This and That-Still learning-Share yours

Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)October 9, 2009

Gardening is such an ongoing learning experience and recently I learned a couple of very interesting things I thought I would share. I'd then like everyone to share things they have learned, recent or not, that others might enjoy knowing too.

1. When planting Pink Dogwood seeds there is a 99.999% chance the resulting seedlings will be white. I read it a couple of places on line, but here is one source. How to Grow Flowering Dogwood Trees from Seed. I was disappointed to learn of this as a member was going to share some Pink Dogwood seeds with me...sigh

2. I recently saved seeds to a nice native,Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant The dried flower heads looked similar to so many flowers that have round heads. I pulled what I thought were the seeds from the center, discarding what looked like the outside petals. Later when checking its native range at the USDA site, I discovered my seeds did not look like the seeds shown there for Cup Plant. In searching a bit more I came across 4 year old post at the Seed Saving Forum. Cup Plant - Silphium perfoliatum Per that thread, apparently The seeds are located around the outside edge of the flower head. YIKES! I had saved only chaff, and discarded all the seeds. I had been working on seeds at the dining table, putting the discarded stems and chaff on a newspaper for handiness. I then was able to go through that stuff and salvage several of the actual Cup Plant seeds.

Who would have thought the seeds would be around the outside edges, unlike so many other similar looking bloom heads?

What common, or uncommon tidbits do you have to share? I'd love to hear them.

Sue...still learning

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bigred(z8 Ark.)

I had a bunch of snapdragon seeds one year so I sewed them in the backyard veggie garden in late Aug.early Sept then made a low polytunnel over them by opening out my homemade tomato baskets and covering it with leftover greenhouse film. You can use clear painters plastic(heaviest mil you can find).I alos sewed clarkia,bells of Ireland and foxgloves.All but the foxglove grew and flowered for me the next year.I kept my loose leaf lettuce growing under there too all winter even though we had several freezes and sleet that year.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 9:02AM
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Great thread Sue!

Most people probably know this already know this, but I've found that letting seeds of many annuals drop results in stronger volunteers that wintersowing them the following year.

An idea I recently saw on the WS discussion side was to use newspapers in my pathways. Again, most are probably aware of it, but I had never thought of it and plan to try this to keep my pathways clear of weeds.

My biggest disappointment this year would probably be that my basil perpetuo doesn't flower or set seed. I wish I'd researched that before planting it out. I never would have put it in the ground and would have kept it in a pot to bring inside. Now I'll have to pot it up and I'm sure it will go into some initial shock. All isn't lost though, I can always make some pesto if it starts to wilt.

One other thing that I think you'll be quite tickled with Sue, is that I'm playing around with USPS priority mail. Angie and I did such a larger plant trade this year that we had a feeling that a flat rate box (or should I say multiple flat rate boxes) would be a waste of money. After much research, I was able to send Angie a 39 pound box of plants for $34!! There were darn near 100 plants in that box, so I'd say that's a great bargain!


    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 3:00PM
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I wish I'd seen your post about silphium seeds a few hours earlier--I'd just harvested what I thought were seeds from S. laciniatum... Guess what? Like you, I'd kept the chaff and thrown out the seeds (in the compost pail). Since the pail is full of tomato and pepper guts (processed the last of those before the big killing freeze), I don't think I'll be digging through the gook for the silphium seeds.

Diana, I use paper and cardboard a lot in my gardens. Newspaper or cardboard spread between plants and under the mulch not only keeps weeds down but makes the mulch last longer. I mulch my rhododendron beds with pine straw, and with cardboard underneath, I have not had to replace the straw in three years. Areas without cardboard need the straw replaced yearly.

I also use cardboard in my vegetable gardens. I lay down cardboard and poke holes in it to direct sow seeds for plants like lettuce, wheat, and spinach, or cut holes and put my broccoli, tomatoes and pepper plants in them. It cuts down on the amount of mulch I need and keeps the plants really clean (I've noticed a big reduction in tomato blight as well). The area I grow my vegetables in was until a few years ago a scrubby area with thorny locust, ash, buckthorn, etc. With just the mulch, every unwanted seed germinated and I was constantly pulling tree and weed seedlings, but the cardboard has eliminated that problem. In the spring I just till it into the ground.

Also, if gardeners have the room for it, I highly recommend a nursery bed area. It's there I plant my small tree seedlings until they are big enough to move to their permanent location, first year perennials that might be overrun by more mature plants if I put them directly into the borders, and impulse buys that I have no idea what to do with. It makes tending them easier, and for small plants that need a mulch their first winter, it's a lot easier to do when they are all in one place than if they are scattered throughout the regular garden.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 12:07AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Wow Peggy, That would be so cool to have loose leaf lettuce year round. I imagine it would be a tad too cold here and I'm pretty sure my pup Ellie, would love, love, love to tear down the plastic. The other day I found an empty pot, and the metal marker for an ajuga, but haven't found the ajuga back yet. Hopefully it has survived out of the pot since we have had a lot of rain. I'll look for it today.

