Saturday, March 29, 2014

Kitty's Litter

I got my name, Kitty, from my oldest grandchild to differentiate between his many grandmothers.

Since we planted so many seeds I decided to call my journal "Kitty's Litter."

This is my second attempt at blogging as my first page with journal and photos "just disappeared." as I was typing.  Lots of luck baby!

March 5, 2014
Seed sowing workshop - we met for our first workshop with Blondie Sprout and mamsprout, our leaders.

After receiving several instructions, we chose our seeds and got to work.  I chose:

  • Hyacinth Bean - Lablab purpurea
  • Four o'clock or Marvel of Peru - Miralibis jalapa
  • Torch Lilly or Red Hot Poker -  Kniphofia sp
  • Blue Anise Sage of Salvia 'Black & Blue' - Salvia guaranitica
March 8, 2014
Checked my seed pots and no sprouts.

March 10, 2014
First hyacinth bean sprouts appearing.  Appeared to be moist enough, so waited a couple of days and then bottom watered my trays using my second kitchen sink.  Second set of leaves appeared.  More sprouts - but I didn't use permanent marker on my other sticks and I have no idea what they are!  Will have to wait and see by process of elimination.

Bottom watering in kitchen sink.
Hyacinth bean in two top left spots.
Unknown in others.

"Unknown sprouts!"  Later identified as hopefully
Mirabilis jalapa - Four o'clocks, also called Marvel of Peru
We will determine for sure when the second set of leaves appear.

March 14, 2014
WV sprout to the rescue.  Hopefully identified unknown plant, suggested lighting.   Identification comes from a list of seeds brought back from seed share - but can't confirm until the second set or "true" leaves appear.

Plants had been in a window so we moved to the kitchen counter and put under a table lamp to keep them from getting too leggy.  Switched out the incandescent bulb to a compact fluorescent (CFL) natural daylight bulb.  WV sprout suggested that I elevate on books to get close enough to the light to grow straight.  Using the daylight bulb instead of the incandescent would keep the leaves from burning as the incandescent bulb was hotter.   I also added a large flat white tile behind them to provide some reflected light and left them on my kitchen counter.   Did some bottom watering on the others - by now we figured out that one of the seedling trays contained the four o'clock flower. Another one with spiky sprouts that we have not yet figured out.  The fourth tray has not yet sprouted. 

March 17, 2014
The "Tomcat" in Kitty's Litter did not like the plant placement - interfered with his ability to get his lemonade glass.  Moved all plants to laundry room which gave natural light along with the daylight bulb.  The hyacinth bean is growing like Jack in the Beanstalk!  I think it needs to be repotted.

Hyacinth bean plants are drying out fairy quickly, so I watered again before the move. 
Mamsprout urged waiting on the repotting until our next workshop which is coming up in a week.  She wants to make sure there is plenty of root development going on underneath the soil. 

March 27, 2014
2Second workshop.  Everyone brought their seed trays.  By now we have tentatively identified my spiky sprouts as the Torch Lilly or Red Hot Poker.  Still no sign of Blue Anise Sage.  Mamsprout and our guru CG looked at my plant trays and asked if they could check the roots.  Of course I said!  Go for it!

First we looked at the four o'clocks. They determined the roots were strong enough to withstand repotting.  They demonstrated to many of those present how to repot. First, they tipped one small seed container of the seed tray into a plastic tray.  They gently separated the plants.  Each plant was then placed into a slightly larger container - a 3" black plastic pot.  The new pots were half filled with the potting medium - still using the seedless soil mixture.  They poked a hole in the soil with a pencil and gently placed the little seedlings in the hole,  Soil was added to the soil line from the sowing tray showing on the stem, about where the dirt was before.  We made sure to get the roots deep.  Bottom watered again.  They will go home and back under the light. 
Mamsprout helping me separate the tender seedlings and getting
ready to pot up to the next larger size pot - a 3" one.


Next we looked at the hyacinth bean.  One of the sprouts had already developed a flower bud.  They, too, were gently separated into the repotting tray.  We then used a 4" round plastic pot for transplanting.  The pots we are transplanting into are clean, new pots - no chance of contaminating our babies with a fungus.  Again, the pot was filled half full with soil, a hole poked in the middle with the pencil, plant placed in circle, soil added to the mark on the root stem.   We took a long green, garden bamboo stick and cut it into thirds.  The bamboo poles were added, making a teepee shaped trellis which we tied at the top to hold together.  All plants carefully transported home.  I waited to water until I got back home so that the teepee would not collapse in the soft soil on the way home Bottom watered again when I got home.  Carefully carried to the corner windows in the laundry room where the teepee is braced against the window frame.

Horsey Sprout ties off the top of the bamboo stakes making a teepee trellis

March 28, 2014

Four o'clocks
The hyacinth bean vines that are transplanted seem to be doing well.  Some of the four o'clocks are doing well and some are droopy.  All of the four o'clocks are under the lamp.  The torch Lily has been left alone as they look like grass seedlings and I am afraid to touch.  Just watching for now.

