The Gardening Season Starts with Seeds

By Linda Wiggen Kraft,
Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

The winter holidays don’t end at the first of the year, they continue into the first few months of the year when seed catalogs and plant cravings creep into our lives. Like visions of sugar plums, visions of plants dance in our heads. It is time for the luscious seed catalogs and online links to be gathered so the ritual of choosing annual plants grown by seed can begin. This ritual takes place for a few hours over a few days. Settling down with a cup of tea, a warm blanket, seed catalogs and my computer I begin to look and dream. Looking at all the possibilities, I see the plants and imagine them growing in my garden. I sense the soil welcoming them to their outdoor home. I sense the rain and sun welcoming and nourishing them. Thus begins the garden season, with the garden of dreams.

Although already growing plants are available, there are thousands, if not millions, of other vegetables and flowers only available as seeds. At first, I wanted thousands for my garden but I realize the limits of my space and what will grow where. Some seeds are started under lights and some directly sow into the soil. Seed packages will give info about those requirements, but often online resources give deeper information. For vegetables I first look to the expertise of one of our local treasures, Seed St. Louis. They offer a downloadable planting calendar that tells what to plant, how and when. To find the calendar, google “Seed St. Louis Planting Calendar 2024” and the link for printable PDF comes up. The calendar highlights thirty-six different kinds of vegetables. For example, cucumber seeds can go directly into the ground on May 1st. There are many different varieties of cucumbers. My favorites are a Persian variety called Beit Alpha and Mouse Melons, also called Mexican Sour Gherkin. Seed St Louis, a local non-profit, also offers free classes and loads of info about vegetables. Check it all out at, Seed St. Louis.

For flowers there are must-haves and a few new ones to try. Zinnias are number one on my list. Purple and peach zinnias are stars in my front garden. Must haves are tall cactus Señorita Pink and Lilac. The Queeny series of zinnia are multicolored flowers, very beautiful. And for those who like the hunt of rare zinnias, Floret Farms in Washington offers pale zinnia colors. They sell out fast, available starting Feb 1. Zinnias started inside under lights bloom earlier, but zinnias do great as seeds put directly in the ground after the last frost. Another must is sunflowers, native annuals that are best sown directly in the ground. Short ones like Teddy Bear are as fun as the nine-foot tall Mammoth.

There are many seed companies that offer treasure chests of plant possibilities. I prefer smaller companies dedicated to preserving organic and heirloom seeds. A few favorites are: Missouri’s own Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, (free shipping unlike most other seed sellers), Turtle Tree Seeds are organically and biodynamically grown, Pinetree Gardens Seeds offers organic and heirloom seeds, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for our warmer weather and Renee’s Garden owned by a woman.

Enjoy the wonder of planting seeds and watching these small miracles grow as they provide food and beauty.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer of holistic/organic gardens. She is an artist and creativity workshop leader also. Her ceramic jewelry and pottery are available online. Check her website for details. Find out more, subscribe to her blog and Instagram at www.CreativityForTheSoul.com, Call her at 314 504-4266.