An idea I recently saw on the WS discussion side was to use newspapers in my pathways.
One year I placed layers of newspapers around my tomato plants, but I didn't really put much on top of them to anchor them. I remember one day a friend stopping by and it was really windy and my paper was flying everywhere. I was kind of embarrassed as it flew off to maybe litter my
roadside until I got it gathered up.
It did keep the weeds down though and I'll likely try it again, anchoring it a bit more.

Angie and I did such a larger plant trade this year that we had a feeling that a flat rate box (or should I say multiple flat rate boxes) would be a waste of money. After much research, I was able to send Angie a 39 pound box of plants for $34!!
WOW, now that is a lot of plants and a lot of pounds! Yes, members often get hung up on the Flat Rate box thing, wanting to trade flat rate, for flat rate. What they don't realize that that same 'sized' box, can often go for a lot less if paying by the pound. In looking at the Priority Mail Cost Chart she must be in zone 4 from you considering what you paid. I wonder how many Large Flat Rate boxes (at $14 a whack) it would have taken to hold all those. Do/did you use the
Postal Mail Zone Chart once the zip was known?

I'd just harvested what I thought were seeds from S. laciniatum... Guess what? Like you, I'd kept the chaff and thrown out the seeds (in the compost pail).
Oh NO! Had you deadheaded the entire plant or all plants? I see that too, is a lovely native, and is referred to by the common name of Compass Plant, very interesting. I still have some Cup Plant left to harvest, thankfully.

Also, if gardeners have the room for it, I highly recommend a nursery bed area.
I have one of those! It is rows in my veggie garden and many have been there so long that they are too big to move now (Lavender Chiffon Rose of Sharon, and another named Rose of Sharon come to mind). My Cup Plant is in the garden row and I read where it has a very long taproot. Since I may not be able to successfully move it, I picked up a small cup plant at a plant swap yesterday. This time I'm going to plant the new one where I actually want it to grow.

Oh, oh, oh...something else I learned. Having a LOT of rain and things being too wet to do much in the garden was a really good thing for me once this week. I was needing to dig some fairly well established butterfly bushes (1-2 GA sized ones) along with some smaller seedlings. The bed was in not bad shape, as it had fairly good drainage, and mulch, so rather that digging in the wet clay soil, I was able to just grab the base of the plants and gently pull them up and out. All the roots came out with them, and I just threw them into a big puddle until I was ready to pot some and pack some the next AM. I lucked out too that Ellie didn't drag them around.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 12:29PM
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You're not alone. I too pulled seed last year from my blackeyed susans thinking they were farther down and ended up keeping and mailing only the chaff. But I didn't know untill much later so I didn't get to dig them out of the trash.
Good thread Sue!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 9:27PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Oh my Harold, now I don't feel so bad that I am too seed harvesting challenged to even save seeds from my Crazy Daisy and another Shasta Daisy. All I end up with is black crispy stuff that turns to crumbled dust if crushed a bit. I am clueless as to what I'm doing wrong, but have just moved on and decided to let daisy seed saving to those who actually know how to do it.

I'm heading out to SC Tues and will have camera in hand for lots of pics of plants, and I hope to do a lot of seed snatching along the way.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 12:00AM
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Hi Sue - I did use the zone chart before I went to the PO. It was a great resource! It probably would have taken 10 of the large flat rate boxes, so it was definitely cheaper by weight!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 1:44PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Have you gotcha one of those (cheap from Ebay) handy dandy postal scales so you always know what is the cheapest way to box it when packing things up? I use my scale all the time on seeds trades or seeds for postage too, since I don't want to risk not having enough on it and sure don't want to put any more on it than need be.

I'm sending a box to mail zone 4 (PA) and it weighs 19 LBS. Luckily I got it all in the large Flat Rate, otherwise it would have been $21.60 (by the LB) or else 2 smaller flat rates. I sent 200 metal markers that it weighed that much, along with a bunch of daffs. Yes, I'm still 'pushin' daffs. 3 GW daff addicts bought some from the IN Daff Soc thru me.


Here is a link that might be useful: If anyone is interested-good (cheap) postal scales from Ebay

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 3:13PM
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beverlysc(8a SC)

Sue....It took me three years to figure out where the seeds were on my crazy daisy. Finally figured out what they looked like...smaller version of a coneflower.
Hope you have a wonderful visit In SC....smiling faces beautiful places......... Bev.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 8:58PM
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happinessisgardening(z5 Michigan)

Great thread! Alot of really useful info here. Here is what I learned this year. My strawberry bed was out of control!!!! A friend from another state came for a visit and said those magic words " Let me show you a trick I use" He took all those lovely runners and just kinda weaved them into the rows, then he put down several layers of newspapers , then covered the newspaper with straw. It looked great! He said just keep weaving those runners into the rows and it will stay looking great and produce a great crop, he was right and I am forever grateful to him for making my out of control strawberry bed a neat orderly bed once again! He said just add a little more straw each spring and fall , then after a couple years til it in and redo the newspaper and straw. Walaaa,problem solved! Now why didn't I think of that?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 9:46PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

My strawberry bed was out of control!!!!
That's mine now. Earlier in the year, I set plants out in 2 neat little rows, and put down ground corn meal (like organic Preen) and strawed them. They soon took off and sent out nice runners. Well now they are all running out of the original planned bed area, so I am mowing them off along with the grass and weeds at the edges. I wish I would have put in some sort of an edging, and then not allowed them to spread outside of it. When I attempt to get things back under control, I'll try that weaving method. Thanks!

