Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Grow Your Own

~ March 9, 2011

March is the month to get sowing. Seed orders are arriving in the mail and the seed racks at the garden centres are filled with a great selection. Don't forget about the seeds you collected from your garden last year. Growing plants from seed is both rewarding and economical.

Always check the date on the package before you buy. The sell-by date is equally important for seeds as the items you purchase from your grocery store, and guarantees freshness and successful germination. On the reverse side of each package you will find complete growing advice, including the number of days you can expect to maturity and whether to plant in sun or shade.

Sowing seeds can be as simple or sophisticated as you choose. A sunny window can provide sufficient light or you may opt for supplemental grow lights. Plastic-domed mini greenhouses with cell pack inserts are available at most garden centres. The humidity dome helps to seal in moisture and encourages germination. Indoor lighting systems, heating coils and self-watering equipment are available for those looking for a more advanced approach.
Light weight potting mixes, like Green Earth Seed Starting Mix, promote optimum growth.
Seed starting mixes contain sphagnum peat moss and perlite or vermiculite. They have great water retention and drain well.

Peat pellets are another option. They are made from compressed sphagnum peat moss and have a mesh cover. Add water to these pellets and they expand. You can use peat pellets to sow seeds or to root cuttings.
Plant starter fertilizer from Plant-Prod helps all plants develop a strong root system. It has a high concentration of phosphorous, 10-52-10, for strong and rapid root growth in seedlings.

Next Week: Canada Blooms
Celebrating 15 great years
At the Direct Energy Centre
Preview Party March 15
Festival March 16-20