Sunday, November 18, 2018

Ahhhhhh winter's a coming... time to slow down and relax...

Yeah Right.  

Today I will take a quick look back on our 2018 season, Seedlings, and The Future.

Starting with our seedlings, we had some standouts this year, we had a poor bloom season for seedlings due to our poor planting schedule.  We had 3 beds bloom normal, and the rest bloomed sporadically, with heavy blooming coming on late in the season.  We decided to leave these in for another year to better evaluate them.  

This is Bite Your Tongue x Hungry Hungry Hippo

This is Chomp x HNF

Like a Gee Six x Vampire Lady

Bob Faulkner x Emerald Starburst

I have tons... But I will make a post later on showcasing our 2018 seedlings.

So our choice to not remove our 2017 planted seedlings due to poor bloom has caused another issue for us... Space.

We are building another 8 raised beds for spring to fit these in.

We are done. We have no more room after that. Plumb Out.

Now onto the Greenhouse, This year I planted a majority of my seeds in August, I worked as hard as I could to collect, label, bag, and chill my seeds that we made during april/may so I could get these planted as soon as possible.

As you can see, so far, it's paid off. I normally dont see seedlings this size until roughly Mid-february, with a large majority of the "growth" occurring March to Mid april. 

I dont know if this will get me one year "bloom", but it's about the closest thing to it that I can try.

This year I upgraded the propane heater to a 80,000 BTU unit. I wanted greater capacity to heat the greenhouse during cold spells. The smaller 50K btu unit did fine, but on *really cold* nights, It would run full blast, and struggle to maintain the on demand temp (55-60). 

This year I had a bunch of stragglers pot wise, I have about 30 potted plants in the greenhouse right now for various reasons, some are high importance plants that I just didnt feel like putting outside this season, some are plants sent to me late in the year to GH over winter, some were late purchases from Dave Mussar, and lilyhemmer.

So for the Winter of 2018-2019 I will again bring my pot stock in from outside around christmas, depending on the "weather"  we are getting a sufficient amount of cold right now, so if that continues, I might pull them in a bit early.  I like to see a full 2-3 weeks in the 20's overnight. But I dont like to see the temps dip into the teens too much. 

I will also dig about 20 seedlings to bring in and use this coming year with my pot stock. Now is the time to start transition my program from using others plants, to using mostly my own.  It's still going to take a while till I have a sufficient number of seedlings to cross into... but after the next boom season, I'll have bloomed roughly 6000-7000 seedlings and should have a solid 200-300 seedlings deemed worthy for keeping, maybe even a few introductions.

So for now, that's it... I'm going into my 3rd greenhouse season, and I hope I find more time to fill you guys in on it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Summer update! 

Well sorry again to be long in the tooth with updates!

So far so good, this year I implemented a few "upgrades" I tried a few "new" things... and of course learned some new stuff! 

So let's start out with the seeds that I planted in November, This was the first time I grew seedlings in the greenhouse. I kinda messed up and planted way too many seeds... A counting error is to blame, I believe this is an affliction most daylily people have. 

I planted Roughly 4500 seeds, which made me use every last availible inch of "overflow" space I had made availible. 

The seedlings on top did better then the seedlings on the bottom, the ones on the bottom only received artificial T5 light. 

Now, I never really meant to use the bottom, only as "overflow" but I went 1500 seeds past my limit... and here we were. 

Compared to my first year of growing seedlings indoors, under lights... These plants were much larger, with much larger root systems. I am overall very happy with them, but I will have to address the under the table lights for next season. 

Things I also changed-  

Used larger 6.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 Square pots- 10 seeds per pot max

Consistent watering with "flood bench"

Consistent feeding, with addition foliage sprays 

What I'm changing for next year- 

Will Plant first flush of seeds in the last week of July, giving them an additional 3 months of growing time.

Better lighting under the benches

Using a more economical pot mix

Actually planting 3000 seeds. 

So, onto the Potted mature plants!

I pulled the pots in later this year, by almost ten days hoping to delay bloom by about the same amount. didn't work... I got bloom a week earlier. Dont ask me.. the temps stayed the same, etc etc etc.  My only idea is... most potted plants were hold overs from the year before, so they were well established in the pots this year Vs. last year. 

