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diggerdee

Anyone else with seedlings/new plantings that just are doing anythimg?

Such a strange season, IMO. On one hand, I feel like almost everything, since very early spring, has been unusually beautiful this year. I've used the word "spectacular" to describe so many things, it seems. I don't know if it's because it's been a long tough year for all of us and it was so wonderful to see everything in bloom in its succession, or if things were actually really spectacular!


On the other hand, some things just won't get going. Namely, I guess, my seed-sown stuff and newer plantings. I've been wintersowing for almost 20 years and this year, while I had iffy germination (mostly due to using VERY old seed), the stuff that did germinate isn't doing much. I still have stuff in their containers because they are too small to plant out. I've planted out my veggies, but my tomatoes are still three to four inches tall, my peppers the same, my cabbages perhaps smaller, and finally my lettuce is starting to do something - it's all of four inches! Woo-hoo! Cukes and squash are doing a bit better but are still smaller than usual.


Look at my poor petunias lol. This photo (taken today) looks more like my usual seedlings in April than in the last week of June!



I've watered, fertilized with a seedling starter fert, and pay daily attention to these seedlings, and they're just not taking off. I have planted some things, because after all it's almost July, but my cosmos, zinnias, dianthus, annual phlox, poppies, salvia, cleome, (just off the top of my head, all planted out) are still kind of just sitting there not doing much at all.


Most of my dahlias were planted out in May ,and most but not all already had some growth; a few just had eyes. My biggest dahlia is about 6 inches tall, most others about 4 inches, and I've noticed that my overwintered tubers are doing better overall than my newly purchased ones. That being said, I have a tray of overwintered dahlias that has been out on the patio since April with sprouts that are an inch or so tall. About two weeks ago I had gone through the trays thinking the tubers were duds, and while most were, I found a good 15 with eyes! Just eyes, in mid June. So I re-laid them in the potting mix in the tray, and now they're about an inch high. Really? I planted a few out yesterday just because (July, lol!) but slugs always do a number so hoping my beer traps work.


It was a very cold and wet spring, which I guess caused the delay in growth, and then that little heat wave that did kill off a few things, but since then it's been decent growing weather so I'm not sure why things aren't doing better.


Just curious if this is all just me, or if others are having similar experiences. My established plantings are doing very well; just the newbies that are lagging behind!


:)

Dee


P.S. Please don't suggest that I pot up all my seedlings that are still in containers! No time, and not enough potting soil, (although I do have enough pots to pot up every seedling in the world lol). I've never been one to successively pot things up, and still never had this kind of season. I might put some of those petunias in pots, since they'll end up there anyway on the patio, but the stuff that goes out in the garden will be planted directly. Might just have to plant them out as tiny as they are and let them fend for themselves....

Comments (48)

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Dee, I have thought the season has been odd a number of times. And I had a huge problem with my winter sown seedlings that did absolutely nothing. I realized it had to be my potting soil mix because even the vegetable seeds I sowed under lights did nothing. I had to mix up a new batch of my usual home mix and repot the veggie seedlings. And still some of them have not rebounded. And I bought organic Espoma seed starter mix. So, I was quite surprised and still it is a mystery why that caused a problem.

    And I had great germination with new seed for all the good it did me, the seedlings just sat there.

    I’ve also had a lot of plants outperforming other seasons. My ‘Sungold’ tomato on the other hand, is not anywhere near the size it normally is by this time. And I thought we had a hot May and June. Peppers, not so great.

    My Dahlias….I think I got them into the ground late and didn’t pre start them in pots. But they are barely 6 inches tall.

    So, I have no idea what the problem is, but we are due for hot weather. I’m hoping that will aid the heat lovers at least. I’m thinking, next year for some of these and just cest’ la vie at this point. I’m concentrating on long term work getting done, I was moving and transplanting, pruning. Now we are weeding and mulching heavily this weekend ahead of the heat wave.

    Sorry you are having similar problems. I would agree with you - plant them out! They may surprise you and take off.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    PM2, I restarted some annuals too. My zinnias did not do well. You probably saw me mention elsewhere that due to budget constraints I didn't buy a lot of new seed, and my zinnia seed was old and didn't germinate well. Couldn't stand the thought of a summer with no zinnias lol, so I bought a few packs of new seed in April and seeded a few containers, and luckily they did well/ They germinated in two days (which was amazing to this long-time wintersower haha!) but while they grew a bit better than my wintersown seedlings, they still aren't as big as they should be. I don't get it. Oh well. Also did some marigolds, because I didn't get a single old marigold seed to germinate, and can't be without them either!


    I planted out a good deal of stuff yesterday and this morning - all my zinnias, most of my cosmos, and the 9 or so rudbeckia seedlings I got (oh my goodness, were the rudbeckia tiny! Hope they make it!) Today hope to get the rest of the cosmos planted, as well as some salvia and ammi and poppies. I have some lobelia cardinalis which is microscopic! Great germination though, so I might break up the milk jug into four or five chunks and pot those up, and see if they do anything. Also may pot up the petunias. Hoping at the very least they'll be decent size by August so maybe they can go out to refresh the patio pots for fall.


    Those dahlia tubers in the tray must have heard me. They seemed to have put on at least an inch overnight, lol, so hopefully I can get those planted out soon! As you say, c'est la vie, and there's always next year!


