Garden Spot - v4.2

Garden Spot

erica's gardening journal

Thursday, January 30, 2003

 
Pea Planting. today i planted the four remaining pea sprouts (one had succumbed to some sort of wilt or fungus). no space left in the raised bed, so these sprouts are in the bed along the east fence in the backyard.

i got creative with some stakes and made a four-sided teepee for the future pea vines to climb. and i solved the problem of how to secure the sprouts so they don't flop over before they have a chance to wind around the supports -- tie them up (carefully) with strips of shredded paper. i use a shredder for old bills and such that i don't want to put in the trash and then mix the shreds in my compost piles (also good to add a handful to the bottom of the kitchen scrap container -- keeps the daily coffee grounds from becoming a dense mass that must be scooped out). i actually came up with the paper tie idea shortly after planting out the first six peas and it has worked very well.

speaking of peas, the survivor pea has three pods and continues to bloom.
posted by Erica | 4:34 PM
 
Happy 1st Blog-Day! garden spot is one year old today. here's when it all started.
posted by Erica | 8:14 AM

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

 
crinumCrinum Bloom. lo and behold, the cut crinum has bloomed. so, now i know that they can bloom after cutting, even if bloom time is three days away.

as you can see, there are five small flower buds, only one of which has bloomed so far. this scape came from one of the in-the-way-crinums that i dug up from the area around the side door and relocated behind the garage early last year.

the older, undisturbed crinums have much larger blooms with many more per scape.
posted by Erica | 9:46 PM

Saturday, January 25, 2003

 
Combating the Cold. i've managed to preserve my three remaining pentas by covering them with cardboard boxes the last few nights.

we were supposed to have overnight temperatures in the low 20s earlier this week (i think it actually only got as cold as upper 20s), so i went ahead and cut the flower scape from the crinum. it's now in the kitchen windowsill and continues to progress -- it may go ahead and bloom after all. or maybe not; it's still several days from opening.

i also put extra mulch in the raised veggie/herb bed and everything there still looks good. even the baby peas.

four of the five erlicheer narcissus have flower buds (one of them has two buds).
posted by Erica | 9:20 AM

Thursday, January 23, 2003

 
Seedlings Everywhere. i've been trying to combat the cold weather by separating flower seedlings and putting them in pots. in addition to the five peas i still have inside, i now also have an obscene number of shasta daisy seedlings, a bunch of forget-me-nots, and a smattering of bee balm. oh yeah, and some miscellaneous herbs.

i'm running out of warm, suitably lit, cat-proof places to put all my seedling trays. the breakfast table and the desk in the sunroom would be perfect, but that is dedicated cat-lounging space. i'd have to close the doors to the sunroom to keep the cats out and they'd be mighty upset about that.

there is a plant stand in there, but the two out-of-(easy)-cat-reach platforms are already occupied by potted gardenia cuttings and i can only balance one seedling tray on the very top. the five peas, a couple of pots of daisy seedlings and my two columbines (i thought they were too cold outside) are occupying that enviable spot. a smallish tray with a pot of four tulip bulbs, half a dozen pots of miscellaneous herbs and half a dozen miscellaneous flowers are on top of the stove (except when we're cooking) and the big tray with the remainder of the flower seedlings (36 tiny pots of four seedlings each) is on top of the fridge.

so far i have resisted creating an actual seedling laboratory -- i.e. dedicated shelves with growing lights -- but i see that in the future. maybe not this spring, but definitely at some point.
posted by Erica | 10:02 AM

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

 
Damage Update. the giant caesar lettuce appears fully recovered from its initial sorry state. in fact, i think it may look a bit better than it did before the cold spell. it's now a deeper shade of green, more like what the burpee pictures look like. (note: i didn't buy these seeds, they were included as a bonus packet with my order last year.)

i overlooked the lantana and crinums when i did the damage report on sunday. the lantana got a bit crispy around the edges and some of the crinum foliage is decidedly mushy, but i expect all to recover.

i'm a little sad about the crinums since one of the back-of-garage plants had just put out a flower scape a few days before the temperature drop. it hadn't developed enough for me to cut it and let it open inside and although it hasn't turned to mush, i'm not sure whether it will be able to bloom.

speaking of plants and cold weather, donald burger has freeze data for houston plants on his gardening site, which, if i'd thought to review earlier, might have prompted me to protect the pentas.
posted by Erica | 10:08 AM
 
Planting Peas. yesterday afternoon i planted six of the pea sprouts outside. they have gotten too tall to stay upright without support, so it was time for them to move out.

three went around a small tomato cage rescued from a neighbor on trash day; three went around a teepee made of stakes.

as of this morning, all were still alive. however, we have another cold front coming through tonight. i'm more worried about wind than temperature since they haven't yet had a chance to wind their tendrils around the supports. i'll have to try to gently secure them somehow.
posted by Erica | 9:53 AM

Sunday, January 19, 2003

 
Bye, Bye Pentas. arrgh. i was overly confident. most of the pentas (pentas lanceolata) have perished in the cold. to be honest, it didn't even occur to me that i should try to protect them even though i knew in the back of my brain that they are "tender" perennials. hopefully, some of them will come back from the roots. i've been so happy with these plants that i'll definitely buy more in a few months, regardless of the recovery rate.

as it turns out, the ixora are hardier than the pentas. to look at them, you'd never know there was frost on the ground this morning.

how cold was it? i'm not sure, but it's about 32F now, so i would guess the overnight low was in the upper 20s. that's pretty nippy by houston standards.