I had solid bloom from End of march till the second week of May. 

April 27th

May 7th

April 7th

So as of right now, I am collecting seed pods from crosses made 4-25 to 5-5.  I estimate that I have picked around 600-700 pods so far this year, and suspect I will finish with about 1100-1300 pods total, with about 15,000 seeds made in total. 

This year, I wont be crossing on plants outside except for my selects and seedlings. So I am basically done with seeds this year. 

Other note worthy stuff... 

I am going to attempt to build all the benches in the greenhouse as flood tables.  It was so effective in the speed in which I can water but also in the effectiveness in actually getting the pots "wet". As we all know, once a pot dry's out... well its a bit of a battle to get it wet again.  Not with the flood tables. It really made it easy to avoid getting a dry pot mixed into the bunch. 

Downside?  Flushing the pots is a bit difficult. 

Pest control!   Did I get pests this year?  OF COURSE!  

They popped up in march, spider mites of course.  I treated them with a knock down spray, and then bought predatory mites, spider mite destroyers, etc etc etc. 

Did it work?  NO!

I'd really like to give everyone a happy ending here, but after about 200 dollars in predatory mites, and 5 or 6 applications of them. They were not effective, the spider mite population existed, and grew beyond their control. 

I have kept spider mites in check with Tri mixed pesticides, with rotating MOA's

They haven't been a problem for me this year after that.

Not much else really going on in the greenhouse, outside bloom has started, new seedlings are popping up, and I am collecting pods and picking out crosses to plant next month!  

Till next time! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sorry... Its been a busy Spring! Updates!

So lets start out with... Its April 17th and snowing outside... Ugh!~

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile guys.. Its just been a crazy spring lead up for me.. Work, Finishing the last leg of our home remodel, and a few other things has made this a busy spring!

So I'm into bloom season!  Yay... Here's a few pictures! 

Clown Pants

Papio Shelli Mae 

Full Greenhouse Shot

Colorful Chaos R2D2

Master and Bold Ruler 

Reign In Me


So how's the greenhouse going?  



Of course-  Spider mites have made their way in this year again.  I was super selective as to whom I bought from for early shipping. That in turn burned me again.  Next year I will introduce no new plants into the greenhouse at anytime period without it coming in with no foliage.

I have been using Predatory Mites for control, but it seems like I'm losing that battle. I'm going to have to go into a rotation of insecticides. 

Heating bill wasn't bad this year.. maybe 1000-1200 for the winter so far.  I expect one more fill before no heating is needed.

Watering and fertilizing has been normal. Nothing much ado here. 

Seedlings are growing well, Hoping for a clear 10 day forecast so I can get them outside very soon. 

Seed set seems to be good this year, My scapes are taller this year.. so again.. I guess I need to lower my benches again! 

My water benches worked very well for getting many plants watered with minimal effort, that was a huge time saver on my end. 

That's about it guys.. I really haven't spent much time in the greenhouse until recently.  

Will update again soon! 

Obligatory cat pics to follow! 

Monday, January 8, 2018

So the season of 2018 begins...

So today is a wonderful wintry day, with freezing rain, some snow on top, mixed with the last day of 

below freezing temps during the day for a little while.

So winter 2017-18 has made her mark so far, with a polar vortex visit on the side...

Our 2 week cold snap resulted in the most propane I've used over a 15 day period yet, 91 gallons from 12/12/17 to 1/03/18. Not the kind of usage I want to see. 

But, there is nothing I can do to change the weather, even our southern neighbors got a taste of northern suffering.

My condolences to our Canadian friends. 

In early November me and my wife planted about 4500 seeds, this happened about 3 months later than anticipated, but that was basically my fault... I made 35,000+ seeds this year and that is ever so time consuming...  Not doing that again.

From here on out, I will make my seed in the GH early in the season... dabble during bloom.  But I rather enjoy the plants, not punch a clock for them. 

After that, we took a vacation to Key West... We needed it!  

Here's a quick picture from the Dry Tortuga's- 

Well moving onto the  "Greenhouse"  

This year in an attempt to save fuel costs I wrapped the exterior of the greenhouse in closed cell bubble wrap... we will see.