    :)

    Dee

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  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I try to plan for cool season and hot season plants so even if we have heat waves something will be happy and if we don't something else will be happy. [g] so I guess this week that strategy will be put to the test with the high temps and humidity. The tomatoes, the peppers, the dahlias...the roses are sometimes not all that happy wtih days of hot temperatures. So, while the dahlias in the ground are still small, I'm hoping they will grow better in the heat.

    You do grow a lot of annuals. I seem to have my hands full just keeping the shrubs pruned, an effort to have a vegetable garden, the perennials taken care of and just trying to keep everything presentable. I think if I ever get ahead of the regular maintenance, I'd probably love to grow more annuals. The one year I grew zinnias, I really enjoyed them and I did buy seed this year that I didn't use. I bought 2 six packs of marigolds locally, and they have been the worst performing marigolds I've ever grown. Very disappointing, considering that marigolds are normally bullet proof and vigorous. These were some African cultivar.

    Hope everything takes off for you, Dee. I am paying attention to watering and fertilizing with seaweed emulsion as often as I dare. It seems to be making a difference.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    PM2 I used to sell bouquets at the local farmer's market, and that's when I fell in love with annuals. They are a lot of work, but I don't think I could be without them. (Or dahlias, now, for my personal bouquets) I definitely need to have zinnias and cosmos, and I've always loved marigolds. I love the Queen Sophia mix but often try new ones. I had really wanted some of the large African varieties for my red/yellow/orange bed this year but it just wasn't in the budget.


    There are actually many, many annuals I love but haven't grown the last few years. Chinese asters (sowed all my old seed this season but nary a one germinated!), amaranthus (so many wonderful varieties!), celosia, statice, gophrena, calendula (ditto with the old seed for all of these this year!), sunflowers, and the list goes on.


    My cutting garden is getting smaller. It's a large round bed in the middle of my yard. The last two years I've reduced it by about a foot in diameter (a foot a year is the plan lol). I'm making it smaller for a few reasons. One, it's not as sunny as it used to be, and two, it IS so much work. I'm taking it out completely eventually, but going to extend the beds along my boundary further into the yard, and will (haha, yeah right) reduce the amount of annuals I sow and just plant a few in the newly extended beds, which supposedly will have more shrubs to reduce maintenance. It's a long-term plan to make gardening easier for me as I get older and stiffer, lol, but it's not moving along very well! I keep NOT buying more shrubs and NOT reducing the size or quantity of beds!


    :)

    Dee

  • defrost49
    2 months ago

    I wondered if my potting soil was too old. I have a brand new bag of seed starting mix and have some fall hardy greens I,d like to start to replace the garlic when it's harvested in another month or sooner. My indoor lights timer was set to 10 hours and should have been 14 and then seedlings got repotted in old potting soil. I've been blaming slow growth on those two reasons. i potted up new dahlia tubers late but I think I used a combination of composed cow manure and compost both bought locally by the yard. The dahlias are growing well but are still in large pots.


    it seems all the organic garden zoom classes this spring have focused on microbial activity. I wondered how long packaged soil stays ”alive”. Perhaps my indoor started seedlings were also slow since I was using old fish fertilizer, too.


    Due to vole devastation I had to replace tomatoes and peppers. It was late to be getting seedling plants but Agway in Concord had some beautiful plants plus they were already on sale at $1 each (4” square pots). Last Thursday I got a healthy single tomato plant at Walker Farm in VT. it's pretty obvious that some plant sellers know how to grow healthy plants and others don't. Other places had starved looking scrawny cell packs.


    I needed to buy a few more perennials for a renovated border and bought two too many! My circle garden is ovegrown with shastas and tall phlox … and weeds. I've stuck scrawny nasturtium seedlings along the edges of veggie beds. Calendula self seeds in the veggie beds but is only 6 inches tall or shorter. Only some of my marigolds started from seed have been planted out and time's awasting. Wave petunias planted in planters are doing well but are in the compost mix not bagged potting soil. Also fertilized with new fish/seaweed fertilzer but I'm switching to Jack's 20-20-20 which a local farm and plant grower recommends.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Dee, I remember that you were selling bouquets. Curious, what is your assessment of that activity? Is it a big investment in time and effort? Did you feel it was worth it financially? Were you going to multiple farmer’s markets and having to spend the whole day there? Did you have to set up a tent like structure to stay out of the sun? You stopped doing it because you went back to a 9-5 job or because your area of sun was too small? Do you miss it? It definitely doesn’t sound like something I would try, simply because the hot summer months are not not easy to be outside for long periods. I go in and out and work in the mornings outside, but like this week for instance, I’m basically putting on the sprinkler and moving it around the yard and puttering, that’s about it.

    I was just reviewing Dahlia growing instructions and I see that they are not fond of these heat waves and they recommend afternoon shade for southern growers. I thought I might throw a milk crate over mine this week since they are still under a foot tall. I also see earwigs can be a problem? I’m going to have to check at night to see if they are bothering them. I don’t see any leaf damage yet. Also they are almost a foot tall, and the recommendation is to pinch out 3-4 inches of the growing tip to make them bush out. I will probably wait for the end of the week to try that. I was just going to tie the longest growth to the stake but I guess it won’t be long if I pinch them out now.

