If I want to plant petunia, sweet pea, english wallflower, creeping thyme, and mexican merigold, I am guessing I need to wait till the frost possibilities are gone. Am I correct?
There is another alternative that I have had great luck with. Check out the wintersow forum. Just keep in mind that here in ca we may need to start a lot earlier because of the early onset of heat. I already have the following seeds germinated and growing for at least a month:
Shasta daisy marconi and crazy daisy
rudbeckia double gold
calendula (already transplanted in the garden)
echinacea white swan and magnus
I wintersowed these last year and they are still blooming now, so I want to add more this year. Also, I wintersow lettuce and other winter veggies because they come up faster that way.
I plant all of my annual seeds at this time of year.
Sweet peas will still do okay this time of year as seedlings if planted with full sun and good drainage. Petunias can often live over winter if established, but prefer warmth to start as seedlings. Get yourself a copy of Sunset Western Garden Book Encyclopedia, or go to the library, for a more comprehensive list of cool versus warm season annuals and perennials. Wildflower seeds of California natives might be a better choice this time of year, such as California poppies, Baby Blue Eyes and others. I'd also suggest you might want to look at the web site www.anniesannuals.com for suggestions of cool season flowers and natives if you want something from bloom right now, or stick with the typical mass market winter color choices this time of year such as pansies/violas, English primroses, cyclamen, calendula, stock, Iceland poppies, Cineraria, etc.
To get winter annuals to bloom in early winter, you should actually have started seed back in mid September to early October in Sunset zone 17 conditions.
laila 2009 great question. I can use this advice also. I started some seeds under lights but they are ssssssssslow and I figure I am not doing it well. How the heck to get those little things harden off an into the soil.
gardenerme are you using milk jugs and sitting them in the sun?
hosenemesis are you direct sowing or winter sowing. PS beautiful garden
The yard is a marsh with all the good rain we have had and more storms lining up. The winter sow Q&A says to wait until all the leaves are fallen or solstice. This is advice from northern gardeners I think.
You could use milk jugs, however, I just get the deepest disposable lasagna pans with clear lids from walmart. I also reuse the large mixed salad containers from costco and albertsons. It's all the same . . .
I use the clear plastic lids from supermarket rotisserie chickens if I want additional heat and protection from wind and frost. I tack them down on the ground with U shaped pieces of wire. But I don't normally do that in the winter; I do it occasionally in the spring for seeds that need heat to germinate.
But mostly I direct sow as soon as I get to it- any time from October to January. I throw the seed out and cover it thinly with compost. Here's what I sow for spring bloom:
Shirley, Peony, and Breadseed poppies
Queen Anne's Lace
All of the easy stuff :)