Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April showers...

Well, we've had lots of April showers here, so I'm expecting loads of May flowers. :) Right now I have lungwort, hyacinth, bloodroot, quince and several wildflowers in bloom.
I had loads of seedlings going and it seems I got hit with damp off for the first time ever. I've heard about this dreaded disease that slaughters seedlings, but never experienced it before. It is apparently carried in the soil, and as these were still in peat pellets, I'm guessing that's where it came from. I had small gnats flying around my seedlings, and then my lovely tomatoes started shriveling up. :( I looked it up, and tried sprinking cinnamon around my seedlings in a ditch to save them. Cinnamon is anti-bacterial, and it does appear to have saved some of my plants, but I'm afraid I lost most of my tomatoes. So, I had to start over, and make sure I clean everything well to get rid of the disease. I'm now back at square one with my tomato and cucumber seedlings, but they should still be fine for planting out in a few weeks. As a side note, for some reason my cat thinks jalapeno pepper seedlings are quite tasty. He bites the tops off of them, but nothing else. I grow the kitties a pot of wheat grass, which they enjoy munching, but Hercules seems to like a bit of variety. :)
I've been hardening off other seedlings, which involves taking them outside during the day and bringing them in at night, to gradually expose them to outdoor conditions. The majority of them are now outside constantly and are about ready to plant in the ground. I've been slowly working on weeding my beds after the winter, which is really quite a task. I have a squirrel who seems to think my tuberose is gourmet fare and is rather smart.
I caught him red-pawed one day. I have started propagating the Mexican single tuberose, which is supposed to be even stronger scented than the double that I've had for years. I sold out of the double in Spring quickly, but did not think at the time of the squirrel... I just thought that I hadn't grown as many as I thought. Anyway, the single is not hardy here, so I grow it in pots. I had propagated them in a long planter which was sitting out front, along with the main pot. I walked out and the squirrel ran off. He had dug up both planters, scrounging for succulent tuberose bulbs to munch on. So I lectured him as he watched me from the tree, and he ran off. I reburied my bulbs and straightened the pots out, then went out back and put some squirrel food out. I sat on the porch for a moment and saw this furry little thief coming around the corner of my house along the forsythia. I spoke to him and he ran off again. I went back around front only to find that he had dug up and stolen my tuberose again that quickly! Little bugger. So, now I have wire and bars over the top of the pots. When they get sprouted, I'll spray them with pepper spray, but for now I don't know how to keep him out of the bulbs. One lady on twitter suggested windchimes, so I may try that. :)
My Amish snap peas are coming up nicely, as are my sweetpeas. Plants are coming up all over the yard, but I have not been able to locate my Bleeding Hearts. I moved the red one, and haven't been able to remember where I moved it to! But I know where the white one is and haven't seen it yet, so hopefully it's just too early for them.
I don't drink much soda, but when I do it's orange Fanta. So, all winter I've saved the bottles from them, and now am using them for planting. I cut the bottoms off to use as a pot, and save the top part to put over things I'm propagating, creating a mini greenhouse. This works out pretty nicely. For plant tags, used plastic silverware are great, just make sure you mark it with a permanent marker. The first marker I used was not permanent, so when I watered the plants, it washed away the name. The bottoms of cardboard juice containers are also nice for potting up seedlings. I'd love to hear more suggestions!
This is it for now. I now have my shops set up on Winkelf, Artfire and Silkfair. The etsy shop is still active as well, although I will be closing it eventually, or keeping it at a bare minimum. Please stop in and take a look, and comments are always welcome!

1 comment:

  1. You can also use your fant bottles as watering devices. We cut off the bottoms and put a small hole in the screw on lid. Then bury it 'lid down' next to the roots of your larger plants (say roses). Then when you fill the bottle up with water, it will drip out of the bottom and go straight to the roots.

    So on really hot days, the sun might dry up the moisture from the surface but you will still be getting loads of water to the roots.

    Carl -