Sunflowers and others

Sunflower bedToday is the last day of the first quarter phase of the moon – tomorrow is a full moon. The last couple of times I defied the lunar calendar the results were tragic. So today I had to get outside and get my next round of sunflowers planted (good phase to plant crops where we eat the seeds). I planted 3 rows in the same bed as the last crop.

The back row contains 8 seeds from the monster sunflowers I saw at Eden nursery. They were dropping their seeds and so I pocketed a few I found on the ground. The heads are as big as dinner plates and the stalks are as thick as my forearm – no staking required there.

Middle row is the same seeds used last time. First row is made up of seeds from 2 different flowers harvested from the last crop. The 2 left most are from a larger flower.

I prepared the bed with a lot of compost and some water crystals. I dug it in spade-head deep. I kept the leaf mulch to put back after the flowers sprout. Of course I included a few anti-Tash twigs to hopefully prevent her from turning this into her latest litter tray. Fingers crossed when the stump removal continues and the fence is replaced, the seedlings won’t be destroyed.

I also planted the creeping fig I had rooting in a vase in the kitchen. Several that I planted at the base of the bird bath a few weeks ago died and needed replacing (this time I promise to remember to water them). I also planted 2 clusters in the front next to the existing plant. I don’t like all my eggs in one basket up there. Then I cut another half dozen twigs which are now standing in water in the kitchen. I want a lot more of these babies along the front brick wall.

I also planted 2 rather sorry specimens of rosemary that I have propagated by putting cuttings in water. Truthfully the cuttings I put in soil look heaps better. I planted the 2 sprouting cuttings next to the existing, leggy rosemary bush (after digging in a few water crystals). Not sure when I’ll transplant the other cuttings but they seem to be doing to well in their pots so I don’t see the reason to rush.

Finally I harvested some parsley seed from one of the seed pods on one of the many plants in the herb beds. I put a gazillion seeds (they’re small) in the pot in the kitchen containing thyme and chives (neither is terribly impressive). I figure that it will at least look pretty if some of the parsley sprouts. But I know patience is required. From memory it takes something like 6 weeks for parsley to sprout – there’s a saying about the seeds needing to go to the devil and back a few times before they sprout.

Hmm, looking up parsley propagation on the internet to find the time and quote my memory couldn’t quite confirm was interesting. The quote seems to vary and be anywhere from several to nine times to visit the devil. Sprouting takes anywhere from 4 days to 11 weeks depending on whose post you believe and some say you should parboil the seeds (or freeze them) and then soak them overnight before planting (too late). Luckily one person posted that she had grown parsley commercially for years and it needs no special treatment (whew).

Lots more to do out there and will tackle some of it over the next couple of days. But tomorrow is full moon and nothing should be planted. I’ll heed the warning this time.

Update 4 May 2011: No sunflowers from Eden grew. Only 2 from my pack of seeds and 1 from my harvest flowers. Too late in the year perhaps? Replantings of harvested seeds also produced nothing. Creepng fig growing and looking great. The rosemary sprigs haven’t changed, they’re still about 1 inch tall and alive. They were overgrown by weeds and I left them alone as there is a wasp nest just above them so I suspect that’s the problem. The parsley is amazing. Out in the herb bed we’re harvesting and it’s a lush green carpet. In the pot in the house it’s alive and filling out. In the shade outside it’s alive but patchy.

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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One Response to Sunflowers and others

  1. Pingback: Kitchen Herbs | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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