Viewing Pippi21's Garden Diary: Wintersowing preparation for 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Scarlet Flax transplantI rec'd only a few and I mean about 10 seeds of this plant in a trade/exchange. I had WS them in a Crystal Light container and today, I looked and those seedlings were almost to the top of the lid so I transferred them over to a half gal milk jug, so they will have head room to continue to grow. They already have their second set of leaves on them but it's too early to put them in the ground yet. Hope they live after the transfer.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Trial and errorI've been puzzled because the 16 jugs that I started WS on 12/30 have not produced any signs of germination. I opened them up today and lightly raked the seeds more into the soil to see if that will help. The soil was moist but not wet or dry. when I held it between my fingers. I'm going to give them another week to see if they will germinate, and if not, I'll pour the potting mix out of them into the flowerbeds and re-sow those same jugs. I just looked at my notes and when I started off, I was using up MG moisture control potting mix that I had bought during the summer of 2010. We have had a lot of rain during the past few months, plus snow so they may have got too wet and rotted. Today, I'm taking advantage of the 79 degree weather and trying to clean up the flowerbeds, cut off dried up foliage/stems.
Mr. B called yesterday and we told him we wanted my two clematis (Group #2) prunned back and fed and he said it is time to prune those hydrangea, and rose bushes. Forsythia is in bloom now and I don't want that pruned until the fall. Same way with mulch...not until I get my WS successes into the ground and they've had a good start. Probably sometime in late May.
Tonight or tomorrow, I'm sowing Sweet William and Penstemon seeds. I think they would look nice in front and side of Comtesse de Bouchard clematis.
3/23/2011 On Sunday or Monday, I walked around the house and realized that Mr. B had already been here and prunned the hydrangea and clematis. Called him to see when he'd done it. He had stopped by Friday while we were out most of the day and done it. When I asked how much we owed him, he said he'll just add it to the bill when he comes to put down mulch in May after I have all my new WS successes planted.
April Fool's Day 2011..yesterday I took all the milk jugs that I started this years wintersowing project with on 12/30 and bought them inside the kitchen, removed the tape and opened them up, took a plastic fork and lightly raked over the seeds/and soil, checked to make sure the soil was moist, not dry or soggy, and sprinkled a light layer of vermitculite over them. Some that felt a bit dry, I either sat them in a container that would hold a few inches of water and bottom watered them or used a spray bottle to the soil before sprinkling the vermitculite. Retaped the milk jugs and put them back out in the elements. Several showed some germination so hoping the rain and warmer weather in next few weeks and what I did yesterday will help them germinate more. Some of the coneflower seeds were from 2009 and I am doubtful about them but no big deal, I have some fresher seeds out in the garage in lunch paper bags that I can spread. Am thinking of starting some zinnia seeds inside on window sills in office or Lloyd's bedroom where they will get plenty of light and sun in morning and mid day.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Catching up on my recent wintersowing plantingI have been relaxed about jotting down here my most recent plantings I've done. I have kept track of them on paper though so it will be easy to write down here.
On 3/9/2011 I sowed the following seeds: Russell lupine, Salvia "Rose Queen" Orange oriental poppy, cluster bellflower, and Rose O'Day alyssum.
Am seeing more and more sprouts but still puzzled why a lot of the seeds sown at the start of wintersowing haven't sprouted. BES, Liatris< Marigolds, Coneflowers, Shasta daisy, columbines..Maybe too much rain or they have rotted. They are just laying on top of the potting mix. Maybe I need to open the jugs up and take a plastic fork and stir them up and re-close the jugs. Maybe a week of warm sunshine without any rain will help!
I have plenty of marigold seeds left, and I'm sure shasta daisy, and I really don't need any more BES. Might have some more coneflower seeds in a paper bag that I can sow again. Will look today and do that, just in case those have rotted from so much rain.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Rainy weatherIt has rained all night long and all day long. We drove to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for a one-week post-op visit for Lloyd. Dr. G is out of the country giving a talk so his associate checked to make sure there was no infection. Good report. We will see Dr. G in Columbia office next week.
