Happy holidays to all -
It's the time of year to start looking at all of the teasing seed and plant catalogs. I really don't have a hot, must-have list this year so I'm looking for input. Any stand-outs from this past growing season that can take varying degrees of shade?
Very bizarre the way all of the snow has melted in the past 48 hours and woke to thunder and lightning this morning. Maybe it's our January thaw coming early. Sigh - 3 months until spring.
I did see that thread. I haven't done much with caladiums in the past except to plant a couple in pots. I'm wondering if they'll grow as lushly in my crummy soil.
I've been looking at the White Flower Farm catalog for ideas and new plants (to look elsewhere for better prices) and have a JL Huntsman seed catalog I want to go through as well as Bluestone. I've also got a T&M but it's pretty much the same old stuff.
A few things have caught my eye this year so far. I noticed in one catalog (can't remember which one though, darnit) that they were selling seeds for the King Kong series of coleus. I grew one last year (purchased at a nursery) and got TONS of comments on it. I'd love to try growing some from seed. And coleus in my experience have been very easy to grow from seed.
I'm also looking at the various rudbeckias again. I've seen 'Cherry Brandy' (I think that's the name) in a couple of catalogs, and that one's caught my eye. I see some places selling it as a perennial and some as an annual. I'll treat it as an annual, and if it returns I'll feel lucky. Other rudbeckias also always catch my eye--'Cherokee Sunset,' 'Autumn Colors' (which I grew last year and which was gorgeous), etc. And they take a lot more shade than you'd think they would. Mine get only 3 hours or so of direct sunlight and then diffused light for the rest of the day and they do just fine and bloom prolifically.
Oh, and tcs...if you woke to thunder, then there was lightning somewhere. Can't have thunder without it. ;)
The only Coleus I've ever tried from seed was 'Pallisandra' (sp?) because it wasn't available in local nurseries. I tend to pick a few that I like rather than the mixed varieties from local nurseries and then do cuttings at the end of the year. Those King Kong varieties are huge and make a big statement. I did do 'Cherry Brandy' two years ago but in my crummy soil, it was rather a spindly thing. One or two did survive the winter though. Still working on the soil in that bed. Did some buried spot composting but it still needs more improvement. Going to try to run all of the leaves from spring cleanup through the chipper/shredder and put them down with some coffee grounds (I'm stockpiling those outdoors in a big cracked pot) and see if that helps some.
All of the new Heucheras and Echinaceas are jumping off the page at me but I haven't committed to buying any yet since they tend to be pricey. Last year I bought a few Epimediums which kinda blew my budget for the year.
Epimediums are pricey things--why is that? Are they just difficult to cultivate? My one plant will be going on its third season for me this spring. Last spring it was glorious when it flowered, and I love the burnished leaves in the fall. I just wish it spread faster so I could divide it and spread the love to other parts of my garden, but it's not much bigger than it was when I got it. (Fortunately, the plant I started with was a pretty substantial size. 2 gallon container, I think.)
They are pricey and I had to really decide last year if I wanted to go in that direction. I do stop short of paying over $25 per plant although some of the new varieties are very tempting. Munchkin has some at pretty reasonable prices. They are a little slow in spreading which I guess is a good thing. Otherwise, they'd turn into those groundcover thugs that some of us have grown to hate. :) I bought my first ones back in the 90's from Shady Oaks (when they were still doing retail) and I have chopped pieces off of them over the years. They're usually very reliable getting established but do need adequate moisture the first year. I love the spring flowers as well and it's always a race for me to get the fall leaves off of them and cut down the previous year's foliage before they start blooming. I leave the foliage on over the winter primarily because I'll use it as fillers for fall flower arrangements.
Did someone say catalogs?? I have about 15 of them and have been so happy looking through them. I ordered several things already - I could not stand to wait and needed that ray of hope anyway. Most of what I bought came from Big Dipper Farms, including a Colocasia Escuelenta which is a Thailand Giant Strain (read Elephant Ear) I know it cannot be a perrineal but I love them. Usually I plant one and take it inside in the basement dark, then replant it in the next spring. Eventually the bulb just rots or dies but to me it is worth it. This is one particular strain I have never had before. In fact I have never even seen it before. The leaves can grow up to 48 inches across. I love big unusual plants. Also I ordered two Jack in the Pulpit types (cannot rememer the name now) so I am all fired up for spring.
