Monday, February 20, 2012

Celebrating. . .

Exactly EIGHT weeks left until the average "frost-free" planting date around our country. .
April 15.
It was 8 weeks from yesterday. .so I spent a little quality time by myself in my greenhouse yesterday afternoon. I'll show ya what's up!
This little petunia came up from a volunteer seed in this pot where the earlier tomato plant froze out. It finally bloomed this week, just shy of Valentine's Day. I added some of the purple basil transplants in there to continue growing. 
The greenhouse is starting to get rather full. . .and I became a little concerned as to where all the seedlings would go later. .but decided to worry about it when the time comes. Ignorance is bliss you know!! 
In the corner by the door, I put the new cabbage transplants. The containers are deeper. .and the roots were needing that. I ran out of soil. .so I still have some to replant. I'm also toying with the idea of putting some raised beds on the south side of the greenhouse and putting cold frames over them. .not sure when or if THAT will happen. .but it would be a great place for those early spring veggies to be in when I need the space most for the flower seedlings. 
The cherry tomatoes are in full force now. We ate a large handful in our salad for lunch today!! They are still as delicious as the first ones. Seems that this plant may be the only cherry tomato. The other plants have tomatoes, but are now larger than these have been.  Next winter, will definitely see SEVERAL of these plants in there!
The seedlings are doing well. Most of the petunias germinated. They were "fusion" pellets. .and so now I think that there were several seeds in each pellet, as most of the plugs have 3-4 seedlings in them. The coleus haven't germinated yet. .and I'm not sure they will at this point.  If they don't. .that will officially be the last time they are sowed in this greenhouse!
The tomatoes have germinated well!! I left the cover on last week to protect against something nibbling the pepper sprouts. I thought it might be a mouse. .Because the lid went back on after the sprouts were up. .a few of the tomato seedlings rotted at the base and are history. 
I have decided that the nibbling-problem might be ants. You gardeners take a look at the seedling right in the middle of the picture. Directly in the plug in front is a stem with the leaves eaten off, the stem directly behind the middle plant, also was eaten, but appears to be sending up it's true leaves anyway. .the plant to the bottom left got part of it's leaves eaten. .WHAT?? I have had some ants in the greenhouse all winter, and they haven't bothered me. .so I didn't bother them. .until now. The white stuff all over the trays are grits. .The ants have been carrying them off. When they eat them. .it causes their stomachs to blow up and causes death. I feel like a horror movie in action!!
Jeremy taught me to set a honey trap. .which I also did late in the afternoon. This morning it was loaded with  ants. .blech!!  I have left the domes off the past week or so. .since I put out the first helping of grits. .and nothing else has really been eaten. .so I think the rodent choice is out. .and the ants have been eating the grits instead of the seedlings. .so hopefully all will be in order now!
Yesterday, I sowed some more flats of seeds. .I started some broccoli (only because one of the companies threw in some experimental seed to try). .2 varieties of cauliflower (yellow and purple!!). .I also sowed a couple flats of flowers including. .yellow coneflower, denver daisies, cherry brandy rudbeckia, carnations, columbine, salvia, marigold, chocolate flower, cleome and vitex.  Some of those have already been sown into the milk jugs outside. .but I think I mentioned that I was skeptical. .so I may have plants coming out of my EARS!! Really, can you EVER have too many flowers???
Speaking of the winter sowing. .One flat DID sprout!! HEE HAW!! However. .I have no idea what they are. .because SOMEHOW. .a dry erase marker made it into my greenhouse. .and I used that to mark the labels. . so the names. .promptly came right off in the humidity! Because of the issues I have had this year with vanishing varieties and no names. .I have now started a new habit to foster my obsessive compulsive traits. .
I have started sowing my seeds in alphabetical order. .and keeping a note on paper which varieties I planted. Genius, huh?? So when my tomatoes sprouted. .I could start on the tomato side. .and count each block of cells to determine which plant was which variety. .Soon, I'm sure I will be washing my hands 3 times before I can open the door to come back to the house. .Heaven help me!
Cami and I also worked on another experiment Saturday. .my silver falls plant is starting to look kinda punk, even after the fertilizer treatment. .so we made some cuttings. . 
to see if we could get them to root in time for spring container planting!! 
The only thing that made my afternoon more exciting. .was the fact that this kid followed me out to the greenhouse with my honey trap. .so I could listen to him do his humorous solo. He has been involved in forensics. .which seems to be working a lot better for the one-footed fellow than athletics has this year. .I did enjoy listening to his version of "the Pee Pipe" done with a nice southern drawl spiked with testosterone. 

