Yay!! On the heel’s of yesterday’s post, I woke up this morning, past by with my morning coffee and sure enough, several seedlings were poking up from the soil. What a nice mid-week surprise. This is only 4 days after
planting sowing them!
I took them out yesterday and placed them in the bright sun for a while. They’re normally perched near an window inside, but the sun is obscured by trees. I think they enjoyed their afternoon sun bathing.
With a soon-to-expire $5 coupon in hand to one of our local garden/hardware stores, I made one of my garden splurges. Of course I spent more then I meant (isn’t that the purpose of those coupons?) The damage: a few packs of flowers, soil, sale plant pot, the obligatory succulents and some seed packets. I usually avoid seeds because they are so much work. This time I couldn’t resist checking out the sheet hanging beside the display of seeds to see what could be planted in July. That column was sparse, but I picked up three that could be started as seeds and planted later in the summer for a fall/winter crop. These were collard greens, cauliflower and kale. Three veggies that I love and would be perfect to grow at home. The last time I had success with seeds, it was with some tomatoes that I started that made it to the garden and to adulthood. Unfortunately, it was a bad year for tomatoes – we had a few strange hail storms in June and the weather was weird that summer so they weren’t very productive, but I was proud of those huge tomato plants that had once started as tiny seeds.
Summer is a good time for time consuming projects since my workload is usually lighter and my motivation is pricking to avoid boredom. I planted the seeds on the 13th, so I’m going to track them to see how they do. I planted them in potting soil, but afterwards read it’s best to plant them in specific seedling mix. How did I never know this? Well, the tomatoes grew just fine in soil, so let’s see how these do. I also designed and printed out a gardening log, so I’m going to be super-scientific with this batch. I’ll track their sprouting (if they do), fertilization times, planting, productivity and death.
Full sprouting ahead!
Succulent update: Everyone survived the winter. We had some hard frosts which are unusual where we live. In order to save all my outdoor pals, I gathered them under a table and covered them with a tarp. It protected them from the frost and the rain, and kept the temperature high enough that they didn’t croak. The year before I didn’t use this technique and lost a few succulent friends.
Now that it’s summer, a lot of the succulents are going through their major growing time. Over the winter in the colder weather they go somewhat dormant and don’t need very much water or attention. Now that scorching summer is here, the soil dries much quicker and the succulents are bursting vertically, horizontally and some even diagonally. There are some that have grown several inches in just a few weeks! Pretty amazing!
I also try to have a vegetable garden, and it’s usually a failure. I am not attentive enough to watering or maintaining the soil or keeping the pests away. I recently put in a tomato plant a friend gave me and it got scorched in the sun. Oops. I think I may stick to succulents.
Succulents really are pretty miraculous! They can take hot and cold extremes. Some of them flower, others change color with the seasons. They do best with a little abandonment – they are independent little creatures, maybe that’s why I like them so much!
I caught up on some podcasts and spent part of the afternoon working on the garden projects I linked to on the previous post. I made three small planters and several plant markers. I didn’t have any clay tools, specifically a smoothing tool to make the joints and connecting pieces look clean and professional. Since these are the first ones, I’m giving myself some slack. They aren’t perfect, but I like them anyways.
The plant markers were much easier and looked a lot better because they required less tools. I had a set of alphabet stamps which made the markers especially simple. I made markers for some of the succulents and herbs. I’m already making a list for more to make later. I think they look pretty good! FYI, the Mint marker is really white. The light gave it an orange tint.
My summer to do list is starting to get a little out of control. A lot of my early efforts have been happening in the backyard. I’ve got most of the vegetable garden planted and seedlings started in small pots. I cleaned the back patio and got almost all of my new succulents planted! A few crafty projects have popped up that I really want to try. They both involve using polymer bake-able clay.
In other news, several of my succulents are getting ready to flower! I’ll post pictures when that happens. Others are branching off new succulents, like the Hen and Chicks Sempervivums. This photo was taken a few weeks ago and the little babies are much bigger now.
A few years ago our landlord gave us a few succulents that they couldn’t take with them on a move. A few years later, our backyard is full of clippings from these original plants, as well as a growing collection purchased at various nurseries, farmers markets and this weekend – the local Succulent show and sale!
I never gave much thought to succulents or cacti. Once they were in my possession and didn’t shrivel and die from lack of attention, I was intrigued. When a branch from the jade plant fell off during a wet and cold winter, I stuck it in an old pot, and miraculously, it lived! It rooted, and is still happily growing away. Plants that can survive with little attention and can easily propagate are right up my alley. I’ve always wanted to be a good gardener, but I’m not. My vegetable and herb garden do OK, but the plants that do best are the mints and rosemary that don’t require constant care and don’t require me to invest in new seedlings every year. I have a small budget and those that cost the least are my friends.
I find succulents to be both cost-effective and rewarding. I’ve been able to get cuttings off my plants and start new ones. They don’t require much water and tolerate the hot California summers. This weekend I gathered up some friends and we browsed the awesome selection at the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society Show. The selection far outnumbered any local plant nursery I’ve been to. The sheer variety was mind boggling and awesome. I found several plants that I had eyed in my succulent books and was super excited to add them to my collection.
Alright, let’s look at some of the goodies!
This last one isn’t new. I got this tea cup from the as-is section at Ikea for a buck, filled the bottom with rocks for drainage, and put a few cuttings in it. I love it. Super simple and looks great.
Anyone else going succulent crazy?