Daylilies forum: Seedling Beds....How Do You Grow Your Seedlings?

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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
Aug 17, 2018 4:38 PM CST

Moderator

After being asked in the Aug 2018 Seedling thread to show how I grow my sdlgs outside I thought it would be nice to see how others do it too, please join in.

Starting a long post with a few simple comments....
KISS - keep it simple stupid, why make things more difficult than they need to be.
Daylilies grow in clumps, togetherness is ok.
I really don't like weeding. Mother Nature does not like bare earth. If I don't plant something there... She will....and it will be considered a weed by me.

Seedlings are started in 39 cell tree trays starting in Jan going into Feb. based on the batches I pull from the fridge. I use Promix and plant 1 - 6 seeds per cell, large crosses may go into a 23 cell tray, 19 to 20 trays total. Total number seeds around 2500 - 3000. This gives me about 2500 sdlgs to plant out in May. The trays are on a homemade plant stand in a spare bedroom with 4 shop lights on the top and bottom shelves, window light for the middle shelf. A 12" fan sits on a bookcase opposite the stand for air flow. Trays are bottom watered on Sunday morning, need it or not,1qt per tray. If really dry - depends on how cold it is outside and how much the furnace runs at night, 1 1/2 qts.
Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/cb6fd2
Now to outside....
There are 3 beds on rotation. Bed #1 is empty from the previous fall waiting to be planted with the newest sdlgs. Bed #2 has the sdlgs planted the spring before which will bloom for the first time, they are around 18 months old. Bed #3 are on their 2nd year bloom and any non selects will be dug and tossed in the fall to empty the bed for this years seed (new Jan. started sdlgs).
In the image from May 2011 on the left would be bed #1 , empty and started planting the new sdlgs. I plant across the bed rather than the length of the bed like most hybridiers I've seen. Why? Don't know Shrug! ...my Mom always planted her veggies that way. This image has an old worn out hose dividing the bed because there is no room for a center path. Bed #2 is the area behind the pot shed, to give you an idea it measures 17' long x 23' wide, with 3 rows of plants. These are the sdlgs planted 2 springs before in May 2009. They are on their 2nd year of bloom and any non-selects will be dug and composted in the fall leaving the bed empty and ready after tilling for spring planting the next year. The large bed is divided in areas roughly 5ft wide and center walking paths are about 20" wide. The narrow path works fine during bloom as long as you always walk down the path in the same direction, the leaves are all untangled and going the same way. On the right are two long rows of bed #3 planted with a narrow center path. These are the sdlgs planted the spring before, May 2010, going on their first year of bloom.
Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/a572b9
The 2 smaller beds in the center of the image are select beds, there are two more select beds in the "box" bed above the display garden. So 4 select beds also on rotation. Way down in the right corner are newer arrivals, registered plants from other hybridizers.


This is July 2012 first year bloom on the sdlgs in bed #1 being planted in the above image.
Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/0ec487

July 2012 bed #2 has now been replanted. Sorry about the weeds...but it gives you an idea of how close together the plants are. Roughly rows are a hand width apart, so I can lean on one hand as I'm pulling weeds with the other across the row and about 3 or 4" apart in the row, roughly 5 ft wide, about 12 - 15 sdlgs per row. Note, Cy doesn't like weeding any more than I do!
Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/301c03

Two years ago in Oct. of 2016 we changed the paddock area after loosing Duma, my 33 yr old Arab on Sept.1st. It was to painful to see the empty paddock when working out in the sdlg area. The pot shed was moved further back where the end of the old #1 bed was and the new area to the right of the gate became bed #1. The other side of the gate is a veggie bed now. Barn and fence really need painting *Blush*
Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/f68c4a

July 2017, I did get the pot shed painted and moved my foldable table from the other end to the new front end. The table folds up on the side of the shed keeping it dry and out of the way when not needed. In front you can see the newly planted sdlgs and the start of bloom in bed #2, 2nd yr bloomers.
Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/7d00c0 Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/3ec74d

A week later July 2017, we're back where we started in 2011 on the second complete rotation of the 3 beds. New seedlings bed #1 on the left, 2nd year bloomers bed #2 in the back and first year bloomers bed #3 on the right.
Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/3a7ef0
Thumb of 2018-08-17/Char/b2c4f1

