Sooo, in late November I sowed the seeds I had ordered from Larner Seeds. Here's the list again:
- Gilia capitata (Globe Gilia)
- Phacelia tanacetifolia (Tansy-leaved Phacelia)
- Clarkia unguiculata (Mountain Garland)
- Collinsia heterophylla (Chinese Houses)
- Madia elegans (Elegant Tarweed)
Right before I left for India I prepared 3 posts so it wouldn't look as if noone was home. And a good thing that was, because just at that time the Please Rob Me website was launched. This site illustrates how easy it can be to determine that someone is not at home. An encouragement to consider privacy issues, which one sometimes forgets. But because Country Mouse published my posts, nicely spaced, everyone thought I was home, if a little slow.
No matter, back to the seedlings. I had also planted about half of the seedlings in the ground. When I returned (February 4), the Clarkia had grown to look like this:
The Clarkia in the ground had been nibbled somewhat, but enough of those seedlings survived to give me hope.
The chinese houses in the pots had grown nicely.
But I'm sorry to report the chinese houses in the ground were no more. Everything was eaten. I suspect slugs because of the knibble pattern, but for all I know it might have been birds.
The Phacelia was still relatively small (shown below), and the Gilia was really still very small. I won't sow the Madia until July or August, it's a fall bloomer.
Then I got busy with other things. I wasn't too worried about the seedlings, it was raining nicely and still early in the year... or was it? Last weekend, I finally had a closer look at my pots, and while I had hoped nature would just sort things out, I found my neglect had not been prudent.
The chinese houses had all grown to be a tangle of crooked stems. They furthermore had a tendency to grow downwards instead of upwards.
So, I took them all out of their pots and distributed them in the shadier areas of the garden. For each pot, I separated the roots and tangled tops into 3 or 4 batches, put them in the ground a little distance apart, and then sprinkled some sluggo around each group of plants. No we'll have to see whether the plants can find out which way is up, and bring forth some blossoms (preferably on April 18).
Here's what I'm after (photo from Californiagardens.com):
The clarkia looked a bit better, well, at least it was straight, but I had not noticed that, because the plants were so crowded, they had become deficient in nutrients and not as green as I would have liked. When I took them out of their pots, they were quite root bound. Here are a few of the newly-planted seedlings next to the first daffodils.
The plan is that they will look like this (photo from CNPS Santa Clara Valley):
Finally, the Phacelia had probably the most twisted stems of them all, and all that even though there were only very few plants in each pot (look especially at the plant on the left to see what I mean.
I'm hoping to plant the Phacelia in the front, so I decided to put them in some 1-gallon pots for now, using the tomato plant treatment and burying the twisted stems in the hope that I'll get stronger and straighter stems. I ended up with 10 new plants.
And I'm hoping for this (Photo St. Mary's College, downloaded from CalPhotos):
So, what have I learned? Watching the plants is critical. Transplanting into a 1-gallon pot is often a good idea. Seedlings are tasty to many critters, and must be protected diligently.
But altogether, it's pretty amazing how interesting a time I'm having for just a few dollars worth of seeds. In a way, the suspense is hard to bear. Will the slugs get the last of the chinese houses? Will the Clarkia, nutrient starved, stay small and never bloom? Will the Phacelia remain crooked? Stay tuned, with luck, there will be more to tell later this month.