Gardener's Grapevine 2012.02.22
On Saturdays I try to spend time at my grandmother’s house quilting. We make a quilt for our church Christmas bazaar in December, which is a yearly event. It takes a long time to sew an entire quilt, and can take months or even the entire year to complete. A lot of the time it’s Gram, my Aunt Patricia Houttieker and myself sitting around the frame sewing. Three generations talking and sewing like in times of old.
I reap so much of the past from these sessions like family history, ideas about all sorts of things, and lots of personal opinions. Personal opinions always make me laugh later when I think back on them. What one person thinks, another may not, and we are much more open in our current era about what we think than people were in the past.
My grandmother pointed out while we were quilting, that my great-grandmother would host quilting at her home, and when her sister-in-law left she would take out her stitches and replace them with smaller tidier stitches. My opinion on this is wow, there are no quilts in our family with her sewing on them. That’s sad, but to my great-grandmother that was not an heirloom, it was a functional thing that needed to be as perfect as possible. Now those long ago beautiful quilts are coveted keepsakes that our family cherishes.
My point in all this is that in gardening we all have our opinions on what works and what will still be here in the future. For everyone, that is a different footprint we all choose to make. Most trees take generations to mature, so our vision is not in full fruition until many years down the road, when future owners of the property may wonder why in the world anyone would put a tree there and cut it down. Or they may cherish it and nurture it. It all depends on opinion and outlook. This spring, take a look around and think of who put what in your yard and why. Do you like their vision?
To continue with starting your plants indoors, plants started indoors have never been exposed to the ever-changing harsh environment of the outdoors. While the weather may seem fine to you, to a new seedling it is like throwing a newborn to the elements. It may or may not make it.
To insure a healthy plant, take your plants outside in the warmth of the afternoon and put them in the shade away from the wind. Bring them back inside prior to the temperature changing for the evening. Leave them out there for a few hours longer each day, gradually exposing them to a little more sunshine until they are okay in complete sunshine. This process usually takes about two weeks and the plants are ready to be transplanted to their permanent living space in your garden. If freezing temperatures are forecast, continue the process until the threat of frost is gone.
When transplanting seedlings potted in organic containers, cut the top of the container down to soil level to prevent the air from drying the container out and wicking all the moisture away from the seedling. Also, cut or punch small holes in the bottom of the container so the roots can grow outward. Sometimes these containers don’t completely break down and can inhibit root growth, so the holes help the roots grow naturally. If you use toilet paper rolls there won’t be a bottom, so the roots will be free to grow at will.
There is no greater thrill than seeing your plants succeed. My uncle is currently growing a bean plant in his kitchen that has two blooms already. Obviously, you can be successful. Go for it, and inexpensive food is yours for the picking.
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