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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Beginning…With ‘Old Friends’ (and Some New)

A new year has begun, and for many that means new beginnings. New resolutions, new habits, the possibilities of change are endless. The new year, for me, is the beginning of a new season of planting, growing and gardening. A season of hope, and change, new and old.

I have been pouring over the seed books now for weeks. I have made my list so many times you would think my new name was Santa! There are check marks, strikethroughs, question marks…scribbles and sometimes things written so poorly that even I can’t read them!

Each year I try to add a new flower or plant to my inventory. Some of these are keepers, ’old friends’ if you will, and others are plants that I will NEVER try again due to inappropriate climate conditions in my gardens…or just because my ‘newbie’ of the year is a general pain in my A$$ and is not what I had hoped it to be. Around here…you either bloom like the dickens and hold your own…or you just don’t make the cut for the next season.

How do I know what I did and didn’t like? I keep a garden journal. For many years it was simply a bunch of notes scribbled as I planted each package of seeds…notes of what was in each pot that I made for the patio or hanging basket…some notes about what plants thrived in which beds…you get the idea. When my current greenhouse was built, I also invested in a laptop computer on which I stored the important notes of each garden year, and included some photos to go with! I would take a photo of each pot that I planted…and write what I put into each one… then I print it off…place each page in a plastic sleeve and pop it into a binder that I keep on a shelf in my greenhouse.

-for example…my notes would be something like: 6 alyssum (purple) 6 alyssum (white) 5 wave Petunia (silver) 3 apple red geranium. I would add a photo of that pot, and later comment on what I thought of it. Like or dislike…etc.

I also like to keep records of the seeds I order…because some companies are better than others. Some have higher germination in general than others, some have better customer service, prices, selection…etc. By looking back at the garden journal, and taking a peek at the empty seed packets from that particular year, I can get the gist of what I might like to order again and from where!

I am having an issue getting some of my usual ‘helpers’ (old friends) for my greenhouse this year. I usually use a product by ‘Plant Prod’ called “NO DAMP”. It seems that there is NOT ONE BOTTLE of NO DAMP available anywhere. No Damp is an antifungal liquid that is used to treat or prevent damping off disease in young seedlings. I use it as a preventative measure for almost all of my seeds, especially the Dahlias, Geraniums and Petunias.

If anyone has any information as to where I can get my hot little hands on some of this product, or a product that is similar, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET ME KNOW! I am one desperate little gardener at this point. I have heard that chamomile tea made into a spray works similarly, or clove tea…and even cinnamon sprinkles….but I am not confident that any of this is going to work…and I am asking for your expert opinions!

I have placed one seed order so far, and have another two or three that I will be putting in, as soon as I finish checking my journal. I have a few things that I should have kept on my list as ‘regular stock’ and a few that are on the list that should have been moved to the ‘not so much’ list.

My regular stock list of other ‘old friends’ is pretty basic:

marigold, petunia, wave petunia, dusty miller, alyssum, malva, lavatera, dahlia, sweet william, bacopa, swedish ivy, pansy, rudbeckia, nicotana, banana, lobelia, verbena, portulaca, geranium, coleus, snap dragon, dianthus, helichrysum, alternanthera…

My newbie list of ‘new friends’ changes each year. This year I am looking at a couple of things…Thymophylla, Datura…and a couple others I am contemplating.

How do you keep records?

Do you have any suggestions to add to my list of newbies?

What are you planting this year?

Do you have any suggestions where I can get a good fungicide? Or an alternative?

I can’t wait to hear your replies…

Well…that’s it for today…I can’t wait to show you what I have been up to in the greenhouse…so until next time…I’ll be getting dirty organizing for the spring plant…and you…just be you…I like it that way!

*) *) *)….you know who you are!


¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.


Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Oh my sweet girl..I'm so HAPPY TO BE to see you...I pray this coming year ofeer you and your kids nothing but the very best in life..That's my BIGGEST wish for you...Love ya girl..Your Calif. Mama...Hugs and smiles Gloria

Darla said...

