seedstarting_tray.jpgThis is the next installment in the story of my experiment with starting some native and other perennial seeds outdoors this spring. The seeds went out in early February, and you can see more about that here:
When Seed Starting is Getting Too Easy – Starting Natives and Perennials From Seed

Next, I reported about six weeks later on what was up and what was not. More on that here:
When Seed Starting is Getting Too Easy – Part 2 (Awww….looking back at the photos for that post I see how tiny these little guys were!)About a month after that post, I had to pot up the individual seedlings that made it. Yes, I say “made it.” One of the fun things about this stratification project was putting the seeds out in February and then being able to mostly forget about them. I would check on them when I thought of it – just to see who was up and who wasn’t. I’d watered well enough at the beginning (from the BOTTOM of the pots, of course!) that they didn’t need water for almost two months. But, then things warmed up a bit and the sun started hitting my little plastic salad mix “greenhouses.” The Gentian parryi dried out and died because of my inattention. So, I increased ventilation by removing and setting the lids on askew. I also beefed up my schedule of checking in on the seedlings.

By potting up time, I was dealing with over twenty Penstemon palmeri, nearly as many Echinacea tennesseensis, about a dozen Zinnia grandiflora, and three Oenothera caespitosa. (These were looking a bit sad…like they’d maybe even had frost damage.) I still only had one Penstemon whippleanus seedling and one Thelesperma filifolium seedling, so I just left those little guys in their original pots. There still was no sign of the Frasera speciosa….sigh.

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A crowd of Penstemon palmeri seedlings

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Echinacea, Zinnia, and Oenothera seedlings

Potting up was a little tricky because I had to gently separate the seedlings. This wasn’t so difficult with the Oenothera, but it was quite a chore with the Penstemon and the Echinacea.

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Teasing apart Penstemon seedlings

And here they all are, each in their own little pots! (I used the same soil mixture described in Part 1.) Okay, they look a little sad, but they had had a rather rough day.
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It’s been almost a month since the potting up day, and I’ve since lost all of the Oenothera caespitosa. But only one or two of the other seedlings have given up on me. I’ve been checking them nearly every day now. In fact, we had hail (hail!) at 5:45 a.m. this morning and I ran out in my pajamas to put their plastic tray covers on. Now I’ll nurture them along until they seem big and strong enough to go into the ground.

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