It’s the beginning of a new month, and hopefully the beginning of more consistent blogging by me. So, to start out with here’s a useful piece of information for Chicago and surrounding suburban gardeners.
The Native Seed Gardeners Program is offering FREE NATIVE PLANTS to good homes. All they want in return is for you to take care of the plants and return the seeds produced by the plants to the organization. You can be a part of “restoring ecological health and diversity to the area’s woodlands and prairies.”
It’s a nice two-fer: You get free plants, you give nature a helping hand in doing her thing.
Our meetings are held at the Garfield Park Conservatory, which is a little closer to my location than the Chicago Botanic Garden. They’ve got the most beautiful plants growing there.
(This is what you’re greeted with when you walk through the doors of the actual conservatory)
(Here is a banana tree with bananas growing)
(Here are ferns growing on old tree branches)
I’ll take more pictures in the coming weeks after class once I either get another camera or figure out how to take good pictures with this one.
On a more personal gardening note, I’ve started a few Marigolds. I started the seeds in a little flat on the 15th, transplanted them on the 26th, and here they are today:
It only took the seeds two days, I kid you not, to germinate. I couldn’t believe it when I went to check on them.
I’m using my stockpile of styrofoam egg cartons to grow the seedlings. Instead of cutting the top half off and using only the bottom half, I’m cutting off the very top of the top (if that makes sense). This way, each plant has a depth of about three inches to grow in. I’m sure I’ll have to deal with a few tangled roots, but I think the plants will be okay with that.
The seeds germinated so well that I ended up with quite a few. I figured 24 is enough for my yard, but I didn’t have the heart to toss the extras, so I doubled up in one of the egg cartons. Now I wish I hadn’t been so lazy and just went ahead and planted them separately.
And here are the seedlings from the habanero pepper I got from the grocery store…unless, of course, they’re the bell peppers and I got them mixed up because I didn’t label them with my homemade plant labels. Grrrr.
These I pre-sprouted, which took over a week for the little root to emerge, and I only had about a 30 percent germination rate with them. They’ve been planted in this egg carton and sitting on a heating mat for over a week. I would think there should have been more growth, but maybe I’m impatient. After reading Granny’s post and seeing how well her seedlings are doing, I’m going to leave the heat mat on 24/7 to see if that helps.