    I made the attempt to change my full sun bed to lower maintenance three years ago. I added two Hydrangea paniculata LL and a Hardy Hibiscus to replace a lot of cosmos & ‘Violet Queen’ Cleome and perennials. I still let some reseed but a lot less than I have. I have grasses, I added another that was larger, but wow, did it reseed this spring, so that might be coming out before it sets seeds this fall. I don’t think I can depend on consistently deadheading it to prevent that. Is that bed going to be less work with these changes? Well, I had to prune both Hydrangeas to cut off all the dead flower heads this spring and the Hardy Hibiscus had to have all the old stems cut back, same as a perennial. [g] I’m looking at it every year to see what I have to have to be happy, what really performs with the least amount of attention.

    Shrubs to me, aren’t necessarily lower maintenance. There are very few shrubs in my garden that need no attention or pruning. Some perennials are very low maintenance, like Epimedium and Hellebores.

    I’m looking at what exactly am I doing out there. What is work and what requires very little. To grow organically, you really do have to keep building your soil, that’s a job I’ve slacked off on. Instead I’m buying more compost and alfalfa meal, etc., which is good, but more expensive. And growing organically, means more work if you end up with a pest or disease problem. Hand picking is time consuming for bugs. Lately I haven’t had to do a lot of that. I try to be pro active and have good clean practices to keep disease out, etc. At the first sign of trouble I remove something that I think I’m not going to have the energy to work on. Like with roses, I can’t grow them unless they are very disease resistant. I know myself well enough that I can’t tolerate looking at diseased foliage and if it starts, I’m out there trying to get rid of it. Now if a rose has a disease, out it goes. I just shovel pruned a rose this morning. Dug the whole thing out and it went out with the Yard Waste. I have 7 other roses that have no foliar diseases. One of them, I actually had what looked like a disease the year before last. I liked it enough to allow it one more season and the next spring it came back completely healthy and haven ’t had a problem since. But this is the kind of decision making I’m trying to do.

    What might be a way to think about it too, is to let it go for a season or a month and see what happens. If I don’t do everything I usually do, what is it going to look like? That might be a way of figuring it out.

    It’s a process. You’re not ready to let go of some aspects of gardening, some plants that you love. But I don’t want to have it sneak up on me and all of a sudden I don’t have the ability to make changes that are acceptable to me either. God forbid, someone else deciding what has to go and what can’t be managed!

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Defrost, I bought brand new Espoma organic seed starting mix that had mycorrhizal fungi in it. It seems everything does now. I have no idea what about the mix was a problem, but it had to be that. I can’t point to any other reason. I had quite a different experience and result with seed starting than usual and I was doing everything I always do. And I did take some of the seedlings that weren’t putting on any growth at all and put them into my own mix and they started growing. I called the nursery and explained it to them, but they said they haven’t had any complaints. So, it is a mystery, but I’m going back to making my own mix exclusively.

    As for the fish fertilizer, I carry over every season left over to the next season. It’s expensive! This year I’m still working on last year’s bottle. I think I can see a difference, but what I really should do is experiment and buy a new bottle, and do half of a garden bed with the new one and half with the old.

    Glad you were able to find healthy tomato plants at this time of year. That is very unusual, very lucky!

    I love daisies and I bought Shasta daisies one year, I pulled them after 3 years. They were more than I could handle. They grow so fast and spread so much. I had to lift them and divide them the 2nd year and they looked like they needed it the 3rd year and out they went. I had to do the same with Bearded Iris, because they also are a pain in the neck to lift and replant to me and need to be done more frequently than I want to be doing it.

    I bought some Angelonia 4” pots last week to stick in some pots that had pansies that were hating the heat. Full price and they weren’t looking fresh for sure. I am thinking more might go on sale after Fourth of July and I’d like to buy a few new things to freshen things up.

    I have also found that if you have annuals in pots, the fish fertilizer is not going to give you the results you want. I wouldn’t use a synthetic in my garden, but I am tempted to use it for the potted annuals. So far I’ve got away with not doing it, because I haven't been growing much in pots. I've been using my pots for potatoes and more peppers lately. but if I were trying to keep up with a lot of potted annuals I’d use it. I was looking for more results in the vegetable garden and this year, I've experimented with one bed and added bagged compost and alfalfa meal, and bloodmeal with the added goal of trying to keep the rabbits out of it. I'm watching that bed to see how that is going and not sure how long those type of supplements take to show some results.

    I'm also going to add some human hair to the bed to keep the rabbits from eating my broccoli, cabbage and kale. I'm trying to coexist, since the thought of having to make my entire back yard rabbit proof is too much work and i don't want to erect a chicken wire fence around my vegetable beds. I saw a baby rabbit in one of my long beds yesterday, *sigh*. And I have rabbits visiting the garden daily. I don't bother them if they are eating the clover in the lawn. I read a comment somewhere last week, that someone was trying to train the rabbits not to eat his vegetables but to eat the clover and I thought that was pretty funny, but....who knows. if you can keep the clover coming and discourage them in the places you don't want them?

  • defrost49
    2 months ago

    Prairiemoon, I've been buying seed starting and potting soils, fertilzers and soil amendments in March with the NH organic farmers bulk purchase program. you don't have to be a member and fortunately I live about 30 minutes from the pickup place. they only have one day for pickup in each of I think three locatiions. i think a gallon of fish/seaweed was $29 but I might be wrong. numbers don't stick in my head.

    we don't seem to have rabbits or woodchucks but voles moved in a couple of years ago. we do have coyotes but not as many living close by as before. but last year I think a coyote tried to dig voles out of my potato patch.