I finally finished taking down the snowman deco. .and replacing them with spring. .
I cemented in the telescoping pole for the new purple martin house I was gifted for Christmas. .
And I have been researching some fruiting shrubs that will draw wildlife through the winter months around here. I am getting a plan together in my curled head. .and can't wait for the eruption of spring flowers and fauna!! 
Have a great week. .and thanks for stopping by!!


  1. I think we are going to make it!! My yellow tulips are poking though, the Naked Lady is just starting to shoot through the soil, and I saw lots of little tiny leaves on a few of the plants around the yard. I've gotta get my list finalized and ordered!!!
    LOVE this time of year! Its full of hope and possibility.

  2. 8 weeks until planting time? Goodness. I have 14. FOURTEEN. Oh my. Well, isn't THAT depressing.

    Well, keep taking pictures and posting. I live vicariously through you.

    And if you get to OCD-we'll throw an intervention!

  3. Love the petunia that bloomed for you. It is purple too so double love. :-)
    Can you walk in your greenhouse? It looks packed!
    That tomato plant is really going to town. Your patience is being rewarded. I've never tried to grow coleus from seed so I'm no help there. Petunias used to reseed themselves at my Mom & Dad's (not the fancy kind, the basic kind), but I think I've only had one show up on its own here. Your place is going to look great with all those flowers.
    The grits you're feeding the the grits you eat for breakfast? I've never heard of using that for ant poison. Wild.
    This nicer winter is letting you get a head start on projects. I checked my winter sown seeds over the weekend. No sprouts. I gave them a drink. I think the warmer it is, the more they dry out. I hardly watered them last year.
    I'm 10 weeks from our last frost days (spring is coming)/

  4. You have a greenhouse??? I'm so jealous! Lots going on in there too. I plan to urge my hubby to build one next year...been on the backburner. I'd love to see a picture of the outside of yours for ideas. Happy won't be long now!

  5. Wow! I can't believe all of your seedlings! Great job! How frustrating about the ants...I hope that takes care of the issue.

  6. It's all looking great! Once again I find myself dreaming of fresh tomatoes as I look at your photos! With all the flowers you're growing, your place will be awash with color this summer!

    What shrubs are you thinking of adding for winter wildlife?

  7. GonSS. .you are right. .grits that you eat. I read that a long time ago. .and we used it to work on some ant dens that we had. .it is amazing to watch all the ants go about their business with one grit in their mouths. It does really reduce the population. They carry the grit back to the den and eat it. The honey trap has proved to be pretty amazing though too. Gaia. .I am having a hard time trying to decide on winter shrubs, because they all seem to take more water than I care or can provide. I think I have decided to plant some fruiting shrubs along my new cedar fence, to keep the birds happy in fall. .elderberry for sure. .for the birds. .and not for us. .but also raspberries I think. I had 3 crabapple trees that were pretty large, and pretty new, that I think succombed to the drought, but I want to add them back. .probably with smaller trees to start. Am also thinking chokecherries along the cedar tree row to draw for winter fruit. Any suggestions??

  8. I'm so jealous reading about you eating fresh tomatoes! You are so lucky. My oh my, you are so busy in there! I wish I could do that.