Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Rainy Day Projects

Through a rain-streaked window, here's one of the cardinals, hanging out on the fence.

He has no doubt seen my plans for this corner of the garden. I need to get the sod broken up from this section of the garden and getting the edging rocks laid properly and then will feature a large bird bath in the center. All that is a project for a drier day than today.

There's plenty of birds around who'd enjoy the heck out of that, besides the cardinals. An assortment of purple finches and sparrows seem to spend their afternoons in the tangle of bittersweet and birch in that corner of the yard, and there are titmice and juncos and chickadees everywhere. I've also noticed that the red-winged blackbirds like to congregate in the big oak tree out back every day.

The cardinals, by the way, seem to be spending a lot of time around the two Alberta spruces at the front of the house. I wonder if they've plans to nest in there.

At the end of last summer, my pal Kelly gave me some packets of sunflower seeds. She loves them, and apparently buys the seeds every spring, but either never gets around to planting them or enjoys only dubious success with the short season of her Adirondack garden. So, I've got these seeds to work with this spring.

I know where Kelly's coming from: I always dream of those spectacular sunflowers which stretch into the sky in high summer. Owen grew a few like that the first summer we knew one another and they were pretty amazing.

I've had some sunflower successes, but nothing towering. Maybe this will be the year: the full sun the garden enjoys here is ideal.

So...knowing the weather today would be perfect for an indoor project, last night I got out the pot-maker and made some biodegradeable seedpots from an old telephone directory.

The pot-maker is pretty cool(even if it does look enough like a buttplug to the untrained eye that I don't like to leave it just sitting around the house when it's not in use); it was a free gift from the good folks at Burpee Seed for an order I placed a number of years ago. You wind strips of newspaper (or in this case, phone book pages) around it, fold the ends over the bottom, and then press it into the base, which crimps the bottom into a nice little seedpot.

This isn't my first year using the pot-maker, so I thought to fold over the top edge of the paper first, which I think produced some sturdier pots this time around. We'll see.

This afternoon, after a run to the store for potting soil (and a few more pansies... what can I say, I'm weak ...but I also have a plan), I got 26 pots of seeds planted.

Half of them are the Gray Mammoth variety which sometimes grow to sky-scraping heights. Because this variety's seeds are so large, I only put one in each pot. The others are an assortment of other, shorter varieties, and their seeds are smaller, I felt more comfortable doubling or tripling my chances in each pot with more seeds.

After getting the seeds planted and the soil properly moistened, I slide each tray into a plastic bag and voila, instant greenhouse. They're sitting in the re-arranged bedroom window, which is southern exposure and ought to nurse these guys along nicely. Plus, there's a nice view of the garden where they will eventually, hopefully, thrive.

Of course, patience is key with growing from seed. I've already checked them four times since planting this afternoon and still no signs of growth yet!
; )

When I'd finished with the seed planting, I also potted up a fresh ginger root that my Granny sent along recently as an Easter gift. She and I have both grown these before. They put out tall, bamboo-ish stalks and the purple flowers are beautiful.

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