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.

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