Friday, February 15, 2008

Finally Getting Started

Even though I lazed around this morning doing nothing and scouting out more garden blogs, I still got stuff done this afternoon.

There are now 20 milk jugs sitting in the snowbank outside. Woohoo!

Ok, so it's only 20, but it is a start. I can't believe how far behind I am compared to last year.

The wintersowing container counts for zones 5 and 6 are running pretty tight:
Zone 5…3060. Zone 6…3417.
So hurry up all you zone fivers. Get 'em sowed and report your totals!

And does anyone know how you can post a comment on a wordpress blog if you don't have a wordpress account? I've been trying to comment on a certain blog for days and it keeps telling me I have to use a wordpress log-in in order to leave a comment. I'm betting he doesn't have the comment portion set so it will accept outside/other blog commenters. Anyone have a wordpress account that can tell him how to fix this?

Bloggy Morning

I spent the entire morning lazily searching out new (to me) gardening blogs. It was nice to not be in a rush and only hurriedly clicking through my favorites list.
I found some really interesting things, people and plant stuff.
Unfortunately, I also found many, many garden blogs that had either been abandoned or not updated in forever.
I wonder what happened to these people? Did they simply get sick of blogging, think there isn't anything 'gardeny' in the winter to blog about or maybe they've had a life upheaval of some sort. I'm hoping it's one of the former two. Well, either way, update your blogs people...I'm sure there are many others looking but giving up on you in despair of only seeing posts back-dated to summer 07 - and in some instances 05!

And I updated (and lengthened!) my links list. Whew, what a PITA! Blogger kept arguing with me that I couldn't add some. Yeah, well...bite me! It took me an hour and a half, but I got 'em all on there eventually.

I think my hibiscus seed hit some sort of record. They germinated in less than 24 hours. Hmmmm...even the kids were impressed! But, this quickness throws me in a bit of a dilema of how I'll keep them healthy until June. I'll just have to do my best.

And the spellcheck on blogger hasn't been working for forever! What is taking them so long to fix? You'd think it'd be a simple thing! So, please ignore the typos.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Watering Plants With PH

This should have been a no-brainer, a duh-moment, a slap-the-forehead thing.
Apparently, I've been suffering from a "Wake up stipid! You're killing your plants!" brain freeze for the last few....forevers.

Do I know that most plants prefer to grow in a certain PH? Ummm, YES. (Is this a trick question?)

Do I know the PH of my rainwater? Well, surprisingly, YES. (I have koi for pete sake!)

Do I know the PH of my groundwater? Ermmm, YUP. (See above mention of koi, but is it a winter or summer measurement you want? Waaaay different!)

Do I know the PH of my yard and garden soil? Well, DUH! (Of course, this is Central New York, so step over 2 feet and it'll change).

Do I know that the PH of the water that I'm watering my plants with (from rainwater, tap or hose) will affect the PH of the soil the plants are growing in? <----That, right there, was my "Wake up stupid!" thought a few weeks ago.

How could I have been so oblivious for so long? I have been gardening for 30-some years. 30-something freaking years! Has this thought ever appeared in my brain? Uh, obviously not. Why not? I dunno!

Our bedrock is composed of -
sediment stone
and even diamonds

Anyway, depending on the groundwater pressure and raising or lowering of it (especially in spring), the PH of our well water can change drastically - and fast.
It can sometimes be as high as 9 (though it occasionally tests off the charts) and drop to a 4.5 within the span of a few days.
Top this off with a rain water PH of sometimes 8 (yes 8) and this doesn't make for a good plant watering combination.

This high of a rain water PH makes absolutely no sense to us as we're suppose to be in one of the areas most directly affected by acid rain. Nope, we don't understand it, but that's what we've measured it at on some days.

Am I going to test and adjust the PH every time I water my plants? No freaking way! But does knowing that this is going on make me more adept at dealing with watering them? You bet.

Case in point:

My poor Rhododendron and Azalea seedlings were unhappy. But why, I wondered.
They have excellent soil with adjusted PH at transplant, Hollytone, they're kept moist but not soggy, perfect light amount and I tell them how cute they are (yeah, in baby-toned babble) every day. OK, sometimes a few times a day. And they just weren't those happy, strong seedlings they should be.

So, what the heck is wrong?

Duh-moment: It's the water, stupid!

I tested: OMG! I've been watering them with groundwater at a PH of 9! So, what's happening to their soil? Duh! (yes, I actually slapped my forehead.) It's changing the soil PH.

Have I read to water them with distilled water only? Oh, yes. Many, many times.
Did I want to spend the money on it when I have water flowing from the tap for free? Heh- not this cheapskate.

I gave in. I bought the damn water, flushed their soil, and waited.

What happened?

Well, in less than a month, they've put on weight, gotten taller, stockier, healthier, colored up beautifully and put out many new leaves.

I wish kids were that easy to adjust!

The moral of me almost killing my helpless plants?:

Don't just check your soil PH - pay attention to your water, too!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blog Imitation Is NOT Flattery!

What the hell is this?: Garden Blog Today

It is almost an exact replica of Garden Voices.

This thieving of blog posts is getting ridiculous! Check and see if your is listed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cardinal Flower

The Cardinal Flower seed I saved from my one plant germinated in 4 days. Yay!
I sowed half inside and half WS (just in case I screwed up with my inside ones).
They're cute little things - look a lot like the coleus when it first germed.
It looks like a beautiful carpet of green.
I absolutely adore this plant! The leaves are a wonderful coppery/maroon color all summer and you just can't beat the 'true' red of the flower in late summer. It just about glows in the bog!
And since it's now listed as Exploitably Vulnerable in NY, I'm more than happy to do my part and grow a gazillion of them. Hee, hee.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oh, My Gosh...

The coleus are coloring up already! They only have 1 set of true leaves and are the sloooowest growing plant I've ever started from seed (OK, might be a toss-up with the rodos and azaleas), but they have the most beautiful pinky/maroon coloring beginning to fill in with the lime green edging. Maybe they will look a lot like their mom after all.

The things that make me happy!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Holy cow!
The Jalapenos germinated already, in 4 days.
4 freaking days! A month to germ - my butt.

The onions are all sprouting well. Thank goodness enough germed that I'll be stocking the freezer with them again in the fall.

I was pondering growing popcorn this year, but they'll cross with sweet corn, so I guess that's out. Besides, I've been doing some research on them and they seem to be too much of a PITA to get moisture content right. Ahhh, well - maybe when I'm old and gray. Strike that...I'm already gray, so we'll just go with old. lol.

I swapped my Aunt for some seed, so I'll have impatiens and pansy seed to start. Of course, I can WS the pansy seed, so more room for imps. :) Ok, with all the veg taking over the light stand, maybe just a few.

And I figured I'd try lavender just one more time, so I'll do half of the seeds in, the other half WS and see what happens. And if they don't germ - I GIVE UP!

And no caps on your WS containers, people. Tons of blogs are reporting that they're giving Winter Sowing a try, but I can't understand where they got the faulty information to leave the caps on. You need rain, snow and fresh air to get in there! Well, the seeds need it. lol. I hate to see people get the wrong information and them be disappointed that it didn't work because of it.

Some more info: A few newbie questions answered