Yesterday was such a beautiful, sunny day. Most of the day was spend in my greenhouse.
I’ve had the greenhouse for about eight years, and haven’t used it the last two? My decision to buy it was an easy one, I love gardening/propagation and it saves me money. The initial investment was $500 for the 6×8, and it’s collapsible (folds in on it self). I don’t have a large yard and this is perfect because it’s easy to setup and take down. It was made in IL (now discontinued) and bought from an IL nursery, Underwood Gardens.
In years past I’ve started as many as 30 flats, saving me big money. During a typical season I can spend anywhere from $350 to $600 on gardening supplies (soil, annual/perennials, seeds, containers, tools, etc). Your probably thinking that’s a lot of money, it is, but I have at least 1,000 plants in all of my gardens (front, side, back).
It’s time consuming to propagate plants, but I love doing it. So far, the seeds started, are Larkspur…
Rocket Larkspur (Rocket Larkspur (Delphinium ajacis),which is my favorite annual Delphinium.
This is a taller spiked variety and makes a great choice for cut flowers grower in shades of blue, purple, pink and white! It’s an annual in the Midwest (I’m zone 5) and is perfect for flower arrangements. One 1/2 flats started.
Stock is one of my favorite annual cool weather (stock, pansy, snapdragon) flowers in my garden. It’s has a wonderfully spicy, distinctive scent and is great planted in container to smell the scent. You can direct sowed in your garden several weeks before your region’s last frost date — this annual thrives in cool temperatures and can be grown in full sun (will stops blooming once hot weather arrives) or keep in partial shade and moist soil (likes to be watered). One flat started.
Heirloom Gypsophila (Baby’s Breath)
Baby’s Breath typically get 3-4 feet tall, I’m growing a Gypsophila elegans which only reaches 12-18″. Elegans is perfect container gardening. Prefers sunny areas and is easy to grow, if direct sowing make sure its well past any chance of frost. Two flats started.
Saliva, Blue Victory
In my garden last year, this is a great annual which produces constant flowering all summer long. I like to use in the front of my garden beds. Outstanding blue color, loves hot sun and is drought tolerant. Two flats have been started.
I favor the classic mix of single bloom Hollyhock, I think the flowers lend themselves well to cottage gardens. Hollyhock are associated with English Gardens, Hollyhock are a bit of an old fashioned bird, but even if they remind you of your grandmother (or your grandmother’s grandmother!), they deserve a place in your garden! Tall stalks, packed full of colorful blooms are super attractive to birds and butterflies.
This week I started several Hollyhocks, one is from Debra @ Frugal Bungalow that she kindly sent me some of her Hollyhocks bean stalk size, over 9 feet tall seeds. Let’s see if my grow that tall?
Another one of my favorite annuals (in Midwest), that is a relative to the hibiscus. They do not like to be “moved” and really prefer to be direct sowed, but I’m starting inside. They also provide many freebie plants the following year, just let them self sow and you will have plants for next year too. Hardy zones 4 through 8, and all have interesting leaves that often are toothed or lobed.
To be able to take advantage of “free seedlings” you must be able to recognize the plants “true leaves”. If you do you will know NOT to pull them out.
The smaller leaves (on bottom right is the cotyledon leaves) to ID an plant base it on the first set of true leaves, see arrow. Marrow has a shape close to Hollyhocks and Hibiscus. So the following year you know what to look for, and you would avoid pulling these. Get familiar with each of your plants “true leaves” which is the leaves that are produced after the first set. Never ID a plant by its 1st set leaves.
I’ve also started…
Dahlia’s are started as tubers which is a thickened underground part of a stem or rhizome, serving as a food reserve and bearing buds from which new plants arise.
Dahlias are grown from tubers and not bulbs. Tubers have “eyes”, for example a potato is considered a “tuber.” You Dahlias must be planted once the soil has warmed to a temperature of between 55 – 60 degrees. By pre-starting my Dahlias they will be close to blooming when I set them out.
Colocasia (taro, elephant ears, kalo)Plant
It’s also started from a tuber, in other country the plant is grown to grow the tuber they use as a vegetable, it is the 14th most widely consumed vegetable. Many call this an “elephant ears” but that is really based on the size and shaped of it leaves.
Most Colocasia prefer bright sunlight, unless grown in extremely hot, low humidity climates, where some light shade will be necessary. The tuber should be planted slightly deeper than they grow in the pot, or when planting dormant corms, put them at a depth of 2″ to 4″. They LOVE water, and I use it in my pond, I only submerge the container half way into the water. They are perfect for water container gardening.
It’s easy to save any of the tubers for next year, dig them up BEFORE a hard frost, remove dirt and let them dry out. I keep mine in empty 1 pound plastic lettuce containers, just punch some holes it the lid.
I mainly growth indeterminate tomatoes because I can grow them like a vine up my trellis.
Starting plants and young seedlings take time and attention, but it’s fun to me. The greenhouse helps me save money by starting my own plants and enjoying enjoying our gardening season two months earlier.
Last week I up-sized my some of my plants from my started trays (empty egg cartons) to larger individual cells.
You might not know this but I am a bull in a china shop, after spending the whole morning planting seedlings into larger containers…guess what I did?
As I was loading them on to the shelving I DROPPED THEM!!!!! Mr. C and I was on the ground carefully picking the seedling out of the mix. Luckily I recognize the leaf shades and was able to separate them out. But you can’t with tomato plants since they all look the same?
I started seeds of cherry indeterminate (vines)and a few San Manzano (bush) determinate plants. So I don’t know which is which so I’ll be restarting them….ugh!
They struggled for the first few days, but are adjusting!
Also, once the first set of true leaves are formed is when fertilizing should start. I use half strength (full strength is too strong) of what is indicated on the fertilizer I am using and fertilize every seventh time I water. ****I use unfertilized seed starter mix, is you use a fertilized seed mix DON’T fertilize until after a month.
The seedling really pop up after their first fertilizing..
It’s still be dipping into the low 40’s and high 30’s so I’ve been running a space heater inside the greenhouse. In order for plants to grown a temperature between 60 – 80 is required for them to grown. If over 80 they are spending all their time transpiring to stay alive, and below 60 are stagnant and now growing.
Sorry if I’ve gone on, and sorry for the photo qualities, but this isn’t a professional post, just me playing with what I love to do…well one of the things I love to do.