Ask the Experts

Wisconsin State Farmer
Seedlings pick up moisture through the bottom of these recycled pots.

Q: I want to start my own seeds indoors this winter. Any tips?

A: The most important consideration is light. Most gardener's seed starting dreams fail because of inadequate lighting conditions. Invest in a set of growing lights that can be adjusted to maintain proper light levels to grow healthy, sturdy plants. A good set up is actually quite inexpensive. Proper watering is also key. Many gardeners start out all excited, but then slack off. Be sure to start the seeds according to package directions. Often, we start seeds much too early and they cannot be transplanted outdoors. Read the package for recommended seed starting date.

Q: Will my lavender plant make it through the winter?

A: Some varieties of lavender are perfectly hardy in our area. Depending upon which zone you reside in, lavender is fairly reliable as a perennial herb. Check the plant label for the specific growing zones for your variety. If you don't have the label, you should be able to find this information with an online search.

Q: I'm overwintering my annual geraniums indoors and they are beginning to bloom. Should I let them?

A: This is a personal decision. If they are blooming and in proper light conditions, this should not create too much stress on the plant. If they appear healthy, I would enjoy the beautiful color.

Q: I'm looking for more yellow in my yard. Do you have any recommendations beyond the ordinary?

A: Yellow is one of the most versatile and useful colors in the garden and landscape. There are yellow flowers, both annual and perennial, as well as yellow leaved trees and shrubs. Some excellent and unusual choices for yellow and gold in the garden are any of the golden conifers, gold ginkgo, many of the massive yellow hostas, such as Sun Power, Coast to Coast, Key West and Sum and Substance, yellow magnolia, primrose lilac, and Japanese forest grass in gold.