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Monday, February 23, 2009

Teaching a la Tootsie....I answer your questions

Good morning Class....welcome to Tootsie's gardening lesson! lol (picture me in a long skirt with my glasses pushed WAY down on my nose...a pointer in my hand....and a bun in my hair- oh and imagine I am VERY SERIOUS- not!!!!! ha ha!!!) (so NOT my style)

Yes! I did save all of your questions! Some of them are VERY old, but I did not want to post the answer until I had something to show you...some of them are getting answered now due to the season, and that I can show you better while I do it myself! Let's get started...there are lots.

onlymehere said: "... 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 "

In my experience, they don't mind a bit of shade or full sun either. I have seen the velvet series not do so well in the full hot sunshine...those ones do much better in the shadier spaces. My garden is primarily south facing. This means I have to water daily to keep "everyone" happy. Geraniums do not like to be wet...but do not tolerate long dry periods in containers well either. If you can possibly find a way to give them a little break from the hot sun, that might help. Otherwise...get your water out daily, and on Friday...get ready to fertilize! (hope that helped)

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~"

I try to keep the greenhouse warm enough to be comfortable to me with a t-shirt on! This is just around 20C. Room temp or just around there. During the day, it is much warmer in there as the clear roof and walls allow the sun to warm it up...If it gets too hot..I open the window a little to allow some heat to escape for a bit.. I keep my water in garbage cans in the center of the room, and leave the lid off of one to allow for some extra humidity if it feels dry in there. Once the seeds are planted and the moist soil is out in the open, the humidity level picks up quite a bit. I also keep two fans running 24 hours to keep the air moving as to avoid too much humidity-which can cause disease. (did that help?)

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"

My lighting system is simple. The sun rises...the sun sets! lol
The lights you see in the photos of my interior are simply the fluorescent lighting you can mount under your kitchen cupboards...I got them at wal-mart. I use them only to see when I decide to work in the dark hours of the night! My heat is a gas heater, but I have in the past, used ceramic space heaters to heat my smaller greenhouse. These were electric...and very stressful...if the power went out or the breaker tripped...I was hooped! I do still supplement with space heaters in the severely cold weather months if necessary.

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."

Okay Raxx....1. I add water when almost all the water is soaked up. I don't want to allow the seeds to dry out, or they will not germinate. Keeping them moist is a big deal for the first few days. 2. No damp is a one time thing when you treat the soil before you plant. Should you end up with damping off issues after that, you will need to mix some up and water from above a couple of times to make the problem stay contained. 3. Window sill gardening is in the post about the artificial lighting and I hope it was helpful!

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 probably "fresher". "

Here are my thoughts on this....YOU FLATTER ME!!! thank you! those plants were wild ones, they would have to reproduce somehow. I would try to plant them and see what happens. There are many plants that require the seed to be chilled before they will even consider patient...some things take a long time to germinate. Banana plants can wait for 45 days!!! (let me know how you make out)

mrsben said: "... Have another quick question regarding Hollyhocks. Does one cut them back for the winter? I have one stalk that is soooooo tall right now and continues to grow and blossom with the new growth only. (Most of it below is bare stem/stalk.) "

I do! who wants a plant that looks like a giraffe? lol

Mary / Mariah said: "I for got to ask , what flowers are more drought tolerant for flower boxes and baskets . I want some thing that doesn't need to be dead headed every day ? I'm planing for next year . Zennias will be in my flower beds , they did better then any thing . Thanks . Mary"

girl...what about Calibrachoa? Portulaca? I know the Calibrachoa (million bells) are considered "self cleaning" as are some of the newer Petunias....try one of those! I use them in some of my boxes.

Raxx - A day in the life said: "...I have seedlings issues! How do you make them last without a greenhouse!!?"

Are you asking about planting outside? or inside? I need more info! I am thinking you are asking about leaving them outside. If you may not want to leave them in the full blazing sunshine at first. Give them some shelter or they could fry. If you are talking about planting the will possibly want to cover them with some clear plastic (not in the blazing sun again) as to hold the moisture in. In some ways, the sun is a major setback for a new baby is hot...and can burn and dry them out! Light shade is best...with a little sun...but some protection.

Raxx - A day in the life said: "Hello is this where you sign up for gardening 101? Good, I have a question? It's about seeds, let's say it's always summer where you live, would you still need a greenhouse to germinate seeds? I planted some in a seedling tray with potting mix and left them in the yard but they did not germinate! I would really like some instructions on growing flowers from seeds, in an 'always summer' environment. Thanks Toots! Raquel"

My goodness...she is so curious! I love it!!!! Thanks for all the questions Raxx...(and everyone else too!) You can start many things directly in the soil outside if you are lucky enough to live where there is no frost! I am not that lucky. I suspect that those seeds you spoke of were burned by the hot sun in your area. If you plant directly into the spot of the garden, follow the direction as to how deep to plant, or not to cover...and water lightly a couple of times each day. It is the moisture level in the first critical days that will determine success most of the time! What type of seeds are you looking at planting?

