I have sown seeds for Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' and they have germinated and have been under lights with the dome off for about 2 weeks. So far the seedlings are less than an inch high. How long will it take before they are tall/large enough to pot up? I am hopeful to plant them in the ground and half barrels around June 1 but at their current rate of growth I'm getting worried that they may not be ready. Does anyone have experience growing rudbeckia from seed? Any info is greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance - Linda
I have grown both the native species and some cultivars of Rudbeckia. They can be slow going as they seem to put on root growth before the tops really get going. If you have them in individual pots, don't worry about them, they will put on good growth before June 1. If you have them mass sown in pots or trays, I would step them up as soon as you feel comfortable handling them. If you wait too long, the roots will really become a tangled mess and you will do a lot of damage separating them.
I'm happy to see this discussion going on. I have been trying to germinate Rudbeckia seeds since February (which is prime seed starting time in my zone). I have tried 3 different ways. I started with peat pots, using them for the first time, but the peat pots kept drying out and they are not worth the trouble (actually i hate them). Then i tried to germinate new seeds in a peat soil mix outside in closed baggies , but the weather got very hot (unseasonably) and i think they all roasted. Now i have them in small pots, same soil mix, in baggies, but inside the house where they will not get too hot. I am at my wits end...does any one have suggestions? I am trying to start Goldstrum (which is an experiment because i think my zone is a bit warm for them), also Hirta (which are native to or naturalized in Mexico and so should do well here), and 2 different varieties of dwarfs and NOTHING is coming up!!!! Also, i have seeds from 3 different reputable vendors so i don't think the seeds are the problem. Buying plants is not an option for me here. Whatever shall i do????
vitrsna - I packed about 2 inches of moisened Jiffy seed starting mix into a couple of clear containers with lids that had held a salad mix I bought from the market and let them sit uncovered overnight so that excess water could evaporate. I then sprinkled the seeds on the soil and then lightly pressed them into the soil (it is hard to tell the difference between the seeds and soil so I just pressed all of the soil area lightly). I poked holes all over the lids and after giving the soil one last light spray of water I put the lids on but propped one corner on each container open a little bit. I set them on a heat mat at 78 degrees and left them alone (no more water). The seeds sprouted about 2 weeks later. I took off the covers and put the containers of seedlings under florescent shop lights for 16 hours a day. So far so good. Hope this helps you.
Hi Linda...this is a great idea and more ecologically sound than using baggies. i can use the containers i buy honey in. products like "Jiffy seed starting mix" are not available here but i think the mix i make with peat moss and humus should work. i have been pressing the seeds into the soil but haven't been putting holes in the baggies and i think that might be a problem for slow germinators. So how big are the holes in your container tops? are they average needle sized holes? or much bigger? for sure i don't need heat mats or florescent lights in zone 10b but i think the ideas of a) leaving the wet soil mix uncovered overnight before planting and b) poking holes for some air is just what i need to do. it would really help to know about what sized holes to make. Thanks for the great idea :-D
I use a hand tool called an awl. It is used for punching holes in all kinds of material including leather and it is sold in hardware stores, etc. I try to make the hole at least 1/4" round. You might also try using a hand held single-hole puncher found at office products stores. If you're using baggies to germinate your seeds punching five or six holes on the side that's above your seeds and propping the baggie a little bit open should work...hopefully.
Hi Linda...yes i know about awls. This is just what i hoped to learn. I left the baggies open today and closed them for the night, hoping the seeds had not yet drowned. So, you have holes in the top but not in the bottom...very good. I will prepare a practice test of your method tomorrow and have every confidence it will be successful. I will test only the R. hirta. Actually, just today i discovered tiny seedlings of the two dwarfs (Rustic and Toto), opened them up, and set them outside for a few hours of sun. Because of this discovery i have hope that the Goldstrums and Hirtas are still viable...maybe I caught them just in time. I have so much wanted black-eyed susans as part of the garden and now i feel hopeful thanks to your help. I have butterflies year round and so i need some good nectar plants year round too, and black-eyed susans are part of my plan. The rainy season is from about late-June to late September, there are some hard rains during this time and many nectar plants are lost. The temperatures are warm both night and day during these months and things generally grow like crazy, but those hard rains can really shatter a blossom and sometimes an entire plant. Thanks again and happy gardening, vitrsna
I would highly recommend putting some drainage holes in any container in which you are growing plants/seedlings. Not only does it allow you to bottom water (which is better for promoting root development), it also allows any excess water to drain away. No matter how careful you are watering, you will at some point over-water and that extra water will promote root rot, algae and interfere with oxygen absorption.
yes trc, i think i will do that. the holes in the bottom would not really be needed for germination, but the seedlings (should there be some) will need to mature somewhat and grow roots before they are transplanted and i will need to bottom water during this time of growth. thank you for mentioning this. i am so preoccupied with getting the seeds to germinate that i wasn't thinking about their needs after germination and before they are ready to transplant.
