Thursday, February 24, 2011

What I've been Doing (and Not Doing)

What I'm not doing today - going to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Here's why:
My driveway (with footprints in the snow from neighbor cat Chester)

It doesn't look like much, but it's enough to keep me from driving into town. Here they don't plow the streets, which makes for pretty dangerous driving. Plus, Seattle is very hilly, and I don't want to take a chance on having an accident. I'm planning to go on Saturday instead, hoping there will have been some melting by then. I wanted to go today to attend a seminar by Ciscoe Morris on his favorite plant combinations, but he is actually giving a similar talk later this Spring at Windmill Gardens, a nursery in Sumner, so I will go to that. And on Saturday, the display gardens will still be there.

What I have been doing -- sowing lots of seeds. Not just out in the garden, under more plastic cloches. Also inside the house, and outside in lots and lots of little plastic cups.

Inside I sowed many different kinds of tomatoes, and I have quite a few sprouts already.

The tomatoes inside are planted in a bin with bottom heat supplied by rope lights, and light above from a grow light, in a south-facing window. The bin actually had a lid on it till this morning, to keep the moisture and warmth in, which will help the seeds sprout. But since so many have sprouted, and some of the leaves were tall enough to touch it, I took it off. So far, the most vigorous sprouts seem to be Sub-Arctic Plenty.

Some time today, all the sprouts with true leaves will get a nice drink of fish emulsion. Yum! There are quite a few that are still quite small, still just seed leaves, only a few days old, so they will have to wait. Eventually everything will get potted up into a real pot, and put out on a shelf in the portable greenhouse.
Seed leaves still struggling to shed the seed cap

Outside on my west-facing front porch, I have sown seeds in two large bins with bottom heat from rope lights. It's been so cold here lately, I didn't think much of anything would sprout in there.




But I have Dahlias growing already, as well as Genovese Basil.
Dahlia seedlings

Also Lettuce and Zucchini.
 Zucchini seedling

And one impatient, or perhaps confused, Tomato.

I've also winter sown 7 plastic bins of various perennials, some native, and some not. 

I've left the lids off these, because I actually want them to get as cold as possible. Many of these seeds require a period of cold, followed by warmth, so I'm going to leave them out there in the cold for probably a few more weeks, and then put each bin on a shelf in my small, portable greenhouses. Because our winter weather lately has been hovering around freezing at night, and getting up into the 40s during the day, I don't want them to get warm from the greenhouse right away. And the cold won't bother the seeds that don't require freezing temps to sprout.

I want to finish by saying thank you to everyone who commented on my last blog post about my mother-in-law. I very much appreciate the sympathy, and the fact that so many offered tales of their own difficulties with in-laws. My relationship with MIL made me very aware of how I wanted to treat my own daughter-in-law when my son got married. We love her unconditionally, like a daughter. She has been wonderful to and for our son. A lovely young woman, who I greatly admire.

**********************
I thought I would make this post part of The Home Garden's Seed Sowing Saturday. Even though I wrote it on Thursday.

6 comments:

  1. Probably good to wait until the weekend. It's snowing pretty hard here now. I can't believe how much you've gotten started! I started some a few days ago and have lots more to go. I need to get get cups for some more, including the Dahlia seeds you sent.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the ingenuity of gardeners, like yours, using plastic bins for seedlings. What a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alison, your yard and mine look a lot alike. I wish I was planting seeds already though, (it would help if I had ordered them, too, sigh) I really like your idea of using rope lights for heat cables, that's very ingenious. Your seedlings are growing very well, it's so invigorating to see signs of green again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Goodness Gracious Me!!! You have certainly been busy, Alison and everything looks so well-organised and well-planned! You're amazing and an inspiration to all of us. You'll have me sowing my own seeds before long, of that much I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow look at all those baby seedlings when outside is so cold. I cannot believe you have so much snow if it was not because of the cat footprint.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow Alison that is a lot of seeds! Good for you. Love the rope lighting as your heat source, very clever.

    ReplyDelete

Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.