Nothing fancy, as simple as possible. If I were nice I would give the sdlgs more room. If I gave the sdlgs more room Mother Nature would fill up the bare spots meaning more weeding for me. With slower increase than the south I can get away with planting that close together, a select may have 1 - 4 fans by the 2nd year bloom when the bed gets emptied. Compost is added before tilling and brown paper bags or paper grain bags covered with shredded leaves are used on paths. I don't use any pesticide or herbicide other than an occasional spray with Neem when the tarnish plant bugs really get on my nerves. My chickens run the seedling beds which helps with bug trouble somewhat. Sdlgs are watered if it is dry after they are planted and in a year like this when we had day after day of high temps and no rain in July I did water them twice with the hose. New sdlgs get weeded twice, once in June and again in Aug. Older sdlgs once in June, the 1st year bloomers get cut and weeded in the fall, 2nd yr bloomers get trashed in the fall along with the weeds. Other than that they are on their own leaving me to do fun stuff during our short growing season...like making crosses, greeting visitors, taking images, checking out the selects etc. Smiling


Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Aug 17, 2018 10:26 PM CST
Char,
Thank you for the clear descriptions and pictures.

How do you keep track of the "keepers"? Do you dig them up before they stop blooming? Or do you mark the scape with a tag?

Right now I'm dealing with a bed that is in its 2nd year. I tied waxed string to the ones I want to keep. My challenge now is to dig them out. I want to dig and move my "keepers" but want to let the bed go into a 3rd year because our last winter was so hard on them and I know they didn't preform as they should have. Didn't even see some blooms that were there last year, so I feel I need to let it go one more year. I wish I had 3 beds like you do. I only have 2.

I plant in short rows as you do. I think I did it because it's easier to keep the short rows straight.
Bed #1 was planted with (650 seedlings) 6 to 8 seedlings per row. About 4" apart within a row. The rows are about 8" apart.
Thinking these were too close, bed #2, the following year was planted with (300 seedlings) 6 seedlings per row. About 8" apart within a row. The rows are about 12" apart.

Here in this pic (taken June 2018) you can see bed #1 at the far left. Both beds have 2 sections of rows.
Thumb of 2018-08-18/petruske/14d901

The problem I have in bed #1 is some of them have multiplied quite a bit and I'm worried that I won't be able to see where one cross starts and the other ends. I hope once I start to dig them out, the roots will make it clearer to me. Today I started trimming the leaves to about 9" so I can see better what's in each row. Will continue tomorrow and most likely will dig up some and transplant into sections of the other gardens that I cleared out for them.

Honestly, the hardest part for me is being brutal enough to toss out the ones that didn't get tagged. I simply MUST get tough if I want to plant new seedlings every year.

Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 18, 2018 5:18 AM CST
Wow, thank you so much for sharing your seedlings beds, Char. Thank you Sue for asking this question and also sharing your experience. Both of your nice looking beds and organization put mine to shame! THere is a lot of great info here so it will take me awhile to analyze and incorporate it all. My challenges are both the weeds that overtake the space between the seedlings and the strength and discipline to toss out seedlings that do not meet my expectations of performance.

Sue, is there a reason why you must toss out seedlings that did not get tagged? Some unknowns can be so very nice too.
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Aug 18, 2018 7:44 AM CST
Thank you, Char and Sue for sharing all this with us! Wonderful presentation, so encouraging! And beautiful!
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Stan
Florida Panhandle (Defuniak Sp (Zone 8b)
Photo Contest Winner 2019 Region: Gulf Coast Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Daylilies Lilies
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GaNinFl
Aug 18, 2018 8:27 AM CST
Wow is right, and I'll echo what Karen and Mary said. Thank you both for sharing your photos and very informative description of how you keep you beds and seedlings. Thumbs up Thumbs up
Stan
(Georgia Native in Florida)
http://garden.org/blogs/view/G...
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Aug 18, 2018 8:48 AM CST
kousa said:Sue, is there a reason why you must toss out seedlings that did not get tagged? Some unknowns can be so very nice too.

