Daylilies forum: The Keeper Bed

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Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 7, 2019 12:12 PM CST
The day before yesterday, I planted the first of my selections in the keepers bed. It was also the first time I divided one of my seedlings. It was easy, but did make me feel kinda queasy.

I'm worried. I know I need to find out if my seedlings can handle being dug up, moved, divided, etc... But if anything happens to them! Crying I'll never see those blooms again!

Was I supposed to divide them at this time? Or do you do that when you're lining them out? And, if you decide that you'll be selling seeds rather than plants, do you never divide them? (that sounds like a lot less work!) Thanks for any advice!
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
Sep 7, 2019 3:19 PM CST

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Tough love is never easy! Smiling Did you divide them down to single fans or leave them as dbl, maybe triple? I remember those days of worrying all winter if that special keeper sdlg would come back.

My routine is to move the selects from the seedling bed the first year they bloom and then make a second selection in the same bed the following year. The last of the sdlgs in the bed are then composted. Three sdlg beds on rotation. The selects rarely get moved before the end of Sept. after I get their keeper bed ready and pods are off. Once in the keeper bed they have 3 - 4 years to clump up, then are lined out if they make the final cut as singles and doubles in Sept./early Oct. 2 years before intro. I remember lining intro sdlgs as single fans the day before Thanksgiving one year....this is zone 4. Blinking Those I worried about, but every fan came back up in the spring. They have to prove they can survive on my time, no babying!

I did loose one really special 1st year sdlg a few years ago. Luckily I made a few crosses and have sdlgs from it.... And to top it off it was the one year where I moved the sdlgs earlier than normal. Years ago Curt Hanson told me never to fall in love with a sdlg because it will surely die on you. So I refuse to worry about them any more and enjoy the winters dreaming about the next years sdlgs Smiling
Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
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beenthere
Sep 7, 2019 6:31 PM CST
I not only had to move the second year keeper seedlings, but had to dig up and none too gently separate this years babies. I had planted multiples in one gallon pots to save on light space, then ended up having no new seedling bed as planned. Just went ahead and plunked those in the ground in their gallon groups.The babies look just fine (one is even getting ready to bloom), but I will never, ever, do that again! And I too will worry about them all winter. Sad
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 8, 2019 11:00 AM CST
Char, and Tina, thank you for responding. Such helpful information! I just wish I had asked sooner!

There were only two seedlings I moved that were more than a single fan. So those I divided. One had a baby fan that was plastered so tightly to the mother that it would've required surgery!

This experience of first time hybridizing has been so profound. It totally wrecked me for the summer. Preoccupied with looking at beautiful seedlings and transferring the pics to folders on my computer, several times a day, I missed opportunities to make crosses I'd spent the whole winter planning. I would see the open blooms along the way to the seedling bed, some even that were brand-new this year, then promptly forget all about spreading pollen! How does one get anything done this way?
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
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beenthere
Sep 8, 2019 1:54 PM CST
Oh! I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who lost her mind this summer! I can't see ever getting bored with new seedlings, but maybe next year we will be a bit calmer about the whole thing. Maybe. Rolling my eyes.
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 9, 2019 10:44 AM CST
Tina, I hope you're right about being calm next summer, cuz I planted more than twice the number of new seedlings this past spring than I did last year! (I'm gonna be a mess! Rolling on the floor laughing )

I wish I'd been more careful about labeling the pics so I could have moved all the ones I wanted to keep. My phones camera let's me save a separate shot with my writing on it, but very seldom did I write the "which plant in the row" info. This doesn't bode well for next year since they're planted so close together!
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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touchofsky
Sep 9, 2019 10:50 AM CST
I planted twice the number of seedlings this year compared to previous years, as well. After my hectic spring trying to get everything planted, I decided to do fewer crosses this summer. I was helped in that by our very hot, dry summer, which caused quite a few of my pods to abort. I still have the number of pods that I wanted coming along, even with the losses.

