Monday, February 09, 2015

What's growing in the basement?

It's still freezing cold, with snow and ice outside, but there's plenty going on in the basement.  I had to replace one of the grow light ballasts this weekend - good thing I had a spare.  Replaced some of the light bulbs as well.  I have a small pile of dead fluorescent bulbs growing in the corner - need to get those out to the dumpster one of these years.

Finally got around to starting the onion seeds.  Some years I buy sets or plants, some years I have a go at seeds with the onions.  This year I decided to go with Cortland and Red Bull.  In previous years I've usually done white, yellow and red onions, aiming for variety and for ones that are supposed to be sweet or great tasting.  Thing is, we eat very little raw onion, and don't go through onions super fast.  I've had some varieties that were big and beautiful and sweet, but rotted within a month of harvest.  So this year I'm trying storage onions...let's hope we like them!

Here's all the geraniums I pulled out of the pots on the deck at the end of fall.  Just yanked 'em up, trimmed them down, shook off loose dirt, and chucked them into a box.  They haven't been watered since, but they're starting to leaf out and even bloom a little - they know the days are getting longer from the tiny window in the basement.  I guess I should start potting them up.  Maybe I'll even try breaking some stems off and see if I can't make more could be a really inexpensive geranium year!!  ;-)

The dwarf orange tree that was showing off with all those stinky blooms and got grounded to the basement finally dropped all the blooms.  Rather than bring it up and risk it still not getting enough light, I've left it in the basement under the shop lights, giving it a thorough soaking every couple of weeks.  The orange that set at the end of summer have become vibrant orange.  They're tiny little things, and super bitter, but they smell amazing.  They're great for dropping down the kitchen disposal - smells great!

Here's a begonia that's been in the family for I don't know how long.  I guess it's been nearly killed off more than once, but brought back to life.  Mom unloaded it on me this past year, so I took it down to the basement in the fall and it's looking very happy.  I'm wondering if I don't need to split and repot's totally rootbound at this point.  Then again, it's looking quite happy - maybe I'll wait and see if it puts out some heavy trusses of pink blooms this spring, and then torture it when it's done blooming.

Here's the two rosemary plants I dug up and stuffed into pots this past fall.  I'm surprised I haven't killed them yet - although I had a close call due to lack of watering last week.  They're starting to show some signs of legginess, but that's tolerable.  They're not the pretties rosemary plants, but if they make it to spring and get planted outside, they'll perk up.  I've also got four small pots with the rosemary cuttings that were rooting in water in the kitchen around Christmas.  So far, so good - no pictures to prove it, but it seems like the roots they were growing in water transitioned to soil life just fine.  I just pinched out their growing tips this weekend....hopefully they'll get a bit more lush.

New purchases this winter - a Meyer lemon tree in the background, and a lime tree in the foreground.  Neither is looking super healthy yet, but it usually takes plants awhile to perk up after shipping and getting potted up.  The lime tree dropped almost all its leaves, and you can see little baby leaves are popping out.   I have another, bigger lemon tree as well - and it's pretty much in the "I don't feel like performing right now" mood.

Hen and Chicks that Aunt Phyllis passed on to mom last summer, and then mom split some with me.  I guess these have been in the family a looooong time.  They're not looking real perky right now, but if I can keep them alive through the winter, I'm sure they'll do fine outdoors.

Here's the blackcurrant Titania plants I'm growing from a single cutting I was gifted last fall.  Looks like both made it and are starting to take off!

I took these cuttings from the dwarf orange tree last summer, and they just sat there on the deck doing nothing.  Wasn't sure if they ever even rooted, but I didn't want to tug on them.  They dropped most of their leaves (some last fall, some over winter), and you'd think they were dead, except they've occasionally popped out these little mini-popcorn-like things, which I'm guessing are failed blooms?  Are they rooted and drawing sustenance from the soil, but no leaves yet?  Or is this the dying cutting using the last energy in the stem to try and put out fruit/seeds?  Since they're still doing SOMETHING, I'm not going to compost them...

Here's the fig tree (I'm blanking on variety) that I was gifted last summer.  Took me forever to pot it up, and then I thought I killed it in the fall by leaving it out through some cold weather.  Ta-daaa - it's alive and blooming!  There WAS a small fig on it a couple weeks ago - I couldn't find it this weekend - either it's hiding in the foliage, or it dropped off and I just didn't see it in the soil.  Hopefully this early start will mean ripe figs in the summer!

And finally - a peek in at the worms.  Only you can't see them...they just got a fresh layer of shredded paper (donated from a coworker - thanks Karen!).  The top of the "stuff" was completely exposed for awhile, but the burlap was helping things.  Only we somehow got fruitflies in the house recently (I'm guessing they came in on some produce, part of which went to the worm bins) - and suddenly this tub was swarming when I'd take the lid off.  Cover it all in dry shredded paper and ta-daaa!  Get those fruit flies under control.  For added precaution, I've got some jars of apple cider vinegar nearby, covered with plastic wrap (with a tiny hole poked in it), and a drop of detergent in the vinegar.  Perfect fruit fly traps - lots of dead little critters in there now....

And that's most of what's growing in the basement right now.  There's also quite a few amaryllis that aren't blooming at the moment - most are looking quite scraggly.  I'm going to need to tighten things up and open up some space - it won't be much longer before I'm starting pepper, tomato and flower seeds!  Hopefully this will be the year I successfully start and grow verbena bonariensis....

No comments: