Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years Eve

Winter finally arrived but last summers annuals and perennials don't seem to know. I hope your eve of the new year is beautiful. While waiting for my sister at her house this morning, I surveyed her garden with plants still in different stages although most should be dormant unless evergreen. The annuals may be mush by Saturday as we expect temperatures in the 20's at night for several days. I started a tray of violas last night and put them on the porch for a period of cold. The geraniums remain on the heat mat.

They look like some type of daisy. Popped up during the fall from seeds scattered in spring. They're everywhere and soon to bloom showing their color. Anything my sister scatters comes up but not for me. I do better starting seeds inside.
That cactus needs to be inside. 

The blackie sweet potato vine should be dead except tubers if lifted.
Salvia and hyacinth bean vine with pods. I picked some seeds forgetting to let them dry on the plant. I'll see if they come up after the pod dries.
Gerbera Daisy
More salvia.
Impatiens and sedum.
Columbine. They grow well in my sister's garden but get attacked by leaf miner in mine.
The grass is thick and green.
Two types of sedum.
Pods from hyacinth vines.
Foliage from grape hyacinths have come up.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Home On The Range

Being on break from work is wonderful spending days sleeping late and some, just sitting and doing nothing. No house cleaning, no cooking, or laundry, just nothing. I'm never afforded this luxury until Christmas, spring, and summer break. Spring break is usually shortened due to the need to make up snow days when schools are closed. With the El Nino impacting every one's weather, maybe this year we'll get a full week off for spring break due to little snow. Until then, I'm making the most of the Christmas/New Year break and starting to plan for gardening season 2016.

Lack of preparation on my part usually results in unplanned purchases. This year I'd like to start some of my vegetable seedlings instead of buying 6 packs when I only want 1 or 2 seedlings. Although my cabbage seedlings didn't result in heads, all the seeds germinated in a few days and produced healthy seedlings. Normally I buy seedlings but seeing how easy they were to start has encouraged me to try again with others this winter.

Many seed companies have growing calendars that can be printed out which saves me the work of researching when to start seeds inside, when to direct sow, and whether to direct sow or start inside as some seeds don't transplant well. Burpee is the nearest seed company to where I live and I've order seeds and bare root plants from them in the past. Buying locally and cutting down on how far plants travel make a difference. You can print out their calendar here and insert your zip code to get the correct grow calendar for your region. You can also print out calendars for herbs, fruit, and flowers.  Shipping is free right now. I've never had problems with their seeds or bear root plants ordered in the past, but their seed prices aren't cheap although they do have sales. 

I printed out one for veggies and one for flowers although I still start some seeds earlier than recommended because they take a long time to produce viable seedlings.
Cleaned off with soapy water and bleach. Some people don't use bleach as it's a chemical but I do and don't want any possible diseases from last season to be lingering on the shelf and mat waiting to attack.
Bought these at the end of last season before the disappeared from the shelves until put out again after New Years. Of course if you go to a nursery you can buy them year round.
These seeds are from last season. I didn't sow the white geraniums and I have about 3 seeds left of the pink. Today I'll only do the white although I prepared 3 seed starting trays. The other 2 will be done tomorrow.
Warm water added to expand pellets.Normally I use boiled water but not today. I always open the pellets to give seedlings some room instead of the tiny hole.
Instructions say to sow at 1/8th inch depth and cover.
On the heat mat. No light per instructions. Recommended temperature is 75 degrees and keep moist until germinated. Average germination time is 5-7 days. Let's see how they do since these are last seasons seeds. I expect most to germinate. 
I'd like to see some tulip blooms in the house and I left some for the next couple of months to force inside.
The bulbs are still nice, firm, and healthy with no mildew.

Why did I buy this? Ninety-nine cent strawberry kit in a clay pot. I also bought mint and a pine tree, lol.
Paper whites. They're big and I can't fit many in each container. Hopefully I'll have tulips and paper whites till spring by staggering when I plant them.
That's big and some larger. Normally I have Inbal and Noire, and ziva. Let's see what these look like.
Two year old seeds lost then found recently in my bedroom. I planned on buying geranium seeds this year but I'm going to use what I have and hope they germinate.
I'll try shanzi. Hope they do better germinating than the go-go variety I tried last season. I'll start these tomorrow.
Would love to have some of my own home grown violas. This season I focused on them since they return year after year better than pansies although I love both. I might try to grow them on the window seal once they germinate. This method was the one that has worked the best to produce viable seedlings. I'll have to remember to cover the seed tray as they require dark to germinate although in my opinion covering them with soil should do. We shall see. I'll also put them on my porch for a while as pansies need a period of cold.
Purchased these to  make a plant shelf in my kitchen with with glass shelves. Maybe I'll get to these by spring although some of my plants would love to sit in the window.
Some seed I've had and tried before. I love hollyhocks and they start easy but I haven't had success with them. The Baker Creek dahlias did wonderful from seed and produced robust healthy plants. My mistake not taking them in for the winter. Cypress vine and Mexican sunflower is also easy from seed. My last 2 tries with digitalis hasn't been successful although I did very well with them several years ago. Depending on how much space I have, I may try some of these again.
These are from last season and came up easily in the house but I couldn't get them to live past a certain point. I'll definitely try these again this season.
I bought a plant this fall but have not tried these seeds. They're not as delicate as I thought if they are surviving in my yard. I'd like more of them in white.
Seemed like a good purchase when I bought them but they're still in their package. I'll eventually try them.
I've never tried carrots.
Can't wait to see and taste the freckles lettuce.
I'll eventually try them. The good part is that the seeds are large.

I scattered these already in one flower bed in the yard. Lets see if I get anything. Most are perennials. The pack on the top left are for shade. Bee balm isn't exactly for shade but I planted them in a partial shade area. I love poppies and hope to get at least a few.
I selected several tomatoes from my seed box but will only try a couple due to space. Most are determinate and for small spaces/container and some aren't.

Good for container.

I used these but I didn't get this variety of colors. I will probably plant some white ones from my seed box.
I like them and they are smokey but I've never grown them.
Another choice because it's for small spaces. I don't like that it's determinate although I looked at a video on the Burpee web site that suggested planting several varieties so when one plant stop yielding, the other will be bearing.
I bought these from the dollar store last season because it said  it could be grown in a container. I've never seen crooknecke squash grown in a container. Squash is viney. Maybe I'll try it.
Never tried any of these but I'll see.
One of my favorite annuals. I'm going to start some inside later in the season for out front. They don't do well in the yard at all.

I tried to take seeds from my seed box this year and not order many seeds. There were no coleus so I will be ordering chocolate mint and a couple of others. I hope you're enjoying all the preparation for the new season.