Sunday, March 02, 2008

Time in the Greenhouse

One of my favourite things about spring is the potential that spring holds. I get so excited about the possibilities in the upcoming growing season. I imagine the borders and hanging baskets bursting with flowers and the fruits and vegetables that I've planted are so plentiful that I don't have to go a greengrocers or the vegetable section of any supermarket. As the growing season progresses and the weeds get ahead of me, I get discouraged but I'm not even going to think about that during this planning stage.

I sprayed the apple trees and my cherry tree with Bordeaux mixture two weeks ago as the leaf buds are starting to plump up. The branches are now a pale blueish green. I'll spray them again before the leaves open up and then it's fingers crossed that I've cured my problem. Three sprays should do the trick. I don't want any more apple scab or the scab-type infection that has been blighting the leaves of my cherry tree. Bordeaux mixture is the simplest way of dealing with the disease. Let's hope it works. Good old Bordeaux mixture, the Saviour of the grape vine is a combination of copper sulphate and hydrated lime. It was invented in the vineyards of (where else) the Bordeaux region to prevent fungal infections. I looked and could not discover who actually invented Bordeaux mixture. If anybody knows who the bright spark that invented Bordeaux mixture is, please let me know.

Today was an up and down sort of day as far as the weather goes. It was lovely during the first part of the day and we were all excited about it and put some clothes out on the clothesline. George received his first lesson in how to peg clothes out on the line properly. He's a quick study and I am confident that he'll be able to help out with this warm weather chore now that he's tall enough. Naturally, during breakfast we saw that it was starting to rain and we had to abandon our pancakes and save the washing on the line.

Days where it is quite mild (8 C) but it doesn't know whether it is going to be a rainy day or a dry day is perfect for a bit of greenhouse work.
Here are the seed trays of the TALL perennial flowers for the back of the borders. I tried hollyhocks years ago, but they weren't a great success. This variety claims to be hardier and more resistant to hollyhock rust, so we'll give them another shot. I have delphiniums in the garden already, but the plants are old and not nearly as vigorous as they've been in past years. I think it's time to inject some new plants in. Lupins grow very well in our area, but it seems that the slugs have had their merry way with the lot of them and I've none left in the garden. I think that if I sow these lupins early enough, I'll get some to bloom this year. These are the scented flowers. Pots #1 and 2 contain sweet peas seeds. No 1 is variety Blue Velvet, which I tried two years ago and it had good results. Pot No 2 hold a mixture of different coloured sweet peas. Tray No 3 holds lavender! I have just the spot for it on the south side of the house.

I purchased some plug plants earlier in the week. I bought 24 little lobelia plugs. I have set the plugs into larger containers but I also divided each of the plugs in half. I had a good look at the composition of these plugs at the garden nursery and I saw that each plug was crammed full of lots of little seedlings. Each of those plugs could be pulled apart very easily and I'd have loads of little plants in each new half for a good bunch of lobelia. So that is exactly what I did. I now have plenty of blue trailing lobelia for my hanging baskets.

My greenhouse is unheated. This means that the little plants and seeds are going to need just a bit of protection. I'll cover them in bubble wrap on cold nights. If it looks like we're in for a hard freeze, I'll bring the seed trays and pots into the house for the night. I may buy a little parfin heater for the greenhouse as they don't cost too much. I had one of those once and they do okay if you keep the wick trimmed to the right level.

The next non-rainy and mild weekend day is earmarked for greenhouse glass washing. Are there any volunteers out there who wish to help out?

No comments: