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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Building Raised Beds - 2 more under construction.

We built two more raised bed.   The soil is way to rocky and hard to grow anything so using raised bed.   I took 3 pieces of lumber for each bed.  The lumber is 8 feet long - 2 feet thick and 10 inches high.  I cut one in half to make the end pieces     The finished bed is 8 feet by 4 feet and 10 inches high which allows me to plant some bulbs fairly deep with still a nice amount of soil below them.   I bolt the ends in with 3 inch wood screws.  The cost is around 35.00 per bed for bed.   See my post for gopher guard to make sure no critters dig up into the bed from below.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gladiolus - Started planting my glads today

I planted the violetta variety of gladiolus.  I received 500 bulbs from my supplier and i was only able to plant 475 in my 4 x 8 foot raised bed.   Planting gladiolus bulbs are very easy.   They will grow well in zones 3-10, but will need to be dug up in colder climates where the ground freezes in the winter.    Warmer climates, they will come up every year and reproduce freely to the point where you will need to dig them up and separate.   Plant the bulbs about 6-7 inches deep and 4-5 inches apart.   I planted mine a little closer together because I will dig up in the fall and separate.   I will sell the largest bulbs and keep the smaller baby bulbs or as they are called - cormlets for next years crop.  Plants in a bunch of 10-15 bulbs in a area.   They will support each other but you may need to stake them up as a windy area will wreak havoc on them.    You will be rewarded with a bunch of mid summer flowers.   You can also plant them in rows at staggered times.  Plant the back row first - then 7 - 10 days - plant another row and continue this until your out of room or out of bulbs.  You will have blooms every 7-10 days this summer.   They will appreciate some bone meal mixed in the soil before you plant them.   Full sun is required for sturdy growth and blooms.    The ones I planted were grade 3 - the smallest that should flower but will grow to a larger size this summer.

Planting a couple more Amaryllis bulbs - Opal Star and Double Dream

I planted a couple of amaryllis today.   I started them last year as smaller bulbs and planted them in bulb crates.  A bulb crate is a similar to the milk crates - but larger.  The growers ship the bulb from Holland in them and I at one point - I had over 100 of them.   Received some advice that I can use them as planting bed.  They already have drainage and are the perfect depth.  I took a picture of an opal star bulbs showing the healthy long roots.  I am transferring them to my raised beds.   I planted Opal star and Double dream today.

7th raised bed filled and planted!.

My parents are going back home to South Dakota tomorrow so I took advantage of having them here to help and we filled the 7th bed.   I have to build some more now as I still have a lot to plant.    My mother is raking and leveling the dirt in one in the newest bed and my dad is watering one of them.   We are expecting rain this weekend - which has been rare so I shouldn't have to water for awhile if we get some rain.   Here's picture of my parents wore out at the end of the day, along with my dog who spends the day following them around.   My dad's feet are in the bottom of the picture.  He's in the lazy boy -sleeping while my mother is studying her flight itinerary.    They were leaving the following morning for cold South Dakota where the weather has been unusually colder than normal this winter.   It was 83 here in Riverside Ca that day.

Signs of Life - Dutch Iris.

I spotted some of my dutch iris coming up.  Growing up on a farm - Our parents would take us for ride too look at all the corn, wheat, and other items that were growing.   As a kid - it seemed boring and we had just done this a couple days ago!  How much could it grow in two days!.   But now - I am always anxious to see what is coming up every time I go out to my escape plot - which is what I call the land I rent to plant my bulbs. Now I understand my father's excitement getting out of the truck and looking closely at the sprouts.    I do the same thing now.    The picture is Dutch iris poking through the dirt.   I planted them about 9 days ago.

Planting Bearded Iris

I planted another variety of Bearded iris - fall fiesta.
Planting bearded irises is easy and they are very hardy once they get established and will spread and fill in the area.   Pick a sunny area - that is a shallow depression and they don't do well where water will sit.   Amend the soil heavily with compost in the same manner you would for a perennial bed.   They will thrive for 4-5 years before you have to divide and amend the soil again if you do it well now.  
The biggest mistake with planting bearded iris.   The top of the rhizome should be a inch or two below the soil.   If you plant too deep - they will rot before they can sprout.   Plant about 6-12 inches apart to allow room to spread over the years.  I don't plant mine that  far apart because I dig up and separate every year and sell some.   Another mistake is over-watering.   They are very drought tolerant and will actually die off it always wet.   They need to dry out between watering.  If you receive regular rainfall - they don't need any additional watering.  If you live in a area that gets a lot of rain, you will need to build a raised bed with soil that drains easily for Bearded Irises.  They need full sun and will tolerate some shade - but will bloom and grow better in full sun.   They will grow in zones 3-9 which covers a large part of this country.   In area with a cold winter, they will go dormant in the winter time, but return in the spring.    below is a pic of a rhizome, ready to plant and also the one I planted today - Fall Fiesta.   The falls are quite a unique orange color.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gladiolus Bulbs Have Arrived

