2019 Lycoris Seedling - One Year OldIn 2019, I made some Lycoris crosses and also collected bulk open-pollinated Lycoris seed, then I actually followed through and potted all crosses and some otherwise collected. I had not done this for ten years, but, then, only in the last couple did the crosses I had previously made receive enough evaluation to take the next step.

The seeds were planted in 3.5" pots, up to 16 per pot, and in flats, up to a rounded number of 250 per flat. That early winter I put the pots in an outdoor cold frame with supplemental infrared heat. During the winter the electricity tripped a couple of times, and I know I let them get too cold at least once. There was also the burden of manual venting, so I am certain I let them get too hot way too often. I never saw any activity in all the planted seeds, so I expected I had killed the seeds.

In the spring of 2020, after I was venting the frame 100% of the time, I inspected the drain holes at the bottom of the pots, and I carefully "dumped" a few pots to inspect for life, reinserting the soil medium, unbroken, back into the pots. Lo and behold! I found roots and/or bulbs. With this new knowledge, I removed the plastic from the cold frame and covered it with shade cloth for the remainder of the summer.

Enter November! I started noticing a leaf emerging here and there. Having acquired some more reliable (I hope) LED grow lights that promised to use less electricity and put off less heat, I transferred the pots and flats to my growth chamber. Very quickly leaves started to materialize, and the featured photo is how things looked this past Friday, December 11, 2020, approximately one month after transfer.

It is important to note that most of my crosses are spring foliage crosses, and Lycoris in this group generally don't begin to push foliage until early March. The picture of the flats is entirely this type, so, for now, I have to speculate that the current conditions in the growth chamber are encouraging early emergence, OR, things did not go exactly right last Spring, so the seedlings are desperate to accumulate energy. A few of the pots have fall foliage crosses or fall foliage open-pollinated selections, and some of these were the first to show leaves in early November.

Not pictured, because there's nothing to see, yet, are my 2020 crosses and collections, but they went straight into the growth chamber after planting. I am curious to see if any of them give me foliage in the Spring, which would prove to me that my 2019s experienced a measure of duress that may have delayed development. We shall see.

Trailer with compost

I have a small 5′ x 8′ landscape trailer I’ve used for over a decade, if not 15 years, to haul all sorts of things, including a leaning tower of computers on a 450 mile journey. It has served me very well all of those years, and I hope to use it for many more. Well, this handy little trailer has specifications allowing it to handle 3500 lbs. of weight. Considering it’s served almost it’s whole life behind my 1995 Kia Sportage, which can only handle 2000 lbs for towing IF the trailer has brakes (and the trailer doesn’t have brakes), it’s not really had to be taxed to it’s limit, until recently. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve moved to towing with my Kia Sorento, able to tow 3500 lbs.

Before I go further, I might mention some facts about the tires on the 14″ wheels. The trailer has two, one on each side, and each is labeled to handle 1290 lbs, meaning together they can carry 2580 lbs. Hmm. So, a trailer weight capacity of 3500 lbs. could lead an engineering and physics novice such as myself to put too much weight on a 3500 lb. capacity trailer, now couldn’t it? Did I mention that these are the original tires that came with the trailer? Well, they are, and though they still have great tread, and the spare has never been used, I’m sporting tires composed of at least 10-year-old materials.

Last year I decided to drive 64 miles to Miami, OK (NOT Florida), to haul home some mushroom compost for my garden, and I did this in the Sportage. You see, the cheapest price I could find for delivery was $45/yard, and it could be bought directly for $15/yard. When I got there, I had determined that, by volume, my trailer (with walls added) could handle about 3 yards of compost. As a matter of fact, I figured it could handle four, by volume, but not knowing actual weight, I stuck with three yards. I paid for three and drove around to the loading pad where the Bobcat driver promptly loaded one… two…

“WHOA! STOP!!” I cried. My tires were almost flat to the ground, and I was panicking! I got out my tire gauge, and the tires (I hadn’t used the trailer in a season), were down to 20 lbs., not up to 35 lbs., their maximum. I stopped the loader from providing the third paid load and crippled away with two loads for the price of three. I turned into the nearest air station, found enough quarters, and filled the tires to about 30 lbs. The tires, though looking a bit stressed, looked okay, and I carefully drove home.