I've always been fascinated by elephant ears and have been leaning more towards those tender tropicals for summer pots. I might just succumb to some impulse buying this afternoon. Spending a little time making up a shopping spreadsheet. I've just been focused on seeds initially but I'm seeing some plants as well that I wouldn't mind having. And there's an Asian JIP that I'd love to get but it's been a little on the pricey side.
In another thread someone tipped me off to Swallowtail Garden Seeds (http://swallowtailgardenseeds.com). Nice assortment of seeds and I'm told shipping is only $3.95. Just thought I'd pass that along.
I just started a few herb seeds to pass the time until I get rolling with seed starting in earnest. I figured I'd grow some in containers indoors. So, I have one row of flourescents on my seed starting setup lit, at least. ;)
Kayly - nice website. Thanks for passing it along.
I too have been considering starting some herb seeds. My poor parsley plants in pots are a couple of years old and I really should have replaced them last year. I just keep cutting off the flowers. I've got a few grow lights going for some cuttings that I've potted up. Our winter days are just too gloomy to not get the lights fired up. I need to get busy with any seeds I need to stratify and get them in the fridge since I don't do winter sowing.
Cindy, which seeds are you going to start cold stratifying now? I was thinking of getting rolling on some delphiniums (although mine didn't germinate last year) and maybe some hellebores. But whenever someone says, "I'm starting these seeds now..." it gives me ideas. :)
Seems like I sow columbine every year, mostly from collected seed, so those will go in the fridge in the next week or so. I usually give them 3 weeks in damp paper towels or unbleached coffee filters in the fridge. Thinking about larkspur since I'll want to put out sizeable plants to get established before it gets too hot. Browallia will probably get sown as well although they don't need the cold treatment but they're kinda like impatiens - need lots of growing time before planting out. Also need to get new seeds ordered soon in case any of them need stratifying. Have to check if I have any Echinacea to start since they normally need a cold treatment as well. I think I used all of my Delphinium tricorne seeds last year (no sprouts) because they need two cold treatments.
tcs - You're way ahead of me on seed ordering. I'm never ready to order until after the holidays. Will also have to check out Diane's. Thanks for the info.
Earned a couple of hours of seed/plant shopping this afternoon after shoveling driveway - my reward.
Cindy -- i generally do not order seeds. but I had been looking for Lavender Haze Agastache, and no one on DH had it listed in their "Haves" -- so i went searching on line. Dianes had it, and a coupla Penstemons that looked interesting.
so i only bought 4 seed varieties this year... i always participate in a huge seed swap ... have about 50 varieties coming next week. waaaaaaaay more than i need.,
i just started seriously saving seed for swaps ..then got overwhelmed by the whole thing ..LOL I dont know latin names and that is bad for me..Had to look up Agastache ?? (salvia) see I dont even remember it now ?? OMG LOL im not giving up.. but id better start trading before they get old !!!
I was the same way too... that is where a spreadsheet comes in handy... the "base" for mine was actually Tom Clothiers... i had his as a template of sorts -- deleted what i didnt want and added what i wanted.
there are still seeds i have no clue the scientific name... but when i have both in there - i can look/search for it.
When I started in spring of 07, i had no clue... here is it 4 yrs later and i know some, but certainly not A LOT by anymeans... but i can look it up.
thats another great thing about PlantFiles... all that info right there.
It just takes time.
For trading... if you at least know ONE of the names, common or latin, you can look the rest up... and for trading, it's best to have the scientific/latin name because then you can find any info on it... where common names are sometimes used for different plants. But if you know what it is, you can figure out the latin name and put that on the seed baggy. and it all works out in the end.
I just was at that site ,put it in my favs,great Information Thank You Again.but now I see I still will be spending alot of $$ on mix !!!! Well right now anyway,untill I get to Ft. Wayne.sounds like I will be fine with what Ive got..Wish me luck.Im diving in LOL
you guys get a lot of snow?? yesterday the weather channel had some guy standing - doing a report from some county Rd in IN somewhere... didnt look like a lot of snow, but blowing ... flat lands will do that.
