This season I'm starting out with another one of my Gardening with Kids projects. This time kids can explore what permits plants to grow. Parents/Teachers may want to set up two buckets. One with hosta seed, and the other with vegetable seed (... carrots?). I know nothing about your second seed; so prepare your own research on it before hand.The regional dairy company (Kemps LLC) has been, since before I was born, putting ice cream into one gallon plastic buckets. These buckets have been used for everything after they are empty. There lids have done the same; they've even been used for bases for the baseball games with the cousins when I was a kid.
For young children locate the book "The Carrot Seed" (1945) by Ruth Krauss, published by Scholastic. Start the project by reading to them.
This year I again pull out a Kemps bucket, and put it to another good use! I am also going to revive the Blue Mayhem Project from a few winters ago! Some of you might ask what IS the Blue Mayhem Project? Fair enough let me back up. When hosta seed are sown they do not grow true to the parent plant. As long as the seed is dry and protected the seed will remain good for growing later. In this case I have stashed away some Blue Mammoth seed. Blue Mammoth is said to have 'blue coloration' as well.
Some might remember I have never been able to get Blue Mammoths to return to my garden for consecutive years. I tried for 6 years to do this. I've been told this variety ought to be easy to grow.Moving on, If the seeds grow they will not be Blue Mammoths. They will grow to be their own variety of hosta. Since no-one knows what these plants will look like (other than hosta like) I call these seedlings: Blue Mayhem's. Hence that's where the name of the project comes from. Now a healthy pod of Blue Mammoth seed can contain somewhere between 30 to 50 seeds. All I need is one seed pod. If I get all the seeds to grow then I'll have a different type of mayhem on my hands.
One can sow hosta seed at anytime, but ... in this project it will be timed to natures cycles. Hosta seed take up to 3 weeks to spike/germinate; and then they need about another 6 weeks to reach their first 3 leaves. At least this is what I've read. At 45º north of the equator some of my Hosta might take until May 31 to spike. SO if we move back 9 weeks from that ... that puts us at ... April 2nd for the planting of the seed. But to prepare the soil I need to back up another 2 weeks or so for that and so the start date for this grow project will be on ... March 19th. Mark your own calendars; find your own seed; locate that soil; and your bucket(s).
Those of you starting from scratch can acquire some black potting soil, and that will do just as well as the peat moss mentioned below. If you can't find ice cream buckets take a plastic, one gallon milk carton, along with some saran wrap to cover it with.The soil I will using is Peat Moss. Since the bag was opened some years ago it has some microbes in it that may, or may not, be good for seed work. What I am going to do is to fill the bucket 1/3 full with soil, and add to that water and several cups of ammonia. You might notice that I am not indicating a ratio of water to ammonia; I am just mixing the two with the soil. The ammonia ought to be able to neutralize the soil for many of the contaminates that the seed want to avoid, and when the ammonia decomposes the soil gets the bonus nitrogen and oxygen which are good for any plant. When the soil is dry the preparation for the seeds is ready. As this soil dries, and when it comes time to plant the seed remember to put the lid with care. If you over seal the lid you'll suffocate and kill the seeds/plants.
I'll stop here and leave the rest of the process narrative for February.
I go through this statistics for this blog from time to time. One of the questions that brought a visitor here at some point was: "Can Hosta Predict Weather?"
Trees have tree rings. and they can indicate patterns in rainfall over the years. Coral beds, I've read, release their spores on a key full moon of the year. Crickets chirp based on temperature. Wild song birds can feel the barometric pressure change, and when a storm is coming they can be seen eating more. Birds have also been known to travel their migration patterns with celestial precision of arrival times. During the winter and when outside, cattle will change position, from inside to outside of the herd, to keep the herd warm during the cold. And it has been suggested that Monarch Butterfly's navigate by planetary magnetic fields to return to their singular, secluded valley for egg-laying in Mexico.
But can Hosta predict weather. This grower does not believe so. This grower thinks that ... hosta might be able to indicate soil moisture, or how hard the winter was by: what came up or did not come up; or what bloomed or didn't bloom; or how big their spikes are in the spring from one season to another. Hosta might be better at telling us what conditions occurred in the garden, or growing region; but I'll keep thinking about this.
Humans have a habit of predicting or projecting what might happen. I am no different. Last month I gave you a glimpse of where the blog has come from. This month I take a brief moment to consider where the blog might be a year from now. Where might the average monthly hits be over the next 12 months. You can follow along as you return monthly if you watch "the last 30 day graph" on the front of this blog. My prediction is presented on the following graph.
That's it for predicting your behavior this year. I'll just go back to predicting what my plants will do! And to lead into those discussions ... here is a glimpse of this years garden diagrams at: