A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I'm Gardening!

Well, sort of. I planted poppy seeds today. Planting poppy seeds in March worked well last year. I saved seed from those poppies (Corn Poppies - Papaver rhoeas) and planted them by the composter. That was another idea that worked well last year. The poppies bloomed while the balsam was growing. Then the balsam blooms all summer into fall until the first frost.

I received a free packet of something called Red Poppy ("Striking red petals with black swatches that form a Maltese Cross). Those I planted in the Orange/Yellow Garden. A third variety, called Flemish Antique (Papaver paeoniflorum) from Select Seeds went into the new Cottage Garden I am creating where I had the New World Garden last year. It's supposed to look like this:

Inspired by Kasmira's winter sowing, I'm going to plant more seeds in April. I did a lot of reading this winter on seed germination. I discovered I have been operating under a false assumption for years. I always assumed that the planting temperatures referred to were air temperatures. Turns out they are SOIL temperatures. No wonder I have had problems getting certain seeds to germinate. I normally do all my planting in May when the soil has warmed up as needed by most seeds.

On my spreadsheets that I created in January, I have a column for germination info. As the seeds arrived, I recorded the requirements listed on each packet. Based on that information, I'm going to be sowing Cowslips, Bells of Ireland, Larkspur and Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate next month. All of them either state they need cooler temperatures or should be planted in early spring rather than the usual "after last frost" or "after soil has warmed".

I am still puzzled as to when I should be planting foxglove seeds. Some sources say late summer and other sources say any time until midsummer. I've tried both and still have no foxgloves.


At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a foxglove plant a few years ago. I let part of it go to seed and cut the rest down for tidiness. I would guess that the seed needs the winter cold since they germinated just fine the following spring.

I do the same with the poppies. They don't transplant well, though, so I always have poppies in unexpected places. I don't mind though. They are pretty wherever they pop up.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Kasmira said...

I sowed the SAME free "red poppy" this weekend. Do you think they'll bloom the same as time as California Poppy (calochortus)? I think the orange and red would look pretty together.

I also believe that foxglove need winter cold. I direct sowed some in the fall and winter sowed some in Jan. I've heard they are difficult to transplant, so I thought I'd try the direct sowing as a back-up.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Kasmira said...

Oops - wrong genus for the California Poppy. It should be Eschscholzia californica!

At 5:35 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Thanks for the great info! I'm going to try planting the seed earlier this year before the soil warms up.


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