Friday, April 30, 2010

Seed Starting With Recyclables

So I have lots of seeds - and I mean LOTS of seed (see previous post). I decided that I should probably try to do something with them.

I tried to plant them in starter mix re-fill cells and peat pellets. Neither of these was working very well. I even had the fancy humidity domes. Not much luck.

What did work were the following techniques:

Milk jug starters:
I learned about using milk jugs for winter sowing while reading blogs. I even saved a bunch over the fall and winter months just for winter sowing. AND...
I never got around to it. But I thought that if they worked well for that, they might make great greenhouses for starting things like my nightshades.

They were!
Brandy Wine tomatoes
Listada de Gandia eggplant

I cut the jugs three inches from their bottoms, filled the bottoms with starter mix, planted the seeds, taped the jug back together using packaging tape, then watered with filtered water in a spray bottle. I placed them in a window and in a couple of weeks I got these beautiful little seedlings. I now have them potted up.
Other humidity domes:
Humidity domes are great for getting seeds and seedlings the constant moisture that they need. Here are a couple other items that I have used. fudge sundaes!

Rotisserie chicken. These containers even come with vents. All rotisserie containers are not the same. I found that some are really brittle - the best ones come from Sam's Club. And their chicken is really good too!

Pre-sprouting in coffee cake containers:
I saved these coffee cake containers because I thought that they might make nice peat pellet humidity domes. Instead, I found that they make great seed sprouters. There are two ways that I sprout. The first is the technique that I used last year: mass sprouting. I used Viva paper towels, sprinkle the seeds over one half, fold the other half over the seeds, spray with water, closed container.

Beets are easy to space when they are pre-sprouted. They also come up faster.
This year, I had more seeds that I wanted to try sprouting, but I didn't need a whole tray of them. So, I made toilet paper packets that I could label. All these seeds shown here I also tried to start in starter mix with absolutely no luck.

But this worked - really well! I planted the sprout, tp and all, into starter cells.
Most seeds germinate faster using this method, and some seeds only germinated for me using this method.

Why stop at plastics?
I buy these fantastic sweet onions during the winter, but I almost always end up not using them all before they get to this point. It's happened to you too, I know it. I have planted green onions and shallots into the garden to refresh them in the past, so why not sweet onions?
I stripped the onion to find the separate baby bulbs. I cut through the rooty base making sure to leave roots on each bulb.

They are now planted and should give me onions in a few of months. Hopefully they will be the same yummy, sweet gourmet flavor that I love.

And of course, the best part of all this is that it saves money and stretches the usefulness of things. Gotta love that!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Obsessive Gardener Index - TULIPS!!

I finally inventoried all my tulips and created an index representing all the tulips that I currently have in my garden. That index can be found HERE. I will also be putting a link in my sidebar.

Although I knew I had a lot of different tulips I was still surprised to find that I currently have at least 49 varieties! There are 5 others that I am either still trying to figure out their variety or decide if they are present. A rough count of the tulip bulbs I did this spring came to around 1600 tulip bulbs. I buy about 300+ every year, and most do perennialize for me. In fact, I still have tulips from my very first planting that still bloom like mad!

With all those bulbs in the ground, I had to come up with a different way to plant them. It is far too difficult to see what is what and where in the fall when the bulbs are virtually invisible. That is how I came up with the brilliant plan to overwinter my new arrivals in pots and plant in the spring after everything is visible again. It works beautifully! I even get regular blooms out of the tulips that spring.

Tulips are definitely my favorite flower. I have already begun my tulip list for the fall. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Of Course You Want More...

Blue Gem
Formal name: Tulipa humilis "alba coerulea oculata" - thanks to May Dreams Garden for the formal ID on this.
Tubergen's Gem
Formal name: clusiana var. chrysantha
Aladdin lily tulip

Aladdin lily tulip

Gavota tulip
I get more people stopping to ask about these than any other tulip.
Salome daffodil
I planted these about 8 years ago and they only bloomed these last two years!

Sweetheart tulips
I just LOVE these!!
White Emperor tulips
with Sunrise tulips in the background

Sunrise peony tulips
These have definitely multiplied.
Sunrise peony tulips
Notice the red edging.

Supposed to be Margarita peony tulip. Not. They are still pretty though.
I think they might be Passionale.
Thalia daffodils
These are my favorite daffodils.

Fringed Elegance fringed tulip
New to the garden this year. I really like them. These are a little floppy most likely because I just transplanted them from the pots I was growing them in.
Claudia lily tulip

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2010

A long forgotten Greigii tulip. Last bloomed in 1998! Perhaps 'Compostella'?Raspberry Splash pulmonaria
Rembrandt tulips
greigii tulips
Azureum grape hyacinth
Album grape hyacinth
Orange Toronto greigii tulip
White Emperor tulip really enjoying the sun! These have been multiplying well.

Orange Emperor tulips - they're not as big as that first spring, but they still bloom every year
hyancinth with Thalia daffodils in the background. I love the Thalias. They are multiflower daffodils that are reliable and multiply!

Sweetheart tulips
I lost a bunch since their first bloom, but the ones that survived are beautiful.
Sunrise tulips (they bloomed later in the day but I didn't have time to get a picture). These have been multiplying surprisingly well.

For those that don't know about Garden Blogger Bloom Day:
It was started by Carol at May Dreams Garden to celebrate the idea that we could have blooms in our garden all year round. It chronicles what is blooming in your garden on the 15th of every month. If you would like to join in the fun, create your post of blooms on the 15th and sign in at May Dreams Garden. Then go see what everyone else has blooming!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Stuff That Made It, and a Wee Treat

native Pasque flowers
native hepatica

White Emperor tulipsPickwick giant crocuses

daffodilWoodstock hyacinth

native bloodroot

(I'm pretty sure these are Calypso)

wee Tete-a-tete daffodils
I accidentally tricked them into being tiny by keeping them in a small pot for an entire year. I bought them as potted plants last year in the spring and just never got around to planting them. My husband planted these in the ground today still in the pot to see if they would remain small for him.