I heard teh lake effect in NE IN was bad. we didnt get too much 3-4" tops.
Hugger - be careful on that drive!
Didn't realize Clothier was from Chicago. I've had his database linked on my computer for years. Between Clothier and Deno I can usually find most of the info that I need for seed starting. Sorry to say that I am a botanical name creature. Just got in the habit years ago and it's saved me from making mistakes. Did you know that in TN, they call daffodils "buttercups"? That was very confusing for me.
It's stopped snowing (for the moment) and hoping the lake effect snow has moved east at last. We had light snow all day yesterday and last night. I'm guessing we've got 6+ inches. The driveway got shoveled twice yesterday and I'll be out there again today. Getting in shape for spring.
There's a thread over in Seed Germination about Deno's books now in public domain. There are a few links over there to access the different editions. He doesn't publish anymore but I did get all 3 of his books before he "retired". I think you can also access it from Clothier's site but I didn't look.
We ended up getting maybe 5 inches,we really didnt get any wind ,but other areas may have.We got another layer of lake effect today ,enough to have to clean it up again.Yes we have gotten most of our snow from LE this which is odd,I think when I was a kid we got a lot of it,then weather patterns changed,now again ??? We went years with little or no snow,maybe 1 big snow .Not like when we were kids there was always snow knee deep to adults ??
Ahhh - no snow shoveling today. A lot of the LE snow has just missed us for the past two years. It's usually just a matter of 10 miles or so east of here that's been getting hit pretty hard. Glad I don't live in South Bend.
Dang do I remember that ??? I was 7 ??? The 1 I remember the most is 78,DH dropped me off at work 3rd shift,waitress truckstop,was there 17hrs,till I could get home less than a 1/2 mile..300 people stuck at the TS for a week or more,they plowed a path to my door soo the sheriff could come get me and take me too work,police escort !!!! ha ,didnt make any money for 10 days they were all Broke !!!! it was something for sure,was glad I worked 3rd,we watched TV an drank hot coco with schnapps !!! played cards !!! it was fun !!! I was like 19... it was crazy the TS sat right on US 30 so we were watching the whole thing unfold,drifts were 20 ft high in places..Memories
Was the '78 blizzard the one with the 80 below wind chills due to the high wind? I remember trying to carry my then-young daughter from the car to our apartment and it was brutal. Might be the same one that had me driving home from work in Chicago on Rt 30 from I394. Rt 30 had been closed by then but there were no signs for the closed road. I was the only car on Rt30 on that stretch and it took me an hour to go one mile. I did make it home though. These days I'm not quite so brave.
Funny - the Weather Channel was showing the "great" snow events on tv this morning.
that would have been interesting to watch,OH yes us 30 had semis and cars lined up as far as you could see,I was lucky enough to beable to get out and around thanks to the sheriffs dept.taking me to work !! Also we were easy for them to clear a path down our street as we were on the path to the local Hospital.and I was friends with the city street guys,working 3rd fed them breakfast every morning ,they dug our drive and cars out for me,while they were digging the alley out...I think it was fun ..it was.. LOL
[quote="tcs1366"]I only heard about that one... i was living in St Louis... but i was also only 1.[/quote]
We're the same age! Or close enough. April 66, here.
I just wanted to post that--I have seedlings! They poked their little heads up a couple of days ago. Soon I'll have some herbs for cooking. I plan to keep them inside like windowsill herbs, just under lights.
I'm waiting for an order of coleus from Johnny's. Today I got the urge and stopped at Stein's to pick up impatiens and some columbine.
It's getting to be that time of year! The next best thing to getting outside and actually gardening is starting seeds indoors. :)
Golly - you're all kids!
Congrats on the sprouting herbs! Alas, I haven't started anything yet but hope to. I haven't checked to see if any of the local box stores have their seeds out yet. I still have to place an order or two and hoping to do that tomorrow. Waiting on DD's list so we can split an order from JL Hudson. But I do already have my germinating mix which I always get from Gardener's Supply. Tomorrow is also the quest for a non-fertilized potting soil. Grrrr. Might have to make a run to Alsip to see what they have since they carry the most variety of "stuff".
tcs - I'm growing chives (may regret that), catnip for tea (may regret that, too), basil and cilantro so far. I have rosemary and some thyme I'm going to start, too. I'll see what I can get away with keeping indoors.
