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This Weekend: Direct seed before the rain!

sky over san francisco bay showing rain clouds

Have you noticed the sky today?  The gathering rain clouds??  I've been waiting ages for this weather to direct seed annual flowers.  Of course you don't need rain to direct seed, but it sure helps to have the sky keep your germinating seeds moist for you!

(BTW, "direct seeding" is just a fancy word for planting seeds directly in the ground, instead of starting in seed pots, flats or plugs.)

I was going to write this week about compost, but that can wait because this weekend is our best shot at rain in weeks!  Here's a simple how-to for direct seeding flowers into your garden, for blooms this summer.

Weeding a spot to direct sow flower seeds, before and after

1.  Weed the area where you'd like to plant.  Here's my before and after.

Clearing soil to plant seeds

2.  Break up big clumps of soil until you have a nice fine texture.  I think this is my favorite part, getting my hands in there, crumbling the soil, feeling and smelling it.

bachelor buttons seeds in hand, planting

3.  Sprinkle seeds thinly, and rake them in gently.  (I use my fingers rather than a rake.)  Which seeds to choose is of course up to you.  Here I'm planting a bachelor button variety called "classic magic."  I've had good luck with bachelor buttons in the past, and the warm purplish color of this variety should look nice with the dark roses and smoke plant already there.  I'll also be planting some nigella, ammi and cerinthe, all varieties that do well when direct seeded.

Watering in direct sown seeds in the garden

4.  Water them in.  Even though the rain (we hope!) will come and water them over the next few days, always water seeds right after you plant them, both to get them started germinating, and to make sure the seeds are in good contact with the soil.

Keep them moist over the next few weeks as they germinate, and then pull any weeds that are competing with your baby flower plants until they get established and can shade out competitors.

Now let's collectively cross our fingers for a "miracle March" with lots of rain to nurture these flowers and our thirsty landscape.

Also, it's a great time to be starting your summer veggies and herbs indoors!  If you haven't started your tomatoes and basil yet, it's not at all too late.  Get them going in your Orta pots, or whatever you like to use, and you'll have your very own seedlings ready to go in a couple months!


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