In northern climes first blooms may be a few months away but the ordering of seeds and plants will be well under way. I am recalling my own time spent in Eastern Canada where an old door would be erected on boxes in the sunniest spot in the house ready for seed sowing.
Things haven't changed much today. Yes, I have a greenhouse but it is full to bursting with overwintering plants. No room for seed starting in there. That has moved to my laundry room which has been a seed collection room for the last year or two. Now, with the arrival yesterday of a grow light system it is also the seed starting area.
|Stay-n-grow system seen in the GS catalogue|
Yesterday morning I opened the box and carefully began the construction on the living room floor. I read a lot of the comments on the website before I made the purchase and almost all of them were positive. I think there was only one negative comment and it had to do with the flimsy nature of construction. Not true at all. The product is well made and instructions are very clear on how to build. Directions are written in good English because the product comes from England. That was a surprise. But I was not so careful taking it into the laundry room and one of the bulbs fell out and smashed!!!! Oh! careless me. Not an easy bulb to find in Austin so I am ordering on line and fingers crossed it is the right one.
My only complaint is that there is some additional expense required to add trays (shown above) on which to put your seeds starting trays, because the tray beds are perforated. GS does sell products that would work here or you can source on your own. Being a collector of anything useful that comes into the house I will reuse polystyrene meat trays to prevent water spills.
I am thrilled with the product and already well ahead on starting seeds. I also have heat mats on which to put the trays until the seeds germinate. And I plan to add the next level to the system.
When it goes dark the bulb puts out a tremendous amount of light so much so that it lights up the garden through the window. I have decided to turn it off when I go to bed.
The start of the New Year adds another year onto my age and with the realization that I cannot do quite as much in the garden as I used to do I added a piece of power equipment to make a few of my jobs a little easier. A hedge trimmer. I am not a lover of power gardening tools but this one is small, quiet and easy for me to handle.
It's main purpose will be to trim the fig ivy walls, a job that takes hours of my time. I haven't tried it yet because it is too early to be trimming off the winter kill but I did take it out for a trial run yesterday. The object was the Salvia leucantha outside the walls. I trimmed the large stems by hand and then finished off with the hedge trimmer. I was thrilled with its performance.
Who would think that this pile of sticks would look like this within a few months?
|Salvia leucantha May1 2017|
At the same time I cut back the miscanthus grass growing alongside the greenhouse. I wouldn't normally cut back this grass so early but it is ready to be moved to another location. I am waiting on the lemon grass growing in the corner. It survived out here last winter and I am hoping for a repeat performance. It was never watered at all last year and still grew well in the decomposed granite. If it doesn't survive I have several shoots potted up in the greenhouse and will replace in this spot. This is a big grass and needs lots of room.There is no flower but it produces masses of fresh shoots for my Thai recipes.
The area outside the walls is a transition area between wall and septic field. It is planted with waif and strays from the garden, lantana, salvias, prickly pear, Mexican mint marigold, blue mist flower a crape myrtle and pomegranate ; all deer proof plants. It is now tidied up and mulched waiting for spring to arrive.