May 30, 2013

How Long Do Seeds Last?

I found some seeds in my desk that had no date, from Janie in Texas. There was a small packet of red Hollyhock seeds and loose in the padded envelope were seeds about a half inch across, round, flat and kind of wrinkled. My first guess is Orchid Tree. I planted them in a tray, 3 to a cell since they are not exactly 'fresh' but being large seeds, probably will sprout. I set the tray under the mist so they'll stay damp enough to sprout in the heat, obviously tropical.

Come on in the greenhouse for your weekly peek.

Tomato seedlings.

3 Camellia seedlings.

I found seeds on a Gerbera and planted them
in a yoghurt cup. Year of the Gerbera, Yay!
Watch for little fat seeds, many are not viable.

White begonias look so cool. They haven't found a home. Yet.

Pink Begonias beside stone steps to secret path.

Bromeliads moved out to the rough steps to summer with Begonias planted along the path.

May 29, 2013

Marvin's Gardens

Marvin invites me to his garden to gather vegetables, welcoming me to dig potatoes, pick squash and beans and cut a cabbage the size of a bowling ball.

 Cabbages, potatoes and tomatoes.

Beans, squash and more beans.

Okra at left,  happy that the weather is now hot.

When I thanked him for the veggies, he thanked me for coming to pick them. He says that I'm the only one who will come and work; everybody else will accept vegetables that he picks and hauls to them. I'm honored to be invited to someone's garden.

I took him two of my Heirloom Tomato plants, which he said brings his total to 40. This morning I dropped off a CD with 24 photos of the garden.

I tried to get pictures of the bluebirds but they were suspicious of my movements and flew away at every try. A Finch was trying to build a nest in one of the boxes where woodpeckers had enlarged the holes. It's a busy place, Marvin's Gardens.

May 26, 2013

If I had a Potager, It Would Be Here

It is a wanna be Potager, not at all compact and neat with paths and borders and an enclosure. Well, there are paths but they have to be at least 54" wide for the mower or a narrow path between two rows that you will see below.

Tomato Patch, Grape Arbor, Blueberry Bushes and Pear Tree. There are other pears not seen.
Heirloom Tomatoes, 20 of them, with a hasty path in the middle weighted with pieces of brick and stones. Irrigation is by tiny drippers on two lines.
Each line has a tee in the center so the water pressure is equalized to each end.
Grass is already starting, needs a good hoeing and a layer of compost, waiting in the wheelbarrow.
I had 5 pounds of collected earthworm castings, so each plant got a half-cup.
The name of the one with the funny shaped leaves is Brandywine, I think.
I wondered if Heirloom tomatoes can compete with soil nematodes. I read that Bahia Grass is toxic to nematodes. This little patch was fallow last year and Bahia Grass was part of its makeup. I pulled enough out I think to have done battle with any nematodes.
Every tomato needs to have some dwarf Marigolds to help with the battle. I think I have seeds.
Master controller for the tomatoes and grapes.
Blueberries and pears are watered from a different standpipe.
Beneficials were really busy when the blueberries bloomed, pollinating so many blooms.
I thinned some of the pears so the limbs don't break.
Figs and peaches are elsewhere.
There are more tomato plants still in the greenhouse, bumped up to bigger pots for now.
Peppers are in containers.
We ate small tomatoes today from last year's plants that survived winter in the greenhouse.
The Herb Garden I planned for here has not happened.
My Thyme died. There's Rosemary galore in the Upper Garden, and Oregano gone wild in a flower bed. Parsley from last year is blooming and will soon seed out. I need to start more.
Do you have an Edibles Garden? Does it have all the Elements of a Potager:
  1. Pathways
  2. Enclosure
  3. Borders
  4. Structure
  5. Order: Formal or Informal
  6. Focal point
  7. Ornamental plants
  8. Potting shed or tool storage

May 23, 2013

It's about Time to Empty the Greenhouse

This is the end of the Greenhouse season, more or less. Glenda in the Ozarks wants to see the hoses and mess that I'd rather hide. I'd rather show you what's growing and blooming.

