All New Square Foot Gardening

AT A GLANCE

Botanical Information

Family: Mint Height: 8 inches to 3 feet A/B/P, Hardiness: annual Spacing: 3 per square

Growing Season

Spring: late Summer: yes Fall: early Winter: no

Seed to Harvest/Flower: 14 weeks Seeds Storage: 1 year, use fresh seed Weeks to Maturity: 8 to 10 weeks Indoor Seed Starting: 8 to 10 weeks before last frost Earliest Outdoor Planting: once soil has warmed Additional Plantings: not needed Last Planting: not needed

Description

There are so many different salvias that an entire garden can be dedicated to them without duplication. Salvia splendens is an annual salvia with tall spikes of red or white flowers, although hybridizers have come up with pink, salmon, and a deep purple that looks almost black. Also known as scarlet sage, salvia is actually a member of the mint family, bearing the trademark square stem. These lovely plants are workhorses in the hot, sunny garden, and are quite drought tolerant once they're established. Cut the plant back by one-third at planting time, to a pair of leaves where you see new sprouts emerging to encourage bushiness, and keep it deadheaded throughout the growing season for a long display of color, texture, and height.

Starting

Location: full sun to partial shade

Seeds Indoors: Sow seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost.

Don't cover the tiny seeds, they need light to germinate. Keep the mix just slightly moist to avoid damping-off. Transplanting: Set salvia out after the soil has warmed as they can be very frost sensitive.

Basil and Beyond

Growing

Watering: Weekly, 1 cup per plant.

Maintenance: Deadhead often to promote branching and uninterrupted flowering.

Problems

Mildew, slugs, aphids, whitefly.

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