Time to Start Seeds Indoors
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Gardeners have different reasons for starting their own seeds indoors to plant later in the season. Some like the feeling of increased self-reliance. Many people are drawn to starting seeds because it allows them to grow heirloom plants and varieties that are not usually found at nurseries and garden centers (and gives them a good excuse for spending so many cold, winter hours looking at seed catalogs and dreaming of warmer days).

Whatever the motivation, there are some key basic steps to successful seed starting. And though there are still weeks of cold weather, it's time to get a little potting soil under your fingernails so your starts will be ready for the growing season.

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Windstorm Damage at the Gardens

The December windstorm that left thousands of people in northern Utah without power, closed schools, destroyed fences and downed hundreds of trees did not spare the USU Botanical Center and Ogden Botanical Garden. Eight trees were downed at the Ogden garden and the main building lost shingles and siding. 

Most of the roof and a section of a wall were ripped off
during the December windstorm.


Davis County got the worst of the storm, with 102 mile-per-hour winds recorded in Centerville, just a few miles south of the USUBC. By the time the storm finally ended, the center had lost 10 trees and some fencing. 


The greatest damage though was to the USUBC greenhouse where most of the roof and a section of the south-facing wall were ripped off. As the temperature quickly dropped in the open greenhouse, the staff worked quickly to move tender plant starts to a nearby building. While the plants are sheltered now, it is not an ideal environment for growing plants. And despite quickly turning off water to the greenhouse, staff members are still contending with broken pipes.


Wetland Discovery Point is powered by five solar panels that track the movement of the sun. The panels on their tall poles can be clearly seen from I-15, facing toward the sun every day. The panels were left turned in all directions, their bases loosened and some of them tipped at odd angles. 

Solar panels at the Wetland Discovery Point were turned and tipped in wrong directions during the windstorm


And just as storm water from the surrounding community flows to the USUBC ponds, all kinds of debris that was blown from peoples' yards also ended up at the center. 


Cleanup will continue in the coming months. The USUBC welcomes any volunteer efforts to assist in cleaning up the property. For more information about volunteering, please call (801) 593-8969. Repairs to the greenhouse will begin later this month with the goal of being completed in time to plant for this year's growing season and plant sales.

But It's a Dry Cold

January is not ordinarily the time we recommend getting out your garden hose, but this is no ordinary January. The small (and sometimes large) amounts of water your landscape plants normally get from intermittent snowmelt are not available this year in most of Utah. In addition, snow that provides insulation to the ground and plant roots is just not prevalent so far this winter.

USUBC Director Dave Anderson recommends giving your trees and shrubs some help on a relatively warm day by getting out the garden hose. You need not leave the water running for hours, and shouldn't use a sprinkler, but allow the water to run for a few minutes and soak into the ground. This mid-winter irrigation is especially recommended for trees and shrubs that were planted last year and those that get a lot of southern sun exposure.

To put this winter in perspective, in mid-January 2011, Ben Lomand Peak had 80 inches of snow and Farmington Peak had 81 inches. This year, Ben Lomand has just 19 inches and Farmington has 22, roughly five feet less snowpack.
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Events & Classes 
Plant Propagation Series:
Seed Starting
Greenhouse Tours 
Date: February 25, 2012 
Location: USU Botanical Center
Time: 9 - 10:30 a.m.
Explore the Garden
Family Night
Date: February 27, 2012
Location: USU Botanical Center
Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
Quick Links
Contact Us
Utah State University  Botanical Center  
725 South Sego Lily Drive
Kaysville, UT  84037
Phone: (801) 593-8969

Ogden Botanical Gardens
1750 Monroe Boulevard
Ogden, UT 84401
Phone: (801) 399-8201

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extension.usu.edu | Logan, Utah 84322 | (435) 797-2200