This is a real switch..had to mix up more potting mix, and perlite but I can't seem to find the bag of seed starter mix. I don't believe I used all that bag. I will go to HD and buy more tomorrow. Have about 4 (1/2 gal)jugs to fill and a 1 gal. jug. You can see the rain we had this past week and today is greening the grass up and I'm sure is good for the established perennials and Hydraneas. Want to get Mr. B to prune Dr. Ruppel and Westerplatte clematis.
A lot of the perennials are showing signs of new growth(garden phlox, lanium, ice plant has taken over, will go out when the ground is not so saturated and dried out and probably dig it up.
Need to go buy some more potting mix.. I have enough in the Homer bucket mixed up to use right now. I have vermitculite. Wonder if I can add that into the MG potting mix along with the perlite?
Thursday, March 3, 2011
California PoppyWS two 1/2 gal. jugs of orange-colored California poppy seeds last evening.
3/4/2011 Sowed 1/2 gal. milk jug with Foxglove seeds today from Chandlee's garden..Met her at the seed swap in Frederick. She has them marked as mixed colors.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Running low on milk jugs againWaiting for milk jugs again. MN had saved me a gal. jug and I planted Double Sun-Gold rudbeckia that I got in wintersowing seed swap. I should have another milk jug(1/2 gal)in a few days. Wanted to go check on my containers by A/C but it rained all day so didn't get out there. Still no germination on ones on the breezeway. The seeds are just lying on top doing nothing. May bring them in and take the tape off and take a fork and rough the soil up to make sure the seeds have contact with soil.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Our 47th. anniversarySchools started 2 hrs. late today because of the light snow/ice that we rec'd last night. Started out as sleet in early evening, then light snow on top. Didn't turn out to be what meterologist were predicting..not much of a surprize, as it had been too warm the last week. When school starts 2 hrs. late, the majority of our bowling leaque members voted not to have bowling in this case. Claire and I wanted to have bowling on those days unless weather was really bad.
Didn't feel good all day, so it was just as well that we didn't bowl. Last evening, I sowed Mourning Bride Scabiosa, this evening Princess Louise Poppy, and Morello cherry lupine. This makes a total of 73..I will stop this weekend as there's no room to hide anymore. Will see what I get at the seed swap on Saturday, weather permitting.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Getting back on WS trackThis morning I sowed 2 jugs of California Poppies(Mission Bells) from Crosman Seeds, 1 of Sweet William from Seedmoney from outer banks of NC, 1 of Heliothrope Marine seeds from Linda Bullock from Raleigh. I've run out of foil tape and had to go drag the duct tape out to close the last two jugs, so will be making a trip to Home Depot today for more foil tape. Need to wait for more milk jugs to become available.
Need to get my seeds organized in preparation for the seed swap up at Frederick on Sat. 2/26. It was very windy all night and continues to be very strong today; so I won't be running around outdoors too much. Windy weather makes for good broncitis weather.
Friday, February 18, 2011
A valuable lesson learnedGosh, about 3 weeks ago, I found these clear, plastic crates/legel file boxes at Staples. They were $6.99 each and I was so excited about them being clear that I didn't think about the construction of these boxes. They were very sturdy. Would be great for college kids to keep in their room for their textbooks or if you are doing genealogy, you could put many 3 ring binders in them of your research materials as they were so sturdy. We had a snow a few weeks ago and it turned to ice. I realized that the snow had turned to ice and went out and knocked that snow/ice off. Another trip out to the back yard hiding place to see if there are any possible germinations yet. At that time I realized the milk jugs were sitting on a bed of ice but didn't think anything about it and knew once it got warmer that ice would melt..Duh! We had 3 days for that to melt this week. Temps soared to high 60' and low 70's. I find the jugs in at least 1 1/2-2 inches of water. The bottom on that new crate is solid and the water had no where to drain out. Oh, I could kick myself for not realizing that would happen. Stupid me..well, to cut this entry short, I took all the milk jugs out of the crates, bought the crates in the house and used my soldering iron tool to make holes all in the bottom and around the sides of that crate. The plastic was so hard..saw a stamped "Made in the USA" label. Yeh! No wonder it was made from such hard plastic! It took me quite a while to make the holes in one of the crates, and I put the milk jugs back in it, and hid it again from the nosey neighbor. Last night I burned the holes in the other new crate and I'll be ready to use that again this morning. It was then that I thought I'd better check to make sure all the other milk crates have holes for water to drain out of them. They all are like the real milk crates and have an open, crisscross weave in the bottoms so they have plenty of drainage holes that I didn't have to make!
