Planting Fall bulbs

September is by far the very best time of year to purchase your fall bulbs.  When those new varieties start showing up, I start getting excited about spring again just thinking about all the flowers popping up through the snow.  The best time to plant is in October, so don’t get too excited to plant now.  Let me explain.  If you wait to purchase bulbs until October, many varieties will have sold out, and the selection will be limited.  Planting bulbs too early can cause even more problems.  Let’s say I can’t wait any longer to plant my new lilly-flowering tulips since the deer won’t eat them with the new repellent and I can finally enjoy them in my yard, so I go out and plant them this week.  If the weather stays warm and wet for the rest of the fall, those bulbs will start to grow.  Too much growth this season could damage the bulbs and prevent them from flowering next spring.  Don’t plant too early. When selecting new bulbs always look for the largest Dutch bulbs you can find.  Don’t get me wrong, US grown bulbs are good, but the Dutch grown bulbs are the best, hands down.  The size of the bulb is directly related to the size of the flower when it comes to tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and crocus.  You might pay a little more at the local garden centers over the national chain stores, but you will definitely find larger, better quality bulbs that will produce for you for years to come.  Don’t skimp when it comes to purchasing bulbs. You will be amazed at the selection of bulbs available this year.  I don’t think I’ve seen a better choice ever.  Every color in the rainbow (and a bunch of combinations) fill the shelves.  Of the different varieties there are early, mid-season, late, parrot, double, lilly flowering, and viridiflora tulips just to name a few.  Let’s just say that there are more varieties and colors available than most gardeners will plant in a lifetime. The first thing I do before planting is till the garden.  A 2-3 inch layer of compost and a little humate will do wonders for your bulbs.  It is so easy to plant when the soil is loose and fluffy after tilling and the humate brings nutrient out of the soil and helps break down the compost into wonderful, dark soil.  A little fertilizer wouldn’t hurt either. When planting, it doesn’t matter how large or small you dig your hole.  I like to plant in groups of 7-10 bulbs so I dig 12-14 inch holes about 4-6 inches deep.  Don’t plant the bulbs too shallow or too deep, as they will either freeze during winter or just won’t bloom.  After I get the holes dug, I fertilize with either a bulb food or bone meal.  About 1 teaspoon per bulb works great depending on the fertilizer that you use.  Always check the directions first. The biggest concern with tulip bulbs for us, at least, is the amount of deer damage that they receive in our area.  Few repellents work well enough to deter the deer from their favorite springtime treat.  We have had good luck with Deer Stopper from Messina, Liquid Fence, but it is so stinky that it repels people as well as the deer, and This-One-Works from Ferti-lome.  I’ve heard that Plant Skydd is great as well, but I’ve never tried it.  If nothing else works, a nice sheet of chicken wire over the newly emerged tulip leaves has been successful for us.  At any rate, you could plant 1000 daffodils, with 10 tulips in the middle of them, and the deer would eat the 10 tulips and leave the daffodils.  Frustrating. Last but not least, water the bulbs.  Two years ago I planted 300 daffodil bulbs in front of our house.  It was early November, which usually isnt a problem, but that year the ground froze yearly and there was a skiff of snow on the ground.  As the sun came up, the soil thawed out a bit and I was able to plant.  I neglected to water after I was done and figured the snow and rain of November would take care of it.  I was wrong.  It didn’t snow or rain again for weeks and the already dry soil sucked all the moisture from the bulbs and killed them.  That following spring  only  10-12 bulbs bloomed.  Please water your bulbs, especially as dry as the soil has been this season. Get out there and buy those bulbs now.  Hang on to them and plant in October and youÕll get the results out of them that you desire next spring.  And if you’re interested, I’m teaching a bunch of free classes on forcing bulbs this fall for various civic and religious groups, as well as here in the store.  It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding when they start blooming in January and February.