Should anyone see me leading my blogging buddies astray...please let me know so I can correct myself. I speak only for myself and what has worked for me in the past. I must say again that I am not a formally trained horticulture fact I am not trained at all. I am self taught....trial and error is my teacher! If you have any questions I can answer...I will certainly try! (it might take several weeks or months...but I will do it...right RAXX?)

Thanks for joining me today...class dismissed!


Anonymous said...

Well, you're the best teacher I've ever had for gardening. Can't wait for it to turn spring for you. It's going to be a show stopper, I just know it.


Unknown said...

Tootsie the Teacher, I love it. Great information here. I too, fly by the seat of my pants with the trial error of gardening!!

Picket said...

Toots!!!!! It's me! lol Girl I have missed visiting you....look at you on that side bar all tiny and beautiful...

girl, you can explain gardening stuff so much great info!

Hope all is well on your side of the mountain and that necklace is gorgeous...have a great week sweetie!

artis1111 said...

It is so funny to see plants comming up in the snow. I have a lot of things about 4 inches. I can't wait to see what is in bloom in Vieques. Kathy

squawmama said...

Teacher, Teacher... Oh this was so informative I really enjoyed it... You have taught us so much in just the past few post... Love it... Can't wait to see you gardens this year...


LillyB said...

"Lilly, put on that dunce cap and get in the corner" "Yes Miss Tootsie!" LOL, I can hear it now!!
I'm feeling mischevious today so I might put a tack in your seat teacher! Oh good grief I just told on myself LOL
Have a great day!!!

Bo said...

Thank you for the lessons today did a great job but please don't give us a pop quiz! LOL ;-) Bo

Unknown said...

Have an award for you, oh yeah, smile, it's not that bad!!

Chrissy...The Apothecary Shop said...

Man you are good woman!!! My question is.... when will we win the lottery and be able to hire a gardener???? Have a fab day my dear friend!!!

Betty said...

Great blog! But I am still laughing at the image of you with glasses on the edge of your nose and a bun in your hair.
Have a great day.


onlymehere said...

I'm so excited you answered my question about geraniums! I'm definitely going to try to grow some this year! I found a blog that may just encourage your crown addiction. The give-away is closed but it gives great ideas for crowns and I thought you might like it! Here's the link.

pammiejo said...

Am heading for my "greenhouse" next - thanks for the info. Sometimes I do think you just have to jump in and see what works in the space you have. Thanks for answering my questions. Will let you know what makes it. Hey, and I'm a "Master Gardener" - so, all that learnin' doesn't necessarily mean a thing!! PAM

Four Paws and Co said...

Good one Tootsie! I'm thinking about trying some seeds again! ☺

Lori said...

You are a great teacher! I put my geraniums in my closet where it is dark and stays mostly warm for the winter. I don't water them or anything. I take them out in February and start watering, fertilizing, and take the dead leaves off of them, and they grow wonderfully in the summer. I do keep them inside until it gets warm. I have had mine for about 3 years and it's huge.

I have tried seeds with no luck.
Have a great week.

nikkicrumpet said...

You're going to have us all turned into expert gardeners by the end of the summer. YAY!

~♥~ Monica S said...

Hi Tootsie!

Great lesson!
I look forwar to spring!!


kel said...

My question is this... will you just come over and plant mine? and water it? and weed it?

Salmagundi said...

There is nothing like experience to make a great teacher, and you are not afraid to say, "I don't know". I'm so looking forward to your gardens this year. Sally

momstheword said...

Wow, Teacher Tootsie, you did alot of work on this! How sweet of you! I wish you'd been around when I was first starting to garden. Actually, consider yourself lucky as I would have driven you nuts...

Susan (Between Naps On The said...

Great post, Tootsie! Always learn something when I visit your blog!

Jessica said...

I was tardy to :) Great informative post~ now if I move to Utah by Cindy I can learn to make quilts and I just know this woman gives great hugs~ but if I move by you WOW~ the gardens we would have. I got it. I'll just buy 2

Hope you are doing well! I miss you ( do I tell you that every time I come by? )

Love ya bunches!! J.

Lady Katherine said...

Loved this Tootsie!

cindy said...

Thank you so much for answering our questions!!! It really helps! I love the crown coffee pot...really cute! ~Cindy~