    Tomatoes in the ground have gotten hardware cloth collars. additional replacement tomatoes and peppers have been planted in pots.


    I have an over aboundance of self seeded kale in my smallhigh tunnel the voles could be eating instead of my tomato plants which they don't eat, just chew thru the stems. This week one chewed off two lower branches of a tomato plant in the ground, I saw it scurrying away.


    despit many years of gardening I haven't learned when to divide plants. Oh well.

  • deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
    2 months ago

    Chiming in late. I don't have any advice with regards to fertilizers, lights, etc. I do know that I use fresh potting soil every year in my WS jugs and both last year and this year I've had growth issues, but most noticably OUT of the jug, which is strange. I'm not sure why, but my first gut feeling is I had annuals that like cold (evening stock, annual carnation) and last year's heat/drought was to blame. My Chaboud carnations in the garden bed, a bed that I thought had great soil, stayed 3" tall, period. The stock FINALLY began to grow later in summer and bloomed. It was weird. Poppies were frozen in time in the ground. This year I put the stock in a place with some shade and added more mulch, which seemed to help. I'm also amending everything with composted cow manure this year.


    This year's bad growth in the jug is, I believe, my fault. Because of the extra heat, i decided to experiment with taking the tops of my jugs off much earlier. I learned how amazingly helpful that moist environment is. Germination and growth either halted or retarded. But, ironically, I have sown Japanese Anemone EVERY YEAR since 2016, and this is the FIRST year I've had any germination, and it was way way way late. Maybe they DON'T like having the tops of the jugs on! Each year I order J anemone I think, "Why, oh why, am I trying again?" I didn't believe it when i saw the sprouts, and had not faith until the first true leaves appeared. Some late-germinating things like Coreopsis did not germinate well.


    I did stop keeping track of jug growth maybe a month ago as I decided to let most things in the jugs die due to the drought. I don't want to stress the well this year watering. I have trash bins under the roof valleys, and I am BLOWN AWAY by the water I get from even a small shower. Very glad to have that extra water!

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    Defrost - Organic Farmer’s in bulk, interesting. I’m sure there is a NOFA in MA, but I never think to check of they have a bulk supplies sale. I know FEDCO in ME does and I missed the date this year. $29. For a gallon seems like a deal to me. I am paying about $18. For a medium size bottle, I’ll hv to check the ounces. Thanks for the tip, I just have to make it more of a priority in the spring.

    If you have coyotes, that may be the reason you don’t have rabbits and woodchucks. [g] Not so sure I’d like that any better having a larger predator in the neighborhood, so it’s a trade off. Especially now that we have our daughter’s 12 lb dog visit us a lot. LoL

    It is annoying when animals destroy your plants for no good reason and don’t eat it. I keep finding cherry tomatoes on my front steps with one bite out of them. Pretty sure it’s chipmunks. I imagine they are getting hydrated, they seem to suck the inside out of them.

    Dividing plants, if they are not in your way and not causing a problem, then why divide them at all. [g] To me dividing is a question of convenience. If they are crowding your bed or reducing their bloom, it’s time. If you don’t have time to do it, no harm, no foul.

    You sound like you have a lot on your hands trying to focus on your vegetable garden, which I would think is the higher priority.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    Deanna - It’s starting to seem odd to me that four experienced gardeners all had trouble with seedlings this year. Hmmm….. well, better luck next year!

    I still have some winter sown jugs around - I got too busy to pay attention. I put them in the shade and forgot about them, more or less writing them off. Yesterday, I was looking at them as I was watering and I see there are still some seedlings in them. Once the heat breaks I hope I find some time to take care of them and possibly plant them out.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Wow, sorry, haven't been able to get back to this conversation but lots of points to touch on!


    Defrost so sorry to hear of your vole devastation! I have some issues this year as well. Had a rose bush that literally overnight looked limp. I knew from looking at it across the yard and with a sinking heart went to give it a tug and yup, came right up. Luckily it had a root or two left so I put it in a pot and it seems to have new growth. However, I am worried about some of the other established plants in that bed - daylilies, asters, daisies, roses, phlox, a hydrangea, and a newly planted peony, not to mention this season's dahlias. So, fingers crossed....


    I used new potting mix for my seed starting - I always do. I always use promix and like it so I don't think it was that. Just a weird year. That's technical scientific garden talk there, lol.


    PM2 selling bouquets was a huge investment of time and not a lot of money coming back. I actually had a nice little following at one market - it was a confidence booster to pull up and see them waiting for me to unload my bouquets! The turning point for me was when the farmer down the street, who got me involved in selling, offered to let me to grow on his land. I was ecstatic! I had visions of a flower empire lol. Lots of space, full sun, a greenhouse if I needed it, and literally at the end of my street. But then his daughter stepped in and put the kibosh on that. I kind of get it. It's a family business and I'm not family and (and this is the key I think lol) - SHE sold flowers too! The farmer is an amazingly generous man who thinks the whole world should farm. The daughter saw me as competition and perhaps an interloper on the family farm (although other non-family people farmed there too, including my selling partner who I always worked with on the farm helping her with her produce). Anyway, at that point, with increasing job hours, my kids in high school and doing more stuff (that I had to chauffeur them to), and the fact that it was not quite an income-producing venture, and not to mention the increasing shade in MY yard lol, I decided to discontinue selling. I just didn't have the space or sun to make it work and couldn't deal with finding other land at that point in my life. It was a TON of work but a great experience and I do miss it.


