Monday, December 26, 2011

A single sprout

It's been 5 weeks and about 3 or 4 days and I have a single, tiny sprout from my strawberry seeds.  Hopefully more will sprout too.  If it survives I'll post some pictures.   It is too small to get a non-blurry picture right now.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Update

My strawberries still have not sprouted. :(  I am definitely going to buy some seeds/starter plant from a nursery in the spring.  

Also, my pineapple didn't make it either.  It began to rot.  Two days of drying out must not have been enough.  Not to mention that Smyrna tap water is horrible and what I put the pineapple in to start rooting.  I never buy distilled or spring water.  I do good to filter my own drinking water.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011


It's been 3 weeks and 3 days since I planted my strawberry seeds.  So far, nothing.   I'm giving it up to 8 weeks which will be January 12th.  I found sites that listed 3 different germination times.  1-2 weeks, 2-3 weeks, and 2-8 weeks.  

In the mean time, I obtained a pineapple top and have it growing some roots.  I'll put a blog post about that when I put it in a pot of dirt.  I got my pole connectors for my greenhouse, now I need another set of shelves and another grow light.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Garden Tasks for Winter (December - January)

Yes, there are many things to do to keep your garden beautiful, even in the winter.  

  • Dig organic matter into clay soils.
  • Protect slightly tender perennials with straw or compost.
  • Brush heavy snow off limbs to avoid snapping branches.
  • Plant deciduous trees, shrubs, and hedges on dry, frost-free days, unless the soil is very wet.
  • Prune trees (except for plums and cherries) and wisteria.
  • In late winter, coppice shrubs for special effects like color stems or foliage.
  • In windy gardens, prune back the topgrowth of tall shrubs to prevent windrock.
Other Tasks
  • Check stored dahlias, cannas, and gladioli, and remove any that show signs of rotting.
  • Wrap up pots with bubble wrap and cover vulnerable plants with fleece if frost is forecast.
  • Continue to take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs.
  • Take root cuttings of perennials.
  • Continue to rake leaves off the lawn.
  • Keep off lawns and soil when sodden or frozen.
  • Check and repair garden tools.
  • Begin making plans for next year's garden.

This list was found in Learn to Garden: A Practical Introduction to Gardening.  I did modify the list a little.   

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Planting Strawberry Seeds

I planted my strawberry seeds on 11/17/2011.  The seeds I used came from store-bought strawberries (fruit, not a growing plant).  The strawberries have been frozen in my freezer for a few weeks now.  

The method I used was found at 

1. collect the seeds by placing 4-5 whole berries in a blender filled with water. 2 Frape the berries. Seeds that float are not good discard. 3. Strain out the sinkers. 4 Take seeds and scatter them over a something like a baking plan filled with a comercial potting mix. 5 Scatter a light dusting of potting mix over the seed (1/8 - 1/4 inch). 6. place pan in the sunlight somewhere in your home. 7. Seed will germinate over 2-8 weeks. 8. As you see the small plant emerge, carefully pluck them out and move to Dixie cups or some such container and allow them grow to a transplantable size.

For step 2, my blender did not have a frappe setting, so I used the puree setting.  I had to strain the mixture with a wire hand held strainer because coffee filters are too thick.  

On the left is stuff that was at the top. On the right is stuff from the bottom.
A close-up of the stuff from the bottom of the blender.

The make-shift greenhouse.
My watering "door."
View through the "door."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tips for beginners

V 1 - posted 11/15/11

Sun & Shade
Full sun means at least 8 hours of direct sun per day.  Morning sun is milder and best for plants.  Afternoon sun is hotter and brighter.  If you are keeping track of the sunlight in a given location, an hour of afternoon sun could count as two hours of sun due to its intensity. 

Partial sun is about six hours of direct sunlight.

Part shade is five or fewer hours of morning sun.

Annual vs. Perennial

  • Annuals are plants that live their whole life in one season. 
  • Perennials are plants that live their lives over two or more seasons.  Many die back when frost occurs, while the root systems survive and send out new shoots in the spring.  
The word bulb is often used incorrectly, as a blanket term for any plant that has an underground food-storage organ.  

There are:

  • true bulbs - examples: daffodils, tulips, lilies, allium, amaryllis, Dutch iris, fritillaria, glory-of-the-snow, grape hyacinth, hyacinth, wood hyacinth.
  • corms - examples: gladioli, crocuses, crocosmia
  • rhizomes - examples: irises and lily-of-the-valley, canna, water lily
  • tubers - examples: dahlias, caladium, lotus, potatoes, cyclamen

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What to grow in my greenhouse....

