Archive for November, 2007

Garden Update 11-17-07

Last week, I forgot to mention that I planted some garlic and sweet peas for the spring. This is my first year planting garlic from real garlic stock from the gardening store. I went to my local Orchard Supply Hardware store and got 3 bulbs for $1.96. There was no tax since garlic is food. It takes about 9 months for a clove of garlic to mature and become a bulb. A garlic expert on the Martha Stewart Show compared growing garlic to a baby. It takes nine months for garlic to mature and 9 months for a baby to come out. It was an interesting analogy nonetheless. I potted them in a container since we might be moving by the time the bulbs are ready to pick. I expect some yummy garlic next summer.

Last year, I tried to grow garlic from the grocery store but they didn’t work. They would produce lots of shoots but once they died out, I could never find any bulbs. I believe there is a growth inhibitor in grocery store garlic that prevents them from growing. Urgh….well I hope I got it right this time around.

I also planted some sweet peas I got from Home Depot from a company called Stover seeds. They sell bulk packets of seeds. I got around 300 sweet peas and thousands of California Poppies for around $3.97 a piece. They also have vegetable seeds in bulk too. They’re around $2.97 a piece. I plan to get some bok choi and other veggie seeds in the spring. I’ve only had one sweet pea bloom last year. It was mainly because I started them in the spring. My coworker who grows a plethora of sweet peas every year suggested that I plant my sweet peas right now for blooms in the spring. I listened to her and I hope next year we’ll have pretty sweet peas.

Currently, I am pre-germinating some seeds I collected this year. I like to test seeds before I put them up for trade just to make sure they work. This week, I’m germinating some coriander, broccoli-De Cicco, and two types of eggplants (purple and white). I hope they work. It just gives me more validation that what I’m doing-gardening wise-is right. When I was in the grocery store the other day, I saw a huge bag of coriander seeds on sale for $2.69. This was a very large bag. I’m going to get them and try germinating them this year.

I also picked up two taro roots when I was at the grocery store too. Taro root plants look similar to “Elephant Ears” or Alocasias. They were relatively cheap; $.50 a piece compared to $5.99 per root at the garden center. I placed them in a deep pot and placed them in the sun. I hope they root and produce cool little plants for me. I’m a little weary because it is winter and it’s probably not the best time to pot these up since they’re tropical plants. Well, I’ll try them anyway and protect them from frost or bring them in. If they don’t work, I’ll only have wasted $1.00 instead of $10-$12. That’s all for now!

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Garden Update November 10, 2007

I just wanted to provide an update on the various garden projects I’m currently in this winter.

The cuttings I took from the ivy have rooted. The boxwood cuttings will take a little longer to root. I haven’t seen any growth on those.

Yesterday, I started some coriander (aka cilantro) seeds I got from the grocery store. I got a big canister for $1.50. We’ll see if they work. If not, at least I have them for cooking. The coleus seeds I started have started to get some of it’s true leaves. Once they do, I’ll transplant them into individual cells. Hopefully, by the beginning of spring, I’ll have a ton of coleus to give as gifts or plant in my garden.

I also started some more African Violet leaves from the AV I got from my husband last Valentine’s Day also the AV from Walmart that blooms these variegated white and purple flowers, and the AV I got from the .99 cent store and also this white AV I got on clearance at Lowes. I started 3 leaves per plant. In a couple of months I’ll get babies that are this size:

This week, I also transplanted my radish seedlings to the garden. I placed them in front of the peas and beans I started several weeks ago. They’re just poking their little heads out this week. We haven’t seen a frost yet. The meterologists expect a frost at the end of November. Lucky us.

Seed Collecting:

I collected some of my peppers for its seeds this week. I’ll start some this spring and give out some as trades. They have tons of seeds in each pepper. I got this plant on clearance at Wal-mart two weeks ago. It was only $1.40 and had these gorgeous yellow peppers.

I also collected some daisy seeds from this huge daisy bush at my apartment complex. It had a ton of seedpods on it and the maintenance men probably didn’t mind since I was picking the dead seed pods for them. No trimming for them! Hehe.

Well, that’s all for me this week. Check back next week for more of my gardening ventures.

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Coleus Seedlings and Cuttings

Last Thursday, I was at Lowes looking at all the pretty plants and I happened across a seed rack of fall vegetables. I stopped and perused the different types of lettuces, peas, beans, spinach, radishes, and lettuce seeds. As I was leaving, something caught my eye: a packet of coleus seeds. Two weeks ago, I had ordered some coleus seeds from groco.com and they hadn’t come in yet so, on an impulse, I bought it (since then, I’ve received them). On Friday, I potted these tiny little seeds in a leftover salsa container with holes punched in the bottom for drainage. I covered the container with plastic to keep the humidity high and placed them underneath my grow lights. Today, I noticed I had some growth! They are very minute and tiny but nonetheless some action!

Some advice I would suggest in planting coleus seeds is

  1. Mix the seeds with sand and sprinkle the mixture lightly over dry potting soil (I
    use regular potting soil rather than the seed starting mix b/c it’s a lot
    cheaper).
  2. Cover the seed/sand mixture with a light dusting of more potting soil
  3. Sprinkle enough water to moisten the mix
  4. Cover the container with plastic wrap (I use a rubber band to secure the plastic
    wrap to the container) to maintain humidity
  5. Once the seeds have germinated, slowly take off the plastic and
Coleus Seedlings (very tiny) For a bigger picture, click on the picture.
It took 7 days for the seeds to germinate so all in all, I believe it was quite successful. Now I patiently wait for it to grow bushy so I can take cuttings and propagate them and give them away as gifts!

Speaking of cuttings, I recently went around my work and got some cuttings and seeds. I work at a university and I know the facilities employees very well and they know me as the plant girl. I am always asking them for cuttings from wisteria vines and left over seed trays. The university is well known for its landscape and abundance of ponds (we have 6-8 ponds sprinkled across the campus). The plants vary from rose bushes (the president’s donor rose bushes that go for $200.00 a plant, needless to say I didn’t “sponsor” one) to geraniums, wisteria, ginkgo biloba trees, Japanese maples, pines, daylilies, agapanthus, etc. etc. etc.

Daylily Plant I collected seeds from…

So, about two weeks ago, I went on a break and noticed that the daylilies were producing a lot of seed. I asked the gardening department if I could collect these and they of course said go for it (they’re super nice). So I went around and collected a ton of daylily seeds. I probably have ½ a pound of daylily seeds from all around the campus. Anybody want some? Check out my trade list for trades. I also collected agapanthus seeds as well.

I also took some geranium cuttings (red and bright pink colors), semi- wood cuttings from different bushes and plants and some pine cones. I put the cuttings in a pot with a freezer-size zip lock bag over them. I put them under my grow lights and will let them stay there for a couple of months. They have good company with my ivy and boxwood cuttings. Well that’s all for now. Happy gardening everyone.

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