    Deanna, you reminded me of something (and maybe this year isn't so different after all). The summer of 2019 I was growing flowers for my daughter's wedding, and it was a horrible year. My seedling were also "frozen in time"! My chinese asters were the exact same size in September as they were in June - about two inches high. It was so odd. That is the example that sticks out most in my mind. I ended up buying flowers from Sam's club and using my hydrangeas, my dahlias, and few fillers from my garden. (BTW, I never knew one could buy flowers like that and I highly recommend Sam's Club. The prices were the best around, they came in fabulous shape and it was a fun experience!) But anyway, I certainly hope that this isn't a repeat of 2019. I hope things put on SOME growth!


    One last thing - do you guys find that using fish emulsion attracts critters? I used to use it all the time till one year I had pretty serious critter issues (I think raccoons). I used to also participate in the bulk sale - I think it was CT NOFA and Fedco joining forces, IIRC. Got some good stuff at good prices, including my fish emulsion. I've been thinking of trying it again...


    :)

    Dee

  • defrost49
    2 months ago

    Dee, i haven't had a critter problem with fish emulsion. We probably have skunks around but rarely seen. Had possums one winter. Not a lot of squirrels and chipmunks. have never seen a rabbit. Have not seen raccons but they must be around. Bear problem this spring thanks to a bag of old apples out by the garage on their way to compost pile. We see deer sometimes daily. Coyotes occasionally. Our house backs up to woods but faces garden and hayfields. sometimes we see a porcupine grazing in the hayfield in early spring along with wild turkeys. The fish emulsion from NOFA isn't smelly so I also use it indoors. Unfortunately they took down the order form so I'm not sure where it comes from. The NH NOFA gets a lot from NH, ME and VT producers.


  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago

    The last two years, most of my plants start in my aerogarden (I have a seed starting tray for it), then move to little pots under a growlight that hangs off the shelf under it when they size out (since window space is limited, and it's generally still too cold out.) Then they move to window sills when they get to hardening off. Lettuce is pretty much my only direct sow. This year the lettuce didn't germinate at all ... brand new seed (Tom Thumb), so maybe I just didnt plant it right, or maybe I just hit a week of odd weather, and it rotted/disintigrated before it grew. I'll be trying it again in the fall.

    Everything else is doing pretty well ... I've got some odd sizes from what was expected in my tomatoes - Silvery Fir Tree is only needing one ladder and was supposedly 3'-4' tall, and the Sprites are already 42" tall and still growing despite having an expected height of 2'-3' - they're pretty much all new seeds, though though, so I don't have anything to compare to beyond what the internet said. I have one tomato, Striped Roman, that I bought as a tender start that is growing a bit oddly ... it's tall and big, but it's branchs are just kind-of wimpy, so they droop a bit (not wilting) and some have a bit of a twist to them; it's counterpart, San Marzano, that I bought at the same time is growing normally like the rest of the tomatoes, so no idea what's up with Striped Roman, though it is in a new planter and isn't as tucked into the house.

    The flowers/herbs are mostly okay, though one of the calendulas pales in comparison the other, which is big and blooming nicely (we just have to remember to water it with a pitcher, so we can make sure the water gets under its leaves and just just shed right into the saucer skipping the pot. I'll have to look in the morning to remember which others were duds. All the farm purchased herbs are doing great. It's the aerogarden starts (they went in as the tomatoes and peppers came out) were more of a mixed bag.

  • Richard Dollard
    2 months ago

    Not seedlings for me but the caladiums I planted 2 months ago have finally just sprouted within the last week. I was going to toss them but then pulled one out and it had a tiny white sprout popping out the top so I stuck in back in the soil. I am finally starting to see a few leaves form.

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago

    Second calendula is actually catching up to it's flowering friend (it has buds now!):


    The coneflower seedlings failed, but that may have been us rather than the weather. The dill was struggling, but it's pretty happy since we moved it to the back porch.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Blueberry, can you explain what an aerogarden is? I'm not familiar with that. Thanks!


    Richie that's exactly what happened with my dahlia tubers! Potted up in trays of potting mix on the patio for weeks. Figured they were goners so I went through them and found at least fifteen with eyes. Eyes! I mean, they'd been in the potting mix for like two months! You'd think they'd have more than eyes! They're finally putting on some growth now. Not sure what they were waiting for! Idk lol....


    Also, just realized the title of my post is wrong!! Ack! Obviously it should say "that just AREN'T doing anyTHING" LOL


    :)

    Dee

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago

    It's basically a small hydroponics system.

    I don't have any pictures from this year, but this was last year's group:

    The top has a grow light that can be raised up as plants grow. This is the seed starting tray; for regular growing, this model (Sprout) holds three plants, though there are bigger models that can hold more. The basin below holds water, and one adds nutrients on a schedule. I've got an extra water reservoir which hooks in with that tube you see on the right, so I don't have to refill it as often. The sponges that the plants start in transfer out and new sponges are used each time; they'renot really dirt, but they work well, and the plants don't seem to mind the transition to potting soil. Some plants don't like wet feet, so don't take as well to the aerogarden, like Sunpeach there in the front, so they get transferred to pots before their roots get too far out of their sponges.

