Hardening Off The Easy Way
It was my intention to go over the community gardens on Memorial Day, but that was Monday and it’s now Wednesday night as I write this. Why haven’t I gone? Partly I’ve been busy with work, but the main factor is that I need to harden off my plants better. Several of the plants I transplanted last week died of sunburn and wind, several others got beat up pretty well. Most of them are doing fine, but I want a higher success rate with this next batch.
I haven’t done well with hardening off because I don’t have a good place to put a bunch of plants where they’ll just get partial sunlight and where they’ll be safe-ish from kids (and rabbits). I’m certainly not going to move them all every day. Finally I came up with a no-move (well, almost) solution. I moved the plants as close to the garage door as I could. For the rest of the week I’m working at the kitchen table so I can keep an eye on the garage while leaving the door open all afternoon. The plants start getting direct sunlight starting at about 1:30 and they get enough wind to hopefully toughen them up a bit.
If I can meet my work deadlines I should go plant them all this Saturday, otherwise it’ll be next Monday.
When I think of things I want to buy, I put them in my Amazon.com shopping cart, then leave them there. I do this to a) prevent stupid impulse buying ad b) so that when I finally do make a purchase I can usually get free shipping. I recently bought my dad’s Birthday present from Amazon which meant I finally got my rooting powder! The stuff I got is powdered 0.8% Indole-3-Butyric Acid, which is for woody plants which are difficult to root, including lilacs and grapes.
We have white lilacs, but the neighbors have two different colors of purple lilacs. Once all the planting is done I’m going to try some rooting and splicing to add some color to our lilac row. I have always found splicing and tree shaping fascinating. My intention is to practice splicing on the lilacs, and then splice our apple trees into each other so that each tree will be self-pollinating. That way if one of them dies or has to get cut down or whatever, the other will continue to produce fruit.
I might also try it on the raspberries and grapes and try to speed up my plan to cover the fences in fruiting plants.The raspberries might not even need powder at all.
Before I really got into gardening I assumed that seeds were the only (or at least main) way to propagate plants. Then as I started looking for seeds for certain plants (strawberries, peonies) and I find out that the seeds for most varieties aren’t viable! Even the respected Apple tree is usually a Frankenstein, with the roots from one type and the upper portion of another. I know people have concerns about GMO plants, but seeing how long and how un-natural some current plants actually are makes me think maybe at least the spirit of what scientists are doing is the same as it always has been. Of course now that I’ve said that, I’ll be the first one to go when a genetically altered tomato becomes sentient and homicidal.