This Neoregelia Bromeliad was a pup last summer. It's about to bloom, I had not expected so soon.

Here's the peek. There are two hoses, many jugs for watering the plants
I moved outside, bits and pieces that are rooting or salvaged.
I wished for years for a Burro's Tail. The small one I bought last winter, I saved the little piece that broke off and all the stray leaves. They're growing new plants.
I did a really dumb thing. I bought a Mistletoe Cactus at the same time as the Burro Tail. It grew fast and I divided it into three plants. Yesterday I picked up the soap/olive oil solution for spraying for pests, poured some in my watering can and started 'watering' two of my Rhipsalis with NOT water.
I soaked them good with clear water and today they look all right, but I hope I learned to label, or not leave things sitting around in milk jugs besides water, or something.
Left are pieces of Baths' Pink and right are Mexican Bush Sage that I salvaged when I dug into a bed.
I've already planted half the Pinks and gave my Daughter in Law half the Salvias.

Candlesticks from saved seed. I haven't grown Cassias in a while.
Outside, things don't always go according to plan.
I meant to have an all white bed.

So far the 3 seedling Gerbera Daisies that bloomed are all pink shades.
White lantana that I planned for last summer died in the greenhouse for lack of water. I have one new cutting in this bed that is about to bloom, waiting for those in the front garden to bloom so I can take more cuttings.
Last evening when I was watering, I said to myself, 'These Amaryllis in pots are a lot of trouble to keep watered until August.' I did a double take: Benfica who bloomed for Christmas has a
new bud!
Tomato seeds in compost came up. I let them grow just to see.
Looks like there are really two plants with two different 'Tommy Toes.'
A viola volunteer by the dog's water container.
The rest of violas have died in the heat.
Welcome to Summer!

May 20, 2013

Heirloom Tiomatoes Are in the Ground

A month ago I planted seeds of 8 kinds of Heirloom Tomatoes from TomatoFest that I won.

Today I put 20 plants in the ground. He-Who-Mows dug my little plot and I smoothed the ground into two rows and marked off spaces. Buffy was so much help that she had to go in the house to rest before she got in real trouble.

I planted 3 of some and 2 of others for a total of twenty in 2 rows of 10 each. He-Who suggested that I plant them 3 feet apart in the row. Thirty inches worked out well for the length which we didn't measure ahead of time.

Tomorrow I'll give them a drink of SuperThrive, and shade them if they look wilty.

I should record the names and where they went in case my homemade labels get lost in the dirt.

Let's see if I can remember:

From the west end: Flamme, Black Krim, Green Zebra and Black Cherry

Row 2: Brandywine, Staffords; Kellogg's Breakfast, Aussie and Dagma's Perfection

There are more plants. He-Who-Mows suggested that I plant them in flower beds. That would work.

I was too tired and dirty to make pictures. Didn't think of it before I started.

May 16, 2013

It's That Time of Year

It's the Time of Year when there are so many chores and too little time.

Bromeliads need a summer space. I'm afraid they may be too tender to leave outside year around. This one, a pup last summer, looks as if it may be near ready to bloom.

Bromeliads are good companions. This pot eneds a choice spot outside.
The one in the grapevine sphere looks too dry. I put it under mist today.
Some Candytuft cuttings rooted and are ready to go outside.
The begonia is like a cute puppy -- it will find a home.

Alternanthera planted itself in the floor. It is happy to spend the summer inside
despite the great heat. It is a great companion to many of the garden plants.

Sedum acre is blooming just outside the door in a broken pot.
I moved jungle Cactuses and Kalanchoes outside. I think the Christmas Cactuses are in too much sun, will have to move them before they burn. Epiphyllums I check daily for buds, too soon.

Begonias are holding well. I bought four new azalea pots and two fluted pots with white trim for use in the fall for forcing bulbs. If I don't plan in advance, it will be fall and there will be no pots.
Bits and pieces are holding for planting and I get slower and slower as the weather gets warmer and warmer. I'm starting to urge rooted cuttings and seedlings ready to plant on visitors.
I did plant a rose cutting from a gallon pot.
He-Who-Mows promised to help me get a space ready for my heirloom Tomato seedlings that are
out-growing their starter pots. 