I pulled the pots on the 24 of December, 10 days later then I did last year...

I was trying to get them more "cold hours"   I still had a few plants trying to grow...

My local vole/mole/mouse population found my chilling pots to be a wonderful snack...  I wasn't assumed. Next year I will bait traps, etc etc etc. 

This was as of Jan 5th... Almost everything is in active growth.. I haven't watered the pots yet... Nor do I have room for all of them... A constant problem you'll always run into in the daylily world I suspect. 

Seedlings getting going, because of the late start with planting some of these seeds wont germinate till we get a run of a few days with GH temps over 80+.

I still have some sorting to do, I still have the new GH heater to install (upgrading to a larger unit) 
I have to finish waterproofing the lower benches, and fix a few grow lights. I hope to get that done in the coming days. 

Some comedy for everyone... My very deciduous tree.. with all its foliage still attached. I'm just going to call it dormant and move on! 

And Helen!  You always save the best part for last!   

So thats it for now, I will try my best to get another entry in very soon once stuff starts really growing.. but the winter months are pretty boring to start with...  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A year in Re-cap, So much learned.

Sorry, Its been awhile... But time has been fleeting this whole summer, and as summer comes to an end and fall takes over... My laundry list of outdoor stuff to get done has finally subsided to a point that I can breath again!

So First Things First...  How was the first full season with the greenhouse?

Awesome, It was definitely a big learning experience. It allowed me to start my seedlings early last fall, It allowed me to enjoy plants in the middle of winter, I was able to see bloom in march and April, I was also able to make roughly 15,000 seeds with ease.

Some of the things I learned.

1. Difficult plants are still difficult in the greenhouse, It isnt magic, and you will still have a hard time.

2. Pest management will make or break you. You cannot ignore pests in a greenhouse.

3. Watering should be easy... Sometimes its not.

4. Potting mix selection is crucial

5. Monitoring the PH of your incoming water is important.

6. Maintaining Temperatures is a fine line.

7. Some plants just dont like pot or greenhouse culture

8. Keeping everything clean is just as important as everything else.

9. Be careful what you bring inside the greenhouse from others.

So let me expand on these a bit.

1.  I loaded a bunch of hard pod setting Tet's and went to town throwing pollen at them... Imagine my face when I wasn't achieving 100% success! Well yeah, they are still a bitch in the greenhouse, and If you MUST use it... bring it in, But dont load up with a bunch of pod difficult plants... You'll just be wasting space.

2. So I Learned a-lot here. Aphids, and Gnat Flys are easy, they dont build up pesticide resistance, and can commonly be dealt with, with organic methods.

Spider mites... Ohhhhh Spider Mites. Dont play with these.  I learned very early on that there is little you can do once a population is established. When I first saw these, I sprayed for them... knocked them out... and went on with life. Little did I know that maybe 2-3% survived.. and slowly built up another population... So I sprayed them again...  This time maybe 10% survived.... And they built that population back up. Well... because I did not rotate mode of action pesticides I literally created a pesticide resistant population. It was too late. They had created a population too great to knock out, even after I bought a few more pesticides they could only be knocked back.  The foliage cover was too great, and you couldnt get 100% coverage if you tried.

If you see any spider mites, SPRAY THEN. Stick to a product rotation of at LEAST 3 MOA's and spray at to the products instructions.. not till you "see them again"

3. This kind of goes hand in hand with Pot selection, and potting mix selection.  Try and keep everything uniform, so you do not wind up with weird issues.  I ran into issues with some pots drying out way faster then others, and some just staying soggy. It wasnt easy to water with half needing water and half not needing water.  Also the water demand of the plants will be very low until they really hit active growth and the GH temps climb way up.

4. A potting mix with too much peat will stay soggy, a mix with too much bark will stay dry. Its really hard to find a good mix between the two.  I use Pro-mix Bk55  It drains a bit faster then I like, but I rather that then it retains too much water like the Bk25.

5. Your potting mix has a limited source of "soil conditioner" to maintain a proper PH, sooner or later the potting mix will align itself with the PH of your incoming water.  I have High PH hard water.  It needs conditioning.