It must be too late for this year, but if you're concerned about the peat moss getting too wet, shredded pine bark holds less water than peat. Also, you can use coarse shreds of bark and get very fast-draining mix that never gets soggy - the water runs right out when I over-water.
If you have pine bark, fir bark or balsam bark, mixing some of that into your mix next year will help it stay dry not-too-wet.
But when the seeds are very fine and must stay on the surface so they get light, the top layer of your seed flat or cup must be very fine, not coarse, so that the seeds don't fall down between two bark chunks.
When in doubt, shine a light on the cups until they germinate!
Maybe some Rudbeckia varieties need the seeds to be chilled while moist for a few weeks, to break their dormancy. ( "Stratification"). Maybe try moving the cups that have not sprouted into a refridgerator for a few weeks, then take them out into the warmth and bright light. (I think that simulates a brief "winter". Some seeds "know" that they should not sprout as soon as they fall to the ground, because they "expect" winter frosts to come along. So they expect to fall to earth, then get cold, then get warm, and THEN sprout.
What I usually saw when I tried to skip that step was that a few seeds would sprout anyway, slower than expected. Maybe yours are stubburn!
thanks rick...seed germination is year round in my area so it is never too late here. I am continuing to start new seedlings except of course rudbeckia which just refuses to germinate. actually, i've noticed that the two months when nothing germinates (except cosmos and tithonia) are december and january. this is such a mystery to me because even in those two months we are having between 10 -11 hours of not only daylight, but natural sunlight and temps in the high 70s. i have come to the conclusion that seeds are genetically prone to "rest" in december and january no matter how much sun or how toasty the temps. as i've mentioned, since february, i've tried to germinate r. hirta, goldstrum, and 2 varieties of dwarfs. now i am using peat pellets. i don't know how many seeds i've planted. after 4 months, i have one very tiny seedling which is a fulgida goldstrum. it is outside and appears to be content but growing very sloooowly. just one seedling and i simply don't know how this can be possible. r. hirta is native to mexico but not one has come up.
i have not tried chilling them and then popping them into the sun so i will try it...thanks. also i can add some bark chips to my soil mix...maybe put the more porous mix on the bottom and the light and fluffy humus and peat moss on the top. I believe these seeds need light to germinate but i think i've been giving them too much sun. i've been just sprinkling the seeds with a very fine humus by way of a cover. anyway i'll keep trying. i have high hopes for the little guy that is living outside now. go figure...i guess mother nature has her own ideas about things.
wow rick why did you want 128 petunias? do you have a nursery? or just lots of space? or a passion for petunias? for whatever reason, it is one of those sad gardening stories that make us strong, persevering, ornery, and give us a healthy sense of humor :-D
okay, this is great, the rudbeckia seeds are going into the freezer (or do you recommend the refri?) in damp peat pellets for 2 weeks, and thanks for the references.
i wonder if florists would use vermiculite? i know people with a floral shop...maybe they have access to it. also, i can check out some websites in the usa to see if they will ship some to mexico. the houses here are mostly built of brick and concrete...no insulation...the average annual temp is about 78F and that includes nights and days for 12 months :-D. the more people i talk to say vermiculite is the way to go. there seems to be a consensus so i think i'm going to have to find me some vermiculite. thanks for talking to me, i was just about to give up and now i will just keep going and when i finally have at least one full grown rudbeckia, i will post photos on all the DG forums.
Maybe a nursery? Whoever the florist buys her flowers from?
I know there are some people who freeze damp seeds, but the thought still makes me nervous. I guess it can't kill them, since damp seeds are burried under snow in many climates wirthout killing the seeds! I always read about chilling them in a fridge.
>> the average annual temp is about 78F
I guessed that no one would want to insulate heat IN, unless they lived on a mountaintop. But maybe they would try to insulate it OUT?
>> when i finally have at least one full grown rudbeckia, i will post photos on all the DG forums.
That was how I felt about my (only) Delphinium. I killed many seeds in soggy germination trays, then fed MANY seedlings to slugs. Finally ONE Pacific Giant delphinium survived, and then it thrived.
>>Maybe a nursery? Whoever the florist buys her flowers from?
ummm...well i think a nursery is where the general public go to buy plants (it is called a "vivero" here), but if you raise flowers exclusively for florists to buy, then i think you would be a supplier. nice job either way except for when all the petunias go south.
a few hours ago, i put the peat pellets (containing hirta seeds) in the fridge and will take them out in two weeks. and of course i still have hope for the little guy outside. if this doesn't work, i'll start searching for an alternative nectar flower for the butterfly garden. my plan is to have good nectar plants blooming all year and the rudbeckia was designed to fill in some gaps. i've tried sunflowers which are enjoyed by most butterflies but they have a tendency to fall over during the storms (the sunflowers that is...not so much the butterflies). i do have some cornutia grandifolia (tropical lilac, a verbena from costa rica) seeds on the way and i have high hopes for this plant to be a good nectar provider during the rainy season.
>>I guessed that no one would want to insulate heat IN, unless they lived on a mountaintop. But maybe they would try to insulate it OUT?
well, yes...but these thick concrete walls do a pretty good job of keeping things cool and the open windows are designed for maximum air circulation. and where would the insulation go? in addition, the water-proofing on the top of the house is very white which also has a cooling effect. and there are ceiling fans which i generally forget to turn on...so i guess mostly they are not needed. a nice areca palm in front of a window can do a swell job of keeping a room cool. i consider it a real luxury not to have to live with air conditioning and artificial types of heat...nicely ecologically satisfying.
>> wow rick why did you want 128 petunias? do you have a nursery? or just lots of space? or a passion for petunias?
I do like them, and knew I could grow them in planters on my deck. So I traded for many different varieties, and then planted 1-2 rows of each variety. Even if every cell sprouted, that would only be 8 or 16 plants of each variety.
In earlier years, I thought petunias would be hard to start (such small seeds! so slow to emerge!) so I planted many seeds per cell, not many cells, and still sprouted a dense jungle.
So last year, I "knew" they would be easy to start and only put 1-2 seeds per cell. So of course none of them sprouted.
Sometimes I think that seeds and plants must read our minds, and they really, REALLY like to play games with us. Like the plants that won't grow no matter what we do, until we give up and throw them on the compost heap. THEN they shoot up 5 feet tall and put out huge blooms.
Inside, they must be laughing at us and our silly belief that WE know how to cultivate THEM.
Probably they whisper over the fence at night to neighboring plants: "Did you see what a fine crop of sweat and muscles I'm raising on my human? Doesn't he look healthy and vigorous as I make him run around the garden, mulching and watering me? Just wait until I convince him that he has to double-dig my bed again!
o gosh, all those petunias on your deck must have been spectacular! i hope they didn't all talk at the same time.
what you say here is hilarious! and furthermore, i believe every word of it. i do believe when mother nature sees one of us becoming a bit too confident as through we are running the show, she likes to give us a reminder about who is really running the show. i'll bet the plants log on to the "seed germination" forum and laugh their little blossoms off. i'll bet that's what they do friday nights.
after 4 years of intense germinating (including wildflowers and perennials), of trying almost every method known to man (and/or available in mexico), i've reached the conclusion it doesn't much matter whether you spit on the seeds or offer them the finest and latest germination products...the seeds will germinate if they want to and won't germinate if they don't and when they do (if they do) it will be on their terms and not on ours.
i also have gotten tired of looking at empty pots for months with not a hint of germination happening and thrown them out in a designated space in the garden...both the seeds and potting mix. this little spot now has the best soil in the garden and after the torrential downpours of the rainy season, after birds messing up the soil looking for grubs, etc. maybe a year later i'll recognize a seedling.
your post here is really one of the funniest ones i've run across and i don't know how many people will get to read it. it would be great if you would offer it up to melody (dg admin) for publication in the weekly newsletter. maybe there are things you would like to add? what do you think? it isn't right that it should be buried at the bottom of this old thread.
I like your image of "laughing their little blossoms off" on Friday night! And you're very kind, but if someone doesn't read the thread to the very end, they will just have to miss the giggles. You're very welcome to use any part of it, orf reword and submit it it for the newsletter - just please include the best part, "laughing their little blossoms off".