Some of my glad bulbs have arrived.    They will become part of my breeding stock and I will propagate them and sell the larger bulbs next spring.  4 varieties have arrived.   Alexander the Great, Plum Tart, Red Majesty, and Violetta.   The sizes I received are #3.   They are small, but most of them will bloom, although the blooms will be smaller.  I will grow them out to size #1.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Signs of Life - Amaryllis

I noticed that a couple varieties of my Amaryllis are sprouting bud stalks.  I am always amazed how a bulb that looks dead one week can be sprouting a flower bud a week later.   This is my sign that my bulbs are coming out of dormancy and I need to get them all planted.  My peach blossom and exotica are sending up flower buds.

6th Bed planted today - saw the Boeing Dreamlifter at March Air Base.

I have planted the 6th bed today.   My parents are still here from South Dakota helping me plant so I am getting a lot done.   We can see the runway from March Air base and my parents like to watch the plane take off and land.   The Boeing Dream lifter was sitting on the runway yesterday, but I didn't have my camera to take a picture of it.   Here are some pictures of all the beds although the sprinkler systems are set up in all of them yet, so my father is handwatering one of them.   I have also downloaded a picture of the runway from our vantage point.

6 beds planted now - Amaryllis

I planted some amaryllis today.  I planted Neon Rose, Full house, and nice white variety - not named.   The neon and Full house are miniature amaryllis which grow as tall as a regular, but have small trumpet shaped blossoms.  

6 beds planted - More Bearded Iris!

I planted some more bearded iris.  The varieties I planted Wench, Neutron Dance, and Buckwheat.   They will be available for sale this fall and also next spring.  I sell them on Amazon and Ebay.  This is my breeding stock that I am planting and will propagate plants to sell from this stock.    A couple of these have some very nice shades of yellow.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Amaryllis - Finally started planting some amaryllis.

They are one of my favorite plants and the breeders in South Africa and Holland are coming up with some really nice colors.    I planted a miniature amaryllis called peach blossom.  Its a has smaller trumpet shape flowers than the typical amaryllis.   I also planted exotica which is a very unusual color.   I also planted Rilona which has a color close to orange which isn't common in amaryllis  The Rilona were very large bulbs with a bunch of babies attached, which I will sell either this fall or next year.

Planting update - Hemstitched Bearded Iris.

I planted some more bearded irises.   This variety looks really cook with the purple and white combination.   I will be selling some of them in the fall.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Planting Today - Oriental Lilies and More German Bearded Iris.

I planted some oriental lilies today - Pink Oriental Lilies and Baltic Star Bearded Iris.

First Signs of Life - Freesia's are sprouting.

As any one growing a crop or garden knows, the first sign of green is always an exciting time.   Its confirmation that you at least planted it correctly.   I spotted some freesias that were coming up along with some that the neighbor cat must have dug up doing - you know what.   I guess I should look at it as free fertilizer.

4 Beds Filled - ready to plant more!

We filled the 4th bed - and its ready to plant.    As you can see in the background, there is a view.  Its overlooking March Air Base - and we watched a Southwest Airlines plane land.   My guess is they were transporting troops home.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

3 Beds Planted - More Irises

The 3rd bed has been planted with Dutch iris - -mixed colors and Bearded German Iris.   I planted Dusky Challenger in this bed.   It a really dark purple iris.  Hopefully they will be as dark as the pictures that my supplier advertises.  The dutch irises do very well in my area and reproduce nicely so I will have bulbs to sell this fall.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

3 beds filled - 2 planted

I have 3 beds filled with soil and two are planted.  Can't wait for things to start growing.   I am amazed at home much dirt it takes to fill these bed.  My parents worked hard filling the beds.

More Planting - Ranunculus - Persian Buttercups

I planted some ranunculus or persian buttercups.  They should do well in my area.  I soaked the tubers and they swelled up and looked like little bunches of bananas.   I have grown them in the past and always amazed at the prolific they bloom from such a little tiny tuber.

Warm Sunny Day - Great time to plant some bearded iris.

Its was 83 degrees and sunny today.  Great time to plant.  I planted some more German Bearded Irises.   I planted Gnu, Seapower, Tiger Honey, and Presby's Crown Jewel.    The last one looks really cool and I can wait until they are all blooming.   I will take pictures as they grow and when they bloom.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I planted my freesias today.  They will be my parent breeding stock.  Will replant the small ones next springand sell the large one this fall or spring.   They are mixed colors - double flowers.  I will take pictures as things start blooming.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Planting Time - Bearded Iris

Finally get to start planting.  Planted some German Bearded Irises.  These will be my parent stock and will sell rhizomes from them this fall or the following spring depending on how big they get.   I planted Devils Riot and Epicenter.   They are dormant and will start sprouting shortly.   I will be selling them on Ebay and Amazon.