6. This is a case study in how much patience you have.  No really.  30 degree nights, and 60 degree sunny days...  Welcome to march and April.  You have the vents closed since you want it to stay 65-70 overnight without losing heat.. but if its 50 and sunny outside its easily 85-90 inside and you need to vent.  Its a great balancing act at around 80 degrees.  It'll drive you insane. 

7. So this was surprising to me but some plants do not do well in the greenhouse.  I primarily found that most plants with Norris genetics did not do well in the greenhouse... Even one plant "Ashwood Wray of Sunshine" did so bad that I wrote it off for dead.  I put it outside in a raised bed... It took off growing into a monster. From what I know, any plant that has a tendency to go summer dormant after bloom, will not do well in the greenhouse. Kermits scream, Pigment of imagination, and a few others are best left outside where they perform. 

8.  Dont let things get dirty, bugs LOVE dirty.  Use bleach, keep it tidy...  It'll keep bacteria and fungus's (Rust!) from spreading or having a home to stay in. 

9.  So how did I get my spider mites anyway?  GIFT'S! Gift's from outdoor gardens.  So the advantage of having a greenhouse is you can receive plants at ANYTIME. Well... the downside is... Pests, and rust.  I got my spider mites from incoming plants, even caught a few plants with rust.  I avoided getting any rust in the greenhouse this year, although I was prepared for it.  What I wasn't prepared for was the Spider Mites.  Next year any incoming plants will have their foliage cleaned, removed to fresh foliage, dipped, and watched like a hawk... with preemptive sprays. 

So the second year should be a smooth one I hope, I have learned a few things, will definitely change a bunch of things around.

Some changes-

Having multiple pesticides on hand-

Larger heater, Moving from a 50K btu to 80K btu unit. I found that my heater would struggle on cold nights, and truly we did not get many.  If we got a -10 degree night I would of been in trouble as my heater could only manage 40-50 degrees above ambient temperature at night depending on the wind. So a 20 degree night was fine.. it would cycle normally...  5-10 degree nights it would run constant with no cycles.  Not good.

Insulation-  I am going to add a bubble wrap type of insulation to the walls of the greenhouse. It'll be clear, and will let light in, but will double the R-value of the walls.  I will leave the roof alone so there wont be any light deficiency.  I hope this will also help with the BTU demand to maintain the temperature I need.

Switching to a larger seedling Pot

Removing racking in favor of Two tiered benches with (4) 2 lamp T5 fixtures underneath If needed.

Removed drip irrigation in favor of Water bench design

Removed clutter under benches, will keep 27 gallon totes under benches filled with water for greater thermal mass effect.

Bringing in more Pod proven plants.

Keeping the overnight temp lower in February and march to delay bloom for another 2 weeks or so.

Some picture updates!

Cleaned Out!

Seedling Pots ready for planting soon.

Winter 2017/2018 Plant selection. These will stay outside until around Christmas as long as we get sufficient cold so they go full dormant.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Its all a learning process...

Well Its been awhile since I have updated this... Its been an interesting May and June.  

We have had plenty of rain... I mean.. rain on rain on rain.  I haven't had to water much of anything.

My outside plants have displayed what I would call a overall large amount of spring sickness, and blasted scapes. 

But beyond that so far my outside season has been good. 

Moving onto the greenhouse!  

Well, I could call my first year a great success, with many teachable moments occurring. 

We are now at the tail-end of pods ripening from our April and may pollination's, and well its a bit overwhelming having pod and seed collection run right into peak bloom outside. 

I estimate that I made about 10-12 thousand seeds from about 200 plants total-  

Things I learned in the process here- 

Dont pick pod difficult plants hoping for a miracle... They will still be hard in a greenhouse.

Tet's are space hogs, but some dips can be also.

New arrivals really do much better with some time in the greenhouse.

Some plants DO NOT LIKE greenhouse culture

So my most important lesson learned...  Pesticide rotation. 

As with almost any greenhouse, once a pest gets in... Its almost impossible to get them out.