Next summer should be interesting with all of the seedlings we will have. I hope we get lots of bloom from them!
Touch_of_sky on the LA
[Last edited by touchofsky - Sep 10, 2019 8:02 PM (+)]
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Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
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kidfishing
Sep 9, 2019 12:29 PM CST
We have been doing this for 11 years.
I know that we don't do things like all of you normal people. We start our seedling in the toughest conditions. We make beds for them in the pasture and then give them nothing, no water, no fertilizer, no weeding, and we don't always do a good job of keeping the livestock out of the beds. We select from the pasture and move the entire clump to a selection bed. Once it blooms in the selected bed, we determine if it is still a keeper. If so, we will then divide it into single and double fans. If we have enough it can be introduced. If not enough, we will have to grow it another season.
I would rather kill them than send them to you only to find out they could not take moving. It lost, then we just say it was not one we needed. And we have lost some just moving them. Some we could say were special but we just move on. Better to work on and look for the next special one than worry over the lost one.

Tina, With my diploids, I will plant multiple seeds in one cup or pot and sometimes they go in the garden that way. For those, I will divide into single fans if any bloom is being selected.

We will not have many selections this year. This would typically be from our 2016 seed crop that we are selecting. In 2016 we lost 90% of our seedling from freezing. Lots of work for little return but it taught me not to make those kinds of crosses here. Temps were below zero for several mornings and highs about 10f and power went out, so in my hoop house all baby seedlings froze solid. Maybe the survivors are tough.
Kidfishing
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 10, 2019 8:35 AM CST
Valerie, I hope so, too! And I hope I get more rain for them! Rain is a magic elixir!

Kidfishing, wow! No weeding?! Talk about tough love. So awful to lose that many seedlings. Sounds like you guys can get very hot as well as very cold where you live. Yes, your plants are extremely hardy.

"If we have enough it can be introduced" how much is enough for that?

I are sooooo smart!
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 10, 2019 9:15 AM CST
Well, I'm learning everything the hard way. Char, for some reason it didn't occur to me to make crosses with the seedlings. I guess I've read too much advice about knowing all the stats on a plant before you make anything with it. You know, scape height, branching, etc... That gets drummed into your head when you're learning how to hybidize.

But, you gotta find out if a plant is fertile. And, like you said, if it doesn't come back after it gets moved, for whatever reason (raccoons), you'd still have it's kids. And, besides, everything in my garden has great everything. Thanks to the boys and girls that created them. I should have been moving that pollen around Sighing!
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kidfishing
Sep 10, 2019 2:12 PM CST
josieskid said:Valerie, I hope so, too! And I hope I get more rain for them! Rain is a magic elixir!
Kidfishing, wow! No weeding?! Talk about tough love. So awful to lose that many seedlings. Sounds like you guys can get very hot as well as very cold where you live. Yes, your plants are extremely hardy.

"If we have enough it can be introduced" how much is enough for that?


This would be considered a tough growing area but if conditions are good my plants will be as large and nice as anything anywhere. Most springs are good, with enough rain and plants like it, unfortunately they stop growing when temps are hot and we get lots of hot. Some years many even go dormant in summer from the heat. When I first saw that I thought they were all dead. Most years we have a short ideal growing time where is not too cold or too hot or too dry. Some areas get 10 months of growth per year. Even midwest can get 5-6 good months. This year we have had 3 good months until the last week of July. Since then it has been up near and above 100f until this week cool down to 92f - 94f. Even with this I have re-bloomers all the way thru this season. Mostly seedlings re-bloom registered ones have scarce re-bloom.

