11 April 2018

new for the garden

I finally started seed yesterday. Um, very late this year.
Here's my first batch of seed sown in trays: dill, leeks, columbine. Two kinds of marigolds: the regular packet mix and the 'red velvet' (my own name) ones I particularly saved seed from last year. Celosia, saved seed from invididual pink and peachy-colored flowers. Curious to see if they come up all the warm colors again. Tithonia (aka Mexican sunflower, torch flower), joe pye weed, ironweed and milkweed for the butterflies and pollinators. Arugula and four kinds of lettuce: bibb, romaine, cesar and some leaf lettuce I saved seed from (maybe a hybrid of several from last year's garden). Sad I don't have any black-seeded simpson, but perhaps next year I will use the catalogs again. Peppers: 'wisconsin lake' and 'california wonder' (they both have blocky shapes like bell peppers). I have no interest in growing the decorative aurora pepeprs again, and can't find my packet for anchos- I think I've used it all up. Tomatoes: brandywine, italian heirloom, beefsteak and cherokee purple.

All the trays are double-stacked on top of my fridge for warmth. I gave the pepper tray some extra heat while seeding the others- sat on the plate in a pan warmed on the stove and turned off again, but it was still too warm. Melted the bottom of the plastic tray a bit. Oh well, that's one I will just recycle at end of planting season. I have plenty of newly saved trays anyhow.
That's only about half the seed I mean to grow this year, but will have to wait and sow more once space is freed on top of the fridge. Also I have beets, carrots and swiss chard to direct-sow in the garden as soon as I can. Wanted to grow turnips again, but I've run out of that seed as well.

I gave myself a treat yesterday and went to my favorite local greenhouse. I go there once or twice a year (spring and sometimes fall), and there are always some plants I've never seen before, which is exciting. This year I noticed tons of varieties of decorative sage, and so many salvias, they all look so different. I don't know the variety name of the salvia I have in my yard, but it's done so well I wanted to try a few more. Also there were many types of mint, and thyme, and succulents galore. It was hard to be picky... here's what I got:

Monarda 'Petite Delight'
Russian Sage 'Blue Jean Baby'
Salvia 'Black and Blue'
Rumex 'Raspberry Dressing' this is a salad leaf
Mountain Mint pycanthemum flexuosum- I love its blue-green hue
Stonecrop 'Autumn Fire' this is one I have admired in neighbor's yards and I finally figured out its identity so I could get my own. I'm still a bit puzzled on the distinction between stonecrop and sedums, by the way...
And I am certain now that the mystery 'scat plant' from my prior post, is not rue. Because this is rue- ruta graveolens. I love its color, and its pretty leaf shape, so even if it doesn't ward off cats and squirrels like some people say, I like it.
They're all sitting inside right now, with day trips to the coldframe when it's warm enough outside. Last frost date is may 10. Gives me time to learn their requirements before I situate them in the yard.

I also bought myself a 'needlepoint' ivy, to be a houseplant.

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