Friday, August 6, 2010

Planting seeds 2 . . .

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A left click on your mouse will give you a larger picture. 

Seed planting is done here at Chattanooga Daylilies, I finished this morning. I would estimate approximately 4500 seeds were planted, unless my math is off, which is entirely possible. If I get my usual 90% plus germination, I will end up with 4000 seedlings to plant/transplant. It is so much fun to try and visualize the outcome of a certain cross. For instance, I have some seeds planted of Melanie Mason's  H. Cherries Jubilee X H. Camelot Red, a 2011 introduction from Jeff Salter. I can see a 32" heavily ruffled blood red with a vibrant green throat and to top it all off, it would be dormant. What fun!

Anyway, here is an image of all the trays on one of the growing benches in the greenhouse. I have positioned them where the exhaust fan pulls outside air across the trays, so the temperature should be about the outside temperature. Notice I said "should." There is a shade cloth on the greenhouse which should help.

Above, you can see all the trays on the growing bench. To the left, there are 12 No. 1020 trays that have a six compartment insert with each compartment being about 5" wide and 7" long. In a previous post, I showed that each of these trays was scored with four rows and an estimated 12 seeds per row depending on the number of seeds in the cross, some more, some less. To the right, there are 20 trays with 50 2" X 2" X 3" peat pots in each tray, so there should be a total of 1000 small pots. I am hoping that my germination rate in these pots will be better than what I have experienced before. It is planned that these peat pots will be planted in trade 1 gallon pots which will be grown in the greenhouse. Hopefully, I can get them to bloom in 9 months doing it this way. Whatever happens, all seedlings will be transplanted to the field in April 2011 for growing out and selection.

The image to the left is of the growing bench taken from the end with the 2" X 2" peat pots. I can hardly wait until I can post you a picture showing all green instead of potting soil brown.

Above, if you left click and enlarge the picture, you can see some of the germinated seedlings from seeds planted on 7/29/2010. They are really starting to pop. Planted in the trays above, I have gotten as high as 95% germination which I attribute to being able to keep the moisture level fairly even throughout the tray. Normally I don't start them until September and then I will put an electric blanket covered in plastic under the trays with the temperature set on high. The bottom heat really makes them pop. With the greenhouse as hot as it is, I didn't think I needed the bottom heat this year. We shall see!

To the left, I show what the heating blanket looks like when I use it. I lay down a layer of newspaper, then the blanket, then another layer of newspaper, then a plastic sheet which will, naturally, keep it dry when watering the seedlings. The heat is set on high. I have been asked if I were not afraid that set on high, it would be too hot. Normally, it is used to cover a human, and it doesn't burn them. I have also been asked, "Why an electric blanket, and not the electric mats used for that purpose?" Have you priced those mats? A mat the size for one tray can run as much as $50.00. The electric blanket . . . free from a friend.

If you are still reading, I appreciate you checking out our blog.

Exciting things happen to those who hybridize daylilies!

Life is very, very good. Remember, when the bloom is gone, you still have your daylily friends. Plan to attend a daylily function somewhere this winter.



  1. Yes I am still reading, keep up the good work. I admit that I am envious of your seed numbers. I have planted 850 tet and 300 dip seeds so far. The later than normal bloom season along with a very hot May and June made pod set difficult for me. I will have a greenhouse of some sort by this winter.

    Enjoying your updates
    Josh Jaques

  2. Josh,
    Good to hear from you. Did you get the information about the Daylily Hybridizer's Summit at Chattanooga?

  3. I did , thanks! Nikki and I are planning on coming. I would like to buy some RWC from you this fall if you have enough. keep up the good work.


  4. Hi Lee and Jean....I do so enjoy reading your posts.(and your site) I am a newbie from "Down Under" in New Zealand. I dont envy your heat, but I do envy your stunning Daylilies!
    One word of caution with the peat pots. I have used them many times over the years, and have found that if the top edge of the pot dries out too much, then it acts like a wick and sucks the moisture out of the pot and soil. So please keep an eye on that.... :-)
    Regards, Duncan, New Zealand.

  5. Hi Joss,
    It is great to get a response from someone other than US readers. You are the second I have had, the other from England. Thanks for reinforcing the peat pot information. I had heard this so I have been watching. I have not been able to get a very good percentage of sprouted seedlings with things like the peat pots. My best results are using the trays as shown.
    I hear you have some great wines in New Zealand. Also, any video I have seen of NZ is absolutely breathtaking. Jean and I had thought about trying to come and try the trout fishing there, but that never developed. Now that we are no longer fly fishing, probably cannot justify the cost. Have a great day.

  6. Lee,

    Between you, Nikki and a few other bloggers I might be tempted back into blogging. I hope that does not mean I have borrow someone's cat and post its picture too!

    Despite the fact that the chances are slim that I will ever plant seedlings in a green house or have room for 4000 seeds, I do enjoy reading your posts. One never knows what can be learned and put to use with the daylilies. The toughening up before lining out is slightly different technique. Then again if those plants tossed over the fence can root and keep on growing there just might be something to it.

    John Hric
    Cleveland Oh

  7. Hi John,
    I enjoy sharing what I do on the blog. I am glad you enjoy looking at it. I am going to have to cut down on the number of my seedlings, Jean and I are getting where we just can[t do it anymore. This will probably be the last year that we even attempt that many. Thanks for looking.