Cindy - I found some unfertilized potting soil last year and used it and was disappointed. For some reason I seem to get better results with the Miracle-Gro Organic Choice. I know a lot of people dislike Miracle-Gro products, but this stuff seems to work well for me.
keep the chives in pots, so they dont spread. Hope you dont have cats, for the "nip"
I LOVE basil and cilantro. I hear some Agastaches are great for tea too. There was a thread somewhere that was talking about home made tea... was on a different site though.
I was gonna try adding feverfew leaves... but read it's an appetite stimulant, can't have that...
Yea tea that makes you hungry,I don't need that either...LOL I'm hungry enough.
Id rather buy No food potting soil,hard to do. i should try some cilantro,I have a light set up all winter,Wonder if I can find some seed... ??
Looks like I should be calling you all kids I think I'm the Old woman here !!! SHHH don't tell me,I still think I'm 40,an staying here...I`ll be 52 shortly..AACCKK..
Hey anyone where Should I get Wave petunia seed, deep purple ,blood red and silver ? what seed company ? any suggestions would be appreciated.Ive used park seed ,not real impressed with the peatunia seed there.
Hugger - Still got you beat in the age department. Dec '52.
Do mung beans count for seed sowing? :) I did start some of those yesterday for sprouts. I'm definitely going to at least start parsley seeds today. I also have two types of lemon grass sitting dormant in my slightly heated garage. Stupidly, I planted spearmint and lemon balm with them as companion plants and I need to uproot the whole mess and try to separate them. Ugh. Sounded like a good idea when I planted them (all seed-sown) but in the confines of a pot I think there might be too much root competition.
My biggest problem with chives is that if I don't cut down the spent flowers, I'll have babies everywhere. The vigor of my in-ground plants has been slowly declining and I think I need to dig them up, amend the soil and maybe divide them.
Speaking of herbs - is anyone growing Stevia? I grew some from seed last year just out of curiosity but don't know how to use the leaves. If anyone has any info, I'd love to know.
Re: petunia seed - isn't Burpee big on petunias? I've only grown 'Lemoncello' from seed (as a companion for one of the lemon grass combos).
I was thinking of making my own potting soil - well, at least experiment with it. I thought of adding worm castings into the mix but I'll have to see what I can find. I do hate the MG thing as they put their fertilizer into just about every product they market, including perlite. Sheesh!
i just ordered petunia seed from Burpee and I ordered skyblue Petunia plants cant wait too see those. I made seed starting mix from peat and perlite watered with MG.Hope it works its cheaper.I will see, fingers crossed
tcs,seed mix or potting soil ? I`m a mixer too,bought some weird stuff last year,dumped it in the garden an mixed it up to pot some holly bushes up ,want the bushes ??? they were abandoned 1 male 1 female,i dont have room.
I get the potting soil i think... it has the 3 months fertilizer in it and i think now they have this 'water retaining' stuff" it's changed over a few years, used to be a green bag, now it's green and blue. but it's NOT the garden soil. [which i bought on accident one time]
I wonder what HD has in stock? I find 'garden centers' just too expensive.
i've been seeing a term of Pine bard fines... and wonder what that is...
CindyM, I am interested in growing stevia too.From what I have read it will be an annual here in 5b, but that it's easy from seeds. Maybe someone has seeds to share-? I think I saw plants in some garden center last year, but didn't get any.
I`m going to find out if the mix I made will work ,going to set up a flat of alyssum see how it does under lights now,that way it fails I still have time to get the right stuff. I know it is not cheap at the garden centers ,wish I were a wholesale buyer,I should qualify I buy enough garden supplies !!!
Jo - I'm growing mine in a pot since I know it won't overwinter here. I started mine from seed last year. DD and I shared some seed from Seed Savers Exchange. The main stem did turn rather woody and once I brought it indoors last fall, it started sending up some new growth from the base but it seems to be a slow grower.
Trying to pick an heirloom tomato variety or two to grow. I know there was a poll last year but now that the season is way done, I'm wondering what the results have been. I was thinking about 'Brandywine' and 'Cherokee'. I'd welcome any and all opinions.