>> when mother nature sees one of us becoming a bit too confident as through we are running the show, she likes to give us a reminder about who is really running the show
There was a TV commerical for some artificial butter substitute like margarine. It showed a smiling Morther Nature surrounded by butterflies and happy baby animals, sitting under a tree, eating a slice of buttered bread and smiling. When the annoucer announced that it was "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" artificial substitute, Mother Nature STOPPED smiling, frowned, and then storm cluods gathered and the sky began to thunder and lightning.
i remember that commercial...when was that? about 100 years ago?...seems like. i do believe it left a lasting impression on me both in terms of respecting mother nature and not eating margarine. what the advertising people got wrong is the phrase "it's not nice to fool mother nature" (as if they or their product could)...should be "it's not nice to try to fool mother nature"...but that wouldn't have the same "buy this product" impact.
okay, well i respect that it would be awkward for you to send a copy of your post to melody and say "i've written something very clever and funny and maybe you would want to use it for a newsletter". i wouldn't do that with something i had written either. of course i could send it in (but only with your okay). still your name would be attached to it and not mine and i would not re-write it under my name.
anyway, i think you are right and i like the idea of leaving the little gem just where it is for people to come upon and enjoy. i notice there are 20+ posts to this thread and something like 73 views so i expect a few people read it.
i'm assuming your are not enjoying petunias on your deck this summer. i hope other things germinated to take their place until next season. i'll post the results of my latest refrigerated rudbeckia experiment here and also a photo of the little guy outside if he should survive and thrive. i think perhaps rudbeckia just doesn't want to grow here so i have started researching alternatives...gaillardia is a possibility...some varieties reportedly do well in zone 10...still i think this is not my perfect nectar plant and will keep searching the possibilities for something tropical that might bloom through the rainy season. the problem is that most tropical plants become huge and i don't have enough space for any more "huge"...the perfect plant is out there, i'm sure.
>> "it's not nice to fool mother nature" (as if they or their product could)...should be "it's not nice to try to fool mother nature"...
I agree completely! A fiend once renetd a house on the water, and she was often visited by a majestic swan who woujld deign to accpet offers of bread ... white bread. I guess it's sweeter than dark bread.
When I visited, I had some dark pumpernickle that I thought was good. No. The swan pecked at one piece, glared at me, and sailed away.
Now my fikrend always reminds me to NEVER offer the Goddess PUMPERNICKLE.
>> i'm assuming your are not enjoying petunias on your deck this summer.
Unfortunately, too many chores fell upon me and I have yet to sow anything this year!
Good luck finding the right plant for your climate! Maybe they only have tiorubkle becoming established, and once your one surivior gets old enough, it will thrive and spread.
that's funny about the swan...maybe she was disgusted with you because there was no dijon mustard and a bit of cheese on it. gosh i don't know about birds like that (opposed to sea gulls who seem to be able to eat anything and everything) eating bread...i wonder if they can digest it or if the bread ends up being little balls of dough in their stomachs that they need to cough up? well, i wonder about a lot of things.
thanks for your good wishes. they are very much appreciated. i know rudbeckia hirta grows in my zone...it just doesn't grow in my garden apparently. i have ordered some gaillardia seeds that are good through zone 10b so maybe i'll have more luck germinating them.
in the meantime, the rudbeckia hirta are still in the refri...so all hope is not lost. also the little guy in the backyard (a r.fulgida goldstrum) is tiny but appears strong and growing (albeit slowly). he is in full sun and just seems happy as can be. so, i think he'll make it unless something eats him. here is a photo of the little dude which is digital macro so the photo is about twice as large as the actual plant. "say hello to mr. corey, little dude"..."hi mr. corey, pleased to meet you".
Hello, little guy! You look like a survivor. Make your Momma proud of you!
I think the swan expected "only the best" since she was so regal. That's OK, she was so beautiful and gracefull it was her just due.
Seagulls, now ... I think they are pushy rats with wings. They do a good job of garbage collecting and I should be gratefull, but I'll indulge a swan before I'll encourage a seagull, any day. Maybe that's unreasonable of me!
they are beautiful, aren't they? and generally display so much calm. it is no accident that a ballet was choreographed about a swan. i think it is perfectly natural to love a swan and dislike a seagull. we all have preferences that way...some people like seagulls so i think it all works out in the end. i don't know anybody who likes mosquitoes or cockroaches though...well, there are probably entomologists who like mosquitoes and cockroaches. little dude does not like his name and has asked that it be changed to pea wee...at any rate, he does look pretty tough for a little guy, huh? i too get the feeling he is a survivor. i discovered that i had about 1000 wild rudbeckia fulgida seeds...a packet i hadn't even opened yet. i dumped them all in a pot with good soil and sprayed water on them. they are outside...no soaking, no nicking, no vermiculite, no fussing. i will water them as i water the other plants and otherwise (pretend to) ignore them. they are sure to all germinate...well it will be interesting to see. gardening is one experiment after another. what fun.
ah ha!!! maybe this is the answer to all my germination problems...vamos a ver (we'll see). unfortunately, i don't have nasty clay...i threw them on some really nice soil...maybe this will be my downfall.
I dead headed several rudbeckia last year that were growing in the greenbelt of our community. I bought them home, placed them in a pie pan in the garage and let them dry. I then took them outside in November, separated the seeds and scattered them in two different areas. I have three different groups growing. I have very good composted soil and it is watered by spray bubblers. During the winter we only water one day a week.
i certainly will do that and he will want to say "hi" to you...or "hola". i am going to raise him to be bi-lingual. and then there will be the almost one thousand r. fulgidas...not to mention the 6 hirtas still in the refri. maybe it is a good thing my garden space is limited...i just want to grow everything. i don't think i am obsessive, just inclusive...yes, i think that is it.
some cornutia grandifolia seeds just arrived. this is also called tropical lilac (originally from costa rica but naturalized in southeast mexico). some people say it is a small tree and some people say it is a bush. there are no germination instructions!!! egad, here we go again. the most specific instruction i have is that "it is easily grown from seed". where have i heard that before? my guess is that one doesn't germinate a tree seed in a peat pellet. i think i'll ask the wise ones on the germination forum to see what they and maybe you have to say.
i have new caterpillar eggs on a few of my plants...some polydamas swallowtail, queen monarch, black swallowtail, and giant swallowtail...in addition to who knows what is going on in the passiflora which is about the size of africa. i think in a couple of weeks, this joint is really going to be jumpin'.
hello worms...your rudbeckia are beautiful...what, are you trying to torture me? supposedly, r. hirta grows wild here but i have not found any or i would have tried something similar. actually i would have probably waited for seeds and not thought of your idea of deadheading and then letting them dry out. do you remember about how long it took them to germinate? what zone is las vegas in? about 9? i've been misting mine daily...but just with a quick mist.
I think we are 9b. We had a very mild winter. And they were just throw on top of the soil. They did not come up until about a month ago. My cosmos, California poppies and columbine do the same thing. I just collect some seed pods and then scatter them around the front landscape. They all come up at different times. California poppies are first, columbine are second and the cosmos are just coming up.
This is my first year for the rudbeckia. I dead headed a real pretty plant at Trader Joe's the other day. It is drying on the dining room table. I also have violets popping up in strange places every year. Mother Nature has proved to me to just toss them and then transplant. I tried starting seeds many time in my garage garden area and always killed them. Over watering and gnats.
yes, i think i am becoming a member of the "throw them on top of the soil" club...especially with wild seed and other perennials that have reputations for being difficult. i think what you get with your method of seed gathering is some really fresh seed that i believe is more likely to have good germination results. i love cosmos...they are wild here along with tithonia and they both just pop up everywhere. my neighbor has a rancho on the edge of town with a whole field of cosmos. i've received the same message from mother nature and finally now, i am listening. of course i haven't gotten any results yet. i am in wait and see mode but i have been trying to germinate rudbeckia for two years with nothing, until the little guy (whose photo is posted above) showed up, but that is only one seed out of maybe 500 which is not too good. still i think i am getting good seeds because i've ordered from a number of different seed sellers. my methods have not been good...due mostly to over watering i expect. also, when i originally planted in february we were having much higher temperatures than normal for that month and i think most of my seeds over cooked.
here is a photo of "junior" (he doesn't like the name "pea wee" anymore and thinks it is too babyish) who says "hi! mr. corey and worms", wait til you see me bloom!". he thinks he is a lot bigger than he really is but he is making good progress and doesn't seem phased by the heavy rains and storms of the last week. the rainy season has officially started.
about the approx. 1000 seeds i dumped on some soil on June 11. on June 17, i noticed lots and lots of little seedlings...the color was right but i wasn't sure. now i'm sure they are from the "rudbeckia fulgida var. speciosa" seeds. the seed package describes this as a usa native wildflower so i suppose that makes the seeds wild. gee, now junior has hundreds of siblings and i'm not sure where i will put them all. the package says they are good to zone 9b and i am zone 10b...so i hope they like it here. i just took the 6 r. hirta seeds out of the refri so we'll see how they do, or don't do. i'm going to look for some hirta seeds that i can just toss...i think i have some left.
