Showing posts with label seedlings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seedlings. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What am I gonna do with these Geese?!

When I visited Archie's Garden this past spring I was somehow talked into bringing home two geese (which started the Archie Jr. fiasco). Goose milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa )  that is ;9 haha. I vaguely remember asking them about pink milkweeds because my mom doesn't like hot orange/red flowers (doesn't like to be doubly reminded of the heat in summer) and she didn't have pink ones, but she had the white goose type seedlings.

Somehow one seedling from each little pot she gave me managed to survive the little jr.'s that ate every leaf up and had started on the stems :Z They rebounded very slowly though, it was just last month that I potted them up to slightly bigger containers from the square 4" ones they came in.

Last night I was trying to come up with a 2012 front yard garden plan. Want to eliminate some flowers that aren't working for us and move others to better suited spots. When I went over my list of what I've got in my propagation area and saw my Geese (yes, I shall enjoy calling these Green Children the Geese) on it - I realized I had no clue what size they grow to. Looked it up this morning and it turns out they have the potential to reach 7 FEET. Um, I think that will violate the 36" height limit truce currently in effect for new plants...

But they are Monarch magnets and have purty decorative seed pods....

photo: Wikipedia

So I ask: Anyone with any experience growing these? Is this a plant I can prune in a way to limit it's grow without sacrificing it's health? Any advice would be very appreciated!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My visit to Archie's Garden

On April 30th I had the pleasure of riding through the Mar Vista Garden Showcase with John and Mike :)

 Always nice to have an escort that's easy on the eyes ;)

I want to show off my favorite garden from the day - which sadly Mike missed out on since he had to return to his work :P Anyway, it was Archie's Garden! You can see their Mar Vista spread here. Their Mar Vista article got my attention for them being a certified wildlife habitat and focus on Monarch butterflies. I though it'd be interesting but had no idea how much I'd really love it.

 I want their grape vine...

the *not so* Secret Garden entrance...

The place is literally overflowing with native plants and charm. Everything is blooming and thriving. The whole place has a laid back country cottage charm that held me there much longer than it should have. It was also educational - there was information on becoming a certified wildlife habitat, native plants, Monarch butterflies and worm composting.

I will admit it - I shamelessly came for the free worms! And put them to good use, half went to John's own brand new DIY vermicomposting setup :) They were very generous and nearly filled the 6 quart container I brought with me! I think my favorite moment of the visit was when I explained to her that I'd gotten such a small number of worms to start my vermicompost I was afraid they'd inbreed - and she said well if you start hearing *mimickedcountrybanjomusic* then I'd start to worry. Ok, in print it sounds really dumb but in person it was hilarious :9

They also had a display about choosing solar panels, NOT about what setup is cheapest or most efficient, far more important. How to choose solar panels that are properly tested and certified so they don't spontaneously combust and nearly burn down your house. Seriously. It happened to them because they didn't know to check for certification, and their building & safety office didn't either. One day they started burning and luckily the fire department got it put out in time to save the roof. They have one of the faulty panels left which was up in the backyard for guests to inspect. They already have new panels on their roof - UL tested and approved now that they know. Their building department knows now too and their local fire department is using their near tragedy as an educational tool for others.

And lastly what won me over (as if the rest wasn't enough) were the free milkweed transplants and seeds they were giving out. They labelled the different varieties, and even had some that came with Monarch eggs or caterpillars! I took a couple which were not supposed to have any wildlife coming with them because I don't have any other milkweed they could eat and I wanted the seedlings to survive! They would have sent me home with many many more but luckily I was limited in carry space w/the bike n' all ;) There will be more about those milkweeds I picked up soon... *hinthint*

So I give a huge THANK YOU to Archie's Garden for sharing!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Returning to a Near Tragedy

About two weeks ago I went out of town to visit family for the weekend. Nice short trip. While I was gone we had another very crazy rainstorm according to everyone at home.  Mom even told me she had brought some plants inside because they were getting drenched. Even though the weather was warm and perfect where I was, I was kind of envious not to be around for the rain.

When we arrived home last Monday almost the first thing I did was fawn over how well my recent transplants in the front had done -

calendula Zeolights and a mystery larkspur from trade

yarrow along the front strip, and a nasturtium that came up out of nowhere

the yarrow are already sending up new shoots!

Then I went to the backyard to check on my Green Babies and the water level in the rain gauge - 

over two inches!
(in our area that's how much we might get in an entire year)

Then in my ridiculously happy state I turned around and nearly fell over when I saw the babies - 


I was not prepared for that. See, the youngest seedlings are all on a recently completed craft shelf under an east facing overhang. It's the perfect spot to get all the sun they need, stay out of the worst heat of the day, and stay protected from weather and overnight chill. Well, apparently not so perfect if it's raining with an easterly wind :/ The next thirty minutes were spent draining all the trays and checking on every baby.