Happy Hyacinth Bean!

My unknown, hopefully the Torch Lilly

Next step is a trip to Green's Feed & Seed to get more 3" seed trays and work on the rest of my four o'clocks.  WV sprout wants some of those and I want some of her Siberian Iris - so an exchange is already in the making.  I also have two more hyacinth beans to repot.  

I am going to read more about the Torch Lilly to see what my next step is after all my children who are home for the weekend go home!

April 3, 2014

Some of the transplanted four c'locks are drooping and another dying. Called Mamsprout. She reassured me that the percentage is low of survival rate of seed sprouts. I am losing some of my litter, and I am so worried..

April 5, 2014 

Another four o'clock "bit the dust." On a happier note the, two transplanted hyacinth beans are doing well. they have reached the top of their teepees and started back down. What we thought was a bud was another leaf set. The other two Hyacinth bean plants are definitely ready to transplant. The Torch Lilly seedlings are longer but are not making my heart proud.

April 8, 2014

Watered plants from the bottom in second kitchen sink with a tiny bit of fertilizer added to water. Removed when felt wet to the top, and drained on newspaper. My poor four o'clocks are down to two healthy survivors, and two who lost there growth. I keep hoping for a miracle.

April 10, 2014

My transplanting and yet to be transplanted hyacinth beans are drying out at a faster rate than other seedlings. Was real brave and stuck finger down in soil to make sure not wet in bottom

April 15, 2014

WV sprout supervised my translating of my other four o'clocks. Nest time (Have I lost my mind?) I would not put so many seeds in one pot. When they survive and grow, the seedlings wrap around each other or are hard to separate for transplanting. Repotted the other two hyacinth bean seedlings. This time we did one center stick, instead of teepees. I will compare at a later date. Also planted some quince twigs with root tone as an experiment and also because I liked the color of the flower.

Before transplanting - twining
and vining all around

Freshly transplanted and happy in individual pots.

New hyacinth bean homes and my
quince cuttings on the left

April 16, 2014

All plants seem to have survived the transplanting. The original transplanted hyacinth beams are dry again. Will bottom water today. The original transplants and the yesterday transplanted hyacinth beans are no longer under artificial light, but in the laundry room window that receives the afternoon sun.

June 21, 2014

From WV Sprout:  I know Kitty Sprout is going to update soon.  Thought I would add a photo of my hyacinth bean here!  I have it tied to a string beside an unused basketball pole.  Some hot weather this week has really helped.  Small, but hanging in there!

Hopefully the next time I photograph it will be halfway up the basketball pole.

July 31 and my hyacinth bean is to the top of the basketball pole and over.
Still very sparse leaves which is unusual, but it is trying hard to play catch up.

September 1 - WV Sprout's hyacinth is in full bloom
and lovely on the back side of the basket ball hoop.
 September 1 - WV Sprout's vine showing
lovely purple flowers and seed pods.
July 23, 2014

My hyacinth beans have survived the June transplanting to the outside!

I was worried about the hyacinth beans safety as all my four o'clocks but one disappeared on the transplanting to the flower bed. One day the four o'clocks( that had survived the original inside transplanting) are safely in the ground, and the next day they are gone from the bed--no sign of the plants. I put them in a planter at end of driveway that had partial afternoon sun, partial morning shade. Deer, rabbits,  raccoons aliens, too much sun causing shriveling, a disease? The plants all had a "kink or thin place in their stems. Just for fun and as a control, I planted one in my front porch  pot among the flower and other plants. This one plant seems to be thriving. It has a long vine, but no flowers yet.

My hyacinth beans are thriving--2 from the inside starting and one given to me by WV sprout. One is planted in the partial afternoon sun, partial morning sun bed, one is the "pansy bed" which gets full afternoon sun, and one in a bed where the soil is not good packed clay. Will need to start enriching that bed next year. All 3 plants are very leggy, but a few flowers in the partial sun/shade bed--will I get seeds to share?

Poppies have been fun to follow. Inside planting led to not a sprout. Although several other Sprouts got emerging seeds, I did not get one. At WV Sprout's directions, I combined the rest of my seeds, and another packet of seeds that WV Sprout purchased for all the Sprouts, with sand and planted outside. I most not have used enough sand as my seedlings, after a long wait, came up thick, and at the moment, lush. I watered very other day as we had some hot days in June without a lot of rain. I ddi not thin as directions stated --afraid to disturb the fragile roots. Going with nature's idea of survival of the fittest. Cannot wait to see if I have flowers. Another sprout has given me seeds over the years that never seem to grow--she has beautiful poppies in full sun.