    This model is simple and just has a little red light that comes on every two weeks for nutrients reminder and runs the grow light 16 hours on and 8 hours off based on the time it was plugged in; other models have screens or smart phone compatibility that allow programming.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    Dee, Promix is supposed to be a great product, so I guess it would be hard to suspect that, but ‘just a weird year’ is just a smart way of accepting that there are mysteries in the world. [g]

    Dee, what a shame that you almost had the perfect arrangement for growing a cutting garden! You must have been so frustrated.

    I don’t find fish emulsion has attracted any critters and I use it all the time. But I don’t have a lot of critters here, beyond the squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits. No deer, and can’t remember seeing a skunk. We smell one once a great while. No raccoons, thankfully. We had a possum in the garage one year, that was it.

    BBundtcake - You’ve reminded me of all the seed, I didn’t start. [g] I have a few varieties of calendula and I’m thinking of starting them for the cooler Fall weather.

    BB - and the closest I get to a hydroponic system, is when I stick cuttings in a vase of water. [g]

    Richard, I love caladiums, I don’t know why I don’t grow them more often, they are so pretty in the shade and come in so many color combinations that appeal to me. I think I bought them already started the one time I grew them. Great in a pot!

  • Richard Dollard
    2 months ago

    Dee, I bought dahlias from Walmart along with the caladiums and the dahlias couldn't wait to get into the soil because it seems they sprouted almost immediately. It's an odd year for sure. It did take a long time for the various squashes and pumpkins that I started in pots outside. They look fantastic now, just hope the bugs and beetles don't get to them!

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago

    My aerogarden primarily starts seeds and grows lettuce (which my guinea pigs eat the majority of).

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Blueberry, thanks for that explanation. My first thought was indeed that it was some kind of hydroponic setup, but then I thought to myself, well, there's that "aero" in the name, not "hydro" lol, so I wasn't quite sure. So, do you start some stuff in it, move it out to pots, start more stuff, etc? Like a little assembly line lol?


    Richie my squash and cukes are looking pretty good too - actually the only things that are really halfway decent so far. Let's hope the bugs leave us something lol. I have noticed that my daisies are looking good this year - they've always been decimated by oriental beetles, to the point where I almost ripped them out, but this year so far so good. Let's hope for the same with our other plants!


    PM2 maybe I'll try the fish emulsion again. I'm still a bit hesitant. We have a lot of critters here - we've got the usual assortment of squirrels, chipmunks, voles and moles, rabbits, deer, foxes, coyotes, turkeys, skunks, raccoons. An occasional bear and one year a mountain lion lol. Not to mention the cats that seem to pour forth endlessly from my newish neighbors house. I think they're the worst of all lol!


    :)

    Dee

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago

    Yup, this year we started tomatoes and peppers, then as they transplanted out into pots, we we changed the water and started flowers along side those small enough to stay. If the seedlings get too big, it gets harder to get them out because the roots tangle or try to grow into adjacent pods.


    Sounds like you've got the same assortment of critters we do, Dee; we haven't had a bear or mountain lion nearby, but there is a bobcat that gets spotted periodically down the street. We don't have much trouble with cats; I dont think many people let theirs out anymore between the coyotes, fisher cat, and various birds of prey. The previous neighbors had an outside cat (I think they went in at night) that used to give gifts ... you'd find a dead mouse in or near your trowel with a proud kitty looking at you ... (Thanks, Mackie ... I guess.). Another of their cats wound up stuck in our basement for a few day when she wandered through a door while we were taking stuff in and out ... she came flying out a few days later when we opened the door upstairs; no damage done, and Cindy was fine - we called the neighbor and let her out. No leaving the sandbox open if there are cats around ... must be closed/covered unless there's actively a child in it.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    I have barely seen a beetle this season for some odd reason. Well, I feel bad to say it but I really don’t get a large problem with them usually any way.

    I don’t get as many critters as everyone else, so I can’t say using Fish Emulsion would be a problem for someone else. If you’ve tried it before and think that might have been the case, well, give it a test in an area that you won’t be really upset about if a critter comes along and disturbs the area.

    Cats in the garden that leave their presents in my beds, are worse than other critters…even the rabbits. I only see ONE cat that comes through our yard at night. If there are other cats, people must keep them indoors. Lots of dogs though.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Blueberry you reminded me - we had a bobcat here last spring and this spring as well. My friend a town over across the river had one too and we were wondering if it was the same one lol.


    PM2, I'm hoping not to see too many beetles either! So far my daisies have been in bloom about three days and so far so good, but I'm doubtful this will last. I've been cutting a lot of them to enjoy them before they are found lol.


    :)

    Dee

  • defrost49
    2 months ago

    II’m not mentioning the ”b” word since recently I claimed not to have purslane in my garden this year so, of course, next thing I know it has claimed space in my high tunnel. I kniw it's edible but I don't usually eat it. Laugh when I see you canmbuy seeds to grow it. Potatoes are blossoming but I'm resisting the urge to dig some early potatoes at least this week.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Dee, lucky you to have daisies. I need to keep looking for one I can live with.

    Defrost - sure, we try not to jinx ourselves here too. Rarely works though, because the words are out of your mouth before you know it. lol

    I got my potatoes in late and I'm still not sure I hilled them up enough. Buds are forming but no flowers yet.

  • deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
    2 months ago

    Well, this morning I saw my first seedlings of Dutchman's Breeches sprout. Seeds have been in the container for a long time. I was so excited. Two hours later and the slugs were just finishing up all three. They are truly by nemesis.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Oh no!!! Oh Deanna I'm so sorry! How disappointing. Hope you can try again!


