Gardening

32 Goldenraintree seedlings….

Harvesting and planting Goldenraintree seedlings worked far better than I thought, and the seedlings have thrived in the greenhouse.  Some are now 6 inches tall, while others just sprouted within the past few days.  As I didn’t anticipate so many of the seeds germinating, I put 2 – 3 seeds in each 1″ by 1″ compartment and ended up with zero to three seedlings in each tiny space.  I was reluctant to disturb them at this time of year, but roots were already shooting out of the bottom of the pots and leaves were competing for light.  I was really worried about the bare roots below the pot and the thin layer of soil between the roots and the environment as we do not yet know how the greenhouse will perform when temperatures really drop, so I decided to transplant them into bigger pots.

I thought my husband was a little crazy when he ordered flower pots in bulk at the end of summer, but I have now filled every 1 gallon pot! (Well, I still have one, 1-gallon pot, but it doesn’t count because it’s full of spider webs and therefore unusable until hubby evicts any squatters.)  I first used all the smaller pots I had lying around for my treelings, and the last few seedlings are sharing a pot with two neighbors.    If they all survive, we will have 32 beautiful trees to plant on our land.

The bag of garden soil I used was dry on top, but a smelly, swampy mess on the bottom.  I ended up pouring the bottom third into two large planters to dry out.   When I was potting day-lilies a few weeks ago, I read that adding hydrogen peroxide to water or even rinsing the root ball with the solution can prevent root rot and fungal infections.  As all of the daylilly transplants are doing well, I watered the seedlings with a weak solution to eliminate any problems that the questionable soil might carry.  While skimming the article linked above, I also learned that oxygen is released directly into the soil as the hydrogen peroxide breaks down, which encourages healthy root growth.

Everything is thriving in the greenhouse and the lowest temperatures are staying about 5 degrees above the overnight outdoor temperature.   We have a light plugged into a Thermocube that is supposed to automatically turn on when temperatures fall below 35 degrees, but has not yet turned on even when the thermometer recorded a low temperature of 33.8.  I re-positioned the cube yesterday to a location where cold air enters around the power cord, but where it is also not placed where it will get watered along with the plants.   If we don’t see it turn on before our next trip to the land, I’ll use a timer to just run the light every night.  A 60 watt bulb in a reflector kept the greenhouse at 45 degrees on a recent 32 degree night, and I don’t think we’ll have to worry about any 90 degree nights for a while, so that might be the safer solution.  Still…. I want to find out if the thermocube will kick in, especially as I recommended it to my brother-in-law as a way to keep temperatures above freezing in his well house.  Maybe I’ll put some ice cubes in a zip lock bag and see if I can get it to turn on that way…..

After a trip to the greenhouse in my pyjamas and winter coat, the bad news is that a bag of ice is not working.   More tests are required before I write-off the Thermocube as it received great reviews on Amazon, but I will hook up a timer until my doubts have been allayed.    The good news is that my transplanted seedlings are doing well.

Gardening · Lazer Creek Apiary

Adding "farmer" to my resume.

There’s a progression to my career path that for now ends with farmer: electronics technician, computer programmer, English teacher, and tree farmer.  It’s an odd mixture, but it represents my personality and my eclectic range of interests and abilities.  I do so love the logic and the beauty of math and science, but I also love the beauty of a well-written sentence.

Still, who would have thought I would ever become a tree farmer?  Or know so much about bees?  Or wear snake boots?  But, as of Wednesday, we own 20 acres of pine trees, so we are officially farmers!   We’ll still be teachers for at least 10 more years, but we will be able to recharge our mental batteries by working in our woods on long weekends.    Spending time in nature has always helped us get back to enjoying teaching when the demands of teaching start to obscure the rewards.

Wednesday itself was not a stress-free day!  We’ve bought and sold enough homes to anticipate surprises at closing, and this time was no exception.  Those surprises were followed by learning that the utility company we were told to contact doesn’t actually own the power lines that run along our property.  Their lines end a mile away, which makes connecting to their supply an expensive prospect at $4 a foot!  We’re meeting with an engineer from the company that does own the power lines next week and hope to be able to get electricity for less than $20,000!   On to the septic system permit — after much back and forth and $450, we finally have a permit for our second choice of locations at which to build our cabin.  We don’t know why the septic permit guy didn’t give us specs for our first choice, especially as the soils engineer typed his report with analysis of both sites.   That’s going to necessitate another round of phone calls and probably more money.  We’ve been researching composting toilets as an alternative, but as this will be our retirement home we have to consider our ability to empty the compost when we’re in our 70s and beyond.

The good side of Wednesday was spending time on the land, walking down to the creek, and investigating a natural spring that may become a series of shallow ponds with mini water falls on its way downhill.  Now that we own the land, I feel that I am allowed to snap off dead branches and vines to make my path through the woods a little easier!  As I now also own the brambles, I can threaten them with retaliation when they stick their thorns in me.

Back in the city, I can look at my 30 pots of day-lilies, my rosemary cuttings, my Goldenraintree seedlings, and all my magnolia seeds hibernating in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator in the garage as they apparently need that in order to germinate.  I’m already mentally planting the trees they will (hopefully) produce.  So, while my husband plans building foundations and septic systems, I plan gardens and avenues of pretty trees.  I envision a grove of Goldenraintrees — our own little Lothlorien nestled among the pines.