Sunday, November 30, 2014

Seed Starting, Vinca, African Daisies, and Foxgloves

Don't know what else to get into today. Starting some seeds in egg cartons. Way too early for African Daisies but what can I loose. I bought the seeds. Last time I started them they were on a windowsill and germinated quickly. Had a hard time keeping them alive.  I have vinca seeds ordered in 2014 and had no luck with them reaching maturity. So lets see how they do this season. Looking forward to seeing  if the yellow foxglove seeds will do well. Its been about 2 years since I've tried them from seed. I love foxgloves.
Ambitious aren't I?  African daisies, black eyed Susan vine. digitalis, lambs ear, different types of vinca, hollyhocks, and dahlia seeds.
No space for all those  until the heat mat is clear. Will try 12 African daisies, twelve vinca, and 12 foxgloves. May sit the daisies in the window to germinate like I did before. with no heat. 
I'd like to try hollyhocks again. Haven't tried them in years.

I just realized looking at this picture that I have impatien seeds. Must put these away for now.
Lambs Ear bought in 2012. I hope they still germinate.
Daisy seeds
Foxglove seeds. They're actually smaller than they look.
Vinca Seeds
Burpee pellets. Instructions say to add 2 tablespoons of warm water or one once of water to each pellet.

I like the pellets because they aren't in that mesh sack that hold most.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Mess of Pansies/First True Leaves Geraniums

I didn't want to show the pansies but why not. Didn't take long to germinate with no bottom heat sitting on my dining room table. When I noticed several germinating, I moved them to the seed rack.They show my lack of care in how I sowed them. Instead of taking my time and putting one seed in each cell I just sprinkled the seeds and you can see what it looks like. The second problem is lack of light. I was having trouble with the shop lights. Today I went out and bought another fixture and four new T8 bulbs. Turned out there was no problem with the fixtures but how I was inserting the light bulb. It was time to change bulbs anyway. I've use the ones I have for at least 3 years. It's amazing that although the bulbs still give light, the spectrum of light is different over time and many sites recommend changing them periodically. What a waste unless you have florescence lights in other areas of your home and can reuse them.

Any way what to do with the pansies? Seeds can be very forgiving although fragile and they should be handeled by their leaves not the stem, things can be done that may allow them to adjust and continue growing. I've never had any so stretched from trying to get more light although I had them as close to the light as possible. Phone books were used to raise them up to the light. Having only one bulb in the fixture I believe caused the stretching. What will I do with them? Many seedlings can be planted deeper and their stems inserted deeper to allow for more support. This has worked for me in the past. This will be the last time I'll scatter more than one seed per cell.

Several geranium seedlings dies, about 4. Damping off didn't appear to be the cause to me. I read on several educational extension sites that low light can possibly cause problems with the leaves and how they grow. This is what really made me go out and get new lights today so not only are the lights new but I have 2 lights for each fixture. I really didn't think one light was a problem but it may have been the cause. Seedlings that have recently germinated were moved into the egg carton with 2 surviving ones that have developed one true leaf and appear to have another one forming. When the second one forms, I'll move them to individual pots and start fertilizing. It's really fun to watch the seeds change from day to day. I always get excited to see them look like their future adult appearance with true leave like geraniums. What a luxury it'll be if I get a lot to survive until spring. the price for just one is so high.

The other 2 trays of begonias have started to show some germination. It takes careful observation with begonias because when the seeds do germinate they are like tiny specks on the soil and it takes a while to actually be able to see them. I will continue to have patience with them. The trailing and more exotic ones are also pricey in nurseries. This is more than enough reason for me to attempt growing my own. I ordered calibrachoa seedlings from Burpee. I read about them finally being available as seeds on another blog and sure enough they were listed with new seeds for 2015. Do you think that because they were patented it took this long for seeds to be available? They're also pricey for just one small 4 inch plant. I really hope to have success growing them. I ordered orange, purple, and pink varieties. Wish me luck. Are you going to order some to grow? Almost forgot. The best part is free shipping for Black Friday. I think it last for a few more days. This motivated me to order now before seeds are sold out. Their shipping rate is higher than other places I've ordered from. Some other companies have already sold out of the seed already.

This was a long weekend for me with Thanksgiving on Thursday. I didn't do a thing yesterday but rest. Would have been a good time to sow some seeds.  Think I may try to clean some containers tomorrow to start some seedlings maybe foxglove and vinca. Vinca takes a long time but if I start early I should have good sized seedlings by spring.

Can you spot the 2 with true leaves?
Two seedlings have their true leaves. When I saw the cotyledon (seed leaves) yellowing and drying up I was worried but forgot that they will eventually fall off. It's amazing that all the nutrition a seedling needs before the development of their true leaves is in the cotyledon. Not a good practice for me not to know which are pink and which white since I didn't individually label them. Well maybe in the spring they will surprise me with early blooms and  then I'll know. It's like a new mother who delivers and doesn't know what the gender of the baby is going to be.
Pansies. It'll take a lot of work to save some of these.
This is what I have to read tonight. My one treat while out today. Didn't buy any plants.

