Annuals forum: Bulbs and annuals

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Name: Gary
Cincinnati Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Gschnettler
Dec 18, 2017 9:56 AM CST
I live in the city and have a very small yard, 3 ft by 5 ft. I divided it into 3 sections, 1x5 each and I plant annuals in each section. Marigolds, zinnias and snap dragons. The instructions always say wait until danger of the last frost is past, which for me in Cincinnati is May 15. Some bulbs come up in March. Is it possible to plant bulbs in this same area, let them bloom in March, and then still plant annual seeds in the same space in May? Or is that too much to do given the space I have?
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Dec 18, 2017 10:13 AM CST
the only issue I could possibly see is that the leaves of the bulbs may not die down before the seedlings start coming up shielding the seedlings from the sun.
Plant very early bulbs, than cut down the bulb leaves if they are in the way, for the very early bulb group that should be enough time to get enough energy back to the bulbs
I certainly would try it
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Keeper of Poultry Enjoys or suffers cold winters Bee Lover Dragonflies Garden Photography
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ZenMan
Dec 18, 2017 10:46 AM CST
Gschnettler said:Is it possible to plant bulbs in this same area, let them bloom in March, and then still plant annual seeds in the same space in May?

Hello Gary, Welcome!
I agree with Rj, you might be able to have the bulbs share their space with annuals, since bulbs are "one shots" and annuals bloom for an extended season.
Gschnettler said:I live in the city and have a very small yard, 3 ft by 5 ft. I divided it into 3 sections, 1x5 each and I plant annuals in each section. Marigolds, zinnias and snap dragons.

I sympathize with people who wish to garden, but have only limited space to do so. I have been there myself, but fortunately I now have a fraction of an acre of outdoor space and an ongoing indoor zinnia project (zinnias are a hobby of mine.) I suggest you expand your outdoor growing space with containers -- a few big pots or containers could expand on your available 15 square feet. And maybe consider an indoor growing project under lights. I use chrome steel wire shelving with 2' x 4' shelves.
Thumb of 2017-12-18/ZenMan/82444f Thumb of 2017-12-18/ZenMan/2cc4bf
It is conceivable that you could have an indoor growing space larger than your 15-square-foot outdoor space.

ZM
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Dec 18, 2017 11:39 AM CST
I love your indoor plant setup, @ZenMan! What is in all the gallon jugs? You have a lot of them! Maybe it's fertelizers and lots of distilled water to use on the plants? We have super hard water so I keep a lot of distilled water around.
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Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Keeper of Poultry Enjoys or suffers cold winters Bee Lover Dragonflies Garden Photography
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
ZenMan
Dec 19, 2017 12:41 AM CST
plantmanager said:I love your indoor plant setup, @ZenMan! What is in all the gallon jugs? You have a lot of them! Maybe it's fertelizers and lots of distilled water to use on the plants? We have super hard water so I keep a lot of distilled water around.


Hi Karen,

I can't afford distilled water because I use a lot of water for my indoor gardening. Just a few minutes ago I mixed 6 gallons of nutrients and 2 gallons of stock solution (Calcium nitrate and Magnesium sulfate), so that was 8 gallons this evening and another 2 gallons this morning. Our well water is also extra hard, so I have a reverse osmosis unit that I use to produce purified water for all of my indoor plant uses. For outdoor use, I just use plain unfiltered well water and rain. The indoor well water goes through a sediment filter.

The reverse osmosis water is much better than rain water and is equivalent to distilled water at a tiny fraction of the cost of commercial distilled. I considered a distillation unit, but the cost of electricity was going to run the cost of water up many times more than the cost of reverse osmosis. The RO unit is passive, and works on the existing water pressure. It does use a small amount of electricity for an ultraviolet bulb that sterilizes the input water of any living organisms.

Years ago I tried to get by on our well water, and the salts content in the pots built up to a fatal level in about 6 weeks. The plants were suffering in 4 weeks. The surface of the growing medium was covered with a whitish salt deposit. With our well water, I couldn't do my indoor gardening project without the reverse osmosis unit.

ZM
I tip my hat to you.
[Last edited by ZenMan - Dec 19, 2017 9:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Gary
Cincinnati Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Gschnettler
Dec 19, 2017 8:18 PM CST
Is it too late to plants bulbs for this coming spring?
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Dec 19, 2017 8:28 PM CST
If you can work the soil (not frozen) you can plant it.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
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Zuni
Dec 19, 2017 11:34 PM CST
ZenMan said:
Hello Gary, Welcome!
I agree with Rj, you might be able to have the bulbs share their space with annuals, since bulbs are "one shots" and annuals bloom for an extended season.

I sympathize with people who wish to garden, but have only limited space to do so. I have been there myself, but fortunately I now have a fraction of an acre of outdoor space and an ongoing indoor zinnia project (zinnias are a hobby of mine.) I suggest you expand your outdoor growing space with containers -- a few big pots or containers could expand on your available 15 square feet. And maybe consider an indoor growing project under lights. I use chrome steel wire shelving with 2' x 4' shelves.
Thumb of 2017-12-18/ZenMan/82444f Thumb of 2017-12-18/ZenMan/2cc4bf
It is conceivable that you could have an indoor growing space larger than your 15-square-foot outdoor space.