7 days to germination, egad and after 2 years of trying every method imaginable. i am coming to realize that germination methods need to take into consideration the type of seeds. more and more i think the "toss 'em where they will like to grow" method is the one i will use for wild seeds and maybe some perennials, but highly cultivated vegetable and annual flower seeds would be treated very differently. maybe this is something every other gardener knows but i've only just realized. that's a little embarrassing, but i've only really been growing wild seed for about 4 years.
have you managed to get some things started this year? or are you taking a year off from gardening? lots of things are germinating for me now...which should have actually germinated in february (4 months ago) so i've gotten a very late start. the input from you and worms has really been helpful and i think i would have given up without the ideas put forth from both of you so thank you.
>> the approx. 1000 seeds i dumped on some soil on June 11. on June 17, i noticed lots and lots of little seedlings..
Oh, those rascally seeds! They just like teasing us. They won't germinate until we stop pampering them.
Maybe millions of years of evolution first made them ABLE to thrive on starvation, and then made them DEPENDENT on bad conditions?
Hopefully Junior is just a little slow, and will be much larger as a two-year-old. Someone had a good way olf talking about tiny seedlings, to protect their egos. Instead of talking about what a skinny runt it is, we can say: "It must be putting all of its effort into ROOTS." I bet that will make him feel better.
I'm trying to decide whethedr I have a new kind of weed that LOOKS like a Laqvatera, or whether perhaps a cutting that I thought died a year olrr two ago might instead have "put all its effort into roots". Because there it is, two years later, after hiding very successfully from my eyes.
agreed...i always give the seedlings positive feedback and encouragement. i feel every seedling that germinates in my garden is a blessing. i pat their little leaves and when they have new leaves i will say something like "hey, just look at you go!" junior gets lots of little pats. with all the new seedlings, i have to give group pats or i would be patting all day. also the transplants that are deciding whether to grow or drop dead...they get lots of little pats and words of encouragement. i'm not sure if that's part of being a gardener or just being a crazy lady but it is not important.
can you take a photo of the maybe lavatera and post it on the plant id forum?
I know that all MY plants have have been jealous, since they heard how good her plants have it!
This Pacific Giant Delphinium has been blooming it's heart out this year, and I just took 4 more big spikes inside. The leaves are as tall as I am, and the spikes went up higher than I could reach.
But he's the only survivor out of many trays of Delph seeds I started over the last several year, while I learned to start seeds indoors. And many of his siblings went to feed the slugs. Last year I colelcted a lot of seed, so I shouldn't call him "him".
wow, that delphinium is amazing...will you be getting some more started? do you know if it grows wild any where? and that fir tree in the background is gorgeous...i know they are everywhere in the pacific northwest so maybe you don't even see it anymore, but it is truly grand.
no, no, no...your plants aren't really jealous. they are just messing with your head and playing with you to make you think they are and then getting a good giggle out of it. you know how they make you do lots of work, double-digging the soil, etc? it is the same thing. humans are a never ending source of entertainment for them. they are rascally alright. :-D
>> they are just messing with your head and playing with you
Yeah, them and my cat! That cat PLAYS dumb and innocent. But after cats take over the world, I knows it will turn out that he's been a conspirator all the time.
Some comic book presented the idea that someone gave his cat an artifical hand ... but once it no longer needed him to open cans of cat food, the cat kind of pushed him asidee and took opver the comic book.
We are "the Evergreen State" and yes, grand pines, fir and balsam are everywhere. It's great. They stand like sentinels, in a circle around the parfk I live in and watch over us. The wind through their needles is wonderfull (when I can hear it over traffic noises).
I don't know if Delphs grow wild anwhere. I have heard that the Pacific NorthWetg climate is good for them. I'm not in a hurry to start more from seed, just because I have so little ROOM here. And I have been much too busy for much gardeniong lately. This guy is spreading very slowly, but within a few years I will have to (or want to) divide him.
One cool thing about evergreens out West compared to New England: in NE, pretty much every tree was cut at one time, and replaced by generic , common trees like White Pine.
A tree identification book I read had one chpater for all of New England: short and simple.
But West Coast evergreens alone had hundreds of varieteis, each specialized to compete over millenia for slightly different climates and elevations. When you drive around out here, every tree has character and peculiarities and style. The lumber industry here in the PNW did try to clear-cut as much as they could, but they only had some decades to try to erase the wonderfull variety of evolution, instead of the hundreds of years that NE had. Mother Nature was smart enough to put plenty of trees on mountians too stepp for the lumber industry, and now there is some degree of protection of nature in Washington state.