I just ordered some Stevia seeds from someone here at DG Marketplace-
I saw some Black Krim seeds on the new Burpee rack at Lowe's -I think I will try them. I have always been turned off by dark seed cavities in tomatoes, but after hearing about the great taste of BK, I am willing to give in and try them.
I haven't hit the seed racks yet at the box stores. Guess I need to catch up. I did manage to start some flat-leaved parsley today.
Since I'm sharing a tomato seed order with DD and after conferring this afternoon, I think I'm going with Amish Paste, Wisconsin 55 (which is an open pollinator) and Boxcar Willy. The Cherokee Purple looked like it might disappoint me in terms of yield although I bet it is a beautiful specimen. And since I only have enough sun to grow 3 plants, it really limits my diversity.
Good luck Jo on your Stevia seeds.
We grow Heirlooms every year,Black Krim,Green zebra,Brandywine red,pink,mortgage lifter,yellow ? These are all Wonderful tasting tomatoe`s,We grow eating tom`s,Ill freeze a few.As they never seem to produce a bumper crop,I dont think heirlooms do anyway.
I subbed 'Arkansas Traveler' for Amish Paste. Seeds of Change made it sound like it's a toughie, split-resistant, etc. We'll see. Hugger - I saw 'Mortgage Lifter' in the catalog and chuckled at the name. I was tempted by 'Brandywine' as well since I haven't done heirloom/OP tomatoes in the past. Just the standard 'Better Boy' and 'Big Beef'.
Mailing off my JL Hudson order tomorrow (I don't do Paypal) and ordering some stuff from Select Seed as well. Then it's on to narrowing down my catalog choices. That's gonna be hard. And I'll have to rationalize another new Epimedium too. Still shopping for decent prices. Does anyone know if Edelweiss has their 2011 prices online? It kinda looked like last year's home page.
I did go to Alsip Nursery this afternoon in search of stuff to make up some potting soil. Of course that section of the store was desserted except for an employee putting out some bird seed. I found the last bag of Espoma potting soil and picked up some ingredients to make more. No worm castings in stock though.
Cindy,so what are you mixing up ?? Mortgage lifter ,is just as it says...The man who developed Mortgage Lifter,paid off his house with his tomato money..So glad he developed this one it is one of the best tasting tomatoes ever,grow one.
I checked the internet for homemade potting soil recipes and a lot of them call for some compost and then pasteurization (Mother Earth News). Since my pile is frozen and not near done, I was looking for some worm castings or mushroom compost to add to my mix but both are proving to be elusive at this time of year so I'll have to check a few more stores. I did buy some Epsoma peat moss (no coir to be found), perlite and vermiculite and a bag of Dr. Earth's all purpose fertilizer. While my goal was to be able to control the amount of fertilizer (if any) in the mix, I can see that this will be a more expensive way to go than buying a big bag of MG. Playing with it now will give me a better idea of what to look for (hopefully less expensive) when supply inventories are back in place in spring. It's not that I have to go organic but I'd feel better knowing that this stuff is safe for the plants and me.
I do understand ,i try to stay on the side of organic,try... I used spagnum peat and perlite,I watered it with weak mG ... I know,AACCKK, had I realized mushroom compost was right next to the peat,dont know what the price was on that. would have used some of that for food.Had I known.I stood there looking at it thinking that could be good stuff ??Have you ever heard of anyone using peat and perlite/?? Or Is it a horror story and you dont want to tell me how it ended...??? I bought my stuff at the most expensive store in town Ace Hardware, didnt have a choice at least they keep some things on the shelf year round.I spent on 1/2 bale of peat and 2 bags of perlite right at $20,used 1/2 of the peat.It made appox 10 gallons of mix,I filled 35 gal jugs 1/3 full of soil mix .Please let me know if you have heard anyone using peat an perlite
I bought both perlite and vermiculite to add into the peat but wanted to add some type of compost for a little nutrition and to keep the mix from getting too light. After reading a Mother Earth newsletter about the questionable origins of perlite and vermiculite, I made a spontaneous choice at the store for Espoma's organic versions. Any better? Don't really know until I do more research. And because I didn't want to use MG, I picked up the Dr. Earth AP fertilizer to mix in as needed. I read an article about MG potting soil having some nutrient levels too high for the overall health of the plants but also need to do more reading about that. I do know that at the end of the season, the MG potting soil becomes a pretty solid lump and can't quite get my head around having to repot everything (at least the stuff I winter over and houseplants) every year. Could be the stingeyness in me. During the winter, it's hard for me to find room for a bale of peat since everything is confined indoors. I'm thinking that a bale would work great for spring container planting.
