Monday, February 16, 2015
A few months ago, we converted the bottom floor of our barn into a little workshop. Building this planter in this warm and cozy space (and away from two kids with major cabin fever) was just what I needed to keep myself sane while a blizzard raged outside.
If you'd like to learn more, here's a great video on how to build one of these vertical succulent planters.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
One final tip - I like to soak the seeds for 24 hours and then pre-sprout them within a damp paper towel sealed within a plastic bag. Sow the seeds in individual pots when the seed coats start to open.
Monday, February 9, 2015
In any case, since my indoor seed-starting shelves will surely be packed to the gills again this spring, I decided to try my hand at winter sowing. I'm not surprised that it's taken me this long to give winter sowing a try. I have a horrible tendency to want to start my plants in a controlled indoor environment and as early as possible. Truth be told, many of my flower seedlings last year were somewhat root-bound by the time I had the chance to set them out in the garden. This year, I'm determined to take a more laid back approach (short of direct seeding them in the garden).
I don't have plastic milk jugs lying around to create the mini greenhouses associated with winter sowing, so instead, I'm putting my pots into a large clear plastic bin. I plan to drill plenty of hole into the lid and sides to prevent the inside from overheating. For now, I've placed the bin on our covered porch. If and when the 3 feet of snow we currently have melts, I'll move the bin to a sunnier part of the yard. Hopefully, I won't be disappointed with the results.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
After leaving the hypertufa for 24 - 48 hours to set, the planters were ready to be unmolded. (Using cooking spray helps.) Now they'll be covered in plastic and left to cure for at least a month. The curing process helps to strengthen the hypertufa - allowing you to leave it outdoors during the winter while other materials may split or crack. Once cured and completely dried, the hypertufa should lighten in color.
I can't wait to plant these up with all sorts of alpines and succulents this upcoming summer. Traditional rock garden plants will thrive in these shallow planters. If you're interested in learning more about how to make hypertufa, here are a couple of great instructional videos.