Growing Tips: Alaska Scatter Garden

Quick Reference:

Annual, a plant that completes it’s life cycle in one season. Germination: 7 to 20 days. Plant seed on the soil surface to 1/8 inch deep spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. Plant height: 12 to 36 inches. Shallow planting provides warmer soil but the soil surface MUST be kept moist at all times until seedlings emerge. Ideal plant spacing in the garden is 4 to 6 inches.

When and where to plant:

In Alaska, this flower garden blooms from mid-summer through frost when the seed is planted directly in the garden. Scatter seed on the soil as soon as it can be prepared and has warmed in the spring. Select a sunny location with a good, well drained soil, cultivate, enrich with plant food and organic matter, smooth soil surface, sprinkle seed on soil surface so each seed is 1 to 2 inches apart on loose soil, seed can remain on the soil surface or may be lightly covered with fine soil but must be watered well for good seed-soil contact and the soil kept moist at all times until seedlings emerge. For earlier bloom, seed may be started indoors 4 to 5 weeks before the last frost in a container of sterilized soil. Sprinkle seed on the surface then lightly cover with fine soil, water well and keep moist until seedlings emerge. After the seedlings have sprouted, grow in full sun with cool night temperatures, 55 degrees F and transplant seedlings directly to the garden when they are 1 ½ to 2 inches tall after the last frost.

Care: Water as needed and feed every 4-6 weeks. Remove old flowers to stimulate new blossoms.

Hints for Cutting Flowers: Water plants before cutting. Cut in morning or evening when the temperature is the coolest. Select flowers with buds ½ to 3/4 open. Cut with sharp knife and place stems in luke warm water immediately after cutting. Arrange flowers in clean container and add fresh water as needed.