I am hoping that I caught my dilemma in time and the sown seeds won't rot, but if they do, I can always replant the milk jugs or direct sow when the outside temperature becomes warm enough to do so.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Updating my WS recordsJust realized tonight that I have made many entries in the month of Feb. On Feb. 3, I planted Johnny Jump-ups seeds, Feb. 4th. Giant Imperial Larkspur, Feb. 11th. Portulaca, Snapdragon, Dwarf Candytuft(mixed colors)and ":David" tall garden phlox. Will have to wait for more milk jugs before I can sow more. I'm up to 66 milk jugs and I set my goal for only 36..Yikes, I need to stop because if they all germinate, I don't know where I'll put them all. Think I will only wintersow a few more annuals and call it quits. Planning to attend a seed swap in Frederick on 2/26 weather permitting.
LRE has been sick with upper respiratory infection all this week. Dr. put him on antibiotic yesterday. Will be having physical and EKG needed for upcoming eye surgery on 3/3. She did the blood work yesterday so that part is already done.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
What happen to the month of January?January seemed to fly by and here it is Feb. 1st. already. I am at a stand still as far as wintersowing..waiting for milk jugs. Guess I'll have to walk or drive through the neighborhood Thursday night seaching for empty milk jugs. Since we don't drink a lot of milk unless I have hot chocolate, it takes about a week for us to empty a 1/2 gal. I sometimes get another 1/2 milk jug from one neighbor, when I put her trash and recycle out for her. Another neighbor(Mary)
has agreed to save a 1 gal. milk jug for me each week. Every little bit helps and I got 2 from another neighbor's recycle bin last week. I think I'm going to start sowing hardy annuals next. Think I have enough perennials sown. I want to go through my seeds again and see if there's any more perennials that I can't live without sowing this year and then concentrate on the annuals. I'm way past the goal I had originally set for myself which was 36 (1/2 gal each)milk jugs.
There's got to be a stopping point and I think I'm reaching it. Also need to check on all the milk jugs to make sure they are ok and see if anything has germinated yet. They're all under snow/ice unless it has melted off them today.
Sowed Marshall's Delight Bee Balm in 1 gal. milk jug..boy, talk about tiny seeds..they were like dust! Maybe a good idea before I buy or ask for any trades is to find out how the size of the seeds first. I used 3 sample pkt of seeds in that container.
I also sowed Dianthus(Sweet William) on 1/28/2011 forgot to record it here.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Fine Gardening orderThe Slipcase that I ordered to keep my issues of Fine Gardening magazine arrived yesterday, along with the Container gardening magazine I had ordered. I'm still looking at the Container gardening magazine and the issues of FG that I have are snug in their slipcase, on the shelf of my bedroom closet.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Fine Gardening MagazinePlaced an order today for a slipcase to store my Fine Gardening magazine issues in. James Dronenberg from SSGC has back issues of Fine Gardening magazine that he is willing to give away. I also ordered a Container gardening book Vol. 7.
I think I will go through my Garden Gate Magazines and only keep a year's supply, but keep my GG 3 ring binders. Will offer the back issues to anybody at the SSGC..(maybe)
My container gardening magazine that was on back order through Garden Gate should be coming anytime now. I rec'd notification that it had been shipped.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Here's what seeds I sowed todayI've temporary run out of milk jugs to wintersow in..had 5 jugs today that I planed. Two were Forget-me-nots and 3 blue flax. gardengirl34 sent me a very generous amount of blue flax seeds, still have some left over from her trade to plant more..that is when I get more jugs! Might have to go scavengering into people's recycle bins tomorrow night or Thursday night.
