Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Power Outage

Good Day to All, we have had some terrible stormy weather here in central Arkansas since monday. Tornados have touched down in several towns and peoples lives have been taken and 1/3rd of our state has been without electricity since monday afternoon. During this time we have had over 8 inches of rain. We all take the good weather for granted but it could be you or your neighbors next time.

We have living by candle light the past 2 nites and playing dominoes and cards to pass the time. I began to worry about our freezers today when i was told we may be without electricity for 10 more days. My neighbor has a bigtime welding shop and since he is not able to work he let me borrow one of his portable welders that just happens to have a big generator on it. It produces 10,000 watts of power. It runs on diesel fuel. Now you see why we are told to love our neighbors!! Now i can play on the computer, have a refrigerator and have lights. We have city water so we are kinda back to normal. Pray for those that need lifting up and love your neighbor some how. Jim Elliott

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crank It Up-Almost Showtime

Another long cold winter has come and gone Thank The Lord!! The past week here in central Arkansas has been really wet. We have had so many storm fronts come thru our area and since yesterday we have gotten 2 1/2 inches of rain. We had a lot of rain and the garden is soaked. Cant work in the garden moving plants or anything. Last week was a long work week so we had decided to take today off before the rain fell. So i thought i would blog some.

The first picture is of a very good grass killer that you can use in your flower garden or veggie garden. This product will not kill daylilies or veggies Except Corn. Corn is a grass family and Will Kill Corn. But i have used it around peas, okra, tomatoes and watermelons. It WILL NOT KILL WEEDS OR BROADLEAF WEEDS, ONLY GRASS. We have lots of bermuda grass and crab grass here in Arkansas. One tablespoon herbicide to a gallon of water with a few drops of dish liquid for a surfactant(sticker) in a small pump up sprayer and you are ready. As with any herbicide plants(grass) should be dry before spraying. It will stay on the plant much better. Also it will not wash off(rain) after it has dried on the plant. We want to have the grass in a growing mood. That is dont spay when you havent had a rain in 2 months in the middle of July. If it is dry in your area then water the area you intend to spray a few days in a row to get the grass in a growing mood.

I was checking the rain gauge this morning and walked back thru the daylilies and found these 3 scapes. OH BOY!! This was the only plant i saw scapes on but i didnt tear up the daylilies looking for scapes either. It wasnt even flagged either.

These next 2 pictures are some diploid seedlings from a little old lady friend of mine. Her name is Sandy Nall, she has been our friend for about 15 years. Just kidding about the little old lady part. She is in the prime of life and full of energy like a little bumble bee. She came to our garden about 15 years ago and bought some plants. Who knows these may be down from those plants. I wished anyway. Sandy is becoming well know for her patterned eyed dips. She wont even share pollen with me, imagine that. She lives in the Texarkana area, maybe the Arkansas side. She has been asked to speak at the National in Louisiana about her garden and hybridizing so we have something to really look forward to.Thanks Sandy!!

Since we arent working today we may plant some daylily seeds we have left. Maybe 1500 need to be planted in plug trays. Bloom season is not for off, are you ready?Jim Elliott

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rot and Spring Sickness

Here in Arkansas we , as far as i know, dont have Spring Sickness. My friend Sara in Ohio asked me a couple weeks ago if we got it here? Maybe because we have breaks in the cold weather with warm fronts all winter.

We here in the South have Rot. Where you can have a row of different cultivers and one rots. What causes that, i am not sure. Now i will give you my thoughts on this and i hope i will get some response from some of you. I have had daylilies start to yellow in the summer when temps get hot and usually when there is not a lot of rain. I will put a handful of pelletized lime all around the plant close to the plant and water it in for a couple days and a big part of the time the plant send out new growth out from under the crown, but i will lose the yellowing plant. I think it is a PH problem that those little parasites(bulb mites) eat holes all in the crown and bacteria gets in and kills the plant. Now i think some plants are more prone to rot than others. But i still think it can be averted with a little change in the PH. I have heard some folks talk of pouring on a bleach solution to kill the rot. Maybe it does but when you add the bleach solution have you changed the PH?

Heres what i am asking those that are seeing or those that do get Spring Sickness, take an area of your garden and take pictures before and after of the area where you have in the past had Spring Sickness and ADD some pelletized lime to this area and dont be stingy with it. In the next 30 days let me hear from you on the difference if there is one. My email is Lets stop this problem before it gets started.

