Thursday, April 12, 2012

Planting Seeds

I planted seeds indoors this past weekend. I brought up my shelf from the basement and positioned it in front of the south facing patio door. This is where all my indoor seeds grow until they get big enough for individual pots. Then they go into the cold frame. The tender bulbs get planted in the other cold frame. I have that still to do but want to get it done this coming weekend.

I like to reuse, reduce and recycle so I use plastic food containers for seeds. They work well if you cut holes in the bottom and put another food container underneath to catch the drip.
(We eat a lot of mushrooms!)

Already the 'Love Lies Bleeding' amaranth is up! (see top picture) Wow! That was fast! I also grow 'Intense Purple' amaranth and love them but I don't have to plant those. They self seed all over every year. I might plant a few, just in case...

I am cutting back a lot on what I grow this year. I have just about planted everything early thing that I intend to, mostly tomatoes and flowers. The tomatoes I planted this year are, for the most part, heirloom tomatoes with the exception of 'Manitoba' and 'Buckley's 51 day' tomatoes. These are the varieties I have planted: San Marzano, our own Portugal (of course), Black Krim, Terhune, Prince Borgese, Vincent Watts, Livingston Perfection, Rev Morrow Long Keeper, Giant Belgium, Aunt Lou's Underground Railroad, Chocolate Cherry, Azorian Red, Jaune Flammee, Matt's Wild Cherry, German Cascade, Ailsa Craig, Manitoba and Buckley's 51 day.

I don't plan to plant peppers this year at all. I still have many bags of them chopped in the freezer from last year.

One more thing I do want to plant are 'Collective Farm Woman Melon'. I have to plant something with a name like that! It's just too interesting!

I have one planted container on my shelf with no label. :-( I'm going to have to think about what that might be! lol! I might recognize it when it comes up, maybe.

I planted a few castor beans for the flowerbed, the 'love lies bleeding' amaranth mentioned above, and some broken coloured four o'clocks. I have some special honeysuckle vines coming up in a cold frame, as well.

I am going to enjoy my gardening this year, without the pressure of previous years when I grew way more than I needed and spent way too much time in the garden!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Over Wintering Dahlias

In past years I have overwintered the dahlias in a plastic container or bag filled with wood shavings . The large roots are usually fine but I lose a lot of the little ones. New ones are usually too small to make it until spring, which is always a great disappointment! Last fall I had some little pieces and small, new dahlias that I didn't want to lose so I potted them up to grow indoors for the winter.

I kept them as houseplants, sort of, in front of the south patio door. It gets as much light as is possible to get anywhere indoors, as it faces south and has no overhang. My kitchen is also freezing in the winter, which helps.

They sprouted and grew in the pots. They didn't grow fast, but they did grow and are picking up more now that spring is here with longer days and stronger light. I had no problems with them indoors in the winter at all! No bugs, no rot, nothing. I kept them on the dry side and, like I said, rather cold. I'm very pleased with the result!

I will be "storing" my small dahlias and little pieces like this through the winter from now on!

I love my 'Keri Blue' dahlia! Last fall I added a red one with yellow centers and tips and also a dark, rich purple dahlia with white tips. I am looking forward to getting huge blooms from them this year!

They make great cut flowers!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Wintersewing Success Story

Back in January, I posted about this year's wintersowing. You can read that post called, "Wintersowing". (I'm not big on fancy, complicated titles...)
That project was a success! I only got around to planting one thing in pots, the echinacea "Double Decker" and it's up! I did plant a lot more seeds in a cold frame. I will have to check those today to see if they have sprouted, as well!

I'm so thrilled!
The echinacea "Double Decker" looks like this.
OK, now that I know it does work, I will be trying other things next winter.

I have done wintersowing before but never had much success with it. I think it's because I used shallow trays (top picture) that dried out too quickly. This year I used a soda pop bottle cut in half.