Any experiements for next season?

alison(6b/OH)October 14, 2005

The coolest thing about gardening is that there's always something new to try, something new to grow, some new method to experiment with. I'll be trying a couple of experiments this year. Stuff I can't believe I haven't tried before. Off the top of my head, I know I will:

1. Overwinter canna bulbs. I've never grown cannas before this year, and I was really impressed. In fact, I picked up a few shop-worn looking ones at the end of the season and I', going to try and save those along with Mimi's that I got at the swap. I've never saved any winter bulbs, but I've got a plastic mesh basket and a cool dry place.

2. Overwinter dormant perennials. I've staked out a corner of the interior (unheated) staircase in my apartment building for my fig, 2 lemon verbena, and 3-4 agapanthus. I'll be taping a thermometer next to the plants, and will try and take regular readings to keep on eye on the temps.

3. Create a "holding tub" for perennials. Next spring, I (and hopefully some others!) will be putting in a big garden on the bone-dry, full-sun slope in front of the office. I've been accumulating perennials on sale, but there is no way I'll get them into the ground this weekend -- I don't even have a plan! So I scavenged some large black plastic tubs from my pack-rat neighbor; 2'x3' and about 8" deep. I'm punching holes in the bottom, putting in a few layers of cardboard and coffee grounds/juice bar peelings, topping it up with garden/potting soil, and then heeling in the plants for the winter. (I have no room to do this at home, so I'll set the tub behind the station for the winter.)

4. More dormant rose cuttings. I actually did that this year for the first time, and was astonished at the results. 6" trimmings taken in December were 18" plants with their second or third flush of bloom in September. This year I'm using another one of the black plastic tubs and planting lots more of my beloved floribunda. And I just might make a mid-winter pilgrimage over to Whetstone Park of Roses....

And I haven't even thought about what weird things I want to try with winter sowing!

What new things will you be trying?

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gdionelli(z6 WV)


Tell me more about the dormant rose cuttings. How do you do it?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 6:14PM
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This link is the most succinct description, but hang out on the Rose Propagation forum -- they're great people and very helpful.

I did it the simplest way possible. In December, after the roses had gone dormant, I took cuttings about the diameter of a pencil from my floribunda and a David Austin rose. I trimmed the tips and the leaves so I had a 6-8" stick.

I turned over a little bed along the side yard and broke up the soil. Nothing special, no amendments, just ratty city-soil. I dipped each cutting in rooting hormone and poked it into the soil. Watered well, then popped a sawed-off 2 liter soda bottle top, and piled 3-4 inches of straw over the whole thing.

I kept an eye on them all winter long, and maybe 2-3 times watered the whole bed a little. (Did it that same time I was checking the winter sown seedlings.) In March, I saw little nubs swelling on the sticks. By mid-April, they were all leafing out, same as the established rose bushes. I took the pop bottles off at that point, but kept the straw on them until mid-May, our last frost date.

I had planned to keep them in the ground for the summer, but my &*#!*&?!%^# neighbor decided he "needed" the space, so I dug them up mid-May and put them in 5-gallon nursery pots and left them in partial shade for the summer. 6 of the 8 cuttings I tried grew well (all the floribunda, for what it's worth), and flowered several times during the winter. They're about 18-20" tall. I still need to plant the two I'm keeping in their permanent beds.

It may have been beginners luck, so this winter, I'm going to be a lot more organized, and try different types of roses. I've got two rugosas and a gallica I really like, and this seems like a wonderful way to get carbon copies fairly quickly!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dormant rose cutttings

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 7:24PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

My experiments are in the area of winter sowing clematis seeds. I've let all my clematis flowers go to seed. I know they've been open pollenated all summer. It will be fun to see if any of them germinate...and what flowers I'll get. I've read that many clematis are very hard to grow from seed. This is my experiment...I hope I get SOME to grow!


    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 9:45AM
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Kymie17(z6a/5b NE OH)

I'm going to do lots of winter sowing this year. I'm also going to start some veggie crops early this year, utilizing cold frames.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon a cache of old windows last week as I walked the dog. All of these windows are 3ft. long and almost 2ft. wide. I have so much scrap wood that it will be no problem to make the cold frames this winter--I'm going to make them in a house shape, with 1 window serving as 1 side of the roof. I'll make the "roof" detachable so that I can store them more easily in the summer. Should be a cheap but exciting project!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 11:03AM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I'm going to winter sow Jewels of Opar and Eyeball plant.

Then, I'm going to try and grow my own edible sprouts indoors. I'm going to start with alfalfa and attempt broccoli. We'll see.

Also, I'm winter sowing bottlebrush buckeyes from my yard. The trick isn't in the seed, it's keeping the squirrels from digging them up. I'm going to have to get my cats guns.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 8:39PM
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bolecke(5 OH)

Ferns from spores! YAY!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 8:37PM
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Kymie -- the cold frames sound great. Good find!

bolecke -- how do you collect fern spores? I've never even thought about sowing ferns!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 1:56PM
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ohio_homegrown(z5 OH)

Coleous cutting. I have two coleous i would like to try to start for next year. They are both the real large leaf type, tartan and limelight. Any tips?
Purple potato vine, last year i found they grow from tubers and multiply! So i dug them up and saved them just like any bulb. Started with one plant, this year i have 4 and next year looks like a bunch. If you have every bought these, you know they are about $4 for a 4" pot.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 6:09PM
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gdionelli(z6 WV)

Alison, Thanks for the description about dormant rose cuttings. I've been studying it, and I'm going to try it this winter!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 8:59AM
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Kymie17(z6a/5b NE OH)

Ooh... I second the request for info on starting ferns from spores!

Ohio_homegrown, do you dig up the SPV tubers after the frost kills the plants, or before? I have a couple in containers that I'd like to save for next year...

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 1:20PM
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bolecke(5 OH)

Alison, pluck a frond with the black or brown spore pods. Let them dry over tissue paper for a few days. The spores will fall down on the tissue paper. Timing is important, if you collect the fronds too late the spores have already been released

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 8:40PM
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fennelgrl(Z6a OH)

I'm going to try taking winter cuttings of my Rose of Sharon so that I can propagate enough plants to create a hedge around my secret garden.
I'm busy planning a fairy garden to go in and around my new stump.
I also plan on winter sowing. I've been saving containers all spring, summer, and fall!

Here is a link that might be useful: Future fairy garden home

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 4:24PM
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