March 21: It has been a little over 20 days since I last checked in with you about the lisanthus that is growing in our home office-turned grow room. This is my first season growing them from seed, so I'm keeping track of my notes here on the blog for future reference. If you've been nervous about growing them, don't be! But do start early. I started mid January. Next year I'll try late December or even earlier. Lisianthus are notoriously slow growers.
The office is one of four spaces we're using for plant starting right now. Pretty soon we'll also fill every windowsill and sunny spot we can find in the house. Other spaces include: a small heated glasshouse at a high school, our fieldstone cellar (good for dahlia storage and cold loving annuals like sweet peas and anemones), and my son's sunny bedroom which he is leasing to me for dahlia starting. (He's 7 years old, but a good negotiator!)
The lisianthus are doing great. I have divided them and bumped them up into 72 cell-trays. They were started several seeds per cell in 50-cell trays, because I was nervous about disturbing them and thought I'd have poor germination. That couldn't be farther from what happened. Almost every single one of the seeds germinated. It was simple to separate them this month and give them each a little individual space. What I've noticed this month, when I look back at the end of February photos, is that they are growing faster now. The seedlings are substantially bigger-- though tiny still! The photo above shows the little plant babies in 72-cell trays.
The lisanthus plugs I ordered are "210" size. Their ship date from Gro-n-Sell via Farmer Bailey Plugs is April 30. Now that I am confident in my ability to start the seeds and care for the seedlings, I next look forward to comparing my plants to the seedlings I'm buying in. I'm not certain, but I think my seedlings will be larger and bloom earlier than the plugs I receive.
Shipping live plants to our cold climate farm is difficult. Everything has to come in later, so that it is not damaged by the cold. I have to really watch the front porch for the mum cuttings and early dahlia deliveries. Learning how to grow these more challenging plants (lisianthus) on my own will not only save money, but also help us keep the season moving along on schedule.
If we want to order something that would come by freight, like a hoop house kit or a lot of plugs or bulbs, we have to either receive it before March 18 or after May 19. The road our farm is on is "posted" between those dates--at the same time we need to plant. This means that while the spring thaw is happening, no trucks (tractor-trailers) over a certain size are permitted to use the road. If we MUST receive something by freight between those dates we have to have it delivered elsewhere and then moved by a smaller truck to our place. That can be costly.
Thanks for following along. I'll share more notes from my lisanthus journal as the season progresses. Please don't hesitate to ask questions. The first step for newbie growers is getting the germination right-- they like certain temperatures and ventilation. If you're new to my blog be sure to read the first (January) post here. The February post is here.