a week in the life of a container gardener: early October

watching me work…

Saturday, October 6th 2012:
Today was all about repotting. The rain hasn’t let up in literally months so I decided that some of my more “soggy” plants needed to thoroughly dry out in a way they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do if I just left them alone. So I repotted the ivy, all the succulents and cactus (cacti?), one of the coleus planters, the lantana (I actually lost THREE to the rain, which has never happened before), the bonsai tree, and a few other plants that were super soggy. I still have to do the sweet potato/asparagus fern planter- I’m thinking of throwing my lemon verbena plant in there, too, since it’s a big planter.

coleus! coleus!

Of course, right after I finished repotting everything and lugged the coleus planter back into place, it began to pour. And poured for a good hour or two. Luckily, I didn’t move anything else off the potting bench (which is under the roof overhang) so hopefully everything will get a good opportunity to really dry out.

In the process of repotting, I had interactions with a tiny snail and a giant worm. The worm “wormed” back into the soil and I transplanted the snail out into the yard. I’m always tempted to keep any snails I find- when we had an aquarium we always had snails in there and they were more interesting than the fish. I’d like to have a non-aquatic one, but I’m not certain that a tank would be a better home than the yard. But then I think about all the chemicals out there (fertilizer and pest control) and maybe life in a tank with fresh greens every day might not be so bad for a snail in our neck of the woods.

I also went ahead and planted two sets of bulbs today- a gloxinia bulb that Tom found in the kitchen cabinet (?!) and the ranunculus bulbs that finally arrived from Burpee.

As far as seeds recently planted- there’s a little bit of green on the surface of the pot where I planted some Appleblossom Geranium seeds, so hopefully that’s a geranium and not some sort of alien growth.

the sole nasturtium from over 20+ seeds planted

Last week, I planted five more sets of Nasturtium seed (Buttercream, Creamsicle, Whirlybird,  Cup of Sun, and Cherries Jubilee) last week and not a single one has shown any sign of growth. I’m pretty bummed since I consider myself really good at getting Nasturtiums to grow from seed. I’m going to give them another week- I’m wondering if it’s too hot or muggy or something environmental. I don’t think it’s the seeds but it may be- I’m not careful about seed storage, but most of the things I grow are very hearty so they don’t need much careful care, from seed to flower.

Sunday, October 7 2012:
Not much time in the garden today- we had plans for the afternoon so Tom helped me tame the Passiflora vines. Once a week he gets up on the ladder and we try and train the wines to wrap around one of the pillars on the lanai. It’s kind of a pain in the butt, but so worth it. Even Tom is super captivated by the plant.

I also went ahead and planted yet ANOTHER set of Nasturtium seeds, and this time I moved the pots to a bright sunny area. I have always had better luck with planting the seeds in the shade, but maybe this year it needs to be sun. We’ll see. Of course, right after I planted them, it rained hard for a few hours, so who knows if the seeds made it or disintegrated into goo like all but one of the nasturtium seeds I have planted in the last few weeks.

geranium sprout

Monday, October 8th 2012:
The geranium seedling is an actual SEEDLING today. Very happy about that. But only one of the four seeds I planted took, so not too thrilled with the quality of the seed mix. But whatever- as long as I can get one plant, I’ll be thrilled.

No movement on the copper coleus seeds I planted a few days ago. Sometimes they do take a while to spring up, but I’m worried that the rain washed away the seeds, which have to be on the surface of the soil.

photo courtesy of growingwithscience.com

I went ahead and tackled the beast that was the Asparagus Fern planter- HOLY SMOKES. What a disaster. It was one of those tasks where I found myself splat on the floor of the lanai, with a huge ball of soil and roots in my lap, covered from head to toe in soil, hands deep inside the whole mess, trying to make heads or tails of it all. The kind of thing I HATE while I am doing it, but feel kinda proud and accomplished about it after I am done. And the kind of thing that makes me very grateful that I garden before I go swimming (but I did hose myself off really good before I got into the pool!)