Fall is for planting grass

I love this cooler weather, and that rain last week was long overdue.  However, I’m not so sure about how quickly it cools down at night.  That can mean only one thing. . . Fall is on its way.  The way things are shaping up, it feels like an early winter.  If I’m right, then we had better get to work, because there are so many things to do before the next growing season.  My list of projects seems endless: planting fall bulbs, planting a little grass, fertilizing the lawn and taking care of weeds; and that is just the beginning.  For now, lets focus on planting a new lawn or rejuvenating an old one. The warmer it is, the quicker grass seed germinates.  Many times I have heard gardeners lament the heat when planting grass in the summer months, but I’m here to tell you that August and September are the most productive months for getting your new lawn started. Warm soil temperatures equal fast germination and warm, dry air usually means fewer diseases and problems as the grass starts growing. Despite having to water more frequently to keep the new seed moist, you generally don’t have to water as long to get it to germinate, therefore saving water. Many different types and styles of grasses have become available over the last few years for home lawns.  Many new varieties handle shade, traffic, abuse, less water and a variety of different conditions and still look good.  Hybrid bluegrass blends, turf-type rye and bluegrass blends, and turf-type rye/turf-type fescue blends definitely will look better and perform better under varying conditions than some of the trendy prairie grasses that have been popular the last few years. These new blends need less water to stay green and beautiful all summer, they green up early and stay green long into the fall, and they tolerate pests and diseases much better than older varieties. Anderson’s Select is our special, hand-pickeded bluegrass blend that looks gorgeous and tolerates Cache Valley weather.  For a rye/fescue mix, try Mark’s Mix.  Once established you can water once every 7-10 days and it will stay green all summer.  You’ll be surprised how great it looks too! When preparing the soil for planting, make sure you rake, groom, grade and remove any large rocks or other undesired obstacles. Prepare it exactly the way you want it because once the seed is planted, it’s too late to fix it. At this point, use a good starter fertilizer like 16-16-16 or Ferti-lome’s New Lawn Starter and Natural Guard Soil Activator to build up some nutrient and organic matter to help the seed germinate and grow. A new product from Fertilome, Aqueduct, will also work wonders if you have clay or compacted soil. Many gardeners have trouble with water puddling or covering their soil evenly when planting new grass. The Aqueduct will eliminate these problems by helping the soil absorb water more evenly and helping with drainage issues in lower areas where puddles like to form. It’s amazing how it just sucks the water down into the worst clay soils. After fertilizing and seeding, make sure to roll the entire area with a lawn roller, slightly pressing the seed into the soil. This will help with erosion problems, keep the seed from blowing away and also help with germination. Don’t neglect this important step. Try and keep the soil moist at all times, but don’t over water. This is where the Aqueduct and the Soil Activator will really help. Short 2-4 minute applications throughout the day to just keep the soil damp works best. If the soil dries out a little between waterings, that isn’t a problem. Consistent moisture is the key to good germination. Most seed will germinate in about 10-14 days during this warmer time of year and you should be mowing for the first time about 6-8 weeks later. Fertilize again with 16-16-16 about 4-6 weeks after the first application to help the new grass thicken up and spread out. Generally by the time winter hits, the grass should be well established and on its way. Then stand back and enjoy the beauty that you have created.

Weeds & Fall Insects in the lawn

So why should I fertilize the lawn now?  A little fertilizer now can get that tired, worn-out lawn looking great after all the heat this summer had to offer.  Now is a time when we can really enjoy the yard and when the grass can look as good as it did this spring without growing out of control.  Fertilize either with a good slow release nitrogen like 23-3-16 or South-West Greenmaker or if you have a few weeds, go with a weed-n-feed.  You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.  Just don’t forget to put your winterizer on later.  Just because you are fertilizing now, doesn’t mean it’s ok to skip an important step later.  And if you have had stress, insect, or disease damage in your lawn, don’t hesitate to add an extra dose of humate.  It will help your lawn recuperate in about half the time. Few weeds dare show their ugly heads in my lawn, but a handful of bold invaders sneak in every now and then.  While I truly adore using my long handled weeder to chop the villains to bits, an herbicide, applied correctly in the Fall, will invoke miracles.  2,4-D, or Triamine, or Trimec all will kill weeds effectively this time of year (seeping down deep into the roots to kill the entire plant).   A good weed-n-feed will contain one of these herbicides.  I prefer using the liquid Trimec when necessary or, for the exceptionally tough weeds like violets and morning glory, I use Carfentrazone.   Not only is it a “safer” herbicide, but it works on the most difficult to control weeds around morning glory, thistle, wild violets, clover, spurge, mallow, etc.  And unlike other herbicides, it reacts fast.  Usually one application will kill just about any weed within just a few days.  There are few new products out that have generated as much excitement as this one.  If you have hard-to-control weeds in your lawn, I know this product will work for you. Insects have plagued lawns all summer, but just within the next 10-14 days  sod webworms will start showing up in lawns in almost every community in the valley.  Almost overnight small yellow spots will appear in the lawn, growing in size each day, and turning brown.  The turf will lift up very easily revealing 3/4 inch long worms with a small, brown head chewing up the grass stems right where they emerge from the soil.  For excellent organic controls of these nuisance pests use Spinosad or Mach II.  Both of these controls stop the webworms from eating within 24 hours or less, but it takes as long as 2 weeks for them to die.  For a quicker demise, Dylox, Tempo, Permethrin, and Deltamethrin have specific labeling for the control of webworms in lawns.  They all come in a liquid or a granulated form and will kill them in 12-24 hours.  Be certain to treat all the effected areas and surrounding lawn to prevent their return later this fall.

