March Propagation

Any seed packet that says to start your plants indoors 8 weeks before last frost should be started in March in Colorado. Sowing vegetables in Colorado usually requires you be ready come March to get your grow on.

If you want to know a less expensive way to start seeds indoors, check out,

3 essentials for starting seeds indoors

This year I am trying new native plants from seed for the Colorado prairie. Anemone virginiana, Aquilegia canadensis, and two kinds of figwort will be tried. as well as annual zinnia for my bee friends.

Scientfic NameMonthStratificationSow LocationCommon Name
Anemone virginianaMarchtrueIndoorsTall thimbleweed
Aquilegia canadensisMarchtrueIndoorsEastern Red Columbine
Geum triflorumMarchtrueIndoorsPrairie Smoke
Nepeta catariaMarchfalseIndoorsCatnip
Ricinus communisMarchfalseIndoorsCastor Bean Gibsonii
Scrophularia lanceolataMarchtrueIndoorsEarly Figwort
Scrophularia marilandicaMarchtrueIndoorsLate figwort
Zinnia hybridaMarchfalseIndoorsProfusion Cherry Zinnia
If you want to get planting these are the seeds I’m starting in March.

Many of the plants listed here are natives that could have been sown outdoors in fall and let nature do its stratification. But being slow to purchase seed, we have to fake winter conditions by applying a stratifcation technique.

Stratification is a process used on seeds to mimick the natural conditions a seed has in nature prior to germinating. When sowing North American prairie plants, winter is simulated with a cold – moist stratifcation. On your seed packets you will find the number of days to apply the process. Below are types of stratification you might apply.

Cold – Moist: A slightly moist paper towel in a baggie put in refrigerator at 32 degrees F or lower for X days.

Cold – Dry: The seed packet is placed in the refrigerator at 32 degrees F or lower for X days.

Double -Dormant: When seeds require 2 years to germinate, you can alter your cold, then warm, then cold again stratification to fool our seeds.

Hot Water: Sometimes a seed needs fire to have its covering open. To simulate, boiling water is poured over the seed. Then its cold stratified before planting.

Other plants just need extra time indoors before planting out to allow them to come to full bloom before the summer season is over. These are annuals that may come from warmer climates whose growing season is beyond our average number of days without freezing temperatures.

Note** Some vegetables, like tomatoes, are sensitive to temperatures below 50 degrees. Some may go dormant, but others will wilt and die! Yikes! So giving a head start is always key to a successful vegetable garden.

Stay tuned for the plants that like cold toes and don’t mind a bit of frost while they provide us edibles.

Week 3 progress

3 castors are 6″ tall. I have 10 Cherokee purple tomatoes. Nine black magic kale. Six rainbow kale. Three zinnia. Five catnip.

The cherokees are growing fast. The kale is leggy and I need to get better light to the seedlings.

Week 6 progress

Most of the Cherokees were potted on at four weeks to 3″ plantable coir pots and are now over 12 inches tall. Today I will pot on the rest.

Roma tomatoes were a bust, the seeds I saved last year had not been cleaned well and the cotyldons cannot escape the seed covering. I am going to soak more seeds to see if I can get the coating off before planting. One beet came up but has not produced leaves. I have another set of seeds soaking to try again. Note these seeds are from 2020 so may not be viable.

At week 4 I also started some anemone and early figwort from the fridge. Neither have germinated.

Replanted 6 beets, and 7 roma tomatoes.

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.