So progression on my greenhouse is a bit slower than I planned.  I had hoped to have it functional and ready Saturday Nov. 5th.  Finances are not as available as I'd thought they'd be; they ended up fixing vehicles and buying food lol. (I do get paid tomorrow though.. so we'll see where we are at with $$.  I may cheat and make a greenhouse using only the bottom shelf since I can get that grow light from my dad.  That way I can at least get stuff started in dirt.)

The cool thing about this is that I don't have to use all the space but if I need to or want to I can.  I thought the dip in our ceiling would prevent me from having anything too tall, but where it sits is just a few inches away from the dip.  :)

To get the greenhouse completed I need to order another set of poles to make the shelving unit taller and thus give more space between each shelf.  I also need to pick up grow lights for the shelves I plan to use right now and pick up a shallow plastic tub to catch any condensation, just in case.  I don't want to ruin my dinner table.  My step-dad has one grow light and a few timers he is not using so I'll get those from him too.  The final thing I will do is cut the plastic and velcro it to the unit.

What will I be growing, you ask??  Well, I want to start some fruit since it will take more than a season to be able to produce edible fruit.  I'm thinking of strawberries and pineapple.  When local nurseries open for spring I'll also try to pick up some blueberries.

I've done quite a bit of research about growing pineapple and strawberries.  Everyone says it can be done various ways.  My plan is to try a few of them and document the process and any success I have and then share the info with you guys.  Well that is all for tonight.  Cross your fingers for extra money in the bank tomorrow!!

Mandevilla, how it's holding up.

First, here are the pictures showing how bad it is looking. (see blog titled "My Mandevilla" for more info on this plant)

All the fallen leaves and flowers
compared to

When I first put it outside after its first winter.


Here are a few pictures of it's new growth (may be hard to see though).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Indoor Greenhouse

Now it's fall and I really want to grow fruit, especially since it will take a long time to bore fruit.  So I decided to make an indoor greenhouse.  I looked all over the web to how-to and DIY projects.  Finally, with the space I have, I decided to go with a wire shelving unit with plastic connected with velcro.

I am going to order another set of poles so that I can extend the top to utilize the top shelf and have more room between shelves.  I may also use the table as a shelf (with something under the whole thing to protect from any condensation). I plan to affix lights to the under side of each shelf.  I am waiting to cut and affix the plastic until I have the unit exactly how I want it.

As the project comes along, I will update the blog and give some details and a run down of the diy project.

My Mandevilla

This summer was my first year growing a mandevilla vine.  The one pictured below was given to my family when my mom passed away in 2010.  My step-dad kept it for the first year and gave it to me this year.  It did wonderfully on my patio where it got full sun.  Below are some pictures I took of it while it was still outside.

I knew that it would again have to come inside for winter, but this time it was staying at my house.... and I have two cats who will eat all plants, real or fake.  I also noticed that the plant had little yellow aphids living on it.  So I took a trip to Home Depot and picked up some pet friendly pesticide and sprayed the plant about 3 times.  It was outside until it got down to about 50 degrees F.

When I brought it in, I put it in the sunniest room I could.  However, it soon lost almost all leaves and began to look dead, not sure if the pesticide had anything to do with it.  I bought it a grow light to help provide more light since it no longer gets direct sun.  We keep the house around 73 degrees F.  It still didn't seem to perk up.  I have read many accounts of people cutting their mandevilla back for winter and letting it go dormant.  I figured mine probably did go dormant.


Just yesterday I looked closely at it and saw a few new baby leaves!!!  I'm just glad to know its still alive and well.  I did not want to have to wait until spring to find out if I killed it.  I'll add some pictures of how it looks, without all its leaves... its pitiful and sad looking.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Summer

Here are some before and after shots of my garden for the summer.

4 O'clocks

Inside patio - Morning Glories

Outside patio - Morning Glories

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Garden Tasks for Fall (September - November)

Yes, it's getting colder and the daylight is fading, but there is still much to do.

Remove dead and dying stems and foliage from perennials.  Be sure to to leave a few to protect the roots over winter.

  • Plant hardy perennials and hardy evergreen shrubs in early fall.
  • Plant deciduous shrubs and trees late in season when leaves have fallen.
  • Remove and compost summer annuals.
  • Plant spring-flowering biennials and bulbs.

Other Chores
  • Transplant deciduous shrubs in late fall.
  • Lift and divide hardy perennials.
  • Lift and store, or insulate, tender perennials and shrubs before first frost.
  • Lift and store dahlias and cannas after the first frosts.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs.
This list was found in Learn to Garden: A Practical Introduction to Gardening.  I did modify the list a little.