1/23/2011 Yesterday I wintersowed Blue Lupine flower seeds that I had purchased from Sample Seed Shoppe in gal. size milk jug that my neighbor(Mary)saved for me. She said she only uses 1 gal. of milk each week and will be glad to save them for me.
I emptied a 1/2 gal. milk jug this morning and will plant more of the Blue lupine seeds tomorrow. I had sown Geum "Mrs. Bradshaw" earlier this week but don't recall recording it here.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Relieving my stress over potting mix I usedToday, I went outside and bought in the milk crates with sown milk jugs in them. Enlarged the drainage holes in the bottom of milk jugs, enlarged the air circulation holes around the neck of each milk jug, added more drainage holes in the milk jug bottom. I'm feeling like my seeds now have a chance.
My seeds I ordered from Diane's seeds and Crosmanseeds.com arrived to day and it felt like Christmas..In fact, better than the holiday we just had.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
MG Moisture control potting mixI purchased MG Moisture control potting mix this summer as that happened to be all that HD had at that time. After sowing 34 milk jugs, I'm getting scared that my seeds might rot. I mixed the potting mix with water to the consistency of brownie batter in the big Homer Bucket..but something just tells me it might have been too much moisture and all my efforts might be in vain and the seeds may rot. The little bit I have left I'm going to dump out and buy all new potting mix, hopefully I can find Promix or that Espoma or Fafard. MG makes it difficult to change because of their cost of their product is less than other brands. Also the other brands are hard to find or I have to travel at least 20 miles to locate them. Barbara Royster said she had some to rot for her using it last year. Some suggested adding more perlite or builder's sand to it. Eileen(Gardenweed)said she added seed starting mix to hers. I'll just dump the little bit I have left into the flowerbeds to mix in with other soil this summer. Will spread it out so when the sun gets warmer, it will dry it up.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Decisions! Decisions!I took Gardenweed's suggestion and added some of my seed starting mix with the MG Moisture control potting mix and it made it much lighter. Went to Johnson's and Sadler's nurseries today plus Good Earth garden center. Johnson's only had small bags of Promix($8.99 plus the 3.5 cu.ft. for $49.95.. plus MG for $12.99 (1 Cu.Ft) ;Sadlers only sells Hoffman potting mix.. Good Earth is closed for vacation until Dec. 14 but they probably only sell MG..Made some phone calls and spoke to another garden center about 15 miles or more from here. I will be going there on 1/13 for a seminar given to Cherrywood Garden Club that I have been asked to join. The seminar is supposed to be on orchids, clematis and houseplants. Afterwards we go to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch. Jason from River Hill Garden Center said his favorite is Fafard and he knows that the Garden Club members get a nice discount..
Today I sowed the following: (4) Foxglove-white,(3) yellow Yarrow, (1) Purple Dwarf Alyssum, and (1) Butterfly blue scabiosa for a total of 9 (1/2 gal.)milk jugs.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Today's Wintersowing effortsThis afternoon, I managed to get the following sown in milk jugs:(2) Mixed colors columbine,(2) Clustered bellflowers, (1) Burgundy gaillardia, (2)Peach-leaf bellflower, and (2) Rose Campion..total of 9 jugs.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Wintersowing has begun!Sowed 14 (1/2 gal. milk jugs)on 12/30/2011..BES, liatris from Huggergirl, Louise's marigolds, Velma's shasta daisy, coneflowers.
Hard drive crashed today..BH picked it up on New Year's Day, installed new hard drive and bought it back this morning(Jan.3).. I'm so greatful to him for fast and efficient service. Need to catch up on emails rec'd while the computer was down. BH didn't install my favorites/bookmarks but that's easy to do as I remember what they were.
