Diggin in the dirt!

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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Anyone else got the 'it's January, all the seed catalogs are coming, and the ground's frozen' blues? I've promised myself this year that I'm not going to bite off more than I can chew in my garden planning! I always get way too much seed, and then feel guilty when it doesn't get planted, or I've planted too much and can't take care of it. Spring is coming - isn't it?

On a totally different subject, does anyone out there do bonsai? I love it - what a great meditation!

PS - I can't seem to get out of this forum!!!
 
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Joined Jan 9, 2002
Yes I know that feeling! I've got seeds coming, and here in Texas, the ground is pretty much workable all year, so in a couple of weeks I'll be starting- though I won't plant quite yet!!

This year I'll plant pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, sweet corn, spinach, onions, carrots, and lettuce. That will be about as much as I can handle this year! I may also buy some potted herbs to care for (and use!) but I'm not ready to try growing those from seed. Yet. :)

Don't feel too bad if you get too much seed- you can usually save what's left over for next year, depending on how well the seeds keep.

Bonsai are beautiful. I haven't tried growing any before, but I've always admired them. My favorite are the ones that look like teeny-weeny orange trees!!
 
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Joined Feb 20, 2002
i have a green house and have been planting herbs since the first of jan have some mesclin mix planted in a bed in the gh that is up 2 inches already
 
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
roon and marmalady,

Did you know you can trade those extra seeds for what others out there may have?

You may be interested... lots of times you can find things that you can no longer find in catalogs. Then, instead of your seeds losing their viability over time, you can find something to try for a lot less money than buying them at the store (just postage, usually just $0.45) for up to 20 varieties on average.

GardenWeb Seed Exchange
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks, Cchiu - good info to have! I do hate throwing away all those old seeds; some seed companies have started smaller packaging, or assortment packages for things like tomatoes and squash, with maybe 5 seeds of 6-7 varieties. I like those!
 
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Joined Dec 6, 2001
Marmalady, my shopping mall has a kiosk setup that sells beautiful bonsai trees. I browsed seriously at Xmas time but then my hubby reminded me about all the houseplants I kill. I can grow anything outside, but houseplants dont like me.

The man selling them tells me they are very easy to care for and that he would give me specific directions with each tree. He had some truly gorgeous baby red maples. I have a birthday coming up...be honest now, are these things really easy to care for?

The prices ranged from $25 to $45 I saw on one or 2. I am accustomed to buying houseplants that I consider disposable :) If you only spend $2-5, throwing them out in 2months doesnt hurt.
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Hi, Calico,

The basic thing to remember about bonsai is that they are trees - not houseplants. They need to live outside, not in our dry, musty, not enough light houses. Even growing them under lights and adjusting for moisture conditions just doesn't do them justice.

The red maples are beautiful, I know; they're one of my favorites. I have all my bonsai on a stand outside, where they get some sun and are sheltered from heavy winds/rains. Some of my smaller ones have to be watered twice a day.

Bonsai is a pretty serious hobby, requiring lots of time and observation and effort. I absolutely don't want to turn you off to maybe discovering what could be a great hobby for you; just be sure to go into it with your eyes open.

There are a few tropical and semi-tropical bonsai that do okay in the house; there's a sort of mini scheffelara that looks good inside, and miniature crepe myrtles if they get lots of sun and water.

I would never buy from one of those kiosks; they're mass produced, greenhouse grown plants that will go all shocky on you when you get them home, just like the grocery store houseplants!

There's a bonsai nursery in NC that I ordered some stock from; let me post this to you, and I'll do a search for you. Also, if you're truly interested, there are many wonderful books on bonsai; check your library, as some are expensive, and try to find ones written by Japanese authors, not Chinese.

Hope I haven't overwhelmed you; I just get so mad at those guys in the mall, because I know most of their plants will be dead soon! I'll try and get back this afternoon with the name and address of the nursery I used.
 
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Joined Dec 6, 2001
Marmalady, thank you so much for the info! It saddens me to think that those pretty trees at the mall wont live long in customers homes but he sells them anyhow. Ah well, the power of the almighty dollar.

I have a huge front porch on my house and it gets great morning/afternoon sun. What you mentioned about a plant stand holding them outside sounds perfect. I will definitely be doing some research on this. I only work 17hrs a week as a bank teller, so I have some time for another hobby.

Am I right in that you trim the roots of bonsai to keep the trees small, not so much the trees themselves? Nevermind, I will read at the website :) Thanks for you help and honesty.
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Hi, Calico,

I hope I didn't scare you off if bonsai is something you really want to explore. I just know the heartache I've had myself, when I bought a beautiful plant and watched it die because of my own inexperience. I've been doing bonsai for about 10 years, and am still learning and making mistakes! I went to a seminar here when I was first starting out, and that gave me a lot of grounding and foundation. And my martial art instructor's wife is Japanese, and she did bonsai also, and really taught me a lot.

It's such a wonderful meditation, and a lot like cooking! You know, when you're first starting to cook, everything is so 'rigid', and you do everything 'by the book'. My first bonsai looked 'rigid', because I was trying to make them into whatever my image of them was, rather than what they wanted to be. Then, with cooking, as your skills grow, you feel freer to experiment, and be more creative, and at the same time, 'allowing the dish to be what it will'. The same for the little trees; now they talk to me, and tell me what they want! (And no, I'm not in a nuthouse!!).

Bonsai is so soothing and relaxing; there have been times when I've been working on my plants for 5-6 hours, and hardly noticed the time going by. It just becomes you and the tree!

Good luck with it; ask away with any questions you may have. (We may be way off topic (and forum!) with this, so if you want to email me, feel free!
 
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