Greenhouse update

 

Mandevilla in the greenhouse

Mandevilla in the greenhouse

 

So it’s time to report on progress in the greenhouse.  So far, with a relatively mild winter it has been no difficulty to keep the greenhouse temperatures in a range of 40 degrees at night to about 70 degrees in the daytime.  The mister comes on every 4 days and gives everyone a shower, though as the days get longer I may have to up the watering.

I have become of member of the Pacific Bulb Society and began partaking of their seed distributions in early December.  This has led to some interesting experimentation in starting seeds.  Some of the seeds are already jumping out of their skins when the seeds arrive and others have taken a while to coax out.  I figured this little Haemanthus was upside-down so I ended up turning him over…

Haemanthus albiflos upside down

Haemanthus albiflos upside down

On average they seem to be taking about 4-5 weeks to get little green sprouts.  This is longer than when I start seeds in the basement but the process in the greenhouse is much more automated and probably mimics nature more accurately.

Rhodophiala bifida seedlings

Rhodophiala bifida seedlings

I’ve finished off the pots with very small gravel designed to keep the seedlings from damping off which could occur in the basement when I was keeping the seedlings for a long time (these little bulbs may have to stay in the pots for a couple of seasons).  I was a little concerned as to whether the little sprouts could move the gravel but they just shove the stones aside like the miniature weight-lifters they are.  I also run the overhead fan all the time and I think the air movement is conducive to a healthy greenhouse.  The bulb seeds that are exchanged among the PBS members are often not available in normal commerce.  So far there about 20 such seedling pots planted with bulbs that are new to me.  They should be worth waiting for.  I mean how can you go wrong planting exotics with names like Paradisea lusitanicum and Habranthus brachyandrus.  It calls up images of the early plant explorers…

Another greenhouse exercise involved dividing a clump of Primula vulgaris last November.

Primula vulgaris clump

Primula vulgaris clump

When we returned from a trip to England in 2008 we planted a number of these wild primrose that dot the fields of England hoping to see them spread around our hillside.  And while they grow well and flower reliably here they don’t show any sign of moving from the places where we planted them.  The clumps expand every year but I have yet to see a seedling away from the mother plant.  So I dug a clump and split it apart in mid-November.

Primula vulgaris clump separated

Primula vulgaris clump separated

By the time I had divided the little pieces I had a dozen little primrose plants.

Primula vulgaris divided into a dozen pots

Primula vulgaris divided into a dozen pots

Now, seven weeks later the little Primrose are flowering as they greet what they think is spring in the greenhouse.  Then I will plant them out when it really gets warm.  It’s another way to multiply these lovely little guys…

Pots of Primrose

Pots of Primrose

Primula vulgaris in flower

Primula vulgaris in flower

I’ve also put in some lettuce and spinach just to see how that grows at this time of year…

Lettuce in the Greenhouse

Lettuce in the Greenhouse

What I am really looking forward to is the Hepatica that arrived from England last fall.  It gets a daily inspection with the magnifying glass, just like the little seedlings.  Go little Hepatica, go…

Hepatica nobilis 'Rubra plena' green tips

Hepatica nobilis ‘Rubra plena’ green tips