Saturday, February 25


After a week of neglect, I have sprouts. (missed a watering, and had lots of dry and wilty looking plants)

The sprouts to the right are lettuce. I'm growing them in a trough this year to keep the slugs out of my greens. 12 hours and 3 cups of water earlier, these were pretty sad little sprouts.

So far, two plants have died from damping off, and maybe one more has died from neglect (wilt). But a good record nonetheless. I'll have to start trimming the perennial grasses soon - they're nearly 4" tall, and I want them to stay shorn until they can be moved to a window.

The rose seeds (Rosa Rugosa) are nearly complete from the heat-treatment, and start cold treatment this coming week. After three months of cold, they'll be potted up and hopefully sprout this year. In another year or two they can be transplanted outdoors. With some luck, 8 or 10 will survive that long, and be planted as a flowering hedge along the road.

And the Strawberry sprouts (here's the healthiest):


Saturday, February 18

10-12 inches of snow... -15°F low

Winter finally came! The blizzard has dumped about a foot of snow on us, the worst in the state. At least there is now an insulating blanket of snow over my perennials before this cold snap came.

Started: 9 'wild' strawberries, 3 rhubarb, and 6 coleus, 12 Columbine, and 3 sea oats. Also, one window planter filled with Lettuce. I'm sick of the critters and slugs eating my lettuce - this year I'll attempt to grow it on the patio or inside.

The plan for trouble spot #1 (electrical box) is shaping up nicely. This will be a tropical approximation, something to give a bit of color to the front yard and hide the boxes.


You can see the site plan to the right, from an overhead view. The Cannas will block most of the view, with shorter plants layered in front - Columbine, Coleus, Daylilly, Cleome, and Stone Cress. As I said earlier, the goal here is to give a slightly tropical feel to this area, using showy plants with large flowers (Cannas), intricate details (Columbine, Cleome), and season-long blooming. The Coleus provide multi-colored leaves with patterning, and the Daylillies will make a nice low maintenance border for the bed. Given the plethora of fieldstone, the bed will be stacked one layer higher than the photos above, and filled in with mulch and soil. A 2-foot wide path will be maintained at the back of the bed for access to the boxes. This path will be lined with the flagstone or other flat stones, and planted with Irish moss, or creeping Thyme as a groundcover.


Thursday, February 9

Perennial Starting

Considering how difficult it is to get some perennials established in one growing season, I like to start them as early as feasible. This usually means early February, spreading my work out before the vegetables need to be started.

I've started most of the grasses already, and expect to start a couple more items - Rhubarb and Strawberries within the next week.

What you see in the photo above is my seedling setup. A couple shop lights with one 'cold' and one 'warm' fluorescent light; the pots (with drainage) resting in flats; the flats on a heating mat. I generally bottom-feed my plants, filling the flats about 1/2" deep with water. This has proven to keep the plants well watered without damaging the seedlings by pouring from above.

I've also used capillary matting, disposable dish towels, and wicking rope to water the plants. Those methods did seem to have less mold and moss growth, but the plants were no more improved.

My potting soil is home-mixed from sand, peat, and compost. If there is something questionable in the mix, I'll sanitize it with boiling water, but generally just mix and plant. This year I needed to boil out the crab-grass roots from the sand.