It’s another week, and another good reminder for me to figure out what’s actually happened this week. I don’t know about you, but events these days sometimes seem like they happened yesterday or a few weeks ago. Sometimes both at the same time. Each week, I look forward to these Six on Saturday posts (started by The Propagator) as a great way to figure out time. It’s amazing to look back on just this Monday and realize that was the first time I’d noticed the Polka Dots were flowering. And then to realize that February means it’s still technically winter (Feb 10th is historically the worst weather day in the area, and the weather around it tends to be the most severe). Here’s to another week of saying “My goodness, did this plant really just do that thing?”
Billy buttons are coming up happily(ish). For some reason, all of the times that I’ve tried starting these seeds have failed miserably. Most of the time, I’m not able to get them to sprout more than one or two leaves, and then they collapse. I recently learned that, when planted outside during the cold, they pretty much die completely. Even as things have warmed up a bit, that little outdoor starting pot hasn’t even shown a single weed (which I guess is also a good thing). Once they get bigger, I’d imagine they become a little more hardy. I’m still on a mission to grow tons of Billy Buttons in Los Angeles. Right now the seedlings are surviving temperatures as low as 57 degrees. They get sun for at least 4 hours a day, depending mostly on cloud coverage (they have some pretty prime window positioning). They’ll probably need more before too long, but I’ll have to move them outside for that to happen. It’s too cold out there to risk transplanting, so I’ll cross my fingers that this much sun and pot room is enough.
Got the rough garden plan drawn up. The garden has been planned out through spring, as long as the seeds I’m starting agree with my timeline. Outside will be some remainders from past years: cacti, thyme, olive, bloodleaf, rosemary, strawberry, ginkgo, cress (just sprouted). Some new plants to be transplanted in spring: tomato x 2, shishito pepper, (potentially) sunflower, (hopefully) billy balls. Inside will have many remainders from past years. Ignoring the seedlings (which will rotate out), we’ve got: bamboo, orchid, zz plant, money tree, tillandsia, a mossy log, boston fern (to be divided in spring), polka dot, corkscrew rush. And at work I’ll have: philodendron x 2, dracaena, pilea, and daffodils. And for fun, just to see what happens, I’ve got: paperwhites, grape vines. It’s going to be an interesting spring!
I haven’t had these polka dots particularly long, but they’ve been growing by leaps and bounds. The number of stems coming from dirt has pretty much doubled over the course of a month. The newest stems are already starting to fill in the gaps that formed when the plant was first adjusting to its new home. The leaves have stopped browning, too. Maybe the biggest sign that the plant is happy are the tiny flowers forming up along the stems. I’ve read that it’s self-seeding, so I’m interested to see if that’s true and how quickly it happens. They each seem to last for only a few days before they start to dry – I’ll have to start checking with a magnifying glass in case the seeds are super small.
Trying to grow a single sunflower seed in a little peat disk thing. I haven’t used these seed starting lumps much until recently, so I’m not quite sure how damp to keep them. This is my first year really trying to plan out my plants to get some edible foods going – and sunflower may or may not be on the menu. We’ll see how long it takes for the seedlings to peek out of the dirt! Once it does, I’ll dig a little more into how to grow one of these lovely large flowers.
Attempting to propagate grape leaves. On Valentine’s, my wife and I visited a wonderful spot a little ways north for some lunch and some wine. I was given some grape cuttings. They’re green cuttings, somehow growing during winter. I think the plant is supposed to dormant during this season, but I’ll confess I don’t know much about growing grapes. For now I’ve stuck the cuttings in water with a tiny dash of nutrients. They’ll be in a spot with moderate indirect light until I figure out a better way to keep them. A cursory glance says they’ll start rooting in 1-2 weeks, but that’s also with a rooting hormone. I think this is more of my ‘put something in a cup and see what happens’ style of gardening.
No news on the latest fruit seedlings. I have 4 peat disks of each plant: Roma Tomato, Cherry Tomato, and Shishito Peppers. They’ve been in their Jiffy seed starting greenhouse kit for a week now and haven’t shown any sign of waking up. I hope they’re not too cold inside during the day – I don’t have a seedling heating pad, and we don’t run the heater when we’re away. Checking a temperature recorder, the inside’s typically been hanging between 57 and 66 while we’re out. I hope that’s warm enough!