2016 losses were not typical. I mentioned 90% lost that year and that was from 8000 + seedlings. Lots of wasted work. Most years we survive 80-90%. Example: in 2018-2019, I overwintered in a garden pond that I was taking out. About 1.5 - 2 foot deep and covered with 6 mil plastic. 2018 into 2019 gave us well below normal temps. Every month from Oct on was cold below normal but no snow. I expected to uncover in the spring and find high percentage losses. Instead I had high percentage survival. These seedlings are mostly in cups and some small pots. Big difference in the crosses I made during hybridizing. 2016 was a bloom season where I saw unusual bloom from my somewhat rare miniature collection. I have over 300 small and mini cultivars including a large collection of southern hybridized blue eyes etc. These southern EV cultivars don't bloom very well here. In 2016 for the first time ever (been collecting them since 2009, 2010), almost all of them bloomed in the same year. I made all these mini and small EV crosses to see what would happen. Results they almost all froze to death in the winter. Now a rule in my hybridizing is, at least one parent must be a hardy good performer in my garden. Also 90%+ of my pollen parents this year are my own seedlings. After all they are tested and tough in my garden.

Enough to register, I will put it this way, if we had to wait until we have the number of fans that all the hybridizers have told me is minimum for them, we would never be able to introduce anything or it would be a 10 year period. We will register with 20 fans (maybe a few less) lined out in single and double fans. This year we will register seedlings from 2014 and 2015. I finally have a special one that I must make a decision on. Meeting my goal with colors of the southern evergreens a hardy dormant, but wish I had more fans of it. Our second year of hybridizing, Ashton and myself started a list of possible names for future introductions.
Ashton got to use one of his first favorite names in 2015 when he registered 'Hook Echo'. I have been looking for the flower to go with the first name I put on the list back in 2010. I now have the flower and will have to see when I introduce 'Put My Picture on the Cover'.
Kidfishing
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Sep 10, 2019 3:33 PM CST
Love that name...'Put My Picture On The Cover"!
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 10, 2019 4:20 PM CST
Kidfishing, is that "The Cover of the Rolling Stone" by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show?

Love that song! Hurray!
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 10, 2019 4:24 PM CST
Kidfishing, I'm gonna have to read your post several times to get everything out of it. Fascinating! Kinda reminds me of the stories about the dust bowl! You certainly persevere!
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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Seedfork
Sep 10, 2019 4:45 PM CST
I was thinking more along the lines of "The Daylily Journal" cover.
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 10, 2019 4:59 PM CST
D'Oh! My bad!
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
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beenthere
Sep 10, 2019 5:43 PM CST
I did learn something this year, the hard way as usual. My seedling spacing will be no less than a foot apart next year. I want them to just have room to grow and leave them be till the following year. I'm all "daylily digging" done right now. And I cleared space and covered an area in the garden that will be ready for the spring crop. Over half my garden is now going to be occupied by seedlings and I'm thinking I will keep it that way, even after we put in a designated seedling bed. I had to decide which way to go when Hubby was benched with his injury, and the choice was surprisingly easy. Hybridizing won.
Thumb of 2019-09-10/beenthere/5dd258
Right on the side of the hill. A wasp chased me out before I could finish that day. All covered now. Guess I'll find out fast if those seedlings have strong scapes.

Thumb of 2019-09-10/beenthere/b5547b
The right side is second summer keepers and this years seedlings.
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
Daylilies Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Region: Vermont
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Char
Sep 10, 2019 6:52 PM CST

