Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

The New Year is a time that I reflect on the past year and what I would like the next year to be like. I make goals and a to do list. This year I plan to write in a journal on a daily basis. I have many journals that I start and don't follow through with during the year. Maybe this year will be different. I hope to commit to starting to take a walk after work, use my walking DVD at home, or walking on my treadmill on a daily basis. I used to do this but stopped when I started having pain and stiffness from arthritis. I will have to push past the pain. I may walk slower, but I have to incorporate scheduled physical activity into my day. I felt so much better when I was doing it. 

May your year be all that you hope for and envision. This year I will try to remember that without change there is no growth. Sometimes "bumps in the road" are there to grow us; now to gardening.

The pansies have started to germinate, yeah. No germination yet for the  begonias but it's early. It is recommended that they be put in an enclosed container to mimic an environment of increased humidity. They are to stay in a humid atmosphere from the time you sow them, until after they develop true leaves and possibly transplanting twice. I referred to brads begonia world and the seed packet for information on how to start seedlings. You can read the information for yourself. I did not completely follow all of what was recommended but used it as a guide. I will probably look for a clear plastic container to put them in instead of trying to finding fire proof plastic to cover the seed set up. 

Tomorrow evening into Friday morning, 3-6 inches of snow is predicted in Philly. Today I was able to Winter sow 8 containers of seeds. Just in time for snow. I have more I want to do but I'm glad I had time to get at least 8 containers done before the snow comes. Some seeds benefit from an environment and conditions that they would naturally grow in being exposed to the cold, rain, and snow. Some perennials require a period of exposure to cold known as stratification to germinate. Seeds are supposed to germinate when they naturally would. I sowed seeds of alyssum, foxglove, larkspar, delphinium, bergenia rose, hollyhock, lupine, and poppy. This is my first year Winter sowing seeds. I would never have the room or set up to start this many seedlings inside and keep them healthy until Spring. I will be in "plant heaven" if this works.

Pansies. The light needs to be lowered. Only a few seeds had germinated yesterday. It is recommended that when some seeds start to germinate, that the top be taken off to prevent damping off and that other seeds will continue to germinate. I am always worried with pansies because they require darkness to germinate. I decided to keep the cover on top and kept them in the dark over night. This morning there were many more seedlings that germinated and they were starting to stretch in search of light so I took the top off and put them under shop lights.
I had more saved vegetable trays from last year than I realized. I threw a lot out during the year because I could never imagine what to do with them until I tried Winter sowing this year. I didn't have any gallon milk container because I don't buy gallons of milk only smaller containers that aren't clear. This year I will ask family members to save their milk containers for me for next Winter if I have success with the seedlings this Winter.
Holes Punched in the tops and bottoms with a screwdriver heated over a flame. I lined the bottoms with paper to keep soil from falling out. The paper will still allow water to drain out.
Begonias on heat mat.
Another amaryllis in bloom, soon to be followed by paperwhites in the kitchen window.

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