Starting Vegetable and Flower Seeds in Big Pots

With attention and lots of watering, the seeds I started in larger pots are doing well.

After caring for my seedlings in eggshell pots for weeks, I decided to start some seeds in big pots. They won’t dry out as quickly and are able to stay outside overnight.

I gathered up pots of all sizes that had been lying around and cleaned them out. for drainage I used yard debris, which was a mix of oak leaves, catkins (those long brown things) and Spanish moss. That mixture was pushed into the bottom of each pot before adding dirt.

I’ve planted basil, dill, cherry tomatoes, marigolds and cosmos. I used freezer tape to label the pots with the date they were planted.

basil and other seedlings in pots

Growing Basil

Basil can be difficult to grow in Florida, or so I’ve heard. I had some basil plants in the garden that lasted a couple of years, but then they died. Basil does self-sow if you let seeds form. I now have two pots of basil.

The basil seedlings became so crowded that I removed some of the plants by cutting them off. You should cut and not pull when thinning so as not to disturb the roots.

I kept the cuttings to use when cooking! So far, everything looks good and I hope to have nice big basil plants to pull from year round.

basil grown from seeds
Basil one month later – end of May

Cosmos and Marigolds

I chose two types of flower packets to grow from seeds. Marigolds are so wonderful for gardens, because they repel certain bugs that could be destructive. They should be dead-headed (pull off the old flowers) and I rip the flower head apart and scatter it among the vegetables. Every gardener probably includes marigolds when planting. I think certain varieties are better than others, but I didn’t have a lot to choose from at the store.

I bought two flowering marigold plants – see the orange one below – and will see what happens with the seeds.

little cosmos flower blooming
Flowering cosmos in a grow box

The cosmos seedlings are looking pretty good. A little purple cosmos flower has bloomed in my grow box. That plant was begun in an eggshell pot.

This is certainly a different looking cosmos from what I am used to growing in New Hampshire. Or maybe the plant needs to mature to grow larger.

Actually, the secret is to plant seeds in real good dirt.

The cosmos in the larger pot is looking nice and blooming regularly

Growing Dill

I always grew dill in my northern garden, but have not had luck growing it here in Florida. I do have a few small seedlings in the grow boxes, and now have dill sprouting in this terra cotta pot.

Because I don’t have much luck growing dill, I have chosen to grow fennel. It is similar in that it also grows tall and feathery and has flowers that attract beneficial bugs. Also the Swallowtail butterfly will leave her eggs on fennel, just like parsley and dill.

Dill seeds sprouting in a pot
Dill seedlings

I needed up putting the dill into the potato garden and planted more dill seeds in a large pot.

Dill plant

Cherry Tomatoes

My cherry tomato seedlings were not doing much at first, but now in May they are large plants. I’ve transplanted them a few times and they have little tomatoes on the vine.

Plants by the end of May

Growing Dill and Fennel in a Florida Garden

Growing dill and fennel in a Florida yard.

I’ve combined these two herbs in this post because one of them I can’t seem to grow. Because dill doesn’t like my yard, I’ve grown fennel in it’s place.

The two herbs are not interchangeable for cooking and seasoning, as they are both different, but as far as gardening goes, they are similar. They are both airy and lacy and have big yellow, open flowers that attract beneficials.

Dill

I first grew dill in my New Hampshire yard. I absolutely loved the flowers that came at the end of the season, which attracted good bugs. Here in Florida I have tried numerous times to grow it without success. This potted dill you see here was grown from seeds.

Aside from the fact that the raccoons dug around in the pot one night, it looks pretty good.

Dill plant

Fennel

Fennel on the other hand grows all on it’s own. It is considered a perennial. It has successfully re-seeded itself in my front yard and I’ve seen caterpillars on it in past years. And often the stalks will last into the following year. Here in Florida that happens with many vegetables.

Unfortunately the brown lizards ate all the worms, so I didn’t see any turn into Swallowtail butterflies.

Swallowtail worm on fennel
Parsley worm which will become a black swallowtail butterfly

Saving Seeds

Both dill and fennel have seeds that form on the flowers and are very easy to save. Because I don’t have luck with dill, I have photos of fennel seeds only.

fennel plant with seeds
Fennel flowers turning to seeds

Fennel easily grows from seeds. I have some plants that have sprung up along the front of the house. This year I saw no caterpillars on them, but I like to have them just in case a butterfly comes by to lay her eggs.

fennel plants
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