Monday, March 21, 2011

Need More Daylily Beds

Well here we go, tearing up new ground in front of the house. This spot that the tractor is discing up is 100 ft wide and 200 ft long. I can tell you it is a long walk from the porch to the end of this new garden spot. I have a PTO Tiller for the tractor and soon we will start to make the beds more defined, so you will just have to watch our blog over the next 6 wks.

Why the next 6 wks, because we have begun to plant seeds from last summer. We have about 3600 germinating now and about 1000 more seeds to go. These that are germinating now are all diploid. The next 1000 seeds are about half tet. Next summer about June 1st i think i will be calling in sick for a week so i can watch all these babies bloom for the first time. Blue eyes and patterned eyes gallore. So while these 4800 seeds germinate and start growing tall we will be lining out our selected seedlings that we started digging today. I would say there are over 200 dip seedlings that we have been saving for 3 years. Now we get to grow them out and finally, finally we can begin to introduce our plants to the world. Now if we could get someone to buy them when released our dream would be comming true. What a day this has been. Also one more thing. This morning we had our first Purple Martin of the year stop at the bird house. I guess Spring has sprung. Have a Great Day. Jim Elliott

Friday, March 18, 2011

Using Plug Trays

Good Morning, there has been talk of planting seed on the Daylily Robin lately so i thought i would show and tell what we do here at Wooster Garden.Long time ago i was at the Lily Farm of Jack Carpenters, Center, Tx. and was asking Jack what he did about planting seeds. We had been planting seeds in rows in wood framed boxes and then when we had time we would dig them up and bare root them into the garden rows. These seedlings would sit for 2 weeks trying to get reestablished. Stalled out was more like it. When we started using the Plug Trays we found out how much easier it was to plant and plants did not have Transfer Shock. They hit the ground running when planted. Somewhere between 6 to 8 weeks you can move the plugs to the ground, it depends on how well you treated your seedlings. We will fertilize every 2 weeks with a weak solution of water soluable fertilizer. Miracle Grow would be fine.

We use a plug mix made by Sunshine Peat Moss company, it has been sifted so there are no big particules of compost in it to hinder the planting of seeds. It also has other additives added to help retain water and make seeds develope faster. I buy mine from a local commercial greenhouse here in Conway, Arkansas.

My plug trays have 128 holes per tray. Holes are 1x1 inch sq. and 2 inches deep. The tray itself is 21 x 11 inches. I use the end of a sharpened pencil to punch holes for the seeds to go into the mix. One seed per hole. You can plant 1000 seedlings per day without a big effort. I till my seedling bed and have it ready for the plugs the day before planting. After i plant plugs it is time to add the Treflan granular herbicide (you can use Preen) and water it in imediately to stop weed and grass seed from germinating. If you wait even 24 hours to water in you are too late, the weed seeds have already germinated. Then as soon as possible i start to mulch my seedlings, this helps keep moisture in and keeps ground cooler in the summer. You can take my method and use some or all of it to what fits in with your garden, maybe you can add to this method and make it better. So here goes.

I start with 2 clean empty 5 gallon buckets, a bottle of fungicide(ortho daconil), plug trays, plug mix and water. Take 1 bucket and fill half way with clean water then add 2 tablespoons of fungicide. Take the second bucket and half fill with dry plug mix. Take water bucket and pour half gallon into dry plug mix, then take your hands and mix the two together, keep adding water and mixing till you can take a handfull of mix and squeeze water from it, the wetter the better as the xcess water will come out of the plug tray bottom holes. you must get your mix wet before planting because if you just spray the dry mix in the trays the water will just roll off.

Put tray on a table and take a double handfull of mix and work into holes of tray. After the holes seem they take any more mix then take your fingers and press mix to the bottom of plug tray holes. These is very important, if you dont use this step the plugs will be only half full and your seedlings will not have a good root system and will air dry in the bottom of tray. After using your fingers and pushing the mix to the bottom, then take another double handful and fill holes by moving mix over the top again. Keep adding mix untill all hole are full, then skimm off excess and tray is ready to plant. I use the vinyl blinds and split in half to make the cross markers.

Only use pencil when marking tags for outside, because it says permanent marker it will fade out before seedlings are ready to plant and those markers dont do well when tags are damp. I stack my trays for about 6 days and check often to see when they germinate. Once they begin to germinate unstack them and lightly water each day. Dont forget to fertilize and use the fungicide again at about 2 weeks to water seedlings. Why have i used a fungicide? To stop damping off. Without a fungicide they look fine one day and the next day they are laying over like a weed eater cut them at ground level. Fungus will kill your seedlings so please do this anytime you plant seeds in containers. I stack my trays in the hot water room and then move to part shade with morning sun and after they are 3 weeks old move to full sun, this will keep them from getting sunburned. When you can pull seedlings from trays and not loose any peat mix you have a good root ball and are ready to plant. Dont forget to water everyday as there isnt much area there to retain water with roots and all and the sun will dry them out. I hope this helps in planting your seeds. If you need help you can email me at

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saving Pollen For The Future

Since it is about that time of year when the excitement starts to build with anticipation of the comming bloom season. Those of us that hybridize really are looking forward to the new seedling bloom so that we can start using pollen from seedlings that have a color break or eye pattern that may take us to another level in our breeding program. In my garden i will follow the seedlings and let them lead me down a path of colors not yet seen before. Look at the Kalidescope eye patterns Jack Carpenter has developed by using the pollen off his Texas Kalidescope. This eye pattern was not seen before and Jack applied Tx Kal. pollen to all his pod parents and now after several years of using these patterned eyes in his breeding program it has really set the Lily Farm apart from all others.

