Six on Saturday – emerging seeds and a slow spring

Shileau inspecting the new spruces April 6 2018
Shileau inspecting two new spruce trees.  A good friend buys them every fall, keeping them in their pots to decorate her city patio; then I plant them in the yard in early spring.  They generally (but not always) survive, although I have to do a lot of root pruning and root untangling after removing them from their 10 or 15 gallon plastic containers.

This past week brought blustery cold winds to the County and all Southern Ontario – lots of downed trees, fallen branches, rain, snow flurries and power outages.  We were fortunate to escape wind damage or flooding even with the sump pump out of action for a few hours at the height of Wednesday night’s storm.  That said, bulbs continued to push up outside, and seeds started to sprout inside.  Here are my Six on Saturday, with a tip of my Tilly to The Propagator for this theme.

emerging Tulips April 6 2018
These short red early kaufmanniana Tulips have a lovely mottled leaf.  This is their third spring in my heavy clay soil – I’m hoping they’ll continue to bloom for a few more years.
Allium Globemaster April 6 2018
Hard to imagine but within a month this little rosette of leaves will have become a three foot Allium Globemaster.  First time growing them so I’m looking forward to a nice show.
Allium Purple Sensation April 6 2018
I’ve had Allium Purple Sensation for many, many years.  These are new bulbs  I planted last fall but I also collected seeds and have started to propagate larger numbers (I hope!).
Chocolate Sprinkles grape tomatoe - yogurt vs Jiffee pot April 6 2018 1
Grape tomato seedlings started two weeks ago – I’m experimenting using different growing containers.
Chocolate Sprinkles grape tomatoe - yogurt vs Jiffee pot April 6 2018
I was surprised to notice that the tomatoes started in yogurt containers are almost twice as large as the ones grown in more traditional peat pots.  Wow!  Is it maybe because moisture levels are more easily managed?  ie growing media in plastic doesn’t dry out as quickly as in the peat pot?


  1. That is nice that the spruce trees get a good home. I get pines that I do not want every year. Fortunately, most do not survive. Our area is too densely forested to be adding exotic trees to.


  2. Over here in the UK, many fibre pots are made with coir or wood fibre rather than peat. Their major benefit over plastic (e.g. yoghurt containers) is at a later stage when the roots have developed enough to be poking at the outside of the pot. As long as the fibre is wet, then the roots have a chance to poke through into the outside world where they’re air-pruned (which toughens them up). In plastic, the risk is the roots start twining around the edge of the pot. But the important bit is “as long as the fibre is wet”. If it dries, it becomes hard and impenetrable, just like plastic. And it draws moisture from the compost inside it and allows it to evaporate outside. So you need to water more, making sure the fibre pot always feels wet to the touch. Dry coir rehydrates well but if the pot is made of peat or wood fibres, it may take more effort to re-wet once dry and you usually have to stand the pot in water for some time to achieve this.

    I now grow things exclusively in coir compost but I prefer to use plastic pots as the watering/feeding is much more controllable.


  3. Your pot experiment is so interesting. Pros & cons to both methods, as John said, but it seems you have to find the method that’s best for you (which appears to be plastic). I tend to over-water paranoid in the opposite direction to yourself – so plastic might not be the best method for me. Love the tulip & allium photos, those purple tips.


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