as for the some of the other plants: i don't worry about bulbs, shrubs, trees. it would have to get much colder for them to suffer.

i took the picture below earlier this morning. note that the very dead penta is flanked by two still-living pentas, one of which is actually blooming.

frosty penta

posted by Erica | 6:06 AM

Friday, January 17, 2003

 
Renegade Gardener. the renegade gardener's 10 tenets of renegade gardening are absolutely worth reading. so is the rest of his site. (link via cold climate gardening.)
posted by Erica | 4:56 PM
 
Sugar Snap Sprouts. the peas are progressing very well. they're now between six and eight inches tall. i'll probably plant them outside within the next week (weather permitting). burpee has vital statistics for the sugar snaps.

the lone surviving pea vine is still hanging on and has a couple of pea pods developing.
posted by Erica | 9:59 AM
 
Hibernation. garden spot has been quiet these last few days due to hibernation brought on by particularly cold temperatures (by houston standards, that is).

yesterday afternoon i did move all the potted plants from the deck into the garage. this included a bunch of rain lilies (those dug from the yard last summer and fall, plus the ones i bought last month and haven't decided where to plant); "morton" the meyer lemon; "heloise" the hibiscus (heloise has actually been in the garage for at least a month already, sometimes i remember to water her a little); "alan" the aloe vera; "sally" the schefflera; the two columbines i bought along with the aforementioned rain lilies; and a pot with a couple small representatives of the still-unidentified iris.

i did nothing for the various and sundry plants that are in the ground. most should be able to take the cold. most susceptible are probably the ixora in the front bed, but since i'm not really attached to them and would just as soon replace them with something else, i've left them to fend for themselves so far (actually, they've recovered very well since i refound them). if they deserve to live, they will.
posted by Erica | 9:44 AM

Sunday, January 12, 2003

 
Bulb Update. the bad news is that i still haven't finished planting all my bulbs.

the good news is that many of the bulbs i have planted are coming up:

planted nov. 1 - five of the six crocus sativus have sprouted, along with the two tulipa saxatilis next to them

planted nov. 3 - planted nov. 10 -
posted by Erica | 10:06 AM

Friday, January 10, 2003

 
Flower Seeds. encouraged by the sprouting herbs and peas, on wednesday i put flower seeds -- bee balm, shasta daisies and forget-me-nots -- on damp paper towels for sprouting. checking them this morning i saw that a few daisies and forget-me-nots were starting to sprout.

i tried direct sowing these flowers a few months ago; unfortunately, almost two weeks of rain shortly afterwards apparently did in the seeds. there are a few unidentified sprouts in the spots i seeded; i'm leaving them alone for now in the hope that maybe they are survivors and not just weeds.
posted by Erica | 9:23 AM
 
Potting the Peas. yesterday i put each of the sprouting peas in a little newspaper pot - eleven total. they have now moved from the top of the fridge to a tray on top of the plant stand in the sun room, theoretically out of the cats' reach. the trick now is to remember to water them (without overwatering).

the sole surviving pea vine has two flowers today.
posted by Erica | 9:05 AM

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

 
Perishing Peas. i'm down to one sugar snap pea vine, but it's still flowering occasionally. the handful of peas i have harvested were very, very tasty. and now i have another dozen sprouting inside.

i think part of the problem i've had with the peas is due to not providing enough support for the vines. they have a tendency to flop over if they aren't secured to something and then they pretty much choke when the vine is compressed. i'll provide better support for the new crop and see whether that helps.
posted by Erica | 12:54 PM

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

 
Starting Seeds. in a fit of boredom friday night, i started seeds using the "damp paper towel" method. thyme (thymus vulgaris), greek oregano (origanum vulgare), lavender (lavandula angustifolia)*, winter savory (satureja montana) and sugar snap peas. the peas and some of the herbs are now sprouting.

i've also been poring over various seed catalogues and planting guides for houston, planning my upcoming seed purchases.

*lavender is notoriously difficult in houston due to the summer humidity, but since i already have the seeds, i might as well try. a few weeks ago i bought a sweet lavender (lavandula heterophylla) that is allegedly more suited to houston. it's in the raised bed and is quite happy so far, but the real test is still to come.
posted by Erica | 9:23 AM

Friday, January 03, 2003

 
2002: The Garden in Review. (in no particular order)
posted by Erica | 12:16 PM
 
New Garden Blog Links. i came across a couple of great new garden blogs* while perusing the links on notes from pure land mountain - greenZoo: walks in a botanical garden and wild west yorkshire.

all three of the above are well worth your time.

*they don't call themselves "blogs" per se, but as online journals / diaries they count as blogs for my linking purposes.
posted by Erica | 12:03 PM

Thursday, January 02, 2003

 
Potting Gardenia Cuttings. today i finally got around to potting the gardenia cuttings that have been in the windowsill since august. these will (hopefully) replace the previously potted gardenia cuttings that succumbed to cats and lack of water. i have my fingers crossed that the shock of being in soil after 4+ months of being in water isn't too great.

the "parent" gardenia has recently started new growth, including what look suspiciously like flower buds. unfortunately, i expect most / all of this growth will get zapped by cold.
posted by Erica | 9:08 PM
 
New Books. darin got a meyer lemon for christmas; i got some new books:i also got a subscription to garden design and a renewal of my organic gardening subscription.
posted by Erica | 4:10 PM

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i enjoy working in our flowerbeds and doing general yardwork, so i'm always collecting bits and pieces of information and ideas. this is where i collect my info and ideas.

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