Seed starting 2011 part 4

Here is a tally of the 2nd wave of seedling starts:
phlox: 7 out of 12 starts
blue knoll: 3 out of 12
dianthus valentine: 6 out of 6
delosperma: 4 out of 6

Due to the low germination rates on the blue knoll chrysanthemum, I immediately used up any remaining seed that I had left. I also emptied the remainder of phlox seeds in the tray, in hopes of getting the maximum 12 starts.

Of the first wave of seedlings, I recorded the heights from tallest to shortest:

  1. sweet basil
  2. bell pepper
  3. calico
  4. purple flash
  5. red rubin
  6. pansy

What is disappointing from the list above is the performance of the red rubin basil. I had hoped to use a few specimens as accent color in the purple garden, but they have barely increased in size in almost a week.

Today’s starts:
4 dahlberg daisies: super fine, eyelash-shaped seeds!
8 vinca: using jiffy pellets and stored in the laundry room in complete darkness
4 garlic chives: don’t know why I’m having difficulty with these this year

In a green quart pot I placed a root cutting from the foxtail fern…not sure it will do anything, but I’d be interested in seeing the outcome.

All three of the Hot Lips salvia cuttings that I brought in are displaying tender leaves, just like the parent plant in the courtyard lily bed. Alas I have not been able to see any sign of the purple pastel that I sowed some time ago. And one of the 3″ pots is hosting a salvia seedling, the likes of which I haven’t seen before in any of the greggii cultivars. Is it a white? Red? Purple? Or some other hybrid? Only time will tell.

The pineapple mint (2) and hot and spicy oregano (1) cuttings have taken to their new home with vigor. They appear to be putting out new growth–a testament to their light-loving nature. The catmint has remained tall and floppy, surprising me every day with new growth. It’s still a tender thing, disliking heavy watering.

I’m not sure how I will be thinning the impatiens and alyssum seedlings; it seems too much work at this time to separate them. They still look too fragile, about 6 weeks into their lives, to be transplanted or removed from the dome protection they currently enjoy. Well, there is still another 4 weeks of March to go…no telling what growth spurts I will witness.

Other statuses: asters growing tall and gangly with new shoots, rosemary cuttings looking pale and deathly, no telling what’s growing in one of the Mexican heather pots, oriental limelights perking up, felicia seem contemplative, and the columbine are starting very slowly.

Now I have these two hippeastrums sitting in a bag, begging to be planted. I can’t be sure what cultivar they are, but reading suggests that these garden amaryllis may be part of a group of Sonatini hybrids. On the bag label is the distributor name Van Zyverden but their site is non-existent. Further research revealed that these hippeastrums were developed by a South African company known as Hadeco. However their site info is woefully inadequate and gave me no clue as to what to expect from the mystery bulbs. This should teach me from impulse buying flower bulbs. Anywho, they’re slated for burial in the courtyard lily bed.

One perennial on my wishlist that has proven elusive is the Ajuga Dixie Chip. Perhaps in the coming months, I’ll be finding them at the local home improvement nursery.

2/22/2011 Seedlings (1) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (2) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (3) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (4) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (5) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (6) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (7) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (8)

Seed starting 2011 part 3

1/29/2011 Seedling Tray currently hosting basil, pepper and pansy seedlingsMy Swallowtail Garden seeds arrived this week. With so many choices of seeds to start, I was hard-pressed to find space under the grow lights. I procured the scrap piece of plywood sitting in the laundry room and used it as a base for the Burpee growing system, which I then rotated 180 degrees to free up some real estate.

The phlox have been bursting out of their seed cases this weekend, and I detected some whiskering roots from the Blue Knoll Chrysanthemums. Because I doubled up on the seeds, I decided to separate the mums into 2 rows of 6, for a total of 12 starts. The dianthus, as I expected, grew surprisingly fast since I sowed them last Tuesday. They appear to be the most vigorous growers in the 2nd half of the grow system.

Since I received the columbine seeds, I decided to test the coir pellets for growing perennials. I placed 8 pellets this morning in a spare takeout dinner tray and expanded them with water. With any luck, I will have 4 each of the Origami Blue and Origami Red columbines.

I also discovered today that the first Purple pastel salvia that I sowed had reared its head out of the 3″ pot I planted it in. I half-expected it to start later, but it’s been exactly 7 days since I first planted it. It’s parent plant is now occupying the sink next to the grow lights, and is slowly regaining its foliage. I now have high hopes for the white salvia greggii seeds I planted in 2 more pots. I spent the entire day Sunday collecting seeds from the white specimen against the neighboring wall. It flowered so vigorously up until January–I am looking forward to fostering more. One thing I noticed about the white salvia seeds I collected: some are nearly black while others are tan in color. I am unsure what the difference may be, but I am hoping I didn’t plant chaff.

