Thursday, November 8, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Seedlings are Dead... Again...

So I transplanted my seedlings again to 2 1/4" trays last week, I then was called to go out of town on business for about four days. I left specific instructions for my wife on how to care for the  little guys and reserved to loosing 1/2 of them.

When I returned on last Sunday, everything was dead, except the miscanthus sinesis go figure. So the lesson I learned was to not start perrenials in the heat of summer. I will attempt again next year for spring with better results hopefully. I was forced to place the plants outside in the garage for those days I was gone, and I think the heat was what ultimately did them in.

The Bio-Dome from Park Seed did, ultimately do as designed and I suspect I would have had viable plants if a series of errors on my part had been avoided.

  • First I had planted way too early, and honestly should not have even attempted this until the winter time.
  • Second, I left the Bio-Dome cover in place for too long. It is supposed to be removed the moment the seeds have sprouted and green leafs are visible. I did not understand my mistake with this until I talked to a staff herbologist at Park Seed. This is done to reduce humidity and the chance of a fungal infection, I left mine in place for almost a week too long, and every sponge was coated in a white fungus which I imagine ultimately helped to do in the plants.
  • Last, I moved the seedlings outside too soon. Being the heat of August in East Texas the temperatures can exceed three digits, and the little guys were just not ready for such a difference in temperature.
So I think that the seed growing from here out on perennials  will be done only in the winter, when I can use nature to help maintain a viable temperature.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


The seedlings are starting to come along nicely! Those big guys you see are Arizona Sun Blanket Flowers and are coming in nicely. You will notice the slight mildew on the sponges, that was from me not taking the lid off of the tray soon enough. It does not seem to have had an adverse effect on them yet. The empty row there was the bad seed of Rudibekia Green Wizard.


Click it to see the larger version.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Garden Progress

Yeah I know it has been awhile, but seriously it is summer. I have been keeping busy, however. Primarily I built a new raised bed behind the house for flowers. I made it 12'x 8' with a 4' inset cut into one side giving it a "C" shape. This was finished a few weeks ago and was built entirely from free/recycled wood, but I have not had a load of dirt brought in to fill it. This weekend I plan on running some PVC out to it and installing a primary water line that I can attach some micro-sprinklers and drippers to later on.

Large Raised Bed Behind House
I also cut in a new foundation bed behind the house. This bed is north facing and has the benefit of getting a good bit of shade for the first 3/4 of the day. In it I planted a row of Purple Irises ups front as a border, Those are also four or five clumps of a really pretty red Canna that I was able to get from a gardener down in Groves, TX. In between those are several varieties of day lilies that I was able to get from my neighbor before they moved out. You can also see the new irrigation system made out of some scrap PVC. It is just a series of micro-umbrella sprayers, you can also see the old soaker hose I haven't picked up yet. For this bed I really wanted that manicured look, so I took the time to mark and cut out the sod surrounding the bed. That is why the PVC is a little too long now.
A good shot showing the cut edge of the foundation bed.

How it looks from the front right now.

 Down in the backyard, under one of the only shade trees I have (an invasive Tallow but what can you do?) I planted the excess of the Purple Irises and Caladiums that I had on hand. It is still a pretty dirty bed, and the grass really needs to be ripped out again. I am also planning on cutting in that manicured border like I did on the foundation bed. However, I am not certain how that will really look with the large root systems that are present. But either way it needs a lot more work.
Man that looks terrible right now! 
With my neighbors, and gardening buddies, Don and Dene moving away I was able to get Don's nice homemade starter box. This is the box he has been starting all of his plants in for the last year or so since he built it. It is roughly 4' wide and 2 1/2' tall and about 1 1/2' deep. He wired in a 100v lizard warmer and some old PC fans into the small box on the side. It is not being used right now because it is so damn hot really, but will be a life-saver this winter when coupled with my heating mats and 4' grow light.
Grow box, sorry for the crappy pic on this one. 
The biggest deal for me personally, however, is the seed that is currently growing inside. I received the Park Seed Bio-Dome system a few weeks back and had been waiting on a grow light before I started anything. Here it is fully loaded with 120 seeds. Everything has sprouted, or is about to at least, with the exception of the row on the far left hand side. That is Rudibeckia Green Wizard, and for some reason is either not growing at all or is taking it ever-loving time with it. I will add a list of what is in the seed starter at the bottom of the post.
The Park Seed Bio-Dome illuminated by a T5 grow lamp.
I was also able to get a number of red, white, and pink Geraniums from my neighbor before they moved and a huge double potted Hosta. They are all doing well now after one was decimated by some white fungus. I sprayed the others and they perked up significantly. Dene also gave me her ornamental pepper plant which produces small grape like peppers of all sorts of colors.
Some Giant Hostas and a small herb pot.

