Monday, March 24, 2014

Narcissus - King Alfred

For several years my mother's and my "King Alfred," jonquils (perennial narcissus bulbs) didn't bloom. This year to our surprise they busted out with amazing blooms! Mother told me she applied fertilizer last year, however, I didn't apply any and haven't for 5 or 6 years. "King Alfred" is a beautiful, cream colored, perennial bulb, with a large corona bloom in the center.

Narcissus, also known as, daffodil and jonquil is a bulbous perennial originating from North Africa and West Asia.  All are members of the Amaryllis family. Blooms come in single, double and triple centers, as well as, colors white, cream, light and dark yellows in the center corona.

Just like most plants we grow in our garden and yard, the myth about these flowers start centuries ago across the ocean in Greece.  Narcissus was obsessed with his own reflection. As he knelt and gazed into a pool seeing his reflection, he fell into the pool and drowned.  After his death, narcissus flowers sprang up in and around the area.

No doubt, as seen above, gotta love ""King Alfred's." If, I remember they are about 25 or 30 years old!  I am trying to figure the why's and how's about the prolific blooms this year.  My only solution to this perplexing is the cold weather, snow and again cold weather!

Since mother felt under the weather last week, took her a bouquet of King Alfred's   Enjoy and love you mother.  Hope you feel better soon!!

Until next time......

Happy Gardening 2014!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Monday, March 10, 2014

Grow Plants for Less Than 12 Cents Each

Here's How!

Several weeks ago my neighbor Dianne Carnicom told me she planned to start her tomato plants indoors using small paper cups for pots. These are sold as oral hygiene cups used for rinsing and growing up I remember dispensers available to mount on a bathroom wall above the sink. She bought a 100 pack for $2.29 plus tax.

I was interested to watch and wondered how cheap her process would be to start her seeds.

She began by using a toothpick to poke holes in the bottom of each cup. This allowed proper drainage and air to flow through and around each seed. As, Dianne and Mike use raised beds for their vegetable garden, she didn't want to plant too many but did plant extra to sell at the garden club plant sale in May.

Seen above she paid $2.49 plus tax for the seeds. Soil was the only other expense used for the 20 pots planted. A bag of organic potting soil was bought at a local garden center for $6.85 plus tax. She probably used less than 1/8 of the bag of soil and less than 1/2 of the seed pack for her 20 pots.

The next two steps were to fill the pots 2/3 full and place one seed in each pot. The organic soil added extra nutrients to start the seed and only using one seed per pot prevented thinning plants later and healthier root growth when transplanting to the garden space or a larger pot when needed.

Last but not least, Dianne watered each pot and placed them inside in a sunny location (morning sun with approximately 5 large windows. Their house temperature also remains constant at 68 to 70 degrees (important for sprouting seeds indoors). I was surprised to see the sprouts so soon (sorry about the photo shown) but obviously, Dianne did all the right things!

You can use the same steps to sprout different vegetables and flowers inside for gardens, pots or yard spaces for 12 cents or less each plant.

Here's how Dianne did it:

Seeds $2.49 + tax - used 1/2 or less         $1.25
Soil $6.85+ tax - used 1/8 or less             $  .85
100 Cups + tax - used 20Xless than .01   $  .20
                                                                 $ 2.30 divided by 20 = 11.5

Total - 20 Plants                                       $  .12 or less

Now don't take my word for it because I'm better at gardening than math but there is no doubt it's cheaper to grow your own plants from seed than buy the plants later in the season, if you have the time.

Until Next Time......

Happy Gardening 2014!

Posted by Wilma Smith