The above tet seedling is from Shores of Time X Forestlake Ragmuffin. As the temperatures get hotter the teeth get bigger and the gold edge gets wider. Was i lucky, sometimes it just happens to turn out right. I have seen teeth on Shores of Time in the past but i never persuded it because i wasnt into the teeth plants so i had to try it just once and it worked. This was a Short Cross because so few seeds were produced from this crossing of these 2 plants. Now a Long Cross is when i will load up on the pod parent with pods from the same pollen and have maybe 25 seeds or more.

Here is an example of a Long Cross. I have a purple dip seedling numbered UP-4, short scape but still above the folage, very good branching. This is the pod parent. Now for the pollen parent i use a creamy white named Carribean Whipped Cream from Dave Talbot. The clump of UP-4 had about 30 pods on it from CWC and my wife was getting tired of using the same pollen and wanted to change, thank goodness she didnt change pollen parents. I wanted to get a pure purple 7 inch seedling from the cross. I did get the big purple seedling. But it was lost and never made it to the new house and garden. There was a period of a couple years where we built the new house and was making gardens for the plants. We have purples but not that big one we wanted but i am still trying. I will say in that purple and cream cross i got so many eyed seedlings and lots of pinks and pinks with eyes. We just never know when we spread that pollen what we will get. Its all about hopes and dreams. Now that would be a good name!! Hopes and Dreams!! Dont forget to try the pelletized lime. Jim Elliott

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tools For Easier Gardening

As i was writting yesterdays blog i was thinking about the one i was writting and another blog subject on tools. Now that the gardening season is here i have all these thoughts running through my little brain. Thats why i started this blog was to give information about raising daylilies the right way. I am on a daylily robin and sometimes people give out bad info with little or no concern about who it will hurt. I can assure you this, what i write on this blog has been tried and done here in our garden. You can use it or lose it but it works for me.

One man or woman with the right tools can do a lot of work with half the effort and Lord knows my back is not as strong as it used to be. I had my friend come over this afternoon with his tractor and 6 foot wide tiller. This pto tiller can make beds look like smooth butter. In about 15 minutes he made me ten 6 ft wide beds. Now that the ground is broke all i need to do is add the composted pine bark, alfalfa pellets, cottonseed meal, pelletized lime and fertilizer till it all in and add the plants.

After planting i top dress with more slow release (9 month) fertilizer. Then i add a granular herbicide that is treated with Treflan. Some folks use PREEN(very costly). These granules i use come in a 15 pound bag for about $18.00. I get it at my Farmers Coop. It is put out by Hi-Yeild company so it should be available everywhere. As soon as you get thru planting your plants sprinkle liberally on the ground and water it in. When you water it in it produces a chemical barrier on top of the ground and when seeds germinate they are poisoned when they hit the surface. Then add mulch. DO NOT PUT IT ON YOUR VEGGIE GARDEN AND PLANT SEEDS, THEY WONT COME UP. My sister in law got confused last year and tried this and couldnt figure out why her veggie seeds didnt come up. Heres Your Sign!!

A good wheel barrow is handy in and out of the garden. I have always used a single front wheel barrow and last summer i saw this vinyl bucket wheel barrow that had 2 front wheels. I can load this baby down and move it with one hand and drink tea with the other. I fill it up with pine needles and can mulch for a long way down the rows. Also moving plants around the garden it is very handy. Cost is about $115, worth every dollar. I promise.

I saw my first scape today on Mysterious Eyes, yes it is a tet and please forgive me. I do love the dips but the broken patterns on the tets really get my little brain to spinning. This plant is still on Fla. time bloom wise. Bear with me while i explain. When the bloom season arrives here in first wk of June the temps are hot usually over 95 and seed set is tough for the tets. So heres what i do. I try to get my tets (when i buy them) from Fla. to be here or shipped mid March. I plant in the garden and baby them and sometime cover on frosty nites to try and get them some roots going. Now the plants think they are still in Fla at least the bloom set does. So i have had Mysterious Eyes in the ground almost a month and here comes a scape. By the end of April i will be setting seed on Mysterious Eyes. Why? Because it is so much cooler this time of year than when they bloom in June. When temps are 80 degrees tets will set seed easy. Above 90 degrees things get tough. Why do people have green houses? To get plants to bloom earlier than normal while it is cool outside. This aint Rocket Science. If i lived in Ohio i would buy my plants and have delivered in March, pot them up and put them under grow lights and outside on warm days then set seed pods when they bloomed first of May. Plant later in the ground after harvesting seed pods, then sell on the Lily Auction in the Fall. That should work like a charm. See what happens when you let me talk and wander. Thanks for listening. Jim Elliott

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Speed Dial in the Daylilies

It is really amazing how fast things change in the garden. Kathy and i was in the garden digging selected seedlings and washing and cutting folage back and it just amazes me how good they look and how fast they can grow when conditions are right. We havent had much rain this spring and have had lots of cooler nights but the days have been pleasant. In the last blog i was telling you about fertilizer and lime and what we do to help our daylilies grow to their maximum and that includes the increase we get also. This will be a short blog tonight to show how the garden is shaping up at this time of year. We are still about 6 wks away from getting scapes above the folage. In the next blog i will show tools we use and how to keep grass and weeds to a minimum. There isnt enough time to pull weeds and move plants and hybridize also. So i will show the tools we use that will let you spend more time enjoying the garden.

