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Gardening with Ellen April

Gardening with Ellen Pell


Gardening with Ellen


Can spring be coming when our lawns have just peeked out from under a blanket of snow? Doesn’t Mother Nature read calendars? If you are itching to see something green, satisfy your cravings by planting seeds. Many local stores (even the big box stores) carry a huge selection.

I highly recommend using soil blocks (aka potting blocks) for seed-starting. These seed-starters are made from lightly compressed cubes of soil and serve as both growing medium and container. They are not as fragile as they seem. Proper moisture and the seedlings’ roots hold them together. To guarantee success, you MUST provide about 6 hours of natural sunlight or 10 hours under a grow light daily. Remember to turn the pots regularly so plants grow in more than one direction, and to keep the soil blocks moist (never drenched) at all times. The advantage of using soil blocks is that you plant them directly into garden soil, avoiding often fatal transplant shock.

It's best not to start seeds more than eight weeks before transplant time. If you start your seeds indoors too early, they will grow too tall to transplant easily. Our usual frost date is around Mother's Day but it may be closer to Memorial Day this year. Crystal ball anyone?


I hope you feel excitement and joy watching your seeds develop into baby plants, just as I do.


Ellen Pell, Master Gardener –from an article byJoe Lamp'l, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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