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A lone purple pansy blooms among a crate of pansy plants. Located in a plant nursery or greenhouse, this package of pansy plants is waiting to be bought and planted by an optimistic gardener. The blooming of this colorful flower indicates that other beautiful flowers will shortly poke their heads out of the green leaves.
Experienced gardeners who want to go one step beyond purchasing mature plants ready for planting can sow their seeds in a greenhouse. There are a variety of seeds that can be sown in this manner, including half-hardy annuals such as pansies that can be planted later into beds and borders. Indoor flowering potted plants used for home decoration, and culinary herbs, may also be grown from seed.
In order to sow your seeds in a greenhouse you will need a warm greenhouse that ranges in temperature from 61-70 degrees F, a bench that is large enough and strong enough to hold seed flats, compost, a soil presser to pack the compost, and a horticultural sieve. In situations where the greenhouse temperature is lower, warm containers called propagation boxes, which are heated by electricity or by kerosene, can be used.
While sowing seeds is relatively straightforward, it must be done correctly for plants to grow. First, fill seed flats with compost. Use your fingers to firm the compost, then add more. When the flat has been filled, excess compost can be removed by running a smooth piece of wood over the top. Once excess compost is removed, the remaining compost should be further packed using a tool called a compost presser. When you are done with the compost presser, the soil should be a half-inch away from the top of the container.
After the compost has been properly packed, place seeds in a folded piece of paper, and gently sprinkle them over the surface of the compost. Next, fill a horticultural sieve with more compost. Sprinkle the compost over the seeds, until the thickness of the compost is three or four times that of the thickness of the seeds. If you don't have a horticultural sieve, an everyday kitchen sieve will work.
Do not water the flats from the top. Instead, take the flats and submerge the bottom in a shallow bowl with an inch or two of water. You will know the seeds have been properly watered when the top is moist.
After the seeds have been sown, cover the flats with a piece of glass or a plastic lid. If the seeds require darkness in order to germinate, a newspaper can be placed on top of the lid.
As the seedlings emerge and grow, be sure to gently extract them from the soil and transplant them elsewhere so that other seedlings have room to grow.
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Flat of Pansies Picture