My time in SC was quite brief as we had also planned to spend some time in TN and maybe KY on the way back home. I saw lots of beautiful things in bloom in SC, but didn't have any prime opportunities to do any seed harvesting, even if I had 'known' what I was collecting. I did see what I thought was a variety of goldenrod though. It was quite short, maybe a foot to a foot and an half, and had very very narrow leaves. Might you know what the name is? I 'think' I need some seed once I know the name. I love, love, love different Solidagos (goldenrods).


    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 10:51AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Reviving this. I had snatched a faded dried bloom from a Silphium terebinthinaceum aka Prairie Dock, aka Prairie Rosinweed. I'm just now getting around to looking at it to harvest the seeds from the bloom. I see on it too, that the seeds are around the outside edges, and not from the center as most blooms are.

I'm now thinking that all Silphium seeds are like that.

Hopefully those who are growing some different Silphiums, that they will have seeds to trade next fall. There are numerous ones and a lot, or maybe all, are natives.

Sue...back to sorting seeds this AM

Here is a link that might be useful: Silphium

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 7:52AM
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Sue the seeds on the crazy daisy n shasta's are like the sunflowers way of seeding. dust away all the chaff on the flower heads n you'll see em. :)
this is no biggie but the one thing ive learned to do is plant some tomatoes in my flower beds at least 5 feet apart. those are my seed saving tomatoes n the ones in my veg bed are for eating. this works if your veg bed is small n you want to save seeds without them crossing.
ive also learned no seed is safe with my dog! going to build a high shelf for dryin seeds!!!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 8:44PM
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Great thread, thank you's been on since Oct 9?
Better get into it, can learn a lot, lately--how to grow Dogwood tree, just gotten seeds for it in Secret Santa Swap.

I've learned a bunch and still know very little, smile.

One thing, never plant bulbs too deep, they often need mere covering up down here in zone 9.
Always wear gloves when handling hot/ornamental peppers.
Always wear glasses/ goggles when cutting milkweed.
Make sure Morning Glory isn't invasive before you plant it.

Good luck in New Year!

Will be back here asap, my kind of site.

GB Bea

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 1:43PM
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I doubt I know anything that you all don't, but in what is closing in on one year of gardening, I have learned:
1. Gardening is insanely addictive. I planted some red annual salvia and white petunias to cover and a stump. They looked so pretty, I was hooked!
2. Assume nothing! I live in extreme south Georgia. We don't have killing frosts, right? WRONG! I still had about half dozen or so of those original salvia growing and blooming in their bed. They looked gorgeous, until about a week ago. Now, they are brown goo.
3. Not everything likes to be heavily fertilized. Another member here (debbiep) lives right up the road from me. Over the summer she helped feed my growing addiction. She gave me two little tomato plants. I put them in my little, tiny edibles bed, dumped a ton of my guinea pig mulch on them and crossed my fingers. In short order, I had two huge, gorgeous plants, and one tomato between the two of them. :P
4. Irises are my absolute favorite flower, and despite all the gorgeous, diverse varieties that exist, there is no real red.
5. Your significant other may not always appreciate or even understand your passion. After I announced my plans to expand my UGA beds to include an homage to the other 11 SEC schools, my husband told me I was $E&(#W$&(# (insert your own pejorative) nuts.
6. Your children do not know the difference between seeds carefully harvested and laid out on paper plates or coffee filters to dry and trash. The same goes for newspaper and cardboard saved for weed barrier. :o

I am certain there is more, I will try to share useful information as I think of it.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 8:08PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I learned a trick for saving black eyed susan seeds. Cut off the dried flower once the stem turns brown. Let it dry in a warm place, indoors or the birds will find them. Put them in a jar with a lid on it. Shake. The seeds will fall out. They look like little black splinters.

I've recently learned about red mulch around tomatoes. I bought three Christmas tree bags from Lowe's on clearance this year. I'll be tearing them apart to create a plastic mulch around my babies this year. The bags are 8' x 9'. My beds are 4' x 8'. One bag gives me enough "mulch" for 4 beds, although I only have two.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 10:18PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

bumping this up since it is time to be collecting seeds from the various silphium...Cup Plant, Compassplant, Prairie Dock, etc, all sun loving natives.

Here is a link that might be useful: Google images for Silphium

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 2:21PM
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Sue those are pretty! :)
ok ive learned this the hard way n still seem to need to learn it....wear garden gloves!!! lol,outch!
i get in a hurry n dont think to put them on *crazy* lol

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 8:18PM
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