Friday, April 6, 2012

What’s Going on in the Greenhouse

I planted seeds a couple of weeks ago in the greenhouse. It took them no time at all to start sprouting. I used to have TERRIBLE luck at starting plants from seeds, even after moving into this house and having the greenhouse. The key to my success was the APS (Accelerated Propagation System) seedstarting kit from Gardener’s Supply Company (THE best online company for gardening supplies). The kit consists of five main parts: a reservoir for the water, a pegboard stand, a capillary mat, insulated growing tray, and a cover. This diagram shows how it all works together:,default,pd.html?start=3&cgid=APS_Cat I also use their germinating mix. Since I started using those products, I’ve had almost 100% success with starting seeds indoors. One thing I did differently this year it to buy a longer chain for my florescent light so it can hang closer to the seeds and I think that helped the seeds to germinate faster.

Seedlings growing in the greenhouse.

What’s growing? Mammoth sunflowers, cappuccino sunflowers, sugar snap peas, sweet basil, and blue boy cornflowers. I also have four large pots that I planted with rhizomes of Canna Wyoming. First time trying that, so we’ll see how they do. My sunflower seedlings are ready to be transplanted to larger pots...

Mammoth sunflowers and cappuccino sunflower seedlings.

While in the greenhouse, I noticed something completely new: My carnivorous pitcher plants had flowers! I actually had no idea that pitcher plants developed flowers. I don’t remember seeing them last year. I still have to split up my carnivorous bog plants into two separate containers because they’ve gotten too crowded. But man, look at these cool flowers on my purple pitcher plant! The white pitcher plant has buds and will bloom soon, too.

Purple pitcher plant flowers.
Close-up of a purple pitcher plant flower. So cool!

Not even remotely as exciting is the begonia that’s flowering in the greenhouse. I had taken cuttings in the fall from a begonia and coleus and here they are now...

Begonia and coleus.

Colorful and I love the dark purple leaves, but yeh, not nearly as exciting as those pitcher plant flowers. I was practically jumping for joy when I first discovered them, then I decided to look up in my carnivorous plants book to see exactly what was going on. I highly recommend “The Savage Garden” by Peter D’Amato if  you are interested in carnivorous plants. Great photos and great information.

There are plenty, and I mean plenty, of other plants crammed into my greenhouse right now, but those are the highlights. Soon I’ll be starting seeds outdoors under row covers. And come Mother’s Day, a lot of my greenhouse plants will move back outside.

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