May 12, 2013

Easter Cactus for Mother's Day

The botanical name is Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri. Easter Cactus hardly hit it this year, more like Mother's Day.

Miss Winnie gave me this cactus.
Cuttings of Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri
Compare them with the cactus in the blue container,
Easter Cactus has a smooth leaf.

May 02, 2013

Rootin' and Sproutin' and Dividing

'The wind is fierce here today. It got so rough I closed the greenhouse at one point. The sun came out and we opened up again, turned on the fan. Ike the Cat was right back in there, his favorite hangout.

Rhipsalis from a tiny pot I bought in late winter, now divided into 3.
The smallest piece is back in the original 2" pot.

Tillandsia pups. Unlike other Bromeliads these grow in the center of
the plant rather than around the mother plant.

Every little piece that fell off my Burro's Tail Sedum was saved and placed in a 5" pot.
Most have new growth. The one
at left was a piece, not a leaf.

Salvia leucantha divisions
Cassia alata seedlings, Candlestick Plant.
Iberis that rooted has blooms.

Heirloom tomato seedlings, no true leaves yet.
Busywork: I hauled the bricks out that I hauled in yesterday, disassembling the rough shelves and reassembling them on the north side outdoors. Now I've decided that there might be more sun out there than the epiphytes want. When the winds settle and the sun is out all day again, we'll see. It's hard to remember the sun's path in a particular spot from year to year.


May 01, 2013

A Look Back at April in the Greenhouse

A look back and a look forward.
Easter Cactus bloomed late. Maybe we'll call it a Mother's Day Cactus.
Perhaps we chould use the botanical names of all these epiphytes; my cactuses that are designated as Thanksgiving Cactus by some growers because of the segment shape bloom precisely at Christmas. I call them Christmas Cactuses even though they're not the old Christmas Cactus my Mother grew.I can remember Schlumbergera but Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri does not roll easily off my tongue.
I spent time setting up a stepped bench for the cactuses in the greenhouse today. I think they might be happier spending the summer out on the north side of the greenhouse rather than trying to keep them cool inside. All those little rooted pieces are turning into a bigger collection that I expected. A good plan might be to set out a row of Gardenia cuttings on the north side and make my temporary benches behind the Gardenias so they are less vulnerable to pet traffic.
The little Kalanchoe cuttings are suddenly 8 inches tall and it is a long time until Christmas.

Bomeliads are needing a summer home, or should  they stay inside under mist?

Tillandsia babies will be ready to pot before summer is over.

All the tomato seeds sprouted, Cassias are sprouting, another legume for butterflies.

Only one Pride of Barbados seed sprouted. There's still time for the others. Outside, I have 7 Caesalpinias that returned from roots. Two are established plants. The other five are second year seedlings that I hope will bloom this year.

There's a fat bud on one of the Agapanthus outside! It took forever last year to get a few blooms. These are starting early after a mild winter in which the tops were not killed back.

I think I saw two tiny Tithonia seedlings today and I am sure of Madagascar periwinkles coming up thick and fast. These two do not have to be started in the greenhouse here, reseeding in place.

I noticed today that there are tiny tomatoes on a volunteer I let grow in the new flower bed on the south side of the greenhouse. We'll have 'Tommy Toes' for salad and then I'll pull it when the Lantana beside it gets going. I have only one white Lantana plant. I'm waiting for white blooms in the front garden so I can take cuttings.

Many of my chores were outside. I gave the self-seeded petunias a haircut to keep them blooming and get rid of the seed heads of the rye grass in that bed. I pulled a few weeds, too.
I moved an Echinacea, moved some 'Sweetness' daffodils, transplanted some striped Cannas. It doesn't seem like much when I'm doing little chores but they add up. We got sprinkles of welcome rain, hardly enough to run me inside. Tonight it's raining again. 


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