…and second of the year. My, how I’ve neglected this blog.
Today was relatively warm and sunny, so I took the opportunity to root-prune some of the bonsai. March is generally a good month for the job, at least for deciduous species, because the trees are still dormant and are much less traumatised by the experience than if they were in growth.
This year the ash trees (Fraxinus spp.; never got around to trying to determine the exact species) were troublesome. For whatver reason they were both really potbound, with long roots wrapping all around the pots, plus a nearly solid mass of fibrous roots. Ideally one wants to encourage a fibrous root system in bonsai, but these were really overcrowded. In one case it was somewhat understandable because the pot was too small for how large I let the tree get. I have trouble finding bonsai pots that I like that I don’t have to remortgage my house to afford, but I did manage to find one several months ago, so it’s in a bigger pot now.
I’m wondering if I overfertilised or underwatered them last year. Or maybe I did a half-assed job with last year’s root pruning. Or maybe it’s just one of those things, I dunno.
I didn’t manage to do all I wanted before the light faded, because I’ve got a couple of wild cherry saplings that I’m thinking of turning into bonsai. I can’t remember which is a wild black cherry (Prunus serotina), and which is a chokecherry (Prunus virginiana). I ID’d them last year but never got around to marking them so I could tell the difference without leaves. I’m not sure how good a bonsai they’ll make. They’re naturally small trees that prune well, so in that sense it should be easy – but they have extremely vigorous root systems and in fact at two or three years old (last year) and in one-gallon pots, they were already suckering. Possible candidates for a grove-type massed planting, which I’ve never tried. We’ll see, but that’s a job for another day.
Also began indoor vegetable seed starting early this month. This year is going to be quite an…experience…in the vegetable garden, because not only am I trying some new stuff, they’re forecasting an even drier-than-usual summer this year. Yay. I went to Florida in February and bought a few things off the seed rack, plus I got a couple things at Mississauga Seedy Saturday.
I’m trying a blue sweetcorn (and already wondering how to keep the squirrels off them), romanesco (a brassica that’s sort of like a cross between broccoli and cauliflower and looks like a green fractal conch shell), and artichokes (which may well turn out not to be hardy around here, but here goes). And this is all in addition to the usual carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cabbages, radishes, lettuce, and peas. Sucker for punishment, me. If not for succession planting and container gardening I’d need to rent space from the neighbours.
Anyway, the seeds I’ve started so far are the artichokes, some romanesco and some cabbage. I don’t usually start tomatoes until the beginning of April and cucumbers in mid-April, and I’ll start the corn at the end of April (for planting out in early June). The lettuce can be sown whenever and the radishes are already sown. I need to buy onion sets and peas. Carrots…probably end of April. Garlic got planted back in October. (Couldn’t be bothered to put in the Latin names for all those, as I usually do. This post is already too long. Deal.)
Speaking of seeds, there’s been one disappointment. My Master Gardener group did a children’s garden at a local home show event in mid-February and for one of the activities I removed about seventy plantlets (I hate calling them pups) from my giant spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) planter to root up. To my surprise I also found seed pods, so I sowed a few seeds. They sprouted, but unfortunately none of the seedlings produced chlorophyll and stayed white. No pigmentation, no food; no food, seedlings die. Sigh. The wonders of genetics.
And finally, the calla lilies (Zantedeschia ‘Schwartzwalder’) and dahlia (Dahlia ‘Karma Chocolate’) that were overwintering in the basement have sprouted, so they came up into the light. The tulips outside began sprouting early this month – this past winter was rather odd, being generally mild with occasional harsh spells. This spring has also been up and down so far.
Hurrah for pointless rambling posts.