Moss Roses are doing fantastic! The empty pot actually has some mystery bulbs sitting until late winter.

Some of the Geraniums.

The ornamental pepper.
Sorry for the image quality on these, it is bloody bright here until 9pm so I take what I can get. And I knew if I didn't do it now I would just put it off longer and longer.

I will provide some more updates on the seedlings as they progress.

The Seeds Planted

  • Stokes Blue Astor - 20
  • Butterfly Bush - 10
  • Arizona Blanket Flower - 20
  • Rudibeckia Green Wizard - 10
  • Miscanthus Sinesus - 20
  • Lavendar Munstead - 20
  • Cornflower Magnus (Echinacea) - 10
  • Salvia Superba Blue Queen - 10

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sudden Seed Death Syndrome Hits!

So everything thing in the seed trays was fine until this past weekend. I woke up to the lavender starting to dry up and die one by one on Saturday morning. By that evening 50% was dead. Today only a few are left, and they don't look too good.

Best I can figure is that I had was is called "damping off" occur. This is due to one of several types of fungus that propagate when the trays are too moist or overcrowded, which the lavender surely was. I added in a touch of fungicide to the water, but I think it was too little too late.

Since I cannot afford to purchase all the plants that I want to, I am going to have to try and get this seed thing down pat first. So I went to Park Seed company and ordered one of their Bio Dome seed starting kits. These are supposedly the best way to start seed and have no trouble with damping off.

The new seed tray should be here at the beginning of next week and I will start a whole slew of perennials at that time following closely to their instructions. I think these will be done indoors, with a spare heating pad I have laid underneath it. I might go so far as to buy a grow lamp also. My thoughts on this is that even if I spend a few hundred getting the seed operation going good, they will save me hundreds of dollars with the first set of seedlings that actually take hold. And since I purchased the giant 120 cell Bio Dome, I should be able to get a pretty quick ROI.

I also got in some AlgoFlash liquid fertilizer that I can use for pretty much anything, including seedlings. So as long as I keep to the instructions, I should be OK. I guess we will have to see.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gladiolas are Starting to Bloom

The Mystery Gladiolas are starting to bloom now. The first several are all similar to this, another is more of a peach color but hasn't come out full bloom yet.

Friday, May 25, 2012

First Batch of Tomatoes is Here!

These are the tomatoes that I picked yesterday and today. The breakdown of what there is follows the pics.

These are Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifters

The bunch on top are cherries, the two on the bottom left are Julliettes, and the lonely one on the bottom right is a Porter.

The Mortgage Lifters from the top weighed in at:

  • 8.3
  • 7.9
  • 7.4
  • 6.5
  • 6.1
  • 5.7
  • 5.3
  • 3.9
  • 3.4
  • 2.1
The Cherry variants from the second pic weighed in at:
  • 3.0 for the Cherries
  • 1.7 for the Julliettes
  • .8 for the lone Porter
That is 56.6 ounces (about 3.5 pounds) of Mortgage Lifters and 5.5 ounces of Cherry variants.

Not bad so far, and more are ripening every day. I did loose the biggest tomato yet to a caterpillar, but oh well. This is a learning process anyway.