Space and space alone. I really need a #3 bed like Char has. I'll work it out some how. If only I could get the other gardens thinned out a bit. I've been working on it for 3 years. *Blush* It doesn't help that I keep buying more stuff. *Blush*



Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Aug 18, 2018 2:31 PM CST
So much weeding to get done. I went out to day to work on bed #1 and ended up weeding bed #2. Had to get it before the weeds got worse. Not that it was bad, but I knew I had to make it priority. Bed #2 is thicker and doesn't have as many weeds. I see Char's point of growing them so close together. Definitely must be a plus where weeds are concerned.
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
Aug 18, 2018 3:14 PM CST

Moderator

Your beds are much neater than mine Sue! I like the label system too, beats searching through leaves to find my little labels. Maybe in the future I will try the pvc pipe, I'd worry about them being hidden under the snow and Cy getting hurt when he walks the beds in winter.
petruske said:Char,
Thank you for the clear descriptions and pictures.

How do you keep track of the "keepers"? Do you dig them up before they stop blooming? Or do you mark the scape with a tag?


I let them finish blooming in the sdlg bed where they are growing. Most of the time they will have pods on them so I don't move them to the keeper bed until later sometime the end of Sept. /early Oct. when the pods are off or close enough so moving won't hurt them...unless I knock them off. D'Oh! For marking keeps I use the large yellow tags from Staples tied to the scape. They get a number, usually year + order in which they were tagged....18-01, 18-02 plus the cross written on both sides of the tag. I also record this info on paper that comes out with me every day, clipboard with list of yellow tags + notes on the sdlgs, seedling records w/images, bed maps etc. I use the yellow tags for keeps because the slugs and snails seem to like the red ones better and will strip the red and any writing off. The red tags are used for deselects in the keeper beds. A red tag goes on at some point during bloom and I'll watch to make sure I really want to toss, then later when cleaning the bed after bloom I know the red tags are compost.
Thumb of 2018-08-18/Char/92f49a

petruske said:I want to dig and move my "keepers" but want to let the bed go into a 3rd year because our last winter was so hard on them and I know they didn't preform as they should have. Didn't even see some blooms that were there last year, so I feel I need to let it go one more year.


If they were something you really want/need I'd let them go another year so hopefully you can find those missing ones. Or if you know the cross keep all of just that cross until they bloom. Then you won't loose the whole bed for next years planting. Years ago I left seedlings in the bed until the 2nd bloom year giving them an individual label. Not sure how many I never got dug out the next year because they didn't bloom or were missed when trashing the others, but since then I always move keepers from a sdlg bed to a keep bed in the fall.

petruske said:Honestly, the hardest part for me is being brutal enough to toss out the ones that didn't get tagged. I simply MUST get tough if I want to plant new seedlings every year.


Composting is the hardest thing to get used to, I still have trouble trashing some selects, but the baby beds I have no problem trashing now. I find that when I finally toss those selects I'm on the fence about it is a weight off my shoulders. No longer is my mind occupied with wondering do I or don't I....their gone and now I can get excited about the sdlgs still here and the ones to come. The only help I can offer is ...Trust yourself, your goals, keep a few you're not sure about tossing if you have room and keep moving forward.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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touchofsky
Aug 18, 2018 3:21 PM CST
My efforts are very limited compared to others! We have had to clear land to put in seedling beds. Here are some pictures of my newest seedling beds in the newly cleared area . I also have two in my back area. The back area was cleared a few years ago, and we have a veggie garden back there, two beds with named daylily cultivars and two seedling beds. One seedling bed in the back was planted in 2017 and one in 2016.

We cleared an area in front of the house in the winter of 2017 and so far have put three seedling beds in the newly cleared area. This area was a pine plantation and the pines were planted about 6 feet apart, so the beds are put in between the stumps. Pine rots fairly quickly, and already the root are decaying, and can be removed.

This shows the three beds that have been put in so far.
Thumb of 2018-08-18/touchofsky/5bc8ed

This bed was planted in June 2017. The seedlings are approx. 10-11" apart in each direction. The beds contain 84 seedlings each. About 16 seedlings bloomed this summer in this bed.
Thumb of 2018-08-18/touchofsky/b25743

These two beds were planted this year, one in May and one in June.
Planted May, 2018
Thumb of 2018-08-18/touchofsky/8ab79a
Planted June, 2018
Thumb of 2018-08-18/touchofsky/5b3a53

This was a strange property in that the front 7 acres was planted with red pine and the back 43 acres is native hardwood bush. As we have been clearing near the hardwood bush, it has made the views from our house very pretty, looking into the native hardwoods, rather than a wall of red pine. Also, we are leaving part of the cleared area as a natural meadow, and it is amazing the number of birds and butterflies we are seeing now.
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Aug 18, 2018 3:25 PM CST
What a sweet boy your dog is, Char. Looks like he's trying hard to decide!
I are sooooo smart!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 18, 2018 3:37 PM CST
Valerie, your seedlings beds are so neat and weed free! And you have so much ready land left to grow more seedlings! I do envy you!
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
Aug 18, 2018 3:44 PM CST
josieskid said:What a sweet boy your dog is, Char. Looks like he's trying hard to decide!


