Fried Bananas

Fried Bananas
in full sun with purple petunias

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sowing Seeds in Winter

Last year I did a little bit of Winter Sowing.  Just some Petunias and some Hosta (Dorothy Benedict x OP).  Winter Sowing involves planting seeds in small transparent plastic flats and putting them outside for the Winter.  In the Spring you get some nice tiny little plants.  I had some success with this and I will do it again for Annuals that I want for next Spring.

This year I will do that, but also I will do some Indoor Sowing as well.  I bought a 4 foot plant light from Amazon and I will sow some Hosta from streaked parents as well as a few annuals that might not do well with the Winter Sowing method as above.  Today I sowed some Hosta seed for indoor growing.  Here are the seeds:
  • Lakeside Knicknack x OP (open pollinated)
  • Lakeside Breeder #4 x OP
  • Epsom Derby x OP (a gift from Rick Goodenough from his garden)
  • William Lachman x OP
My goal this year is to look to get some streaked Hostas that I can use for breeding my own plants.  I got two Streakers from the DBxOP seeds last year.  I hope to get about 30% streaked Hostas (that's the average) from these seeds.  Plus I'll keep anything that looks architecturally interesting to me out of this group.  I've sown about 30 seeds per package, except for the seeds from Rick of which I sowed about double that.  It will keep me busy during the Winter months keeping these seedlings going.

I've also planted two different Hippeastrum (aka Amaryllis) and some Paperwhite Narcissus for indoor plants this winter.  Here's a pic of Hippeastrum 'Charisma' which just bloomed today.
Hippeastrum 'Charisma'

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gardening in December

With the mild temperatures this December, the ground is not frozen anywhere on my property.  This has given me the opportunity to continue to develop a few beds that I will plant next Spring.  Yesterday I actually planted 6 Allium Gigantum bulbs in the daylily bed.  These were 75% off at HD and thus I paid 60 cents for bulbs that usually cost several dollars each.  These went into the ground with no problem.

Mostly, however, I have been working on the soil prep for what I will call the Deck Bed.  This is an area off of the deck that used to be a monstrosity of an above ground pool.  The soil in this area consists of about 2 inches of sand below which is at least a foot of compacted clay and gravel.  After having thousands of gallons of water sitting on top of this area for many years, the soil is heavily compacted.  It has taken me about a week of tilling and digging to get the soil loosened enough for it to drain.  This is an area that is a circle 28 feet in diameter so I can't make enough compost to cover it.  I'm going to have to truck in some 50/50 (compost/topsoil) from a local dairy farm in order to give the soil the proper amount of organic matter.

I dug out this boulder earlier this week.  This thing weighs at least as much as I do (about 200 lbs) and it was 3 feet below ground.  It took me two days with a 6 foot steel digging bar to get it out of the ground and place it in the garden in a way that would be attractive. 

I ran into another boulder this morning.  Unfortunately this one is about 3 feet wide by 4 feet long and must weigh thousands of pounds.  At one point it is only about 6 inches below grade.  I'm not sure what to do about this but it's clear that it is not going anywhere.  Here's a picture of the Deck Garden taken late this afternoon.
The large boulder is at about 8 o'clock as you look at the circle.  The boulder in the pic about is at about 9:30.  This garden is going to be a mixed border of shrubs and perennials.  In the growing months it gets almost full sun, so there won't be any Hosta.  At least not until we grown some shade.  I plan to plant a Stewartia Pseudocamelia tree somewhere in this circle that will eventually make some shade.  The idea is that this garden will create a separation visually that will divide the deck area from the back Hosta gardens.  It's going to be right off the deck so it will be the first thing you see coming out of the back door.  This will be my major project for next year.