Seeds, freezes, and various turns of circumstance

Well it has been a few days since I made an entry and now I actually have something to say. I was looking everywhere for some pine seedlings that I could afford when it occurred to me that I had an entire pine tree laying in the front yard. Why shouldn’t I get up and grow some of my own? So I went out and gathered the cones: beat the seeds out of them [surprisingly easier than I would have thought]: then over the last few days I have been shaking them in a can with some gravel to beat the winds off them: and FINALLY yesterday [during all the wind of this front moving in] used the wind to “winnow” the garbage out of them. Got about a cup and a half of scarified seeds available now to grow my own seedlings. Hadn’t really planned on adding in another year before starting any work but it had to be done. The other thing I hadn’t counted on was having all those to work with; I was only looking for a dozen or so seedlings to start with. Now, if all goes well, I should have a few hundred to chose from. I gathered my Confederate Rose Hibiscus [Hibiscus mutabilis], Catalpa [Catalpa bignonioides], and Carolina Cherry Laurel [Prunus caroliniana] seeds too. Now all I want is to gather some Chinaberry [Melia azedarach] seed and prepare them. It will take time to develop anything from these endeavors but I will enjoy the journey. I have also decided that the entire side of our front yard will need to be reworked and prepared as a seed bed. Where else would I have room for all this stuff to sprout and grow? I am thinking that I should lay out the individual “runs” no more than 18 inches wide with a line of blocks between each and to edge it with. In this manner I will be able to “root prune” the seedlings en masse by removing the edging blocks [taking me down to hard pan level] and utilizing a sweeping action of a good sharp knife underneath. It should be easy to use the knife from both sides and “tip” the tap roots then replace the edging blocks allowing them to continue their growth. I don’t want the soil media level to be any deeper than 6 inches. In this manner it should be easy to prevent them from growing out of control and easy enough to “tame” the root depth as they develop. The blocks will also serve as a “runway” for the mower to “prune” them all at one sweep. Yes I will have to keep the blades sharp but I will be able to handle that much. If all else fails I will take a band saw blade, cut it, and use it to cut under the plants severing the roots’ tips. Now my only problem is where things will go from there.
Last night we received our first hard freeze, down to 27 degrees F., after a day in the high sixties. It looks like I didn’t receive any damage to my potted plants or seedlings. We will bet another one tonight. I brought in my Chinzan Azalea to protect its bud, which is almost opened, and my strawberry plants. The only other thing I brought in was a pot of fig cuttings that my father rooted this year; they are the first things he ever rooted and he is so proud of them. Not bad for a man of eighty to learn new things. I am hoping to teach him to cross pollinate this coming year—think I’ll start him out on daylilies because of the “big” (comparatively) parts. Today has gone well for all concerned even though it is still cold to me. Tonight will be the worst of it I think; then back to the normal temps for this area’s time of the year.  See you next time.


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