    :)

    Dee

  • defrost49
    2 months ago

    Deanna, no sligs here but understand your pain because voles are decimating my veggies. Latest victims are graffiti cauliflower.

    Prairiemoon, after hilling with soil I top with straw but it has to het around the base of the plants. if not, some potatoes can get exposes to sun. I don't remember which variety grew so close to the top of the ground but they turned green so were wasted. A couple of days ago I tried to grub under plants for some early potatoes but ended up uprooting a plant to get enough for the two of us. Red potatoes still pretty small. Largest were still smaller than a golf ball.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    No slugs or voles here, instead I have an earwig infestation and I've just been too tired at night to go out there and get after them. But they are only getting worse, I see every morning, so that's going to be a priority this week.

    Defrost - thanks for that info on the potatoes. Mine are barely starting to flower. I see some flower buds and one close to opening.

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago

    No slugs really here, and we rarely have vole issues (probably go somewhere withoht owls and fisher cats). We lost half a siberian iris (Caesar's Brother) one year to likely voles, but it recovered and is back to being huge ... we'd actually gotten a second becausewe thought it might not make it ... so we have two giant Caesar's Brothers.

    My hosta get a much bigger issue than slugs ... deer. We try all the tricks (spritz with hot sauce solution, scatter Irish Spring soap, etc.) they still get munched along with the flowers off my daylilies. Don Stevens only managed one and a half sets of blooms before the rest of their dozen buds were chomped (it's unfortunately too tall for its cage) ... White Tie Affair bloomed three flowers, and had five buds bitten off the taller plant (they did at least miss the shorter plant), and the big clump of mixed orange and yellow has been grazed, as well. I'm amazed Peach Serenade had buds still (knock on wood) ... but they're not mature yet, so lots of waiting and hoping still that it doesn't get its annual deer visit. (I think I've seen it bloom maybe three or four times in like a dozen years.

    We did have a rather interesting deer visit the other day (prior to the munching event) ... We were outside in the middle of the yard pulling some weeds with one of the dogs (who was interested in helping with the crabgrass, which she thinks is a treat to be eaten ...), when a baby deer comes flying over the stonewall from the neighbor's yard and kareens across our yard towards the house. The crazy little thing actually ran between my car and the L of the house and practically up the stairs. It knocked over a few potted herbs, and then was jumping at a basement window; it then knocked over a bucket and a pot of bolted lettuce escaping aswe approached to make sure it didn't hurt itself interacting with its reflection in the window. It vanished once it passed to forsythia at the front corner of the house (didn't see where it went). No real harm was done to anything, just some pots and such to stand back up. This fawn was no bigger than our Bichon Frisé, just with slightly longer legs! As much as the deer are a nuisance, we do hope it found its mom. We wish deer go elsewhere, not ill will. (You know ... like the conservation land ... that would be a good spot for them.)

  • deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
    2 months ago

    Blueberry, I LOVE the fawn encounter. Hope it found home. More seedlings that WILL NOT GROW. This is ridiculous. cardinal flower and japanese anemone



  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago

    More crazy wildlife for you all ... did you know groundhogs climb trees? We glanced outside because a large moth flew by the window, and in the neighbor's weedy mulberry was a groundhog! Three feet off the ground!


    In fact, he's there again:



  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    That's some small groundhog. Last one we saw in the neighborhood looked like Godzilla in comparison. [g]

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    Deanna - I still have 3 jugs that haven't grown at all, that I never took care of. I hope I will do something with them this weekend.

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago

    It's a young one. It keeps having to pick new spots in the wall to squeeze through. It mostly hangs out on the neighbor's property (eating the mulberries and such), so he gets to be called cute when not on our property ... in our wall he's still cute but needs to be chased off ... kindof like the turkeys which now know to start running when the door slams (they run to the other neighbor's yard (she doesn't care), into the woods, or across the street - we don't chase them towards cars).

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Darn I meant to go look at my lobelia cardinalis seedlings today and forgot. Will check tomorrow but I don't think they're any bigger than yours, deanna!


    :)

    Dee

  • Marie Tulin
    2 months ago

    We must be seeing at least the 3rd litter of rabbits. The little ones are untrained and I can get almost close enough to do bodily harm if I was so inclined. Saw one this morning sitting on the path with a long strand of bright green hakone grass hanging out of its mouth.

    The 8 lb jug of Plantskydd rabbit repellent arrived this afternoon. I used up all of it in a half hour.walk around the garden perimeter. With more rain and showers predicted, I'm ordering more; in a month or less I'll need it.


    Waiting for the Sluggo Plus to arrive. The "Plus" gets the earwigs, which are delighting in daisy sandwiches. I hate how they nibble all the white rays to nubs and then leave their dirty frass all over the plant.

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    We've had baby bunnies like that previous years ... there was one year that I kept working on getting closer and closer, for pictures, of course.