1/4/2011 Tonight I sowed the following:alyssum(carpet of snow), Gaillardia(Oranges & Lemons), Purple Dome Aster, Columbine(Granny's Bonnets), " Patty's Plum" Poppy (11 milk jugs(1/2 gal. each)
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Cutting my milk jugsTonight I cut 18 milk jugs so all I have to do is prepare my potting mix and plant. The foil tape strips are already cut, milk jugs numbered but I may have numbered 9 jugs twice..but I'll fix it somehow..no problem. Amazing how relaxed I am as I prepare for my second year of wintersowing; compared to my first year. It has been so bitter cold and windy that I have not got around to painting the milk crates, after buying the gray paint. It might not dry it is so cold in garage. The milk crates may have to go out as they are and I'll paint them in the summer when they will dry quickly. I'll figure some way to hide the brighter colored milk crates from some nosey neighbors. Tomorrow night, I plan to organize all the perennial seeds, separate them by germination requirements.."Do not Cover", Coverly lightly, or Needs darkness" I made myself up a handwritten spreadsheet to record my sowing records on. My goal is to learn how to make a spreadsheet using the software I already have loaded in my computer.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I think I might have screwed up!It has been snowing most of the day or snowed for a few hours and stopped and now it is snowing again but a fine snow. You can still see blades of grass when I look out in the back yard. I thought I'd take this idle time to punch holes in more of the milk jugs. I think I have holes punched in all 36 plus milk jugs..guess I got gun-ho numbering them the other day in the garage and found that I may have numbered two crates the same..don't know how I did that. Will move the truck out of the garage so I can get to the milk crates easier and tell what I've done. If I've repeated the numbers, I can just scratch it out with same marker or put a piece of tape over the number and rewrite the correct number. No big deal but still want to know how I managed to goof up...if I did.
It is hard to see in the garage with the truck parked so close by, not much room to move about, to pull out the crates. I have asked Lloyd to buy an under the counter light fixture so I can have more light to see by when working at the work bench. Maybe a regular shop light will do. He can attach it under the cabinet above and there's an electric plug right on the wall there already, which is a good thing.
Come Spring, I am going to hire Larry to put some more shelves up in the garage for me. I could use shelves on the wall behind the freezer and trash and recyle cans to hold the nursery pots and empty milk crates when not in use that hold the empty jugs, off season. Also want to see if he can figure out a way to enclose the garage rafters so that it will be warmer in there. I think if we had indoor/outdoor carpeting in there, it would help make it a lot warmer too. There are two vents for air circulation in the garage that will really let a lot of cold air in there, and if he could put drywall up it would sure help eliminate some of the coldness, but he'd have to take into consideration the wires to the garage door mechanism. I sure would be nice if he could figure out a way to install a pull down staircase like we had installed in our attic in Olney, would make it so much easier for us to store things above.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I couldn't resist these todayWhen I dropped off HHT's clothes at MGH Thrift shop today, I saw outside the building 2 milk crates and I asked one of the staff members what they planned on doing with them, hoping he'd say anything left outside was Free for the taking but he told me I could have them for $1 each. Sold! I had paid $1.91 each at Value Village earlier in the year so these were a bargain that I couldn't turn down. From there I went into Safeway and found my small wire strainer that I will use in WS when the seeds require light covering..I will sift fine potting mix over the seeds lightly. Keeping the strainer in the mix. It's the size that you would rest on a cup or mug, like if you needed to drain loose tea leaves so they wouldn't go into one's tea cup. I had made a statement about 2 or 3 months ago that I would only sow 36(1/2 gal.each)milk jugs in 2011..I have saved up more than 36 jugs and now those 2 new crates will hold 18 more jugs..Opps! I'm in trouble now! Wintersowing is addictive.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Milk jugs preparationDecided to start poking the holes in my saved milk jugs for wintersowing. Got the trusty solder iron tool out and poked holes in 18 milk jugs and numbered them. Too cold in garage to do the other 18 left. Jen Smith was kind enough to share her 2008 and 2008 wintersowing germination records. She lives in same zone as us and about 20 miles from here. She organized the May plant swap at Henrietta's and I am appreciative of her sharing her information with me. BR had shared hers too so between the two I get more of an idea when to plant what plant. BR is a bit more south in Va. and is a Master Gardener who was one of my mentors my first year of Wintersowing and she held my hand from afar. I am forever indebted to her for her generosity of seeds and her kindness and support.