Green as grass

Everywhere you turn, it seems that if it isn’t “Green”, then it’s not good.   Newly designed, environmentally friendly buildings have taken the place of traditional building techniques.  Every community recycles plastic, cardboard, paper, metals; everything that can be, will be reused or recycled.  Green cars, green food, green cloths, green paper, green fuels, and even green energy take the forefront in every media venue imaginable (and I always thought of energy as being yellow or orange or white).  Dont get me wrong, these things can be very good.  What everyone seems to have forgotten is what green used to mean.  The one thing that used to be green, isn’t green any longer according to today’s experts.  Let me explain. Lawns used to be associated with the color green.  A green in golf, generally is made of grass.  A greenskeeper cares for lawn.  How do you think gardener’s thumbs turned green?  Mowing the lawn, of course.  Grass, lawn, and turf used to convey positive, happy images.  But over the last few years, lawn and the words associated with it have grown more and more negative: wasteful, demanding, environmentally damaging, un-waterwise, expensive, harbors poisonous chemicals.  If grass is all that, how can it be green?  Believe me, grass is still the greenest thing on the block. A healthy, well maintained lawn will contribute more good to our environment (especially our own yard and neighborhood) than you could ever imagine.  The environmental benefits of planting a lawn far outweigh any possible negatives that accompany its installation. Lawns cool and quiet.  When it’s hot outside, would you rather sit on the lawn or on the concrete?  Street and sidewalk temperatures easily breach the 100 degree mark when temperatures on the lawn will still be in the 75 degree range.  That’s one big air conditioner you got there neighbor!  Lawns also absorb and deflect sound.  Combined with a little landscaping, a healthy lawn will dramatically cool and quiet your yard and neighborhood. Ok.  We all know that trees and shrubs clean the air and produce oxygen, but did you know that grass  also removes carbon dioxide and filters pollen, dust, and pollutants from the air as it produces oxygen?  An average lawn of approximately 5000 square feet produces enough oxygen for about 8 people each day.  It takes two 100-foot tall trees to produce the same amount per day.  Have you got two 100-foot tall trees in your yard?  Not many homeowners do, but almost everyone has a little lawn to do the trick. Ever walked through a dry, dusty construction site?  Or a barren desert on a windy day?  That is what life would be like without lawns.  Blades of grass slow down dust, dirt, and pollutant filled air, allowing these hitchhikers to settle on the blades and get trapped in the soil.  The blades and roots of just one acre of grass absorbs hundreds of pounds of pollutants each year, like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, nitrates and other gases that are blamed for damaging our environment.  Lawn products are blamed for contributing to groundwater contamination and algae buildup in ponds and lakes, but in truth, few materials get past extensive grass root systems.  Dense lawn roots under a healthy lawn filters water and collects pollutants, rarely allowing them to go “downstream”. Grass rarely gets any thanks for holding our soils together.  Lawns control erosion by knitting the soil together, trapping runoff water, and eliminating many problems caused by mud and dust (depending on the weather).  Despite it’s bad rap as a water abuser, grass absorbs rainfall six times better than a wheat field, preventing damaging runoff and erosion of valuable topsoil. Aside from the very tangible benefit of having a lawn, property values of homes with a healthy lawn and landscape increase 15% over homes without.  Lawns provide a great place for recreation.  A safe environment for young and old alike, turf  absorbs the energy of a fall, and cushions steps when walking.  Compared to almost any other surface, grass makes for a safe and enjoyable play surface. Sure, lawns need to be fertilized, watered, and mowed.  They take care and time, but doesn’t everything else in life that is worthwhile?  Grass has gotten a bad reputation over the last few years, but in reality, that just isn’t the truth.  Grass is good.  Grass does good.  And don’t let anyone tell you that grass isn’t “green”.

