Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seed Starting Begonia and Foxglove

Glad to already have some seed trays I cleaned but didn't use from last season.


Starting 3 types of begonias all in the same tray. They won't be labeled so hopefully I can identify them when they get their true leaves. I've grown Big Red and Bada Bing before so I should be able to tell which is which.




Filled each tray with Jiffy seed starting mix.

Didn't sit them in a tray of water but used a spray bottle to wet each cell until water ran out the bottom then poured off the excess. I used warm water. Sowed all 20 pelleted seeds of Illumination and Big Red and 3 in each cell of Bada Bing. Begonia have taken at least a month in the past to germinate for me. Pressed each seed so it made contact with the soil and spritzed to wet the coating of the pelleted seeds. The seedling starts out very tiny and may be hard to see. Seeing the seeds germinate is the funnest part for me although I'll have to wait a while to see the begonias.
Sowed them all. That may not have been a good thing. I get overwhelmed with too many seeds in a tray. Sprinkled them on the top of a tray not sown in individual cells. Then lightly covered with seed starting mix and spritzed with water.

Plugged in the heating mat to warm it up. It should be warm before unrolling so I don't damage the heat coils in the mat. I got this several years ago from Hydro Galaxy. There are other alternatives to bottom heat including the top of a warm refrigerator or furnace or other appliance that has a warm surface. According to the seed packages for the begonias, bottom heat aids germination. What have I learned from growing them before. Although they take a long time to germinate, the grow bigger each day and are very hardy. They like humidity and I keep the humidity dome on them most of the time with some ventilation until they're a good size. During the summer, I bought taller domes for when they grow larger.

Placed on the warm mat. Florescence lights are on. I keep them on all night and turn off in the morning. My seedlings normally get about 14 hours under light.

Wanted to start them first instead of foxgloves but it took me a while to remember where the seeds were. They've been in the refrigerator for months to mimic a period of cold called stratification. Some seeds need a period of cold before they germinate.

Amaryllis Marilyn is trying to open. No, not yet. It isn't Christmas.  Hopefully the buds will continue to increase in size before opening.

The Face of Winter

I complain every year about squirrels eating planted bulbs but every living creature has to eat. There's enough fruit, grains, nuts, vegetables, and herbs for all. Never thought they'd like ornamental kale but it is an edible. A fresh meal in the mist of a frosty snow covered fall day. It is actually still fall although we've had our first snow.This afternoon having hot chocolate and sitting on the stool looking out the kitchen window, I caught one eating my kale leaf by leaf. Morsel by morsel it tore off each piece and threatened any other squirrels sitting on the fence to join in the feast. By the time I wrote this post several squirrels have devoured the kale and only a nub is sticking up from the soil. Two leaves have dropped to the ground. I'm sure they'll find them later. Tomorrow I'll trek through the mushy wet soil and snow and put some of the pumpkins and corn from fall displays  in the planter. Can't wait to see them eat. Do I want to encourage them? They'll be tearing up the yard soon enough when the first hint of spring arrives. I ordered a seed wreath for the birds and probably for them also. They loved the bird feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds I had in the yard as much as the cardinals and sparrows.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

While it Snows

It's time to take down fall decorations and bring some Christmas to the house.



Still have to get a fresh wreath.






How could I forget. Yes we're having that weather event also that brought snow from Texas throughout the south and I think New England. My family posted lots of pictures from Georgia and Alabama of their rare snow event.

Bagged up 3 bags of fallen leaves just in time for the snow but left those in the flower beds.







Another few weeks and hyacinth bulbs in the basement will be ready.




Mantel done. Stockings another day. Now I'll read for a while.
What I'm read along with playing Candy Crush on Kindle Fire.


Stay warm, it's cold outside.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

On The Porch And...

After getting out of bed this morning couldn't wait to go onto the porch to see if any my treat was eaten. What's the matter with the squirrels? I thought this would be a feast for them. Lets see what happens. I may put half in the yard. Those squirrels know what to do. I've spotted the ones out front with sweet potatoes and other scavenged food running up the tree. They don't like corn!




She couldn't wait to get onto the porch while I hung garland around the door and planted bulbs. I bet the squirrels know bulbs are in the flower bed. Mulch will be all over the ground tomorrow as they try to get around the chicken wire. 

It's 50 degrees today on the porch.



Thought my hydrangea was dead. Some of the blooms are done but I watered it and when I rotated the plant, I saw a new bloom.



Yes the foil wrapper should be removed but I keep it on the insulation helps on an unheated porch. I just have to be careful not to over water and have the roots wet or they'll rot. I don't over water them it's almost winter.

The kolanche are really pretty.





Beautiful but not scented.




Martha Washington pelargonium on the floor. I was going to throw it out but it's hard to find in the nursery. If I do it's only a small pot for a large price. I'll eventually trim and clean her up by spring.

Small pot of salvaged pansies. Most of them outside didn't do well this fall.

Time to check the hyacinths. I'll check the one in the basement another day.

It's doing nicely and making lots of roots.

Now this is a problem. No room to grow. I'll have to change the container.

It's growing nicely, still firm, no mold, and not smelly.


The vase is too tall for the box. I'll make it fit and it'll have to do.


Still have to plant these in the window boxes maybe, my parent's grave, and in some pots for the steps outdoors, and some for the porch in spring.

Gerbera daisy stands up to the cold. We've have frost and 20 degree nights but everything on the porch has been living thus far without heat including my Thanksgiving cactus and impatiens although they stopped blooming. I may bring them inside and hang them in the window for winter blooms.

Inside getting warm.

Amaryllis Marilyn started getting taller this weekend. Maybe I will have blooms by Christmas.

Have to find a place for her out of reach from the cat. The berries are poisonous for animals. My Callie came to sniff it and was told to stop.

Her favorite spot, the bathtub drinking water. I have to turn the water on for her every day. Like she doesn't have 2 water bowls. There's something about that dripping water.

My sister insulted her on Thanksgiving and said she should be on the fat cat show. She doesn't like my sister, Lol. Till next time.