ZM
I tip my hat to you.


I am drooling over your shelving units. Are those from Home Depot? I just started cleaning out a room that I have decided to make a combination arts/crafts and grow room (not for medicinals lol). I think I saw shelves like these with the optional casters at Home Depot a while back.

Also, which lights did you buy for the shelves? Very nice set-up.

A few years ago, I grew cherry tomatoes indoors with just a Home Depot shop light with daylight bulbs on my (huge) dresser. Worked great. But, I want to set up shelves like you have this time. I'm actually hoping to try heirloom freesias from seed eventually. Hoping my freshly planted heirloom freesias will give me some seeds :-)
[Last edited by Zuni - Dec 19, 2017 11:36 PM (+)]
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Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Keeper of Poultry Enjoys or suffers cold winters Bee Lover Dragonflies Garden Photography
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
ZenMan
Dec 20, 2017 11:51 AM CST
Zuni said:I am drooling over your shelving units. Are those from Home Depot?

Hello Sue, Welcome!
I have been accumulating chrome steel wire shelves from a variety of sources since 2004, when we lived in Maine and had a very limited outdoor growing season. My first ones came from Sam's Club. They have all had 2' x 4' shelves and were "maximum" height. I did shop in Home Depot, but none of their wire shelves were the right size and chromed. I got a set of chrome wire shelves through mail order from Northern Tool when they had a "special". I always purchased casters when they were not included. My recent additions have been from Amazon Prime, and they are my very favorites because they are a few inches taller and have big 5-inch optional casters. The big casters make them much easier to move around, and two of them have brakes that you can lock when you want them to stay put.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...
https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...
You do need to think about weight capacity when choosing your shelves and casters, because water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon, and it is easy to get a lot of weight on your shelves.
Zuni said:Also, which lights did you buy for the shelves?

When I started in 2004, Home Depot was selling 2-bulb 4-foot T8 fluorescent shoplights for about $6 each, and I continued to buy those even as their price increased over the years to about $20 each. I have since switched to narrower shoplights from Menard's, because their smaller reflectors make it easier to hang 4 of them over a 2x4 shelf. In this picture you can see two of the narrow fixtures from Menards and two of the older Home Depot fixtures. As usual here, you can see more detail by clicking on the picture.
Thumb of 2017-12-20/ZenMan/70b864
I am using T8 fluorescents because I started with them. In 2004 they were probably the best choice. They still might be, although solid-state LED technology is the "wave of the future". Most new cars and Christmas lights and flashlights use LED technology today. It is probably just a matter of time before LEDs become economical enough to compete with T8s pricewise. But T8 tubes are rated at 20,000 hours, and when you think about it, that is a long time. A lot of my original bulbs and fixtures are still in service, after 13 years of use.

If you are like me, you will get a lot of pleasure from your indoor gardening. It can be a learning process, and a "voyage of discovery".

ZM (not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
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Zuni
Dec 20, 2017 12:11 PM CST
Wow! I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write such a detailed answer. I have learned in my old age, that it pays to wait to buy the right stuff - do it right the first time. I love how you figured out how to get even more light over each shelf. So perfect! And those casters are actually a really good price. I put casters on everything, so I can move things around by myself now.

[Last edited by Zuni - Dec 20, 2017 12:16 PM (+)]
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 20, 2018 9:35 AM CST
I regularly intermix bulbs with annuals and some perennials like Astilbe. The bulbs don't seem to mind and the flowers don't seem to mind, Maybe I throw a little extra 2-4-4 in there...
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 22, 2018 5:02 PM CST
I was going to put some annuals or seeds on top of my daffodils when they died back. But then I read that while the bulbs are dormant below the can start to rot from the extra water from above. That's just my opinion. I'm not going to do it with mine after reading that!!

Happy Gardening!!

ZenMan,

Too cool setup!! Awesome. And that you can play all year round!!

😀😀

Mindi
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
May 4, 2018 11:44 PM CST
MindiHammerstone said:I was going to put some annuals or seeds on top of my daffodils when they died back. But then I read that while the bulbs are dormant below the can start to rot from the extra water from above. That's just my opinion. I'm not going to do it with mine after reading that!!

Happy Gardening!!

ZenMan,

Too cool setup!! Awesome. And that you can play all year round!!

😀😀

Mindi


I just read something similar in the gardening section of the newspaper. It said that bulbs evolved in dry places and hate Summer watering. So I am revising my previous habits and not planting regular annuals or perennials above them. So this year I am setting a few drought-tolerant annuals in my 25' diameter bulb bed. Some that I find recommended are:

Dusty Miller, Globe Amaranth, Lantana, Gazania, Verbena, Nasturtium, Sweet Alyssum...

I should mention that last year, after the last of the Daffodils and Tulips died back, I watered in a 3-5-3 organic fertilizer, covered the entire bed with black plastic, and they all came up wonderfully this year!
Thumb of 2018-05-05/Yardenman/495b98

Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
May 5, 2018 11:33 AM CST
Yardenman,

Beautiful garden!!!

