Wednesday, March 14, 2012


On errands this week, I stopped for planting supplies.  But the day was so sunny and springlike that I decided to go to Pier I since I still hadn't used a Christmas gift card.  I wanted something special.  To my delight I found this adorable blue and brown-swirled cat planter.  It will look great filled with flowers on the porch or patio.  Since the petunias I started six weeks ago are growing high and strong and I planted geranium seeds this week, those are two likely candidates.

In Pennsylvania in March we usually have frost-filled night and windy days.  This year is different!  The hyacinths and daffodils are already blooming, forsythia is budding.  But what will happen if we get a cold spell?  We will see.

For week 6, let's discuss "transplanting."  Think about what moving encompasses for us.  We have to shed lots of older baggage, pack everything up and start over in a new environment.  It's not easy to adjust.  We try to take along familiar belongings and then we settle in slowly.  This isn't much different for plants.

First of all, those petunias I raised in trays--I won't do that again--needed attention.  After thinning them, I was still concerned their roots would tangle or not have enough depth to grow properly.  The first petunias I started in peat pots were ready for a roomier home in bigger peat pots.  But I wasn't sure the tender shoots in trays that hadn't grown as quickly would survive the move.  I'm happy to say that they have.  After moistening, I scooped them out, one by one, trying not to disturb the roots and set them in a readied peat pot.

When I transplant from a smaller peat pot to a larger one, I make sure the soil is moist so it clumps and doesn't fall apart as much.  I carefully peel off at least two sides and the bottom, using the other two sides to stabilize and not disturb the plant.  Then in a prepared new pot with ground moistened and a depression in the center, I carefully plop in the smaller plant, stabilize with more ground around it and gently water from the far side, not directly on the plant.

I've moved the larger sprouts I transplanted from a tray directly on the heated pad under a grow lamp to a heated pad with a rack under a grow lamp.  This will slow them down a bit until they're ready for the next transition.

I'm hopeful I'll have enough petunias for our whole patio garden, pots and border.  Yes, I'm still nurturing that one blue petunia. 

Till next week when we find out if the geraniums have begun to grow.

© 2012 Karen Rose Smith

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Jodi Lea Stewart said...

Such detail. Such patience. Such love. This is an ode to flower gardening, Karen, and it's lovely! P.S. I'm keeping this handy for when I get the time to try it. I adore houseplants, but haven't started any flowers from seeds in the peat pots. Very cool. Thank you.

KRS said...

Jodi--planting is almost like meditating! And I can't wait to see if I can grow enough to fill our pots and garden.