Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gardening Adventures With Cheap Plants

I've been puttering in the garden lately, so I have no excuse for not getting back into shape. Aside from attacking prickly weeds with a garden hoe, there have been bushes and trees to trim, seeds to plant, and a new garden to fill with soil.
Some of the wooden ties in the garden were rotten, and a portion near the house was oddly unfinished. So V. came over one sunny day and went to work at rebuilding it. It looks much nicer now and we immediately filled it with nice, new soil.

Unfortunately, I also dumped the old strawberry container upside down into it (I wanted to divide them again). It turns out the container was its very own anthill, complete with ant swarms and ant babies that look like rice. Oh joy. I just added an ant infestation to my new, uncontaminated soil...

So all those plants you see there in the picture? They didn't get planted yet. I have to wait for the ants to finish rescuing all their ant babies.
This is my new giant composter! Ooohhh! Aaaaahh! My sister got it for free at a yard give-away thing so we're putting it to good use. No more bucket and "stir stick"!
I stopped by Home Depot and raided their clearance center for plants. They had overgrown dahlia plants there that had just finished flowering. They didn't look so great to the average person, but I could see that they were in the perfect stage for propagating! And for only $1 a pot, it was a steal! V. took them up to the cashier, put them down, and said, "Three dead plants, please" to the cashier. He thought it was pretty funny that I was buying "dead plants", but I know good stuff when I see it :P

The only difficult part with dahlia plants that have just finished flowering is that it's hard to tell what colour their flowers will be unless a wilted flower is still attached to the plant.
Here are some dahlia cuttings ready to become new plants. Note that I just made 9 plants out of one. As the original dahlia continues to grow and flower, I will snip more stems off so I can continue to add to my dahlia garden all summer and fall.

You can follow the tutorial here if you want to propagate some dahlias of your own.
They had a sale on impatiens and petunias so I picked up some of those too. They were also perfectly overgrown (which is why they are on sale), so all those plants in the photo above are cuttings that will be grown into new plants of their own. I have also propagated some fuchsias.

I have been careful to keep them shaded and well watered over the past few days so that they have a chance to put down roots and not dry up. (My dad even put up a big red umbrella for me on some sunny late afternoons!)

I've never propagated petunias before so this is an experiment for me. If it works, I'll post a tutorial.
Meanwhile, I've also been experimenting with crafts. Someone sent me a matchbook notebook and I found it surprisingly useful to keep in my purse to jot down emails and contact information. So I figured I'd make some for a friend, and now I have a whole lotta them! I'll put some in the shop for you.

I'm just making them for fun, so you're welcome to snatch one up for 50 cents a piece. If you want a batch to give out to your friends, just let me know and I'll make you a custom order.

Have a happy weekend!


John Toft Basketry said...

The Vancouver climate is so great for all kinds of plants! Do you have to dig up the dahlias in the winter or can they survive in situ? said...

Hi John,

I saved the tubers from the dahlias I grew last year, but I haven't had a chance to plant them yet. For only a dollar for a whole new plant which I can propagate, it's not really worthwhile to save the tubers. However, I'll probably save the tubers again this year in case I can't find them for so cheap again next year.

The dahlias I have now are little ones, not the plate-sized ones. Plate-sized dahlia plants grow nice, big tubers that you can dig up to store in a cool, dark, dry place like a box in the basement or indoor garage over the Winter. Then you replant them once the weather warms up.

ArtTales said...

I usually end up buying the clearance plants too. I think it's the same feeling I get when I see a pets at the SPCA... everything needs a home :) My green thumb is nill but my husband is a wiz at keeping things alive. Your planter boxes are really pretty! I might have my hubby make some :))