The Beauty of Night

Have you ever looked out your window in the dark of night to see the earth illuminated only by the light of the moon and stars? It's magical. I keep saying I need a real camera. Tonight really convinced me of this as I glazed out my window at midnight, it was magical, spiritual, still, and awesome with the presence of  the Lord. I couldn't capture the glow on the trees and the twinkle of the stars so bright in the sky. If I could capture what I could see... I don't know what made me get out of bed from sleep and go to the window to look out and behold the beauty of darkness illuminated by the starts and moon. I hoped to captures a possum or raccoon struck unexpectedly by the flash from the camera but maybe another night. Sweet dreams.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Autumn is Special & the Seedlings

It's the day after Thanksgiving and this is the day I enjoy best because I can relax and really enjoy it. Its cold outside 32 degrees but a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and a light wind. I would love to go out into the yard and rake leaves and clean up some of the pots from summer but maybe tomorrow. I want to relish the warmth of today inside by a fire if I ever get it lit. I have some fat wood to start it but it needs to be cut. 

My car has never given me trouble except for a new battery and replacing the tires. Last night when I went out to start it to take my dad home it wouldn't start. I was not going to be outdone and it started drove fine there and back. I just got a battery in May. The battery died the day of my mother's funeral. I hope it's not time for a new car. I've never had real car problems.

A surprise delivery today, seeds. I ordered more geraniums because I've had a problem with the seeds from Swallowtail. I thought it was the seeds because several germinated and then lost their seed leaves; just disappeared. Some germinated and were yellow. It could be the seeds since I started with new unused trays. I don't know if I'll end up with any that reach adulthood so since it's early I ordered more to start. The first seedlings germinated in 2 days so I thought all would but that didn't happen. They're still germinating slowly. 

Today I just removed the humidity tray but didn't remove them from the heat mat. When I removed 4 seedlings that germinated the first 3 died and the other 2 are struggling. I will have to rethink what to do before I plant the new seeds. Would love to sow seeds today but would have to clean and bleach old seed trays. Not likely to get done today. I'm excited about the yellow foxglove seeds. I grew one plant to adulthood several years ago and it was beautiful. They're one of my favorites although I have many favorites.  

I forgot Black Friday. Never thought to look and see if seed trays and other gardening items are discounted. Dangerous thought, bye!

My view from the couch. Nope, ginger ale. Would love a Pepsi or some sweet tea. Always nice to drink beverages from a pretty glass. I know, water is best. I do drink a lot already and don't have to worry about calories and sugar.  
One plate still set for a guest tonight.
Dragon wing begonia. You can see them now. They actually started out smaller. I have found these trays again from Burpee. They're too high though even on Amazon. I will order some in December for starting other seeds because you can keep seeds in these trays for a long time before transplanting. I counted about 20. I'll have patience and wait on the last 5. If not it's still a good germination rate. These do well from seed. I won't need to buy them again. The other 2 begonia peach and go go yellow have not germinated. Still holding out hope that they will.
Maverick geraniums. Still more to germinate. They don't look too promising. We'll see what happens.
I had to remove the top because they were touching it.
Two more to germinate

Seeds from Outsidepride. I've never ordered from them but most other companies I order from had sold out the type of geraniums I wanted. I read the reviews on Dave's garden watch before I ordered.

I hope these do well. They should. Coleus usually aren't fussy.
I had a good variety that year. Still have seeds from that year. Will sow them this year and see what comes up.
Seedlings and some others marigold and a plant from blue stone perennials  that I didn't grow. This was a good seed growing year for me.
Geraniums seedlings. They were huge by the end of summer.

My vinca and impatien seedlings
I can't believe I grew that foxglove from seed, but I did. It was small the first year. Lived all winter with leaves outside then increased in size and bloomed the second year. I was horrified when it started to die after blooming then I remembered that they are biennial. Would never buy one for the price they charge for one when it can be grown form seed with some patience.There were lots of seeds but sometimes plants may be sterile. Not one seedling germinated. If you look closely  there is also a small lambs ear seedling in front of the dusty miller. This is the huge lambs ear I now have out front. I'm amazed what can be grown from seed.

Happy Thanksgiving

It's magical to walk on fresh fallen show, feel the crispness and almost a freshness to the air. About three inches of snow greeted me and family this morning while visiting my mother's grave. Philly had it's second weather event yesterday and last night with rain, sleet, and snow. I hope your day was enjoyed with family. 
Would have loved gourds and pumpkins on the table but you have to buy them early because I couldn't find any in the store, only Christmas decorations.

Nothing like corn bread in a iron skillet. It was delicious. Prepared by my daughter.
Do you make dressing? I normally also make the bread but today we just made the corn bread and bought packaged cubed bread. A Some stock, sauteed onions and celery, seasonings, and giblets and ready for the oven.
Fresh Sage
Fresh fruit and nuts. This is a tradition from my mom. We always had fruit and nuts.
Flowers for the dining room table.
And some for the living room.
It was a good day for a fire but my dad had oxygen and flames around it can cause and explosion. Maybe tomorrow while I rest up. Holidays are fun and a wonderful time with family but the preparation is horrendous. Couldn't have done it this year without my daughter. Thank you Sydney.
Added a nice tough to the bathroom. Had I planned I would have located a nice cache pot and removed the orange wrapper. No time for this today.