"lovely clay soil" - I can relate. Have you noticed an improvement in your soil when you add peat moss? I use compost and any remaining hardwood mulch applied in the previous year but it never seems like enough to change the soil for very long. Rather discouraging at times after all of the effort. Makes me wish for a backhoe to dig up the existing stuff and replace it all.
Jo - if you're still around - don't let your Stevia flower as it will die after blossoming according to Pinetree. Also, it does go a little dormant in the winter even indoors.
Hugger - Pinetree has 6 different Wave petunias if you're still looking.
Jo - I'm curious since I don't do WS. The seeds from a plant that is intolerant of cold can be wintersown?
Scored on a 40# bag of organic mushroom compost for $5.99 at my local garden center/feed store. Who would have thought??? Of course, it was out in a shed and frozen solid but it's currently defrosting in the heated garage.
Im new to this too wish I could help .What is it,i do have a little list that might help.
cindy ,nice score,I looked at mushroom compost when I bought the peat an perlite ,but it was $$$ ,Also Ace Hardware is not cheap..didnt have a choice where to shop.Going to get some for my mix ,instead of prewatering with MG
>>The seeds from a plant that is intolerant of cold can be wintersown?
Cindy -- Yes they can be wintersown. Most of us, but not all ... will sow the 'less frost tolerant' plants more into March or April -- jsut in case we get an early warmth -- they all germinate then we get another freeze and they croak.
Take Zinnias for instance ... last year i did mine at the end of March and mid-April [i did two batches] they all germinated in 4-6 days.
Terese - thanks for the info the WS of cold-intolerant seeds. I think I've peeked at a couple of topics over at the forum but will have to do some more reading. I did order a couple of oriental poppy seed varieties yesterday from Select Seed and wondering if these are the type to WS. Haven't had much luck with poppies in the past.
I did splurge on a non-hardy plant - a 'Comte de Brazza' sweet violet. I've never been able to smell violets so maybe this one will have a scent. This week I'll have to get serious about some plant orders now that the seeds have been ordered.
Just a reminder - Munchkin Nursery has a 10% discount coupon in their hard copy catalog. Discount good if order is received by snail mail by 2/15 and accompanied by a check.
I did order another Epimedium - 'Orange Queen' for $12! Yea - a cheaper Epimedium.
Also ordered Tricyrtis 'Shirohotogisu' - a speckle-less white one - and caved in on Brunnera 'Looking Glass' and Astilbe 'Color Flash Lime'. For the more natural side, I ordered a Spigella marilandica and splurged on a Galanthus 'Pleniflorus'. I was very tempted by Corydalis 'Berry Exciting' but it seems that hardiness is questionable. Bummer.
Is anyone else ordering yet?
the only thing Ive ordered is petunia seed and Sky Blue Petunia plants.I planted Texas Blue Bell (Lisianthus)seed yesterday.got all my shelves and lights ready to go,and my soiless seed mix.I probly wont be buying too many plants early.Ill wait till they are super marked down ,and allmost dead then I will drag them home ,plant and pray for them !!!
Terese,my ws jugs are all snowed in ,leave them covered right ?? We got a 2 day total of 12.5 inches of snow ,what did you guys get ??? Ready to go to work today !!!! too many days off...
well, leave them be. the snow is very good for them -- it's acts as an insulator. Our snow started on Mon where we got about 1-2" then a break then Tues late afternoon it started until Wed about 9am. I really have not idea how much we really got due to the blowing ... it was a foot in some areas and 3.5 - 4.5 feet in others. They are saying about 20-21" My jugs are under a drift... i wont see them for a very long time.
This is my first time ,Yes it takes from what Ive read 12 -14 weeks for them to bloom.So this will be interesting.more snow for us today 2inches ,sleet tomorrow an snow,monday snow...So glad Im planting flower seed... = )