thanks for the beautiful photos...all of these scenes are very familiar to me having spent most of my years in the pacific northwest...oregon, southwestern alaska, northern california, and washington state. most of my leisure time was outdoors...hiking, skiing, boating, fishing, bird watching, exploring as PNWers tend to do. so i have an appreciation for the beauty there. nice to see rhodies and azaleas again. all the photos brought back happy memories. i wonder what is the mountain in the background of your sunset photo...is it mt. hood? or one of the sisters? "the evergreen state", yes i remember and seattle is the "emerald city"...is that right?
my husband and i were driving from seattle to olympia to visit friends when mount st. helens blew. most of the people on the highway, including ourselves pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. we couldn't imagine what had happened...it looked like a mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb.
to avoid thread drift...junior says "hi". he is doing really well and is regularly making new leaves. something ate one of his smaller leaves but didn't do any real damage. i think it was the little cricket i've been seeing around. I asked the cricket to eat something else, but not to bother junior and so far nothing else has taken another bite out of him. in maybe a week i'll start transplanting the r. fulgidas to a place where they can grow up to be flowering adults. i found the last of the r. hirta seeds and tossed them a couple of days ago.
oh no, i would never toss them away...perish the thought. alas, i have no hard, dry soil so i had to toss them on the same soil mix that i used for the fulgidas which is quite good composted soil to which i added lots of gravel for good drainage and then covered with a light mix of earthworm humus and peat moss. still i will have to transplant them because now they are growing under the protection of a growing areca palm. i have their own pot ready for them when they are big enough. i read or heard once that if a gardener has one dollar, 90 cents should be spent on good soil and 10 cents should be spent on plants. some cornutia grandifolia seeds (tropical lilac, a verbena) also recently arrived and i have them germinating (i hope, i hope) in a pot outside. this plant grows wild in the cloud forest area of costa rica and is virtually unknown, but i have high hopes for this plant and the butterflies are supposed to love it. if these germinate i will be delirious with joy and then i will take a rest from germinating for awhile. germinating seeds can take a lot out of a person. i'm about germinated out.
congratulations on the bok choy seedlings! :-D. when nice surprises like this happen, it seems to make all the work worthwhile. you know, i really don't know what bok choy is...somehow i think it is from the cabbage family? it is very strange considering i am a vegetarian (except for seafood). i don't even know if it is in the markets here. how is it generally prepared? i'll send good thoughts for the snow peas.
do you know that in the old apple orchards in eastern washington, the farmers used to plant asparagus between the rows of trees and the asparagus grows wild now in places where the orchards have long been cut down. comes up every spring. the most heavenly asparagus you can imagine...you can eat the tender young shoots right out of the ground. i hope the developers didn't build condominiums on top of all that wild asparagus.
>> i read or heard once that if a gardener has one dollar, 90 cents should be spent on good soil and 10 cents should be spent on plants.
The version I heard was that we should always put a 10 cent plant into a 50 cent hole.
Wild asparagus! Cool!
Many people call Bok Choy "Chinese cabbage", but "real" Chinese cabbage is heading and looks like Romain lettuce* : varieties like Napa, Michili, Soloist and Tenderheart. Latgin name Brassica rapa (Pekinensis Group) .
Like this, but supermarkets sell it as tighter heads: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/105986/
Unfortunately, DG Plant Files uses the common name "Chinese Cabbage" to cover both Napa and true Bok Choy.
Bok Choy (same as Pak Choi) is Brassica rapa (Chinesis Group). The stems may be tall and white like big wide sweet celery with no strings, or short and green like Asian soup spoons. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/106018/
One nice thing about Bok C hoy and many Asian Brassica greens: you can eat tghem at ANY stage and cook them ANY way:
microgreens raw in salad
baby leaves in salad
sliced stems in salad (I like to crunch stems raw, even old stems! But younger is sweeter and more tender)
medium-size stems and leaves steamed like turnip greens
medium-size or large stems and leaves boiled in soup
medium and large stems and leaves stir-fried or sauteed.
* Romain lettuice is also called "cos" or Lactuca sativa L. var. longifolia". Tall, barrel-like lettuce.
Here's some old Bok Choy bolting to seed. Nice flowers!
(There are spoecial strains of Bok Choy bred and raised just for their small, young tender pre-flowering shoots. Yu Choy Sum, I think. Those need a little stir-frying and seasoning, but are said to be delicacies.
edited - Sorry about the duplicate photo! I don't see how to remove one once it is sent.
great article! sounds like you know everything there is to know about bok choy and all it's relatives. sounds like it should have its own forum or maybe its own website. i'm going to look in the markets here to see if i can find it, but i am not too hopeful and am pretty sure it won't grow well here. hey, how about a trade? you send me some bok choy and i'll send you some limes? that should add some excitement to the hum drum days of the customs agents, both usa and mexico...they would be having fits :-D bok choy sounds like something commonly used in chinese cooking? there is a chinese restaurant here, authentically run by a family from china who are fluent in spanish, maybe i'll ask them.