😀

Mindi
Name: Bumplbea
Oregon (Zone 8b)
Ponds Butterflies Annuals Bromeliad Foliage Fan Hellebores
Composter Herbs Keeper of Koi Birds Houseplants Hummingbirder
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bumplbea
May 18, 2018 11:09 PM CST

Watering over bulbs will eventually cause the bulbs to rot . Sounds like a very practical technique to coordinate the planting's.

Reverse osmosis is interesting. You have quite an advanced system for growing . I really enjoyed reading about your system. Would like to incorporate that system on the house water.

I have well water and it's full of minerals so never had a problem with well watering outside plants and filters for all the water issues we have in the water& Black lites .The bigger issue is the rain . It rains 8 months out of the year leaves very high acid level ? Every year have to adjust the PH of the soil by adding lime to keep the soil PH BETWEEN 5.5-7.0 adjusted the soil . What is the average PH level on your system?

Your zinnias are amazing , they look so stron and healthy. Are those some that your hybridizing?
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Keeper of Poultry Enjoys or suffers cold winters Bee Lover Dragonflies Garden Photography
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
ZenMan
May 19, 2018 10:14 AM CST
Hello Bumplbea,

" What is the average PH level on your system? "

The Reverse Osmosis water is equivalent to distilled water, and its pH is always 7.0. The soluble nutrients added to that RO water take control of the pH and make it about 6.5. I use urea-free soluble nutrients because I am growing in ProMix, and not soil. Urea requires soil microbes to break it down to a usable form, and those microbes are not present in my growing mix.

" Your zinnias are amazing , they look so strong and healthy. Are those some that you are hybridizing? "

Yes. All of my zinnias are candidates for my breeding program. However, only 10% or less qualify for use as breeders. I cull my zinnias so as to use only the "very best" for breeding. With "best" being a somewhat subjective description. Sometimes some very strange zinnias "catch my eye". These being current examples of that. As always, click on the photos to see them larger. You can "dismiss" the larger version by clicking on the X in the lower righthand corner.
Thumb of 2018-05-19/ZenMan/b688bf Thumb of 2018-05-19/ZenMan/27afe5
I am very curious what results I my get from crossing those with some of my other "different" zinnias, like these.
Thumb of 2018-05-19/ZenMan/5769a5 Thumb of 2018-05-19/ZenMan/3e98f1
Home hybridized zinnias continue to be full of surprises, well beyond what you can get from commercial zinnia varieties.

ZM
I tip my hat to you.
[Last edited by ZenMan - May 19, 2018 10:18 AM (+)]
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Name: Bumplbea
Oregon (Zone 8b)
Ponds Butterflies Annuals Bromeliad Foliage Fan Hellebores
Composter Herbs Keeper of Koi Birds Houseplants Hummingbirder
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bumplbea
May 21, 2018 12:40 AM CST
The soil PH is what needs to be kept in check not the water. I see your system is dependent on the water PH. That is a sure way that plants get the nourishment required to obtain the outcome to the perfect flowers you have hybridized. Do you show your zinnias at floral shows ?

In the Oregon coastal area the average rain fall is 44" per year. It's acid rain and causes moss to grow on everything even between your toes in ya stand in one place longer than a few minutes. Yearly I measure the garden and amend the soil to bring the soil PH up between 6.5 and 7.0.l use a soil PH tester.

Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Keeper of Poultry Enjoys or suffers cold winters Bee Lover Dragonflies Garden Photography
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
ZenMan
May 23, 2018 8:09 AM CST
Hello Bumplbea,

" Do you show your zinnias at floral shows ? "

The short answer is no. The County Fair would be the only available show around here. Some people show their garden cutflowers there, and I think there is a zinnia category. However, I don't enter any of my zinnias in the County Fair, or any show for that matter, because it would be possible for someone to remove a petal or a few petals from some of my blooms and propagate my zinnias that way, using the green seed technique.

Someday I will be willing to sell some seed stock to a commercial breeder/grower who will increase it to over a period of years to commercial quantities, and make them available to the general public. But if I were to give away some seeds, or someone should get them from a public show, that could put that process in question.

And it will be years before my strains are good enough and stable enough to enter the commercial field. They are still being improved and perfected. Some other grower may be working with the same or similar mutations and "get there" first. Which is fine by me. I am doing this purely for fun as a hobby, and not for any commercial reason. Frankly, I am somewhat surprised by my successes so far. As I am fond of saying, "Zinnias are full of surprises."

ZM
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
May 23, 2018 8:59 AM CST
ZM,

I definitely think that you will be commercial one
Day. Your flowers are so unique.

And my first trial I am seeing if I can do it. Iam so curious and every step is fun. First thing is can I grow the Zennias. And then go from there.

Can't wait to see the flowers!!

I just caught my computer change my Zennias to Zenias with one n. I must have used the one n so many times the phone thinks I wasn't to spell it like that lol.

Cheers!
😀

Mindi

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