Archive for March, 2011

Colorful nubbins sighted

Jeez, seeing anything that might be considered a blossom outside in the garden has been a real bust this month. There’s something discouraging about a near constant covering of snow that makes the search futile.  But today I wandered out in the backyard to check out a couple of ducks that have been hanging around (they are way off the beaten path here in dry suburbia) and I spotted a tiny nubbin or two of color.

Nubbins of rhubarb

 

Aren’t they sweet? So then I decided to document the promise of daffodils in the front yard.

Daffs

They are not quite yellow but still——- I hear that the northeast is slated for another 6-10 inches of wet heavy snow in the next 24-48 hrs. the storm is not supposed to range this far west but all bets are off.

Today seemed like the day to do a little faux tomato transplanting.  When i planted the seeds I filled plastic 16oz drink cups just a bit more than half full with seed starter.  They got bottom heat, and light from the right kind of stick bulbs.  Most of them are now about 2-3 inches tall and  kind of gangly.  So I added more seed starter to each seedling.  My thinking is that the plants will be likely to grow roots along the naked stem between the soil and leaves, much like a more mature plant will respond when transplanted to the garden. i did a version of this last year and although the new plants were kind of puny (due to other factors) this process seemed to help them along. Also this year I’m keeping the bottom heat going much longer than usual and I think the roots are more promising.

roots show thru the plastic

Here’s a view of one of the flats.

A flat of hope

Next up——–These guys are gonna need some wind to toughen them up——but when? 

 
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Happy Spring!

Finally there’s been a break from the snow flakes and a break from any other kind of precipitation. Last Thursday was warm enough and dry enough to actually get out in the yard and LOOK to see if any plant had begun its return from the chill of winter. I’m glad to report all sorts of bulbs and perennials are showing definite signs of life. Besides there were many geese high overhead flying in Vs heading north.  I  got a burst of ambition and raked away leaves from along the south fence line and planted grass seed there and around the tree garden. I’m hoping that as the  soil warms and the frost melts the seed will get enough moisture and sunshine to sprout without having to worry about watering this early in the year.

I’ve been reading some of the blogs posted on the latest Garden Bloggers Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. I am amazed at the differences in when the plants make their appearance from one zone to the next. I just haven’t given it much thought. It’s tough not to be envious of gardeners in the near south enjoying the daffs and crocus while I struggle to see any sign of green until St Pat’s Day.

Inside the tomato seedlings and the forced forsythia are coming right along. The tomatoes are getting their first true leaves and last week’s white fly crisis seem s a thing of the past.

Intro to spring

whitefly 911!

OMG!  I found a small infestation of whiteflies on the tomato seedling I won at GYC’s chilifest.  This happened just as the tomato seeds I planted four or five  days ago are beginning to sprout. I’m wracking my brain to figure out where the heck these pests came from.  The prime suspect is the soil mixture that came with  my Amaryllis.  I found some tiny black creatures swarming around it when the first stalk set out its blossoms.  I crushed them with RAID. When I tried the RAID on the whitefly and they didn’t even stop flying.

Another suspect is the pale yellow Poinsettia I rescued from the club. It’s on the list because it too is covered with whiteflies and the honeydew they exude. So both Poinsettia and Amaryllis have been moved out outside into the cold and I built a system to deal with white flies that might still be around.  First, all of the house plants in the craft room have been moved out.  Then I constructed some yellow strips covered with vaseline to put in each plant near the original outbreak and finally I firmly but gently crushed all the critters on the original tomato plant. The plan is that the whiteflies will be attracted to the bright yellow color and fly up to the strip and stick in the gloppy vaseline.

materials gathered

 

two coats of yellow paint

glossy layer

tomato plant with whitefly deterrent

March manuevers

I hate to be on vacation during March because the garden starts to wake up.  This year the cycle of precipitation is such that it’s been nearly impossible to get out and explore without slogging through slop to get a look-see.  Thus I’m getting really antsy to do some kind of gardening so today I snipped some forsythia——from my neighbor’s garden to force into bloom.

newly pruned forsythia

Of course even if I could get a look-see there would be likely nothing blooming TO see.  I’ve accepted the fact that there is a huge population of chippies here in the garden with residence under the shed.  So I don’t bother to plant crocus or snow drops because those chippies wake up in March and devour all they can find.   What they miss the neighboring squirrels finish off.

starting the tomatoes

because last year’s seedlings were so lame and because I’m sick to death of cold and snow and winter AND just because; I started my tomato seeds today. This year I made sure that the seed starting soil was moist enough to begin with and I did the planting upstairs in the warmth and coziness of the craft room.

I ordered 7 different varieties of tomatoes: Black Cherry, Current, Grub’s MysteryGreen, Humph, Prudens Purple, San Marsano 2, and Pork Chop.  I ordered from Remy’s Sample Seed Shop and she sent 2 bonus varieties: Fantome du Laos and Goose Creek.

SO—-I ended up sowing 5 pots of each variety because I have very limited space  and ultimately very limited need for multiples of each. This year I invested in a couple more lights and another bottom heater.  I’ll still have to shift the flats each day to make sure each gets enough bottom heat but after the seeds have germinated there will be enough illumination to make sure each flat gets enough light. 

An issue I had not anticipated is how to make sure there’s enough power source for the lights, heaters and eventually a fan to whip those little plantlings  into sturdy specimens.  DH is in charge.

Meanwhile here’s a look at the Amaryllis I got for Christmas.  It bloomed twice.  The second time I could really see the pink and green of the ‘Apple Blossom’.

apple blossom Amaryllis

kind of sewing

All of a sudden I started beading again. I’ve had some large plastic button blanks for well over a year and amid yet another snow ‘event’ I pulled out a bunch of beads and sewed a huge button.

Every once in a while I do some kind of ‘stand alone’  beading and finally figure out that I don’t know what the heck to do with it. So I think to myself  ‘It’s the process’. Yeah right.  Here are some other projects>

peacock feather

 

Pale paisley

Micky in yellow