Sunday, March 22, 2009

The hoophouse is full.

It's been a long morning with my hands in dirt. I've been sowing more annual seeds in the basement waiting for the warmer weather. It's 57 and sunny at the moment. Another 12 degrees and the weatherman will be right again.

I sowed lots of different seeds.

Nasturtium - dwarf cherry rose, moonlight, and jewel mix
Convoluvus tricolor - a trailing low growing morning glory
Dutchman Pipe Vine
Morning glories - knoila black, heavenly blue, split personality
Sunflowers - esther mix, tiger eye, and mammoth
Four O'clocks - white (collected from my plants) and Limelight
Dusty Miller
and two types of millet - purple baron and purple majesty

That's 176 cups not counting the 90 zinnias I sowed last night. Not all of these will be planted in my yard. Some will go to my sister's house for two beds she has asked me to stuff with flowers. She's in SC so her last frost date is about a week ahead of mine.

I also wintersowed 21 more 2-liter containers and 4 lasagna pans.

The other containers are under plastic still. I cut large slits in the sheet of plastic for water and air movement. I'll remove it in a few more days. There are some containers that need more germination time. I don't feel like covering 200+ containers in the case of frost.

The tomatoes in the hoophouse overnight are looking good. Not too much stress from the transplant or the barely freezing temperatures last night. The concrete blocks did their job and helped radiate heat back into the structure.

I had to rearrange everything inside to fit all my newly sown annuals. The hardwood cuttings came out. I tossed a Sterlite container that was used last summer to root softwood cuttings in the wooden box over the cuttings. Some were removed but most are doing well.

Finally, everything was put in place. The plants that have spent the winter in the hoophouse were put outside. They include a few roses, an osmanthus fragrans (I lost two), and lots of gardenias.

Now, it's time to cut the grass and do some cleanup in the yard itself. If I have an extra hour before sunset, I want to plant out a few wintersown containers. Work this week will be hectic for sure and I doubt I will have time to fuss with much more than watering duty.

2:35pm - 61 degrees. The grass has been mowed. Mostly it was clover and wild onions that needed trimming. The bermuda grass in the back yard is still dormant. I should do something about the lawn one day. Not this year though. I've got enough to worry about.

I took down the window boxes on the front of the house. I built them from pressure treated plywood and the water just soaks right through. I plan to fill pots with annuals this year rather than filling the boxes with dirt. This will make it easier to change them out when the summer heat zaps the petunias. It should make watering easier too. Now I just need to find the containers.

I found a sweet potato from one of the vines last year. I'll replant it this year to see if it grows a new vine. I have cuttings from the green and black vines in the hoophouse.

I'm happy to see that the Japanese Barberry I planted late last fall is coming back. I didn't realize it was deciduous when I bought it. I thought for sure it was dead.

Did I mention the 55 gallon drums my dad brought me? I plan to use two of them connected together to create a rain barrel watering system for the perennial bed. No sense running up the water bill when there will be veggies that need it more.

And finally, Sunday's picture. Things are coming to life out there. Hard to tell from this distance. I can just imagine all the zinnias, rudbeckia, shasta daisies, morning glories, etc that will be blooming this summer. Most of the wintersown seeds are perennials, so they will need another year to put on their show.

I've had a sandwich and some sweet tea. Time to get back out and plant out some wintersown containers.

4:30pm - and it's only 63 degrees. The weatherman lied, again. No biggie. I got everything done on my list today except for transplanting some wintersown petunias into individual cups. I fried my pink tray in the hoophouse two weeks ago, so I'm glad I sowed a couple of cups on the side. The white ones are doing poorly too, but I also have a cup of those. I'll get that done after dinner this evening.

Planted out a few things.

Nicotiana sylvestres
Columbine - burgundy(2) and purple
Red Bee Balm(2)
Dianthus Albus - white bed
white hollyhock - white bed
Virginia stock(4)
Crimson Clover

I bought a pack of 6 stargazer lilies, my absolute favorite, and planted them near the arbor in the perennial bed. I still have peas soaking that need to go out. And the coffee grounds container on the kitchen counter needs to be emptied. I can't decide where to toss them. There's also the cabbage seedlings in the basement that need to be potted into cups and hardened off. Maybe I haven't finished everything I need to do today. The third day of spring and I am already tired!

That big plant in the top row is nicotiana sylvestres. It was sown on Dec 21, 2008. I noticed the sprouts around January 8. It's so large, it was shading the other seedlings under it. That container was planted out.

New seedlings are popping up in the perennial bed. You can't see them unless you're on your hands and knees with your face in the dirt. I really hope these are the rudbeckia "Autumn Colors" volunteers from the one plant I bought last summer. It made it nearly 3 weeks before the pill bugs took it down.

Or maybe these are the rudbeckia?

Or these?

Most likely, there is some cleome in there and perhaps some Golden Jubilee or coreopsis. I scattered seeds all over last fall.

Guess I will head back downstairs and do some transplanting. Is it time to eat yet?


Anonymous said...

Tom, I was wondering what you were doing with all those plants. If you have any extras I am just up the road in Mt. Pleasant. This is my first year of doing any serious flower gardening.
There was a little frost at our home this morning. I saw it on the roof across the street. Nothing was hurt in our yard.
Enjoying keeping up with you.
Hope you have a great week.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

I drove through there twice this past week. I'm sure there will be extras. Once everything sprouts and gets going, I'll have a better idea of what's going to be planted and where. There will come a time when I run out of dirt. I expect it will happen sooner than later.

You can email me at I don't check it too often, so if I don't get back to you right away, you know why.

Kris said...

I'm saying *whimper* but you KNOW what I mean! *evil grin*

Ginger said...

Wow, this is a great blog! I love the way you transplanted tomatoes into the soda bottles.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Kris, it'll happen for you too. And then you'll forget all about the envy.

Thanks Ginger. Welcome! I'm fairly cheap when it comes to container planting. It's temporary anyway. And it's recycling. I have my mom and her friends save the bottles. I only drink maybe one a week so it's good to have another source. Since Christmas she's managed to get 4 more large trash bags full. They brought them up this weekend.

I have lots of shrubs that I will pot into them later on as the seeds grow in the wintersown containers. I can reuse them for a couple of years, I hope.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Wow, look at all those plants! Awesome! Soon it will be time for you to plant the ones not in yet.

Phillip Oliver said...

Stumbled across your blog from another. I thought I had done a good deal of work this weekend until I read this. LOL Great job!

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Sue: we have about 3 more weeks before our average last frost date. If I can keep the hoophouse going that long, I'll be okay. Next year, I will start a little later.

Thanks Phillip. It's been a great weekend. I love working outside in the yard.

Kris said...

Hey, keep us posted on that sweet potato project. I always get tons of the potatoes but have never been successful getting vines out of them.