In early march I noticed some spider mites, So I sprayed them with Avid... Then In april, I noticed them again... So I sprayed them with Avid... Then in may... And before I knew it, I had a avid resistant spider-mite population. And while researching other ways to control them I learned very quickly that I used poor pesticide management protocol, and I was my own worst enemy. 

By the time I bought a few other pesticides, it was too late the overall spider-mite population was too large to "control" and the foliage was too thick to effectively spray anyways (spider-mites live and lay eggs on the underside of plant leaves.) 

So what do you do here?  Well you hit the reset button. I had to one by one remove all the foliage from each plant, and then I will follow up with a rotation of 5 different pesticides to eradicate any leftovers. 

So why not organic control?  

Well it was a bit too late for that, and well all the effective control methods wont take an out of control population and bring it down.  I will in the future consider buying a few "spider mite destroyers"  But their availability and cost are hit and miss with 50 of the bugs costing 65-100 dollars, and requiring overnight shipping.  And these would need to be purchased every 4-6 weeks, and still need a spider-mite population to thrive. 

There is now essentially only a few "new" plants blooming in there now, other then that.. I will start gearing up for planting seedlings in about 4 weeks! 

Some pictures from this season! 

 "Strawberry Milkyway"
 "Boss hogg"
 "Diamond shores"
 "Boss hogg"
 "Flower wolf"
 "Wacky Wednesday"
 "Clown pants"

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

April shower's bring May Flowers!

Another month gone... Just like that. At the end of March I saw my first blooms in the greenhouse, It was to be honest exciting, sort of magical... Here we were the end of march... daylilies are just coming out of dormancy and I had bloom coming. 

So lets start out this magic may with a look back on april.

 Stats and Info time!  

Average Exterior April Temp- 67 Degrees

Average Temp maintained in Greenhouse- 70 degrees

Average Humidity In Greenhouse- 74%

Max Temp- 92 Degrees

Max Humidity- 97%

Average propane use- Under 20 gallons for the whole month

Times watered- 4 times

Times fertilized- 1 time

Pesticide used- 1 time

Blunders- 0 

Lessons Learned- 1

Total time spent in greenhouse- 50 hours total

So as you can see I am now spending a ton of time in the greenhouse, this is mostly due to the hour to hour and a half I spend each day spreading pollen. 

The first week to week and a half of blooms was met with great disappointment, As I wasn't having much success setting pods. But after a few long days in the sun, it was like a switch was flipped and the pods started coming. 

I will say this, pods are easier in the greenhouse, but not as easy as some would have you to believe. 

As you can see the average temp inside the greenhouse has stayed nearly the same as last month, which is a good thing!  It has been a bit of a challenge to keep the temps from swinging. Between the heat being set at 60, the vents being set at 70ish, and the swamp cooler being set at 80, all of them overlap a bit.  I can't set the swamp cooler for 75 like I want too since the vents aren't really open enough yet, I can't set the vents for maximum opening yet since when the heat kicks on, they will open and vent the heat... so until the overnights level out at 55+ I can't set the passive vents yet. 

So far I don't need the shade cloth yet which is good, I rather the plants get as much light as possible right now. 

In addition to all this, My lesson learned-  Don't build your benches too high... I had to empty the whole greenhouse out and lower the benches by 7 inches. Most the blooms were too high for my wife to reach, and some were even difficult for me! 

As the plants are coming in for spring, I have been potting them up and letting them enjoy the greenhouse. I moved all the seedlings outside around the 2nd week of april, so I had tons of room to use.  I no longer have tons of room after about 100 new plants came in lol. 

Soooooooooooo want to see pictures???

Lets go. 

A crowd favorite- Steve Todd's "Clown Pants"


"Strawberry Milkyway"

"Yellow Frog"

"Dr. Strangelove"

"B. The Freak"

"Lucky you"

"The heart of christmas"

"money maker"

"Fried Green Tomatoes" 

"Strawberry Milkyway"

My Fat Princess "Cali"

"Money Maker"

Here are just a few of the hundreds of Photos I have taken so far.

In closing for this month, It has definitely been a bit of a learning experience so far. But I feel like I am getting the hang of it so far.  You pick up knowledge from the weirdest places, and some great mentors also. If anyone ever has a question, please feel free to ask me!