A green space for urban gardeners

Seeds of time: a couple of fast starters for slowpoke gardeners

Nasturtium seeds are large and they sprout quickly.

Nasturtium seeds sprout quickly, so they'll make up the time lost if you procrastinate.

Winter blew out of Chicago a few nights ago with thunderous exultation. And the rain rained down. The next day temperatures reached 80. Of course it’s cooled off a bit since, but there is the definite feeling that the worm has turned (yes, a pun for you in-ground gardeners).

Even Burpee is on board. Three of the plants I ordered from them arrived on the very day that temperatures soared. So, container gardeners start your engines… we’re just three short weeks or so away from the time when we can introduce our plants to the great outdoors.

If you haven’t started any seeds yet and are lamenting the fact that because you’ve procrastinated you’ll have to spend more money and buy all your plants from a nursery, fear not… There are some seeds that sprout so quickly you still have time to start them inside before it’s open season. The two I most highly recommend are Nasturtium and Morning glory.

My gardening pal Leslie e-mailed me the other day and said that her Morning glory seeds had sprouted in their mini-greenhouse and grown so tall in 48 hours that they pushed the lid off! And her results are not unprecedented! My Heavenly blue Morning glory sprouted overnight, too, as did the variety I’m trying for the first time, Picotee blue. (Leslie is growing the Flying saucers variety, which is also blue.)

And my Nasturtium sprouts weren’t far behind. Within a few short days they revealed themselves.

The good thing about both these plants is that they also grow quickly once you transplant them to their permanent pots or containers. And they flower prolifically. And Nasturtium is edible — both the leaves and flowers. (The method for using the mini-greenhouse is described in my post titled “It’s showtime: pellets and seeds today, tomatoes tomorrow.” A step-by-step slideshow also accompanies the post.)

So, even if you’ve dragged your feet, these fast starters will make up the distance.

P.S.: Before planting, soak the Morning glory seeds in water overnight to speed up germination

[Thanks for visiting City Diggity, please check out my archives for previous posts that you can take into your garden. And don’t forget to leave a comment; I want to know how your garden grows.]


  Stephanie wrote @

Hi Avis, the Nasturtium leaves, do you need to cook them beforehand? Or it can be included into salad? And yes, growing from seed is so much cheaper 🙂 Btw, how long can you keep the seeds? Could the balanced be kept for next year? Have a great day!

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

You can mix the leaves directly in with your salad greens. I’ve even adorned salads with a few of the flowers just to make it more festive and colorful. The leaves have a spicy bite to them and I’ve read that you can use them in vinegars, too, but I haven’t tried that myself. Maybe this year…

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

Oh, and I have kept seeds until the following year, mainly because I sometimes buy too many and wind up not planting them all. I can say for sure that it’s worked out just fine for me. But, I’ve read some seeds don’t keep as long as others, so you should probably do a little research on the specific seed you plan on hanging on to.

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