I took seeds from my oleander to share in our first workshop. WV Sprout had done some research. The seed pods and seeds are poisonous, so only a few Sprouts took to plant. I planted a lot of seeds in the large pots that the plants were in figuring that the plant liked the soil, but I only got one plant. I have transplanted the one plant to its own pot, and it is surviving.

Tomatoes. I received three WV Heirloom plants from a Sprout who was not going to be able to tend her plants this year, and two Brandywine Pink plants from WV Sprout. I planted all the tomatoes in a small area off my front porch where I planted last years. Last years three plants provided us with tomatoes for all of August. I have suckered the plants. They are tall and bushy. So, here's hoping.

Eggplant. A friend offered me an eggplant seedling. After, I said yes, the "friend" dropped off 3 eggplants. Now my husband says he hates eggplant. With 3 plants, thought I would have eggplants coming out my ears, but so far only one  tiny, tiny, eggplant on vines--lots of flowers. Eggplant on the grill in my future.

An aside, several years ago as a project, the KGC did a propagation project of hard wood cuttings.  One of the species propagated were viburnum cuttings. We prepared, put them in sand, then in Styrofoam fish containers and stored in a cool but not freezing place over the winter. In the spring, I had nothing but sticks. My husband laughed and laughed, as I usually have a green thumb. As a joke, I stuck two twigs in ground behind the garage, and forgot about them. Lo, and behold, they grew and sprouted leaves. Since they were growing, another gardener asked if I would winter over her three plants as she was moving. Some of the plants were propagated to plant in a meadow at Spring Hill Cemetery. Two of her three plants survived the winter, and those two plants were eventually moved to the cemetery. I transplanted one of mine when we moved. Below is a picture of the transplanted one. It survived the terrible winter we had, and actually flowered this year! The other plant is still alive at our old house and I will try and get a picture of it.

August 1, 2014
My Poppies have bloomed!!!! They are red and white. I know I have a mixture of Shirley and Opium.  I had my doubts as to whether they would survive so I mixed the both with sand and thought I separated but as the poppies came up there was no division of flowers showing. How do you tell the difference I might have to get MAM Sprout to make a house call.

My tomatoes are turning red. Husband had a WV 63 for dinner last night. He said best of season, even beats Farmer's Market.


Brandywine Pink are a new variety for this year. WV Sprout gave me two plants. They seem to be bushier and taller than the WV 63 variety. They are beginning to mature also.

This little tomato was trying to hide. First of season for the Brandywine.

The oleander transplant is struggling, but still survived my month long vacation. House sitter did water during the drought.

The hibiscus coccineus  is very slow in its growth. It may turn out to be a two or three year project.

Lack of water or too much rain?

The four O'clock survived my month long vacation, thank you house sitter. It is still just a stem though. no flowers.

September 2, 2014

Where to start? Planting is fun, watching plants grow is more fun, and harvesting is just plain exciting. My WV 63 tomatoes have been a success story. Thank you, fellow sprout for starting my seeds. I planted 3 plants of the WV 63, and they all lived and produced. I also planted two "perhaps Brandywine," that lived and produced. We liked the taste of the Heirloom WV 63 better than the Brandywine. The Brandywine were not as juicy as the WV 63. We had more than we could eat last week, but there are many ways to fix tomatoes besides slicing. After the disappearance of my seeds by someone who removed from the refrigerator last year, I was excited to save my seeds this year. I very carefully picked the best looking WV 63, scooped out the pulp, and placed in jar with water. Nothing on Day 2. Third day, I scooped off floaters and scum, plus added a little water. Day four watched. Day 5, a few floaters. Day 6--where is my jar? Not again, could I be thwarted?

Late August photos of my tomatoes!
The WV 63 have been the best.
Hyacinth Bean
 I am so excited. The very few flowers have changed into very attractive purple pods. I have babied and coaxed to have the few flowers I have managed. The deer ate one plant down repeatedly. One must not have had enough sun, and the other leaves are a different color--placed in unenriched soil. However the latter two have the same color pods. I looked at a friend's plant last week and she has very healthy pods, and she offered to share. 

I have had some look with the Meniece poppies. I had flowers--red, white, pink, and a white with pink tint.  Trying to collect the seeds has been a lesson in patience for me.

These are right outside my front door.
I have loved watching them. Seed pods
are forming.

Four o'clocks
I had only one plant survive the transplanting from 12 original seedlings from seeds . Not a good success rate. This poor plant continues to grow long but no sign of a flower. Wrong sun? Too much water?


  1. Kitty Sprout has a nice update today - thanks for letting us know how everything is going. Glad all are doing well. Congrats on growing and posting!

  2. Kitty Sprout - I've posted a photo of my hyacinth bean on your page - it's starting to take off. Hope you will post some tomato plant photos on my page soon!

  3. Kitty Sprout has lots of great updates today! Many new plants to report on and hopefully some seeds to send to seed share!

  4. Check out my updates with Pictures. Harvested first tomatoes.

  5. Kitty Sprout has posted a September 2 update on all of her plants!