Monday, February 25, 2008

Gardening Failures and Lessons Learned

A good gardener shares her failures, so here are my recent "learning opportunities":

#1. My solitary Primula auricula seedling germinated quite nicely, then promptly died in a limp heap atop a generous topping of vermiculite. I discussed this with BB, pre-eminent local garden sage, who pointed out that vermiculite retains water and that P. auricula does not like excessively damp conditions. Perlite would have been better.

Aha. Perlite purchased. New P. auricula seeds sown.

#2. Curry leaf tree cuttings also looked initially promising then succumbed to fungal fuzz. The root stimulating gel didn't have time to act in the face of aggressive fungus that attacked the stem in the glass of water. I suppose there wasn't much circulation around the cutting (I read that high humidity would help, so put it in a humidity dome). Hmmm.

Besides, I've noticed a few of the impatiens seedlings falling over despite the "No Damp" spray. I've re-installed the oscillating fan in the basement, which did wonders with previous year's plants.

Silene saxifraga
- One of several seedlings destined for my new rock garden.

I'm speaking of the rock garden currently in my imagination, but hopefully to be constructed by RLM this spring. We recently stayed up late one night discussing the essential features of my rock garden and the exact definition of an "alpine" plant. I presented 3 fantastic books on the topic. RLM just wanted to look at pictures, without listening to "drainage needs" and "gritty topdressing".

Osteospermum sinuata "African Sun" -- they don't look like they need pinching yet.

Rogue compost worm - escapee from the tomato plant pot.

Micro Tom Miniature Tomato -- fully grown and nearly done producing fruit. Its fruits are getting smaller, nearly the size of a pea. There's not much juice or flavour, not suprisingly.

More seeds in ziploc bags -- my germination method of choice.

Having failed at these small gardening projects, I am even more determined to try again. I bought P. auricula seeds from a gentleman in England (on eBay) and those seeds went into soil (with LOTS of perlite) last night.


WiseAcre said...

Live and learn.

If a man learns from his mistakes then I must be the smartest man alive. Yet I keep learning.

No Rain said...

You asked about the Desert Blue Bells I had on my GTS post. These will grow in Ajo. The seeds should be broadcast in September, the soil lightly raked, and that's it. If rains come, the flowers will come up this time of year, and die out around late April. Your snowbird relatives can then just enjoy the flowers!

kate said...

Learning from experience - that's the best part of gardening or at least it seems that way in retrospect. I wish that we had some way of figuring out all of the variables in advance. I'm cheering on your Primulas!!

CBC Newsworld had an interesting interview about the Norwegian seed-saving vaults. It was cool seeing what they looked like - they would have enhanced the .007 image.

I hope the RLM thinks a DSLR is a necessity and you'll soon have one!!

Betsy said...

You wouldn't be a real gardener if you didn't have some failure here and there! in a Velveteen Bunny sort of way the smudges are what makes us real. Go for it, learn from your mistakes and try again.

Amy said...

Your photos of seedlings are making me jealous :) I'm just getting started and growing under lights for the very first time. I'm excited, but nervous that things might not work and all my grand plans will come to nothing!

Tracy said...

I still make my share of mistakes too, as long as I learn from them, I see no harm in them. Love your light set up.