I agree Cy is adorable! What a great photo, I love it Lovey dubby
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
Aug 18, 2018 3:50 PM CST
kousa said:Valerie, your seedlings beds are so neat and weed free! And you have so much ready land left to grow more seedlings! I do envy you!


We were lucky to get this much land just 10 minutes from town. It was because of the red pines, I think. Nobody wanted to deal with them. At the time, 25 years ago, they were about 6 to 8 ft. tall and so dense you would get lost in them. They are about 50 to 60 feet tall now!
Touch_of_sky on the LA
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
Aug 18, 2018 5:42 PM CST

Moderator

I agree with Karen, very nice seedling beds Valerie. Clearing land is no easy task! Are all your seedlings for mini/small blooms? I'm enjoying all the littles you and Nikki have shown this year.

Cy says Thank you. He is very "into" daylilies, rarely steps on one and never runs through them....thankfully. The image was the only one I could find quick that showed the yellow tags.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
Aug 18, 2018 5:59 PM CST
I would estimate that about 1/3 of the seedlings I planted this year are miniatures. I have been trying to collect small and miniature daylilies for many years. Daylilies are harder to source here than in the U.S. and miniatures are especially a challenge to find.

I enjoy doing the crosses and trying to figure out what to cross with what, so I am adding as many miniatures to my daylily collection as possible!

Once I get a year's growth in the seedlings, I will separate out the ones with small foliage into their own seedling bed, so they are not overwhelmed by the ones with larger foliage. Good thing I have lots of land to play with … Hilarious!

We worked really hard last year clearing that area, but it was worth it.

Touch_of_sky on the LA
[Last edited by touchofsky - Aug 19, 2018 2:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Stan
Florida Panhandle (Defuniak Sp (Zone 8b)
Photo Contest Winner 2019 Region: Gulf Coast Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Daylilies Lilies
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GaNinFl
Aug 19, 2018 8:10 AM CST
Wonderful seedling beds Valerie.

Char, a handsome garden companion.
Stan
(Georgia Native in Florida)
http://garden.org/blogs/view/G...
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Aug 19, 2018 9:08 AM CST
Char, I do confess that the PVC pipe marking idea came from Spunky1. It really works well. (Love Cy, what a sweetie!!!)
The thread "Seedling Progress" in Daylilies forum

Valerie, Very nice seedling beds!!! Wow, I'd be in trouble if I had that much land. Lovey dubby *Blush*
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
Daylilies Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Region: Vermont
Dog Lover Hybridizer Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Photography Keeper of Poultry Organic Gardener
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Char
Aug 19, 2018 5:51 PM CST

Moderator

Fred has started several threads in the forum explaining how he does his sdlg beds over the years. So many good ideas in them!

Moving the smaller little ones to their own area sounds like a good idea. Then they won't have the sun blocked by bigger sdlgs. I think it's great that you are working with them and it's a bummer that getting plants up to Canada is difficult. State of VT Ag dept. doesn't charge me for phyto's, if I can help you get plants let me know.
Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Cat Lover Butterflies Region: Tennessee Seed Starter
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shive1
Aug 19, 2018 7:05 PM CST
I enjoyed seeing these seedlings beds so far. My seedling beds are much smaller than the ones posted.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
Aug 20, 2018 7:09 AM CST
Char said:Fred has started several threads in the forum explaining how he does his sdlg beds over the years. So many good ideas in them!

Moving the smaller little ones to their own area sounds like a good idea. Then they won't have the sun blocked by bigger sdlgs. I think it's great that you are working with them and it's a bummer that getting plants up to Canada is difficult. State of VT Ag dept. doesn't charge me for phyto's, if I can help you get plants let me know.


Thank you for that offer, Char. I appreciate it very much.

I did group all of the seedlings with smaller parents together, but did not have enough to fill one of the beds, so there are a couple of rows in that bed with larger plants. Next spring I will have a better idea which ones may be small plants. Of course, a few may not make it through the winter, so changes will be made because of that, as well.
Touch_of_sky on the LA

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