The first picture shows 2 beds of lined out selected seedlings. One row is mulched and the other there is no mulch.

The second picture is the plants breaking dormancy about February 25. See how small they are. About an inch tall.

The third picture is this afternoon April 7th. Approx. 6 wks later. This picture shows how big and lush the plants are. Most folks have a potato fork in their tool barn. Compare the plants to the fork. The plants are way above the flags from last years that marked them. Feed them babies and watch them grow. Its like a Speed Dial in the Garden. Also if you click on a picture it will enlarge that picture and when thru looking hit the back button to go back to blog. Jim Elliott

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Getting That Increase

When you have all these new introductions that you paid $150 for this spring and you dont get any increase from those new plants whose fault is that? Of course we would love to blame the hybrididzer but it may not be their fault. When was the last time you had a soil sample tested from yyour garden beds? You have been adding chopped leaves this spring or maybe you have been adding composted pine bark to build up your beds, did you add lime? When you buy fertilizer do you buy the cheap stuff or the fertilizer with all the minors added? Is your fertilizer a slow release or just triple 13 like dad used to use in his veggie garden? Do you mulch? How much water do your plants get each year?

Every item i listed will affect your garden in one way or another and each will affect the performance of your daylilies. So i will tell you what i have learned over the past 15 years trial and error. When your plants increase like they should you will have plants to sell and have money to buy these things for your garden plus more plants.

When Mort Morris intoduced his Uppermost Edge plant for $250 several years ago, i think i was the only person in Arkansas to get it and several people laughed at me for paying this price. In the next 2 years i sold 9 plants from the original purchase and the laughers bought most of them. See what i am talking about getting increase now.

Get in touch with your County Extention Agent and get a soil sample kit and use it. When you get the results in a couple weeks it will tell you what you need. LIME, their are 2 kinds. There is the pelletized lime some call Brown Lime, this lime when watered in will go to work imediately, like right now helping your PH. The white powder lime, Hydrogenated Lime, can take up to 90 days to begin to work on your PH. When you add Chopped Leaves, Composted Pine Bark, Chicken Manure or any kind of Humus to your soil you have changed the PH. PH is the balance of your soil that lets plants take in Nitrogen and makes them grow. If you add these nutients to your soil without lime these nutrients(compost-humus) they rob your soils Nitrogen to break down these materials and will not release the nitrogen to your plants. When you add lime you slow down the composting and balance your soil and plants are happy again. Have you ever seen plants that looked lime green in a new bed? Well thats what is happening and they need lime.

Fertilizer. I use a 9 month slow release 15-9-12 with the minors, i mean like zinc, magnesium and other minor nutrients. When i make a new bed i add to the bed and till it in and after plants are planted i will top dress it with this fertilizer then mulch with pine needles. The following spring i will top dress again. I leave plants in my beds for 2 years then divide and replant. I get great increase especially in my seedlings. By the time seedlings bloom i will have around 7 plants to divide if selected. I have a friend up the road who buys the same fertilizer but without the minors and his price is about $20 a bag cheaper. I get twice the increase he gets using the same named plants and he says its my dirt. Go figure. Just one plant increase will pay for the bag or thats the way i look at it.

I have sandy loam soil to start with and i add all the composted pine bark and other nutrients i can get in there. Water is the key for any garden to work to its maximum. Two years ago i watered very little and we had the wettest summer on record plus cooler temps, i had bloom all summer until frost all across the garden. Most days, even in August i had at least 100 scapes blooming at a time. So last year came in dry and hot. I watered very little maybe 4 times all summer. The result was very little rebloom. Water is a biggy if you expect rebloom and you need to start when scapes start to show.

Everyone gets plant increase when the plants split from scaping up, but it is nice to get that extra couple plants before scapes come. I have shown a few examples of plant increase that i had taken today in the garden. The most increase in the picture on top of page is a plnt Dave Winter in northern Ohio sent me last fall. It is Dormant. He sent me a double fan and there are 8 fans now. I sent Dave an email telling him about the increase and he wants to know about scape size and bloom size. I told him his Never Ending Summer loves Arkansas and will have 8 inch blooms, he just laughed. Is it Just The Dirt? Jim Elliott