How to Grow Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a great addition to any home garden. They’re delicious, surprisingly easy, and yield prolifically. There’s a ton of different varieties to choose from, so do some research and see what you think will be best for you. You can see all of the varieties we carry here. Generally, you can divide cucumbers into a few types including slicing cucumbers, picklers, and exotic varieties. Some examples of slicers that we carry are Sweet Slice Burpless, Straight 8, Fanfare, and Marketmore. Excellent choices for pickles include Pioneer Pickling, Boston Pickling, and Homemade Pickles. We also carry the yard-long exotic Armenian cucumber as well as the round, yellow Lemon cucumber. The first thing to keep in mind with cucumbers, and vegetables in general, is that they need a lot of direct sun. 6-8 hours a day in fact! They also like warm soil. You can make your cucumbers super happy by planting them only after the danger of frost is over (even light frost will kill these guys) and by “baking” the soil by covering it with black plastic for a week or two beforehand. The warm conditions will help them adjust more quickly and result in overall healthier plants. Ideal soil conditions for cucumbers are well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter at a neutral pH. Cucumbers are a little more flexible on pH than other vegetables, so don’t worry too much about that. Just make sure your soil mix is nice and fluffy and mulched and they’ll love you for it. Cucumbers can be planted in containers, rows, hills, and in raised beds. The raised beds offer the benefit of well-drained soil; something absolutely necessary for the health of your plants. Don’t let this benefit detract you from hills or rows though. Raised beds are a lot of work to get set up and you’ll grow just as many cucumbers in hills and rows provided you have all your ducks in a row (well-amended soil, deep watering, tender loving care). Once your plants have gotten going, there’s very little maintenance until harvest. To keep pests at bay it can be helpful to trellis vine-type cucumbers (and that includes most varieties) and then you must always make sure they have enough water. It is best to water deeply and less frequently than lightly and more frequently. The former creates good water retention and healthy plants while the latter causes root rot and eventually tissue death (not what you want!). How often to water depends a lot on weather conditions. Check for soil moisture by sticking your finger 2-3 inches into the soil. If the soil is dry all the way up your finger, they could probably use a drink! Your cucumbers are ready when they are the size you want them. Even better, they’ll continue to produce and produce so long as it stays hot and you keep giving them regular drinks. There’s nothing better than a fresh cucumber from your own garden. After one time, this will become a staple in your home garden that will give and give for years to come!