Bok Choy is surely Chinese ... but I think there are names for it in every Asian language. I think many of them mean "white vegetable".
The problem with trading is the same problem as getting it from a supermarket: wilt. Maybe the leaves would be kind of OK for a few days, but the stems go rubbery pretty quickly.
Hmm, they are "cool weather crops" like broccoli. Where I live, "cool" includes all of whole spring-summer-fall. But Mexico away from mountains would be pretty hot.
If you want to try some that you might have to eat young, I have some varieties that claim 35-40 days to maturity. They will bolt if hit by frost, but otherwise growing in late fall is a very good plan.
And some of the "fast" varieties claim heat tolerance ... but they are probably not thinking of "heat" the way a Texan or Mexican would think of "heat".
Do you have 5-6 weeks between frost and hot weather? If you even have 3-4 weeks, you can try fresh baby Bok Choy in salad. Or let them go to seed, collect the seed, and have sprouts like broccoli sprouts.
I'm just a big fan of Bok Choy! I can crunch the stems raw, and that is exactly the amount of cooking I like to do!
well, i was just kidding about trading bok choy for limes. and guess what? we do not have frost here. in the "winter" (december and january) it might get down to 50 degrees F one or two nights (but never that cold during the days which are in the mid to high 70's). and 50 degrees is very very chilly for us here and it is unusual for it to get that cold. we have 2 volcanos, one is active and is about 13,300' above sea level. because this volcano is active, snow may fall up there but it won't stay for longer than a few hours. the inactive volcano is about 14,300' altitude above sea level and there is often snow on that volcano for 2 or 3 months of the year but not very much and soon it turns to ice and only looks like snow from a distance. i live at about 1,800' above sea level (just about half way between the volcano and the pacific ocean) ...no snow, no frost and during the winter days, we still have between 10-11 hours of sunlight because we are so close to the equator (about 19 degrees latitude compared to your 48 degrees). i garden all year round. i am thinking we have strayed quite a distance from the rudbeckia thread although i've enjoyed our conversations but if you would like to continue, perhaps you would want to use dmail so we don't get busted. I can tell that you are a big fan of bok choy...who else knows so much about it? it would probably be good in soup too?
okay so you don't think an arrest is immanent? you don't think these 4 views per post are the forum police? okay. ha ha ah HA HA HA snort whoops.
do you put leeks in your bok choy soup? boy, i think leeks would be good.
i wonder if i could grow it in a very shady space, like under a tree. about how long between seed and something edible? we really don't have fall or winter here so there are no fall/winter crops...just the dry season and the rainy season but all year the day temps are in the 70s and 80s. generally in february i start seeds outside. i have noticed that even though it is warm enough and there is plenty of daylight and sunshine, most seeds do not want to germinate in december/january (cosmos will and asclepias but that's about it). i think this must be due to genetics. bok choy seeds are not really big are they? I mean you could send them in a regular envelope (wrapped in paper or something so they would not rattle around and make noise), regular international mail for somewhere between $2 - $3. and i could send you some seeds you might like that are perennials here but would be annuals where you live. want any seeds?
i don't know, i don't think bok choy seeds would be happy here at all. i am going to look for some bok choy at the market. i mean we have cabbage and broccoli so why shouldn't we have bok choy too?
i have achieved my final germination hurdle and now i will take a break from germinating for awhile. i found cornutia grandifolia (tropical lilac) seeds and the first one germinated today after just 6 days in a peat pellet. hopefully tomorrow it will get its head out of the dirt. i also have some of these seeds planted outside. this bush or tree is mostly unknown outside of the cloud forest in costa rica where it grows wild. it is a verbena and a good nectar plant for the butterflies and other nectar lovers and i really think it will be super in the garden.
Hmm, that's a little warmer than my summer. I have had Bok Choy grow well in the summer, and sometimes it goes to seed. Everything I read just says "cool season crops" like broccoli. I would try the heat-tolerant varieties.
>> i could send you some seeds you might like that are perennials here but would be annuals where you live. want any seeds?
Actually, I'm swimming in seeds and have no, none, zero room left in my beds. It's frustrating! But if you might try them this fall or next spring or anytime you have some idle soil, I woujld enjoy sending them. I usually use a bubble mailer becuase the local post office runs everything else through the high-spped roller-sorter-crusher even if you pay extra and mark it "hand cancel only".