When I was a bit calmer mom came and reminded me about the plants she had moved inside. I had totally forgotten about that and rushed in -

 Felis catus "Lead the Way" insisted on showing me the miracle

It was very relieving to find the rest on my Green Children safe and sound. And very surprised. See, mom likes all the different flower varieties I've gotten growing in the front yard after decades of only rose bushes, Shasta daisies and cosmos. But she finds it annoying that I start so many seeds indoors and spend so much time fussing over the Green Babies that we can't possibly have enough room for. It is a freaking miracle, a momentary grace of the garden spirits if you will, that she noticed, cared enough, and went to the trouble of bringing them inside. If she hadn't I would have had to restart all those weeks old plants, some nearly ready to go to the rental, our front yard, and my container garden.

In fact despite the crazy weather there was only one loss -

 my desert bluebell, the wind stripped all the flowers and nearly all the foliage

All the other container plantings were doing great, especially my successful black pansy -

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Built me an LED Grow Box

This is late, sorry, built it about 3 weeks ago but didn't get around to uploading my camera pics.

Anyway, with instructions from The Cheap Vegetable Gardener I made my own LED Grow Box. I recommend following his instructions, they are good. Here are some pics of the construction:

measuring out the size for drilling
my spade bit made a nice little collar that helps hold the lights steady w/out glue

almost done with drilling, yes I use unsafe methods...

hmmm, my 70 LED set has 75 lights...

 she's a bit purty in use...

I used LED xmas lights 50% off two weeks after New Year's. I couldn't fin a set of just blue LEDs, but I got a multicolor one which I haven't added to this yet.

So far I like it. The first week I made it I had also sowing seeds indoors and several sprouted within days. It was still in the 40's overnight so I brought them all into the box from about 8pm-7am. I think it really did help, but I can't say for sure it's boosting my babies. Perhaps an experiment with a control set of seedlings is in order...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Must Be Careful

Just another ordinary night. You're bringing your water buckets in for tomorrow's shower. Then as you pass your home nursery you bump into a shelf and it happens...


Yeah, about had a heart attack. I had to step away for a minute and let the shock go before carefully picking up the tray and examining the situation. Luckily the carnage was minimal. All I had to do was gently pick the peat pots up one by one, lightly holding the seedlings in place while refilling the soil. One pot actually escaped, had the group of seedlings but no cup... put them in an extra one.

And my Green Babies made it through the night!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I Grew Onion - And So Can You!

Ok, for everyone out there who is afraid to start growing anything edible because you feel you don't know what to do or don't have enough space or whatever - this is for you!

Perfect example. Back in February (I think) when I was starting a large batch of seeds for the spring they included this Yellow Granex onion. Knowing it would need a good amount of space eventually I started the seed in a grande Starbucks cup (16 oz.), intending to transplant it to a proper container at some point.

Well, I had so many seedlings going and so much craziness, that several green children were...well neglected. I didn't have a place to put all of them, gave some away, put off transplanting, etc. A few others are still growing in larger temporary containers, a couple are still struggling in their original paper cups because just I never got around to making a place for them.

Flash forward to yesterday when I finally got aroung to cleaning up my back door 'patio' area where I store my seed starting stuff, intermediate transplant containers, empty pots, and young seedlings. While tossing out those who could no longer be saved and those who'd already passed on to make a place for starting my fall plants next month when I found the above onion. I'd completely forgotten about it. It only got water because it was below something else I was watering that drained down onto it. It was getting a minimum, if any, direct light. It was still in the original seed starting cup. And this darned onion still grew into something I can eat!

No, it is not the big 'ol yellow onion I was intending to grow, but neither is it something to sneer at. This baby is gonna make a pretty good addition to one of my meals. It also cements my desire to continue growing this variety of onion.

That's it. You don't have an excuse to not try growing an edible now.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thinning the Seedlings - oh the HORROR!

I woke up extra early this morning and spent the time with my Green Babies. Looking at all of the newer sprouts I actually remembered that I should start thinning some of them - a task that usually I conveniently forget about until I want to transplant them or they need a bigger container.

After all the anticipation and worry of whether at least one seed I plant will sprout I am usually super happy if more than one sprout because then there really is a chance that at least one will make it to the garden. Doubling or tripling the chances say. When they are still small I like to wait to thin (don't want to narrow it down to one seedling and then have it damp off or something) until the first pair of true leaves are well grown in. And by then I'm partially attached to all the little Greenlings and it seems like such a waste to snip the extras off.

I need to get better at thinning the flowers earlier, no point in letting several start growing well and then killing them trying to separate them later. It's not so bad with the veggies though - I made a nice breakfast snack out of the bok choy, cabbage and kale (I'd let them grow to 2 pairs of true leaves). Some veggies I learned do fine growing several seedlings together and separating later - onions, garlic, cabbage & sometimes broccoli and cauliflower. I'm sure there are more but I haven't figured it all out yet.


Tip for today: 99 Cent Store peat pots are highly prone to mold and fungus (that's why they're in the toss-bucket). It's paper & Starbucks cups and TP rolls from now on!

Mary's Gardening Calendar