I'll be posting my seeds for trade today or tomorrow, I have Datura, the white, if you are interested. I'm going to look for No Damp now, can't wait to see what you have been up to. Miss chatting with you, now that the holidays are over, maybe we will have some time.

Darla said...

This is what I found. No Damp is maybe still sold at Triple Tree Nursery.. I also found Mycostop and Aquashield at I'm going to try the chamomile tea with a container of apple cidar vinegar for the fungasgnats...let me know what you find out.

onlymehere said...

It's always a pleasure every year to see the beautiful flowers that you grow. Your yard is certainly gorgeous each and every year. I need the Tootsie touch around here for sure, lol! Oh well, we plan to down-size in a couple of years and definitely get a small yard. Hope this is a great new year for you!

Unknown said...

Tootsie I wish I could be half as organized as you are. I do have a book I keep notes in but they are on little pieces of paper I jot on and then throw in there. Not a really good system. One thing I do and did a post on (that people seemed to like) is that I take a picture of every flower tag and put it in a file on my computer called 'flower tags' as original as that is. LOL
Have a great 2011.

Rainsong said...

Nice post to start the year! Looking mostly forward instead of backwards.

I do everything by the seat of my pants; my records are completely by accident. My garden blog is somewhat of a help but a better memory clicker is my habit of taking pictures and sorting them by month instead of subject. I'm a foodie gardener who tends to ramble. I am not organized enough to take real notes AND put them into some kind of order. Because I hope to grow enough to give away this year I want to take better notes (to give even more away next year) your post helps but I have a question. Do you have to pull the paper out of the sheet every time you want to add notes or do you just write on the sheet?

Herbs are a little easier. I have a huge herbal full of drawings and descriptions. I have added my own notes in the margins through the years as well as pressed herbs (in wax paper) and notes about using, keeping and processing. I want to start something like that for my vegetable garden.
ENOUGH rambling,

The JR said...

You are so organized!

I throw the seeds in the ground and just hope they come up...

Shirley said...

Happy New Year Tootsie/Glenda! Your post today reminded me I simply must go over my to-do list and refine it. I have limited garden space so most of my plantings will be in containers. I love heliotrope for the lovely vanilla scent. It is lovely paired with licorice vine or the chartreuse potato vine and, of course, other fillers like a purple fountain grass, for instance. Just thinking about it is getting me antsy for spring planting! I look forward to your greenhouse photos!

Darla said...

I even asked the nursery lady today, she was clueless. I did spray my seed trays with chamomile tea today, just to see what happens and put a bowl of apple cider vinegar on the floor. Oh, you haven't seen my little greenhouse have you? I'm so proud of it, anyway, I was spraying my seed trays when I spotted a zinnia, cosmos and morning glory sprout......YIPPEE!!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

You are so organized! Every year as I scatter seeds around I think I'll remember what went where, but I almost always forget. I'm ready to start seed shopping too, that helps the winter pass for sure.

Anonymous said...

Hellow dear friend!! Sounds like you are off and running with Spring coming!! I used to try and have a little journal that I had drawings and beds with what roses and such were planted. Since moving here I have not really had the time to do alot of anything but do plant what I find on the sale racks! I am a terrible thrifty person and it shows in my gardening!

bee blessed

siteseer said...

You are definitely the most organized gardner I know of!! I went to far as to have an envelope with receipts (in case I had to return) lol. And I did do little plant markers that had the name and any info from the tag. Those are lamimated and still out there (yup, they are for the perennials). I had such luck with Marigolds last year that they are definitely on my list. They required little or no watering and they kept the deer off the hostas!! What more could a gardner ask for? lol I've been told that we might be traveling more so there will be less time to garden.... it will have to fend for itself if it wants to survive. :( That makes me very sad, but I want a happy hubby! Love your gardens and all of your info... keep it up

The Muse said...

hello darling. well i pale in comparison to your detail...but i draw out and mark where i want to sunny shady evergreen etc..
then go shop ... lol
from the standpoint of the type ...i save all the planter cards and mark on the drawing where they went.
pretty much like you if they dont do well after two tries they are a no go for me :)