Lester C. Fretz
Growing Annuals Indoors in Spring
Growing annuals indoors may require additional window space. Rather than simply use the window sill, the growing area can be greatly expanded by adding extra layers of shelves.
For those who have an easterly or southerly window, scrap 1/4 inch plywood the width of the window sill works wonderfully.
The photo shows how the sunlit area of a window shelving can be tripled. Make the insert slightly narrower than the opening. Insert pieces of foam board or cardboard along the insert’s outer edges to keep it firmly in place and prevent damage.
If the growing plants such as tomatoes begin to get lanky, the second photo shows how an insert in the container accommodates the growing seedlings. Not only does this addition keep the plants erect, adding soil encourages additional root growth along the stem producing a strong, healthy plant for transplanting. The seed was planted in the lower 1 1/2″ of soil; the ruler shows the plants now have 5″ of roots.
The seedlings can be watered weekly with a very dilute 1/4 Tbsp plant fertilizer: 1 gallon water. Also, be saving your crushed egg shells to put in the hole at transplanting , adds needed calcium to the soil which will significantly prevent blossom end rot.
For flower growers, zinnia seed will germinate in 2 days with bottom heat of 75 F however they tend to get spindly. Using the expanded-sides-modification to the seedling box, will result in sturdy plants for transplanting later.
Lester C. Fretz, M.Sc.,
Member: Dunnville Horticulture Society