Moderator

I sure hope there is never anything calm about seeing seedlings bloom! The anticipation after seeing those first scapes popping up in the bed, the excitement the morning you know that sdlg from the special cross will open for the first time....calm is not in my seedling vocabulary Smiling
Getting organized is the key to having all the time you want with the seedlings. Figure out what needs to be done day to day and what should be done if there's time. For me the morning starts at 5 - 5:30, a quick walk through the sdlgs to see what is open or opening. Then back inside for coffee, email and internet. By 7 it's back outside with FFO notebook and camera. Then back inside to get the clipboard with sdlg bed maps, list for keeps, sdlg records and my notebook made over the winter for crosses to make, the camera and my crossing kit. Oh, and the radio. While doing the FFO's earlier I made a note of any open reg cv's I want to use for crosses that day (sticky notes work great as they are movable from one notebook to another). Also note those important pollen parents and kept sdlgs that are open. Then it's time to check out the sdlg beds. I use large yellow string tags tied to the scape to mark my keeps. Their new sdlg number and the cross is written on both sides.
Thumb of 2019-09-10/Char/0abe8a
Don't use the red tags, slugs love to strip off the red color and your writing!
The tag info is also written on a list of keeps for each bed on the top of the clipboard. Then I take an image ( or more) of the sdlg and then one of the tag. Makes labeling the images easy later with the sdlg number.and cross info. Toward the end of the season I can look through the images and decide which ones will be kept. The yellow tags are pretty easy to find in the sdlg bed. Sdlg 19-24 is a keeper. Smiling
Thumb of 2019-09-11/Char/d7b72c

After checking out seedlings there's usually a little time to work on records of older keeps, pull a few weeds and take more pictures before pollen is ready. Then it's cross time. I've used the same "kit" to make crosses for almost 20 years and make anywhere from 6000 - 10,000 seed with 1 - 2 hours of crossing each day during our short season. I'm done with the daily must do's by noon at the latest unless there are visitors which is nearly every day during peak. The kit is a 12" plastic pot saucer, piece of paper, extra fine tip sharpie for white cross tags, pen for writing pollen name, fanny pack ( finally found a good use for one). In the fanny pack are white cross tags, a fine tip sharpie for the yellow sdlg tags, reverse tweezers, large yellow tags for keeps and large red tags for toss - I find it easier to thin the select/keeper bed if I tag them, then I can go back anytime to compost them and it takes the guess work out if they are not blooming when you have time to dig. Just go around and fill your tray with stamens then carry it with you as you make crosses. Don't drop the tray!!!! D'Oh!
Thumb of 2019-09-11/Char/1ad897
Thumb of 2019-09-11/Char/66100d
Thumb of 2019-09-11/Char/9346da

Afternoons and evenings are then free to do whatever else should be done.....walk the seedling beds a few more times Whistling

In zone 4 if you wait to use sdlgs until you know all the stats you would be 3 or 4 years behind + the 2 - 3 years you wait to see bloom on a sdlg = far to long to be able to make any progress toward your goals. I don't use all new sdlgs, just those really special ones the first year.

Great info in Terry's posts!
"I would rather kill them than send them to you only to find out they could not take moving. It lost, then we just say it was not one we needed. And we have lost some just moving them. Some we could say were special but we just move on. Better to work on and look for the next special one than worry over the lost one. " Thumbs up Can't wait to see `Put My Picture on the Cover'.
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kidfishing
Sep 10, 2019 7:10 PM CST
"beenthere"Tina, Very nice. I try to space 10'- 12' and they do stay a long time. I am thinking of planting some in less harsh conditions as well.

Mary, my son Ashton, said I found someone my age by reading your song name post. Truth is, I played that song for my kids when I decided on a flower for the name. Only thing DR Hook and my flower will have in common is not getting their picture on the cover. But it will be in an upcoming Daylily Journal just not on the cover. ..Yet.. Hilarious!
I keep having to take names off my list that are getting taken. One name I listed years ago was 'Keeping up with the Joneses' taken by Wilkerson. I am from Jones, OK. People get names form songs for sure. I wrote words and set to the music of 'The Gambler'. I named it 'The Hybridizer' and we play it when Ashton and I do daylily speaking engagements. Naming them is a fun part for us.
Kidfishing
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kidfishing
Sep 10, 2019 7:19 PM CST
Char, I was rambling at the same time you were posing your great info. I think seedlings take as long here as they do for you but for different reasons. You have to use anything you think is special from the first bloom. Life is too short to wait. Also, you are the only one who has that seedling. So only you get it's offspring.
Kidfishing

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