So here comes the bloom season and you have this beautiful seedling with 2 blooms open that first day but nothing else is blooming, you have lost those 2 seed pods because you werent prepared. What if it comes an early morning rain shower just at daylight and the blooms have started to open and guess what, now your fresh pollen is wet from the rain. Believe me if you have pollen on a rainey cloudy day you will set lots of seed from the cooler temps that day, but sorry you dont have any pollen in the frig. I am going to save your britches on saving pollen so look and learn, if you get confused you can email me.

Pollen must always be DRY and kept Dry for it to do you any good. Moisture will kill pollen!! I dont save the anthers, that is those thingies that the pollen is on, at the end of those long thingies called stamens.. You will need tweezers, cotton balls cut in half and some kind of closable tube to keep the pollen in. I used to use Blood Vials from a doctors office, he would give them to me when they went out of date. Check with your pharmacy about these. I use the plastic kind of vial they use in biology class and have a snap on lid.

When pollen is fluffy or when anthers are open, you may use the tweezers and break off a pollen anther and rub the pollen onto your cotton in your tube. If pollen is good and fluffy that day i will put 2 anthers of pollen onto the cotton in the vial, close the lid and label the vial with the name of plant i took the pollen from. In the picture here i was using Super Fancy Face as an example. Put the vial in your pocket or somewhere in the shade. If you allow it to sit in direct sunlight the heat inside the vial will kill your pollen also. Like being in a car with the windows rolled up, get the picture. When i finish collecting pollen for the day i put all vials into a ziploc freezer bag, close bag and leave in freezer till i am ready to use.

When taking pollen from freezer allow it to warmup at least 10 minutes before opening vial of frozen pollen. If you open before pollen is thawed it will draw in moisture or condensation. Have you ever took a cold can of soda outside on a hot day, it sweats dont it. Remember Moisture Kills Pollen. if you never open the vial that morning then it can go back into the freezer. If you use the pollen even just once, never put back into freezer, it is contaminated. Put it in the frig and use again till you use it up or 5 days have passed. After being in the frig for 5 days i will discard the vial and start again the next day with another vial. I have used pollen that was several years old out of the freezer and had good results. With one of these small plastic vials i use i can pollenate about 40 flowers before pollen is used up. When you touch the tip of the Pistil to the cotton in your vial that flower is pollenated if you can see pollen on the cotton. You dont have to see pollen on the pistil to pollenate that flower.

Pollen is microscopic and when you use fresh pollen and hit that pistil you have wasted pollen. It only takes one grain of pollen to make one seed and if you have used 2000 grains of pollen to get 10 seeds did you waste your pollen?Yes you did!!! Also throw away the pollen anther after you have captured your pollen on the cotton, anthers have moisture so dont keep it in your vial. Rebloom is an excellent time to collect your pollen for the next years hybridizing. One more reason to freeze pollen is you can start hybridizing as soon as the flower starts to open at daylight, 3 hours before the fresh pollen is ready to use. Its cooler on you at that time of morning also. Good luck with your seedlings. Jim Elliott

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog Email

If you will go to the right hand side of blog page. You will see as you scroll down the page
ABOUT ME, go further down to where it says Veiw My Complete Profile and click on this. On the left side of new page click where it says Email and it will post you an email with bloggers address then you can email me or any other blogger.
Also on any blog page if you click on a picture it will enlarge that picture for you. Use your Back Button to go back to Blog. Have a Great Day. Thanks Jill from Mo.. Jim Elliott

Monday, March 7, 2011

Whats It Worth

Peace of Mind is that we are seeking in our gardens? Not just me but All of us. I am a house painter and self employed and i feel very fortunate to be able to work in our garden as much as we do. It is very hard some days to go to work(painting) when the garden is in full bloom and have been out there hybridizing for several hours and have to switch gears and go to work. I do realize that it takes a lot of money to buy garden materials to make more seedling beds but is it worth all the sweat and aches that we go through to have a beautiful garden. You bet it is!!!

We had a goal when we left the mountain to be able to buy a new place with enough land that we could have about 4 acres in daylilies, much like The Lily Farm in Center, Tx.. If you have never been you owe it to yourself to go there, a place to pick and choose the plants you want to buy. I dream to have such a place as The Lily Farm that Jack and Josie built with a lot of work and sweat.

Heres the problem, i now have the genetics in my dips to expand our breeding program past even my wildest dreams. Seeds are not a problem just start putting the pollen on the pistil and there will be more seeds than i can count. So whats the problem? Letting Go is the problem and letting everyone into our little piece of paradise. Letting go of the Special Seedling like the one pictured above. Right now i have 4 pieces of this plant, look at all those buds and the branching on the scape. How many plants will i need to introduce it and how much will i set the price for? If i should keep for another year i will have around 20 fans to sell, will that be enough? Or will i get my heart broke and no one wants to buy it? These are the questions i have racing through my mind. Whats it worth? I can tell you the ride we have been on the past 15 years was worth every penny we have spent trying to get here and All the beautiful people we have met over the years is priceless. Piece of mind, Whats it Worth? Jim Elliott