Anderson’s and GMOs

In the last few weeks, we have received a few inquiries about hybrid vs. GMO seeds, what a GMO seed is, and the Safe Seed Pledge. I will briefly discuss these topics here for our interested Blog followers. Since these are highly controversial and heated topics, I would respectfully request that if you want to respond or comment on this topic, please do so in a courteous, respectful, and tolerant manner. Our Blog page is not an open forum for arguments, and we will politely remove the content from our page. Thank you for your understanding. First of all, seed and gardening have been an integral part of our business for over 70 years. We sold heirloom seeds long before they were trendy or popular. To us, they were just great old varieties. We practiced, used, taught, and sold organic gardening and organic products decades before it was the “En Vogue” way of gardening. Anderson’s Seed has seen the transformation of the garden seed industry from strictly open pollinated, to the emergence of vegetable hybridization, to the now controversial genetic modification of seeds. Honestly, we’ve seen it all, and nothing surprises us; we only wonder at how much noise and splash the next big marketing gimmick will make in the seed marketplace. Amidst all this change and occasional turmoil we have consistently strived to do one thing: provide all our customers with the best choices and options to make their garden the best it can be. From our humble beginnings (500 square feet of retail space), when my grandmother first opened the doors to our business, her focus was one thing only: business. Her philosophy was to have the best products, give the best service, and take care of business. Times were tough for a businesswoman in the 1940′s, and she couldn’t afford to lose or offend a single customer. That meant that political, religious, and social views had no room being a part of her business. Those were personal decisions, they had no logical place in business, and therefore, she didn’t want her business affiliated with any other organization that might adversely effect her reputation. This is a policy that we have strictly adhered to throughout the years. Not once in our 70+ years can I think of a time that we have openly supported or opposed any political group, any one religion, or any social group. We have donated time, materials, and expertise to hundreds of groups and individuals, but never openly supported or opposed any one group. If you don’t believe me, just ask my sister, who has campaigned for the Cache County Treasurer office at least 5 times, how many times we put up posters in the store or signs on our lawn for her advertising blitz? Never. She’s never even asked, because she knows it won’t happen. It’s business, not personal. Keeping all this history and tradition in mind, I present the short answers to the previously asked questions (on our Facebook page). What is a GMO seed and how does it differ from a hybrid? GMO seeds have been genetically altered by humans at the DNA level, exchanging very specific bits of DNA from one plant to another to enhance or add beneficial traits in the target plant. Hybridization is the method of taking two parent plants, breeding them together, and hopefully yielding an improved offspring that retains the best parts of both parents. Both of these processes are complicated, detailed, and work and technology intensive. However, hybrids are produced selectively using only natural reproductive processes. In hybrid seed the DNA is not physically altered by humans, only by the plants they are paired with. Do not let my watered-down, in-a-nutshell explanation fool you. Both of these methods require a lot of trial, and a whole lot more error. Anderson’s Seed & Garden does not currently carry or sell any GMO seed, nor do any other home gardening businesses. We do sell and recommend many varieties of open pollinated and hybrid vegetable seed. A lot needs to change for GMO seed companies before the legal risk is low enough to offer said seed to the home gardening market. Judging by current circumstances we don’t think that will be happening any time soon. What is the Safe Seed Pledge? The Safe Seed Pledge was instituted by the Council for Responsible Genetics in 1999 in response to the ongoing research into genetic modification of plants & organisms. By taking the pledge, one commits to not sell any seeds or plants that have been genetically modified. What is our take on the Safe Seed Pledge? The Safe Seed Pledge is grounded in a deep roots political movement (the CRG). It was originally set up as a marketing tool to differentiate GMO opposition from the supporters (as stated on their website). It is now being used by groups interested in boycotting Monsanto Corporation (for various reasons, but mainly for their stance on GMO seed patent protection) to identify any business that has not taken the pledge as a supporter of Monsanto or it’s many divisions. In compliance with our historical commitment to keeping business strictly about business, we neither support nor oppose this pledge. After careful analysis, we have found the pledge, at this time, to be redundant and illogical to our current business model. It is currently impossible to sell or purchase ANY home garden seed that has been genetically modified, as NONE exists. Nor is it legal or even slightly probable to sell GMO seed to anyone without their consent, as a legal contract must be signed by each purchaser (in human blood ) agreeing to not steal, propagate, resell, or disseminate the creator’s intellectual and technological property, under pain of death… in so many words. This situation may change in the future, but I think there are way too many hurdles, way too much expense, and way too many lawsuits over patents and property rights for this to happen in the near future. For way more information than you really want, please continue checking our blog as I have much more info to provide. I’ll try my best to enlighten you even more on GMO’s and the Monsanto Boycott.

Best Varieties for Cache Valley

Gardeners have such difficult choices to make these days, as there literally are hundreds of varieties of vegetables available to grow. We have tried to take some of the guesswork out of growing a garden by choosing some of our favorites for you to try. Of course, all the seeds we offer at Anderson’s Seed and Garden we have grown and know that they will do well in our climate and soils of Cache Valley. However, we still have those few varieties that our garden just wouldn’t be the same without. For early crops, that can be planted as soon as your soil is dry enough to work, don’t hesitate to try Cascadia Snap peas, Correnta Spinach, Dulce Grande Onion, Esmerelda and Plato Lettuce, Packman Broccoli, and Columbia cabbage. These can all handle whatever cold and snowy weather that Mother Nature might throw at us in the next few weeks. Don’t forget about radishes, turnips, and cauliflower, as they like the cool weather of spring as well. Generally around the first to middle part of April, the soil has warmed enough for planting the semi-hardy crops like carrots, beets, chard, and potatoes. Sweetness and Tendersweet carrots both live up to their names by consistently yielding up the sweetest and most tender carrots you have ever grown (and they’re coreless too!). For some added color and interest, Bright Lights Chard keeps producing multi-colored delicious leaves all summer long. And what garden is complete without a few tasty early potatoes: Norland reds and Yukon Gold are hard to beat for great flavor and smooth textures. When it gets warm enough to plant all the tender crops (usually around the middle of May), you must be selective in what to plant, or you can quickly get overwhelmed with all of the choices. Jade Bush beans, Optimum and Ambrosia bi-color corn, Best Boy and Sweet Baby Girl tomato, Orient Express cucumber, and Roadside canteloupe are all great choices. Our garden just wouldn’t be the same without these varieties. Whether you are a first time gardener, an experienced gardener, or just a gardener that likes trying new things, when it comes to seeds, we have a little bit of everything. We encourage you to try something new and keep growing those favorites you have grown for years. For complete descriptions and photos of all these varieties and more, click here!

