shop light fixture with one cool and one warm fluorescent tube light works fine. For best results, the lights should be approximately 1 inch above the seedlings. Raise the light as the seedlings grow.  Leave the lights on 12 to 16 hours a day.

Many flowers do well or better as direct planting outside. Plant zinnia and sunflower seeds after the chance for frost has past and the ground temperature is consistently warm, over 55 degrees F. This usually occurs in mid to late May.

MJ Frogge

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Plant Herbs

We have garden thyme blooming in Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.  Soon I will be planting basil, dill, borage and parsley.  Herbs are important plants to have in a pollinator habitat.  The flowers are visited by bees and butterflies.  Many butterfly caterpillars feed on the leaves of dill, borage, parsley and other herbs.  If you plant several plants, you may get a few herbs for yourself!

MJ Frogge

thyme

Herbs are Meant to be Eaten

Dill is an excellent larval plant for Swallowtail butterflies.

Dill is an excellent larval plant for Swallowtail butterflies.

A corner of the habitat has been planted with herbs. Herbs are excellent larval and nectar plants for butterflies. We have planted borage, dill, parsley, basil, garlic chives, oregano and thyme.  Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on dill and parsley plants.  The caterpillars feed on the plants until they pupate.  I hope there will be lots of herb eating in the habitat this year.  We can always plant more.

MJ