The roots of the asparagus fern, and their weird bulbous growths, had taken over the entire planter and literally killed the other plants in there. It was just like an alien pod under the soil- very little dirt, all stringy brown matter and those weird, translucent potato looking bulbs. The bulbs both fascinate and scare me at the same time. (There’s a part of me that wonders if they taste like potato or maybe water chestnuts. Yes, I just admitted that. Don’t worry, I’m not going to sample them…)

I’m not a huge fan of the Asparagus fern, but it’s hearty and it was literally one of the first plants I had, so I’m loyal to it. We’ll see if it survives me cutting so much root away. I think I might plant an ivy in that planter and let them duke it out for space. Ivy always seems to work well with limited root space.

Tuesday, October 9th 2o12:
I moved the ivy into the planter along with the asparagus fern, along with the Mystery Plant that Gracie came home with from school earlier this summer. It wasn’t anything but a pot with soil in it when she brought it home, and she had absolutely NO useful information on what she planted (she told me she took a handful of all the seeds in the cups and mixed them in there!) but after a week a bunch of little things sprouted and they have grown in the last few weeks. It looks to be some sort of succulent, but I have no idea what kind. The Asparagus Fern sucks up so much moisture that the soil in that pot is almost always dry, so if Mystery Plant is a succulent, it could do well in there. We’ll see how it all does.

I spent an hour or so moving planters around today. Hard work (especially when you have very little physical balance) but I love when it’s done. It’s like the garden is sort of brand new!

bromeliad finally in bloom!

One of my Bromeliads is finally beginning to bloom after years of it being just a huge pup. I am excited to see what will come- I forgot what the original looked like! I was also very happy to see two tiny, tiny sprouts in the Coleus pot- they are green now, and I’m expecting they will change to fiery orange as they get larger.

The sad news is that my tiny Geranium sprout was a goner today, so I removed it from the pot and planted more seeds. This time, I’ll keep it in the shady part of the lanai until it gets fairly large.

No rain yet today- could it be possible my plants will have a day to dry out a bit?

I’m starting to think hard about doing a second butterfly garden on the other side of the house… any excuse to order more seeds, and I’ll find it.

one of my very first plants, started out as a tiny sprout in a 4″ pot. Now, it’s huge.

Wednesday, October 10th 2o12:
I went outside today with the strict intention of NOT doing much gardening (and not thinking there was much to do) but wound up spending a good hour just tidying up. I also decided to pull the plug on the Nasturtium operation- I poked around in the soil of one of the pots (in which the soil was bone dry) and the seeds I planted just two days ago had already turned to mush so I think my seeds are the problem. I haven’t thrown them out yet- it seems so wasteful for me to throw away ten packs of seeds, even if they are useless. Maybe in a few days. I have to admit, though, that it was such a relief to pour that soil back into the soil bin and not have those empty pots glaring at me.

Good news- more tiny coleus sprouts have appeared and a new geranium sprout has replaced the one that died yesterday- guess more of those seeds were viable after all.


not her fault, but she’s captivated none-the-less

Thursday, October 11th 2012:
Spent another hour out there tidying today. The big surprise was that one of the cats (CHESTER) accidentally (NOT) tipped over one of the planters (DIGGING AROUND IN IT). So clean up was necessary. Ginger helped.

I also trimmed a few plants, misted everything with the hose to get off any pests and keep everything nice and green, and fertilized the eggplant which was doing beautifully but now looks a bit puny.

I’m definitely planning on ordering more Nasturtium seeds- Renee’s Garden is having a 40% off sale on 2012 seeds so I am going to go ahead and replace my Nasturtium seeds. And maybe see what else looks interesting…

puny eggplant


Comments 1

  1. misti wrote:

    I hate to say this, but maybe your timing is off with the nastriums? Wait another month or so until the wet season is really gone?

    Do you water even on the days it rains?

    Posted 12 Oct 2012 at 12:18 pm

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  1. From life… in progress | [ gingerblue dot com ] on 12 Oct 2012 at 10:08 am

    […] was a strange week- very busy, yet not much got completed. I spent a TREMENDOUS amount of time in the garden and also taking care of things around the house. I didn’t realize that so much of my time […]

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