Urban Garden Denver Blog

Seed Shopping

Seed displays are showing up in hardware stores and garden centers. When we stopped by Ace Hardware for some supplies for our den project, I browsed through the seed packets. I have to confess, most of what is in my garden is not from seed. Either my lack of patience or the vagaries of Colorado weather make seed planting low on my garden priority list. I also don’t have a good indoor spot to start seeds for transplanting.

However, seeds are an inexpensive way to try out different flowers and vegetables. Later in the spring (around Memorial Day), I will plant cosmos seeds — by far my most successful seed year after year. I plant them in the ground and also in large pots. They make great cutting flowers.

As I was perusing the seed varieties, I noticed the display included seeds dated 2009 and 2010. Old seeds can still be viable, but if you are going to the trouble and expense, check out the expiration date on the seed packet. I gambled on a couple that the clerk discounted 50% because they were out of date. I’ll scattered some extra Echinacea seeds around and most likely enough will germinate to fill in around the other Echinacea I already have in the garden.

Sweet peas are the experiment I am going to try again this year. They are a sentimental favorite from my childhood in Seattle. My sister grows lovely sweet peas and always has cut flowers around the house spreading their fragrance. I have tried them several different times in Denver and have always had meager results because our spring weather shifts to hot summer too quickly. One of the vendors at he Cherry Creek Farmers Market sells them, but she grows them in a greenhouse. I regularly purchase a fragrant bunch for my dining room. So sweet peas will be my act of faith this spring, hoping for positive results, but knowing I can always go to the farmer’s market if I’m unsuccessful. I did buy 2010 seeds for the sweet peas — I need all the positive help possible for this venture.

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