For the last row in the grow system, I chose to plant 6 seeds of the delosperma I purchased from Swallowtail Gardens. I’m looking forward to growing my first succulent groundcover.

Activity in the other takeout trays is brisk: the alyssum are popping like crazy, the impatiens are finally making a showing. The only seeds which haven’t emerged are the garlic chives in 2 pots. I don’t remember them being so slow, but I’m hoping they will make up for it later.

Lastly, the ornamental peppers are beginning to show some evidence of color. All of the pepper varieties are displaying remarkable growth, while the basil seedlings appear to have slowed down somewhat. But the first set of seedlings are displaying 2nd and 3rd sets of leaves, so it’s been exciting to watch them prosper.

The weather was unseasonably warm this past weekend, reaching 70-75 degrees during the afternoons. However, we have an icy week forecasted as early as Tuesday morning, so we’ll be back down to frigid temperatures. I’m hoping this will be the last freeze of the year.

More seed sowing

1/23/2011 Dianthus Cutting in BudI checked the mailbox earlier today in discovered I received my Park’s  package. Yay, more seeds! I took a quick trip to the Lewisville Home Depot in search of some seedling flat trays, but all I walked out with were 2 packages of Burpee growing pellets and 20 feet of garden fencing. Thankfully, my honey picked up a spray bottle for me earlier in the day, so I can mist the alyssum and impatiens trays.

Also, I had earlier shaken some seeds out of the purple pastel salvia greggii sitting potted up in the garden and placed 2 of them into a 3″ pot. I still had plenty of aluminum cake pans to tap, and so proceeded to get some more 3″ pots into them, including the 2 rooted asters I brought indoors. I’m minded to browse the white salvia in the salvia row for some more seeds. I realize that salvia greggii may not always come true from seed, but I think this will be a good experiment to see how well they germinate.

So, to sum up, I sowed 12 21st Century Blue Star Phlox and 1 row of 6 Blue Knoll Chrysanthemum seeds in the Burpee grow system. Both packages had an expiration date, and the Blue Knoll was marked as “low germination” so I’m crossing my fingers to see what the results will be.

I will hold off another week before I sow the marigolds and the vincas, since my focus for now is on cool season annuals such as phlox, alyssum, and impatiens. Meanwhile, I eagerly await the rest of my seed orders…from Burpee and Swallowtail Gardens. My live plant orders from Delaware however have been delayed due to inclement weather.

Seed starts and purchases

It’s been a week since sowing, and the first plants out of the gate are the basils. Nearly all the basil plants have sprouted their first set of baby leaves. I have to remind myself to look closer at the Red Rubin basils because their dark purple color blends into the soil background. It only took 3 days for the basil to put out their first roots. I regret not having collected some of the lime basil seeds while I had them available. I hope to find some volunteers in the garden this spring.

Monday holidays are for shopping. So I put in a large order of seeds at various outlets:

Artemisia vulgaris Oriental Limelight 2x Accents from Home & Garden
Felicia amelloides variegata Variegated Felicia 2x Accents from Home & Garden
Petunia x hybrida Easy Wave Series Flag Mix 1×10 Swallowtail Gardens Seeds
Aquilegia caerulea Origami Blue & White 1×15 Swallowtail Gardens Seeds
Aquilegia caerulea Origami Red & White 1×15 Swallowtail Gardens Seeds
Delosperma floribunda Starburst 1×50 Swallowtail Gardens Seeds
Heteropappus meyendorfii Blue Knoll Chrysanthemum 1×15 Park Seeds
Phlox drummondii 21st Century Blue Star 1×15 Park Seeds
Cosmos sulfureus Cosmic Red 1×50 Park Seeds
Cosmos sulfureus Cosmic Yellow 1×50 Park Seeds
Catharanthus roseus Vinca Titan Mix 1×25 Stokes Seed
Lobularia maritima Wonderland White 1×250 Stokes Seed
Lobularia maritima Wonderland Copper 1×250 Stokes Seed
Lobularia maritima Wonderland Mulberry Mix 2×250 Stokes Seed
Thymophylla tenuiloba Dahlberg Daisy 1×50 Stokes Seed
Salvia coccinea Lady in Red 1×25 Burpee
Dianthus chinensis Valentine 1×75 Burpee

Out of the order above, only the Artemisia and Felicia are live plant orders. I suspect I may not get these plants until Delaware comes out of their freeze. I should remember to pay attention to such things…and January is just too early to be ordering plants.