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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Let's Get Dirty!!! Planting the Geraniums

Today...we will plant the Geraniums. Roll up your sleeves...we are going to make a mess of those wonderful french tipped fingernails...lol
We will use several of these seed cells. I call them my 9 packs. I also have 6 packs and 4 packs.

This will be the home for our baby plants until it is time to transplant them to bigger quarters...(about 4-6 weeks from now)

We will also use these wonderful things....a full tray and a daisy tray...to hold them.

This is what is called a Daisy Tray. It adds some much needed support to the tray when it is full of water and plants. It goes under the full tray.
Wow...you guys work fast! Look at all the 9 packs you have filled with moderately packed soil already! Good Job!

I use a piece of plastic to line the inside of the full tray, as these little babies are known as being leaky...and we don't want to waste the water we are going to be using today.

Once our tray is inside the daisy tray...and the plastic is in there...lets fill it with 4 liters of water...okay....okay...about a gallon for you U.S. Citizens...lol

There we go! The reason we fill the tray with water rather than water from over the top, is to avoid washing away the soil that we put into the 9 packs and risk losing our seeds!

Speaking of seeds.....here we are...each one of these packages holds about 10 seeds.

This is the prettiest Geranium seed I have ever seen! They have been coated at the seed farm. A natural seed is light brown...almost like a caramel. They sort of look like blue mouse poop! Some of the others that I have seen are orange, red or gold color...even bright yellow. Neat hey?

I like to use these seed spoons that have different size "cups" in the ends. My fingers are not slender enough to muck around with the seeds. I scoop one seed at a time out of the palm of my hand and gently place it in the center of each of the 9 seed cells in our 9 packs.

See? Just like that! Wow...you guys are fast learners! lol
Next we cover them lightly with a bit of soil, as they require some darkness during the germination process.... Good Job! Now that they are "tucked" in....
We MUST label them! After all...what good is buying them in distinct color packages if we don't know which is which? I like to use old mini blinds...(or new cheap ones). I cut them up and write on them with permanent markers. I have also used tongue depressors, but they are hard to come by around here...and Popsicle sticks are often too skinny to write on. Those beautiful blue seeds are going to produce some wonderful, vibrant Red Geraniums.
Now...you see this? It is called NO DAMP. It is a medication that will kill off the bacteria that will potentially kill off our Geranium crop. Damping off is a disease that affects the stem of the plant at ground level. When you are in the garden center, look at the base of the plant. If the stem is discolored and brown looking, your plant is not good. What happens is the plant gets sick, and the stem rots at root level and the plant has no hope to survive.
I could wait for the signs of the disease to rear its ugly head, and then treat them, but I am not willing to do this. Three years ago, I had my first learning experience with this disease and lost almost 40 plants before I got it under control. The frustration and stress was awful. Now....I simply take preventative measures and go from there. What's that saying? "an ounce of prevention...."

So...we take 40 ml of NO DAMP and put it in our 4 liters of water. (2 tsp to 1 gallon) lol
Then last but certainly not least...we place our freshly planted 9 packs into the water to soak up the medicated moisture and start to germinate.
And now we wait....in a few days, we will see some wonderful little green leaves poking up through that soil. I will post it when they do!
And finally....I posted the crown I made the other night during a fit of insomnia...and painted the next morning...Many of you guys flattered me so much (thanks...I blushed) and some of you actually asked if I would reveal the real home made item...so here it is...the one I made.
I thought it was more than obvious...and I think you were just being super duper nice to me...I am thinking it will look just right in a plant.
I made it out of metal roof flashing. It is silver...and the top is made out of a curtain rod finial I had laying around. The metal with the holes in it...well that is metal strapping...lol....it is held together with the tiny nuts that hold the switch plates on your walls and nuts hold them in place!
I plan to try one more time at least...to see if I can do a better job...I might just post the process...and maybe...just maybe one day this summer...after all the planting is done...I will make some more...but for now...I have dirt under my fingernails, and I am happy with that...I have lots of planting to do...
Would you all like to see the process of different types of flowers?
Would you like to see some different seeds?
What about some tips for window sill gardening? (for those who don't have a greenhouse) (Raxx?)
I will take any suggestions you throw my way...and try to work them into the next couple of weeks.

15 comments:

Honeycats from NC said...

Thanks for the lesson in starting your geranium seeds. you make it look easy, and it makes me want to get my hands dirty. I would love to see anything you can show us about seeds, gardening etc. You know your stuff!! You deserve a crown *@@*(this is suppose to be a crown, best I can do on a computer)
for sharing with us, there are some gardening experts who want to charge you a fee for sharing their knowledge. So thank you again!! I can wait to see these plants in your garden.

artis1111 said...

Do you use any grow lights?.I don't have a green house either! But I do have a walkin closet I am not using.Kathy

Kristen said...

Wow look at ALL those soon to be Geraniums. You are soooo smart to be able to plant from seed.
Sometimes mine work and other time...not so much.

I have a seed question.
I have seeds from my Japanese Roof Iris. Now the seeds have been sitting in their pod and have been frozen, snowed on, rained on, and everything else.
Do you think they are still ok to plant?
I got my original plant by seed (~5 years ago)and they did wonderful...but they were probaly "fresher".

Darla said...

Gee Whiz! You have a lot of cell packs ready for seed, thank you for sharing this with us, you have answered several of my questions. I look forward to learning more. (I hope your personal stuff is getting resolved the way you want it to) Pinch Busy's beautiful cheeks for me, easy though~

Raxx - A day in the life said...

Can you greedily read a post? I did! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, I would love to see the process of all the plantings!

Questions;
1 Do you check until all the water is gone and then add more water?