    One year I did get to see a tiny little baby maybe three inches long, furred but we're not sure if its eyes were fully open yet. For whatever reason it had hopped into the pen we had for our puppy. Needless to say, she did not get put in the pen while the bunny was in there. We did reach out to a local wild life expert to find out if it was going to be okay (definitely too young to be permanently on its own). It left within the expected time frame (not by predator, as the pen was protecting it). I think we saw it larger later in the season.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Getting back to the seedlings, Deanna, my lobelia cardinalis is just like yours. Got a few pics last evening (July 15) to show the (lack of) growth:





    I think I'm going to have to find time and pots and soil to pot these babies up, even if it's just hunk o' seedlings in bigger pots. There's no way on earth I can plant these out yet in their intended garden, which is a squishy-wet garden. They'll just get lost. Maybe I'll try those few overachievers in the front of the container there in their own pots lol. Let them really show off


    :)

    Dee

  • deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
    2 months ago

    I put some other small seedlings in a garden…finally..about 1.5 weeks ago. I had to find all kinds of makeshift wire covers to keep the cats out. I used overturned wire plant trays, wire shelf units, you name it. They’re all just so small. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to overwinter the cardinal flowers in the garage. I guess I should put them in pots now. Just not growing…AT ALL!

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    BBundtcake and Marie - We have 2 generations of bunnies here right now. If they are eating the clover I ignore them, when they start hopping into my raised vegetable beds they get chased out of the yard. [g] I did just sow another round of seeds so this time I'm going to have to come up with some kind of wire fence around my beds before I'm driven crazy. [g]

    Dee, that last photo, your seedlings look like they're just overcrowded. As soon as you get them out of there, I think they will start growing.

    Deanna, they will start growing now that you have them in the ground.

    We have the grand-puppy here for the weekend but I'll try to get a photo of my winter sown pots. I haven't even taken the tops off because I'd like to reuse them, so I think I'm just going to plant them in one of the vegetable beds and see how they do for now. I can always move them in the Fall.

    Few issues this year, the Milkweed in the front - the native Milkweed, that comes up on it's own is covered with mildew which has never happened before and I'm going to pull them all. Which isn't a problem since they always come back. They're not used by butterflies at this point in that condition, they're that bad. I have the other kind of named varieites in the back - 'Cinderella' a pink and 'Ice Ballet' a white. They seem to be doing fine. I have seen a few butterflies around. Rabbits had less of an impact this year because I was covering the plants they chopped down last year with milk crates every night for a month and a half in early spring. I have lilies blooming and smelling great! Last year, I didn't have one flower.

    Even with the unsuccessful winter sowing project, on the whole, with all this rain, the garden is doing really good. And what a relief not to be dragging the hoses around.

  • defrost49
    2 months ago

    is it possible the seedlings are too crowded so they won't grow? My high tunnel has been overrun with volunteer kale seedlings. Some grew quickly but others are still young. Fortunately a volunteer gleaning group has taken about half the kale and will come back for the rest and then I can prepare beds for fall planting. Hope to have spinach all winter if the voles don't like it.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I'm absolutely positive that the milk jugs are NOT providing optimum growing conditions for my lobelia haha! But that being said, there are a few other containers (I'n ashamed to admit!) right next to them that are similarly crowded, still unplanted, and there is growth in them, to the point where some of the plants are tall and blooming. Obviously not blooming nearly as well as if I had gotten them in the ground, but as a long time, habitual neglecter of my poor wintersown seedlings, I still say this year is the weirdest. I still have stuff I DID plant out that is still two inches tall. Very odd...


    defrost, hahaha, at first I thought your "volunteer gleaning group" was a funny way of saying "critter" and I was going to say how fortunate for you that for once you have something eating the plants you DON'T want! Then it dawned on my that you meant a group of humans who glean lol! But, wouldn't it be wonderful if deer, rabbits, voles, bugs of all kinds, ate the weeds and left our flowers???


    :)

    Dee

  • defrost49
    last month

    Dee, one time on Facebook I saw a short video of a black swan who was weeding a garden. It was amazing. Yes, it would make more sense to have a division of gleaners. In fact, I was wishing the second gleaner who is a student minoring in ecogastronomy had spent her required semester abroad in Turkey instead of Italy. I have an internet friend who lives in Turkey who loves purslane. The second gleaner didn't want any to take home. The next day I pulled two 5-gallon buckets full from what should have been my pole bean patch.


    The good news is two days ago I saw a deer run by my window. I decided to get up for more coffee and to see if the deer was headed to the garden. I saw two adult wild turkey hens with 15 big babies heading in the opposite direction so I holler to dh to look out the window thinking he was in the bathroom which also has a backyard window. But he looked out a front window and saw an Eastern coyotee hunting near the garden. I watched and saw him pounce several times before bringing up what looked like a vole (also known as meadow mouse). They are darker and longer than a house mouse. The coyote gave it a good shake and looked like he gobbled it right down like a pelican would. I cheered loudly.


    Potato beetle larvae have appeared but not many. The plants looked beautiful when they were blossoming but now they are doing their downhill droop. We've had one dinner of early potatoes but I'm hoping for some good big keepers. I have both fingerling and bakers planted.


    Spiderwort that I thought I had dug out of the garden last year grew back and is now collapsing and making the border look awful. Time to dig it out again and also to cut back some yellow daisy like flowers. My husband thinks every thing looks nice but he doesn't see the weeds or poor design. Shastas are blooming and taking up at least 1/4 of the circle garden. Tall yellow day lilies look great at the end of the narrow border. The shallow handing baskets of annual begonias loved all the rain but the geraniums in two planters look terrible. I did not put a tall plant in the whiskey barrel planter and somehow the sweet potato filler plants have taken over.


    Enjoy the recent cooler and sunnier weather!

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    What a great story. Fawns are so cute. Glad they didn't come over to your house to eat all your daylilies though! [g]