2013 Seedling Beds

dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)January 29, 2014

In 2012 I posted pictures of my seedling bed prep, and I have had photos of the 2013 bed prep for a couple months now, but I haven't taken the time to put them up. So this thread will be my 2013 seedling bed thread. If you're reading as I write, be patient as I will spend a few minutes on each post.

At the bottom of this post, I have linked the 2012 thread so that you can go back and see it.

First photo is my bubble bath of seed pots from June 2013. I think I posted this picture before, but it's a good place to start.

Nate

Here is a link that might be useful: 2012 Daylily Beds

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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

Now I thought this would be a great way to start seeds. I had a nice shade canopy over it 5 days later, and later still I improved the canopy to have a peaked top so that rain would run off better.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:58PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

Well I was wrong. The pots were too shallow and the water was too deep. The seeds became waterlogged, and only a few ever sprouted. Those that sprouted mostly rotted.

I planted 79 seeds June 23 with no refrigeration period.
When those didn't show promise early, I planted 77 more June 30 to hedge my bet.
I added 44 more July 27, using lousy soil because it was all I had on hand, but thinking maybe the lack of refrigeration was the problem.
On August 24, I planted 87 more using better soil.
I eventually gave up on the pool and used it for new adult plants only (they liked it just fine).

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:11PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

So on October 1, more than 3 months after I started my first seedlings of 2013, I planted a single cross of 51 seeds in a pot outside of the kiddie pool, in good soil, covered with chicken wire to keep the squirrels out, and watered it normally like I've done in past years.

That batch did great, as you can see in the November photo below.

So to recap:

Of my first 287 seeds of the year, I have 4 survivors. That's a germination + survival rate of about 1.4%.

Of my last 51 seeds, I have 45 survivors.
That's a germination + survival rate of 88%.

I definitely learned from this.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:19PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

So November...time to plant, right? Not for most of you, but it works well enough in Houston.

I started by clearing a new swath of garden space on Nov. 2, lining up a brick border, and setting up a rock inner border so I would have a place to stand between plants.

Here is one angle:

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:24PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

Here is the other angle. I've learned that the back side of the shed gets too much shade and the plants don't grow as well, so I only planted new seedlings on the side this time.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:27PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

Two weeks later it was time to start planting. I dumped out my good soil -- a mix of potting soil, composted manure, topsoil, garden soil, and chicken litter organic fertilizer.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:31PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

Then I raked it all out into an even surface.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:33PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

Next I had to figure out how to fit 52 seedlings into the space. Remember all those oyster shells I have? Well I used them to map out the places to plant, so that everything would be spaced evenly. Each place that there is an oyster shell in this picture, I put a plant.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:37PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

And here are the seedlings.

2013 on the left. 2012 in the middle. 2011 on the right. And at the near right corner, FIRE AGATE watches over all the seedlings.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:41PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

Like last year, I used oyster shell rows to separate the different crosses. But unlike last year, almost all of my seedlings are from one cross, so I didn't need as many shells.

I don't have a photo after mulching the bed, but I will try to take a new photo soon so you can see the growth since they were planted.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:45PM
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Julia NY(6)

Delightful post. Love seeing your results and your right...in November we already had snow cover and freezing temps.

Do post more updates.

Now for my own inquiring mind, what is the purpose of the bubble bath?

Julia

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:14AM
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shive(6b TN)

The seedling bed looks great! I'm wondering about the Ajax bubble bath too. Probably the kiddie pool would work best for older seedlings instead of starting seeds. I'm sorry you lost so many of that first batch of seeds.

Debra

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:36PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

The photo below is the bed today. Not very interesting because the plants are still too small to see well.

The concept of the tub was so that they would get as much water as they wanted -- but unfortunately it was way too much water. The Ajax was to keep mosquitoes from spawning there, but that didn't really work either. I tried dunks too, but the whole thing was kind of a disaster. When it rained hard, the pool would fill up above the level of the soil, and I would have to scoop out water. A great learning experience in any case, and that's why I do this for fun and not for profit.

In the future, I may use the pool for older seedlings and as a holding location for adult plants, but only if they are planted high and the water level is low.

As for the lost seeds, of course I planted my favorite seeds first, then my next favorite, and the batch that finally worked well was pretty far down my list. But you take what you can get, and this is why I make more seeds than I expect to ever plant. I'm excited to have a very large single cross (for me at least) to study that is from one of my better performers x one of my own seedlings (BOLD MOVE x 1102a (BODACIOUS BITE x THIN MAN)).

Nate

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 7:05PM
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shive(6b TN)

Nate - It will be neat to see what you get from a long cross. I've never planted more 5 seeds from a cross because I have so little space and want to see what lots of crosses will yield.

Debra

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 7:38PM
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Julia NY(6)

Okay, now I understand the Bubble Bath theory. Sometimes things work and other times.....

Looking forward to see how things progress this season.

Julia

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 6:56PM
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