It has been nasty since early today..rained all day.
We had our first snowfall of the winter season on 12/10 not much, more like a heavy dusting.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Seed packets detailsLast evening I sat down with a copy of BR's 2009 wintersown records that she had sent me and I had saved a copy of another member's germination record; got out all of the seed packets and really paid attention to what the back of the seed packets stated. DO NOT COVER, NEEDS TO BE COVERED, COVER LIGHTLY..wrote on index cards the list of seeds I had and what light details they required. Last year I had made a copy out of library book about starting seeds and although it was geared more to growing seeds "under the lights" it had 16 pages of germination requirements. I compared BR's to the person in NY..two different zones but their start dates were amazingly close, just 3-7 days difference in most cases. Last year I had printed off something similar from Joanna from Calgary about light requirements of many popular plants. I had ordered seeds from Mrs. T's flowers and things website and she does an amazing job of providing planting/growing information for the seeds she sents. Her instructions are written in layman's language and easy to understand. I underlined with a highlighter important details. I know it will be a big help this year.
I also made copies of Jan-April pages off the 2011 calendar and since each day has lines to write, I will use those for planting dates, and name of flower seed planted. It will be a double-check to make sure I recorded the same information on my germination record sheet I made up for myself.
Definately feeling more confident as 2011 gets closer and closer than Jan. 2010..Thanks to so many that held my hand from afar and was so patient in answering my dumb questions. Garden friends are indeed special!
This weekend I will get the other seeds that I have rec'd or purchased and finish up with my list I started last night, then I will type it out on the computer and put it into a plastic sleeve protector so I'll have it readily available when I start sowing. Watched some tuitorials on YouTube about starting from seeds, etc. One lady used a pr. of tweezers to pick up tiny seeds to plant into the potting mix. Gathered a few useful tips and ideas from those tuitorials.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
These task toward WS project has been completedSpray paint has been ordered by Ashton Hardware store for the milk crates..Krylon Fusion in gray, a special paint that bonds to plastics. Told the owner what I wanted to use it for, told me it would do the job; felt that I didn't need to prime the milk crates first. Paint should be in on Thursday, Dec.2nd.
While I had the spare time, I measured the circumference of the milk jugs and cut the foil strips accordingly at 18 inch. That will allow for a bit of lap over. Cut all 36 pieces.
Today I will begin putting in the drainage holes in the bottom and air/moisture holes around the top of the jugs. That will be time consuming.
Will use a fat marker and number the jugs ahead of time. I have already designed my form to keep a record of what is planted in each jug, what seed name, date planted, and any other pertinent information. but may need to design it better.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Things to do ahead of time before Wintersowing season begins1. Buy light gray spray paint to spray the plastic milk crates so they will blend in with house siding during the winter.
Make sure the paint is for plastics.
2. Poke my holes in all the 36 milk jugs ahead of time. Make sure there are holes in bottom for drainage and holes around neck of jug for air circulation.
3. Number the milk jugs
4. Make copies of new seed Starting Notes for my Garden journal. The printable form is all ready made up. "Tweak it if necessary."
5. Order seeds from my wish list or trade with somebody. Make up packets of seeds to trade.
6. Make up plant Id tabs from mini-blinds. Order more metal plant markers from gardener's Supply catalog. This can wait until March or April to be ordered.
7. Make some type of tag to attach to each milk crate so I'll know what jug numbers are in what crate. Go by form I designed .
Example: Crate#1 jugs 1-9, Crate#2 jugs 10-18, Crate#3 jugs 19-27, Crate#4 jugs 28-36
Maybe this could be made using a mini-blind that gets attached to crate using wire?
8. Measure the circumference of the jug and cut foil tape that size, adding maybe 1-2 inches larger. This will save time if these are cut ahead of time. Do not take the paper off the foil until ready to use around jug, after seeds are planted.
9. Have Lloyd make me a seed presser wood to fit nursery pots and inside of milk jug so that seeds will have contact with soil. Simple to make out of scrape wood.
10. Buy Promix ..found at Johnson's Nursery at Laytonsville.
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