Feed Your Family for $25/Year

Year after year we have recommended varieties of vegetables for their great taste or unique traits. Last year we told you that you can feed your family for $25 a year. We were serious. With $25 worth of vegetable seeds and a 50 ft. by 50 ft. garden (2500 square feet) you can grow an amazing garden full of healthy and inexpensive vegetables. All it takes is a little effort and a little know-how. We’ll provide the know-how (and everything you need to make it happen), and you make the effort. Start by using local seeds. At Anderson’s Seed and Garden we search out the best seed growers all over the world and try to provide the best seeds for Cache Valley at the best prices you can find anywhere. When compared with other retail and wholesale seed sources online and in catalogs, our prices are consistently the lowest we can find anywhere. Sure, there might be a few varieties you can find for less, but overall, pound for pound, we provide superior seeds in a retail size, at wholesale prices. Buying in bulk costs less, you get the quantity you need, and the seed is always fresh and ready to sprout. Whether you have years of experience or you’re just starting your first garden, we (and our experienced staff) can teach you how to be more successful in your garden. Come see us soon! The seeds are all here and Spring Planting Time is upon us!

Preparing Your Garden for Planting

Prepping your garden properly before planting will increase your success dramatically. Fall is the best time of year to add organic matter to your soil and work it in, but there are a few things to do in the spring that will help as well. Before planting, we apply Natural Guard Soil Activator (an organic soil amendment) to the whole garden, about 15-20 lbs. per 2000 square feet. Soil activator is a natural soil amendment that returns essential minerals and nutrients to your soil and stimulates beneficial soil microbes. It supercharges your soil. It’s also a great time to add small amounts of soil amendment to your soil (1/2 to 1 inch maximum) in the spring such as composted manure or garden compost. We use Gardner & Bloom’s Soil Building Compost composed of forest humus, chicken manure, bat guano, worm castings, shale, and other great organic additives. Also, this is a good time to add a general purpose fertilizer like Ferti-lome Tomato and Vegetable Food. If you prefer an organic source of nutrients, use Natural Guard’s Organic Lawn and Garden Fertilizer. Till these into the soil as soon as it is workable. You’ll get better germination, quicker emergence, and a greatly increased yield. After your plants get growing, use a pre-emergent to stop weeds from taking over your garden. It saves so much work! We recommend American Weed & Grass Stopper or Concern Corn Gluten for a natural alternative. No joke, a pre-emergent will halt 80-90% of your weeds as they germinate! For more information on preparing your garden, watch this short video of Mark explaining how to prep your soil for planting:

Getting Started Indoors

When preparing for the upcoming growing season, “where do I start?” is a very common question we hear at Anderson’s Seed and Garden. While the weather stays cold and wet, like it usually does in March & early April, starting your seeds indoors can help whittle away the time while waiting for good planting weather to come. Also, there is no time like the present when it comes to choosing new varieties to plant, planning out your garden spot, or just making some room for a few old favorites. Ultimately, we all want to get outside and do some planting, and to make that garden more effective, some early season soil preparation improves our chances of success. Whether you are a seasoned gardener, or a newcomer, these suggestions can help you get your garden started right for 2013! Starting seeds indoors can reward a gardener as much as anything. What better way to spend the off-season than watching seedlings grow inside? We have tried a lot of different methods over the years to germinate and grow seeds indoors with success, but this last year we found a new method that has yielded the best results to date. Last fall we introduced a new product, the Nanodome, to some of our customers specifically for growing microgreens and herbs indoors during the winter. It contains a full spectrum light, a tray for growing, fertilizer, and a 9” tall greenhouse dome that sits on top of the tray. You pick the soil, either peat pellets or a light seed starting medium like Fertilome Seedling & Cutting Mix, and select your seeds. Sow the seeds about one quarter of an inch deep in the selected soil and moisten them so that the soil is damp but not soggy. Cover the tray with the dome and turn on the light. It’s that simple. If you want to provide a little extra heat to get those seeds to germinate, a propagation heat mat will up the temperature about 10-15 degrees. Depending on what you are growing, you’ll have seedlings coming up in 3-10 days. The best varieties for indoor growing would be peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Vines like cucumbers, melons, and squashes are easy to grow also, but don’t start them indoors until 4 weeks before they can go outside. All in all, a lovely way to jumpstart the season!