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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Going to pot

It was 39F outside this morning, dark and raining.  It's now 8:00 pm and it's still 39F and dark and raining.  *sigh*

It was as good a day as any to pot of some of the GUL perennial sprouts.

There are some spectacular successes (nepeta "pink dreams", blue globe thistle, mixed columbine & mixed lupines for example), and some dismal failures (monarda "pink petite", sky blue asters & penstemon "esprit" mix).  The rest are about 50-50 germination (crazy daisy (4 out of a whole pack) & black prince buddlea (4 out of 1t of saved seeds).  But all in all, it's going to be a good year for GUL plants - I think.

I potted up the 12 blue globe thistle spouts (my 2010 saved seeds).  They are all different sizes because I kept overseeding cells that didn't germinate.  I wasn't going to quit until all 12 had a sprout.  Not on MY watch!

Then I went after the rest: mixed lupine (6 pots, mixed columbine (6 pots) & crazy daisy (4 pots)).
Most pots contain (except for the daisies) multiple plants.  I may or may not separate them later on.  We'll see how many remain by plant out time.

The nepeta "pink dreams" had an astonishing 100% germinate rate.  I put in 12 seeds hoping to get 3-4 plants this year, but WHOA!

The leaves are dense and full and the root structure very good.  Hmmm.  I have a "Walkers Low" nepeta that I've had for a couple of years and the only way I can increase them is by division.  I understood those seeds were sterile.

For the "Walkers Low" perhaps, but these "pink dreams" are a dream to sprout.  

Initially I was going to break the root ball into 4 and plant mulitples in 4 cups.  But the sprouts were so sturdy and well defined that I decided to put each one its own cup.

Don't they look nice?  Y'know, I'm hoping these babies are as nice and WELL BEHAVED as the "Walkers Low" and won't go gallivanting off in the gardens. 

After all, nepeta is CAT MINT and anything with the word MINT in the title should be given a close eye!

I played with the perennials all morning.  The weather continued lousy after lunch so -- back to the basement. 

Time to plant the annuals.

26 3-cell packs took up half of the heat tray.  I don't do too many annuals because most of my efforts are aimed at building up stock in perennials, trees and shrubs.  But for eye-candy and non-stop color I depend on my go-to gang of zinnias and marigolds.

The marigolds are my fave "Bolero", a French dwarf.  When I save seeds I always chose blossoms that showed the most mahogany on the petals.

I also planted summer balsam because I was happy to see the bees swarm the blossoms last year.  I'm going to have to find a shadier, moister location though.  These babies are always thirsty!

The rest are zinnias:  "Envy" (green), "Enchantress Rose" (rose), Cut-n-Come Again (mixed) & "Pinwheel" (mixed).  I haven't met a bug yet that doesn't like zinnias of any way, shape or color. LOL

One thing different you may have noticed this year.  All that brown fuzzy stuff in the cells and pots.  I thought I'd try to thwart the ever-present basement fungus gnats and the algae that grows on the perlite in the potting mix.  So I'm top dressing everything with a thin layer of finely milled peat moss.  It's supposed to be a fungicide.  It also keeps the stems drier and drier stems aren't prone to damping off.  So we'll see how it goes. 

Today I installed some yellow sticky strips for the gnats to play on.  Aren't I nice? *snark*

Well, I'm about right on schedule for this year (and WAY ahead on the greens gardening!).  The tomatoes are sprouting, but I'll do another post on them later.  Also the shhhhhh 'special' sprouts. But enough for now. 


  1. Hallo ..I hope you dont mind me popping in ? I have often wondered if there was a way to make these sticky yellow insect traps myself . Just a thought ! Love your blog . Debs : )

  2. Hi Flowerpot. I've looked a few places to find 'bulk' sticky tape to make my own traps, but no luck so far. Darn shame. They really do a fine job with the fungus gnats.

    Thanks for visiting. Sorry this blog doesn't get updated during summer, but glad you could find some interesting posts in the archive. :-D


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