2 How many times do you add the 'no damp'?

And yes I would love to know about window sill gardening, it would help me a lot! I love to buy seeds but, not much success.

LillyB said...

Hey girlfriend! I found this information for people like me who can't keep plants alive...you always like to give great advice so I thought you might like this for your fans who are like me LOL!

These houseplants are the best place to start your collection. They are all easy to grow and can generally withstand erratic watering, uneven or bad light, and fluctuating temperatures. They'll thrive in dorm rooms, offices and sometimes even dismal corners.

Golden pothos vine (Epipremnum pinnatum 'aureum')
There's a reason this vine is one of the most popular hanging plants around. In its native habitat, golden pothos grows into a tree-swallowing monster with huge yellow and green leaves. As a houseplant, the plant will grow aggressively from pots or trailing baskets with minimal care. They will easily root in a simple glass of water. With better care, large, mottled, mature leaves may develop.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum)
A well-grown spider plant is a magnificent thing. The plant grows easily in baskets or atop columns, with arching leaves. The variegated variety is by far the most common. Over time, a mature plant will send out plantlets or offsets on long stems that form an impressive hanging display. These plantlets can be easily potted up to create new specimens. Spider plants are not picky about water, light or temperature.

Snake plant and mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata and S. trifasciata laurentii)
Actually in the agave family, there are many varieties of sansevieria that are exceptionally tough. They like plenty of light, but they can handle less if necessary and they aren't too particular about watering—providing there isn't too much. When repotting is necessary, the main clump can be easily divided. These plants are striking additions to a collection. The snake plant features green on green bands on sword-like leaves, while the mother-in-law's tongue has yellow leaf margins.

Dracaena species
There are many varieties of dracaena suitable for home growth. The D. Draco and D. Marginata are wonderfully easy plants that tolerate a wide variety of conditions. These plants feature arching leaves from a woody stem. Dracaena leaves can be green, yellow and green, or even tri-colored. Also a member of the agave family, they like to be regularly watered in the summer and almost left dry throughout the winter. D. Fragrans is often used to make the popular Ti plants, or false palms.

Succulents and Cacti
There are dozens of varieties of succulents and desert cacti flooding into garden centers and grocery stores. In general, succulents are desert plants with thick, fleshy leaves. Some of them have spines, and some none. Agave is an example of a popular succulent, along with aloe and popular echeveria rosettes. Cacti generally have spines and interesting leaf structures, including barrels, paddles and columns. As a class, succulents and cacti are slow growing and will withstand tremendous abuse. They do best with bright light, well-drained pots and little water. In the right placement, these are plants that truly thrive on neglect.

Bromeliads
These plants have gained an unfair reputation, probably because of the difficulty required to coax a bloom from a bromeliad. It's true that making these jungle plants bloom in the house is a tricky task. They require copious warmth and water, along with high humidity and filtered light, to produce their showy flower spikes. However, many species of bromeliads have beautiful leaves that are attractive by themselves. Bromeliads plants are usually watered by filling the central cup. They require little fertilizer, and when pups appear around the base of the plant, these can be potted up to increase your collection.

Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Technically a dracaena species, lucky bamboo is the perennial office plant. Untold pots of these thrive in awful conditions, sporadically watered with bad lighting and poor air quality. Nevertheless, lucky bamboo lives on. These make wonderful gift plants, and many people believe they bring good luck and enhance the chi, or energy, of their surroundings.

pammiejo said...

I'd like to see your light system - are you adding light or just using natural light? How warm are you keeping the greenhouse? I'm interested in all aspects - so keep clicking away! PAM

cindy said...

This is what I have been waiting for! Great post! Soooo, what temperature should the room be that these are in?....damp, dry.... ~Cindy~

onlymehere said...

I honestly didn't know which crown you'd made either bz you did such a great job!! I would love to know how to keep geraniums alive and blooming longer. My MIL grows gorgeous ones on her porch that faces north but mine faces south and I tend to kill them. Any hints for me? I hate murdering plants! Cindy

LillyB said...

You didnt have to publish that long article girlfriend...I was just letting you know what I found...I could probably kill a faux flower!!!LOL I really do wish I had your ability with plants.

YaYa's Funhouse said...

Tootsie, I see Raxx follows your blog. I have been trying to get her blog and have been unable. How about you? Do you know if her blog is still up?

Judi said...

Hi Tootsie
You are going to have such beautiful flowers coming up soon...isn't it exciting to be thinking about spring?? We made it..whew. That is a great tutorial on how to do it right. I didn't know about that Damp solution. Very good.
I hope things are very well with you..*Hugs*
Do you know I've MOVED to BLOGSPOT?? I have and hope you'll come to visit me!!
have a nice day
Judi

Diane said...

This is a great post Tootsie! I've never seen geranium seeds, although I have a ton a baby scented geraniums by one bush, so it's been sharing it's seeds. I'd like to see more! I know, I'm being greedy, but this is great!

Your crown is actually prettier than the one you bought. I still think you should make them to sell... ♥♥♥ Diane

lvroftiques said...

This is so interesting to me Toots. I might just be able to keep a plant alive if I keep readin' lol! I'd love to see the whole process. I feel I've already learned a ton after just one lesson! And your crown would look perfect as part of an outdoor array! I can't believe you made it out of metal! Sheesh y'all are wayyyyy to crafty! Vanna

Gollum said...

Hey, Tootsie..I've just about killed my houseplants due to starvation and neglect. So sad...

I'm passing along a little badge I found. It's called "Blogging Without Obligation." It's such a cute post, and a true one.
Okay, blogger won't let me leave it, something about "Your HTML cannot be accepted"), but if you look on my blog, the sidebar, you'll see a blogging without obligation badge. Just click on it and it will whisk you away, Calgon.

Hugs,
G