Enter two weeks ago. This time I needed the compost for my nursery, and I used the Sorento. This time I checked the tire pressure (as I should have done the first time) and aired up all the way to maximum allowed, and, this time, I was pretty sure I could handle three yards. I drove 64 miles, paid for three yards, drove around to the loading pad where the Bobcat driver promptly loaded one… two…

“WHOA! STOP!!” I blustered. My tires didn’t look like they could handle another load! Maybe this driver had loaded the bucket more heavily? I don’t know for sure why it looked worse than the previous time (with proper tire pressure), but, nevertheless, again I slowly limped away with two loads for the price of three, and I carefully drove home.

“Maybe I should do some research,” I thought to myself.

One, can I get tougher tires? YES! I can purchase a tire that can handle 1760 lbs. (and still fit my fenders), or two for 3520 lbs.! Well, that almost EXACTLY matches the capacity of the trailer! Oh, but I’m going to be away when the order would arrive, so I will have to delay adding new tires until I get back. Good. To. Know.

Two, just what does a yard of mushroom compost weigh? Well, a yard can be up to 600 lbs. Wow! Still, If I only get 3 yards, that would only be 1800 lbs., right? Why do my tires look so stressed? Oh, well. I’d better, for the time being, just stick with two yards. Maybe the tires are showing their age.

Enter today! Following the scenario of two weeks past, I drove around to the loading pad where the Bobcat driver promptly loaded one… two-three!!!!!

“Arrrgghhh!! STOP!! I only purchased two,” I hastened.

“Oh, I’ll give you as much as you want,” he said with a smile. “These buckets hold 1 1/2 yards, so you should have about 4 1/2 yards in there right now.”

My 10-year-old tires are looking mighty sad, and I am, too, right about now as I give the Bobcat driver my gracious thanks, while, at the same time my heart goes into palpitations. “How am I going to make the 64 mile trip home?” I mused. “At least I now know why my tires looked so stressed last time.” I then, under my breath, honestly asked God to get me home with special attention to my safety and others’. Here, at home, safe and sound I write, less than two hours after returning. Attribute my safe return at your own discretion, but it is as it is.

Somehow, with only the ability to haul 2580 lbs., my tires hauled, today, at least 2700 lbs. of compost plus trailer weight, which I imagine to be around 300 lbs. The leaf springs under the trailer, two inches from the axle when not loaded, were about one inch from the axle. After all, they could have handled 500 more pounds, if it weren’t for my tire limitations.

So, now that I know how much is actually loaded from their Bobcat bucket, one-and-a-half yards, and not one yard, I know that, over the life of this witness, I paid for eight yards of compost and drove out with 10 1/2 yards, getting a better bargain than I could have imagined. J-M Farms, Inc., is a great place to buy mushroom compost! Not only is the current going price of $15/yard a bargain, they are intentionally generous by attributing one yard to a one-and-a-half yard bucket. Don’t go there expecting them to load extra buckets, by the way. They had a lot of compost, and concerning a line of customers for pickup, the crickets were singing today. This is not their usual scenario. I love, however, their standard scenario, as the philosophy does it’s best to provide more than required.

Why write about this? Therapy. My heart rate has gone back to a normal hop, skip, and jump. Time to prepare more flower bulb beds for transplanting!

What a year it has been! With this past winter we saw record matching lows, reaching down to -15°F!! If that wasn’t enough, this spring we saw 13″ of rain in a span of 10 days!!! And, if THAT wasn’t enough, this summer we experienced a 6 week drought with many, many days over 100°F, with the highest reading being 107°F (IN THE SHADE)!!!! Ah, but the things we get to learn through trial.

So, what did I learn from record matching lows?

  • That FreezePruf™ will definitely remain a part of my winter maintenance schedule. I will be posting about this season’s anecdotes shortly.
  • That some flower bulbs are just WAY hardier than common wisdom dictates. I was thrilled to see survival and thriving spring growth in species I never imagined could survive.

And, how about all that spring moisture?

  • Well, the main thing I learned was that it is best to keep up with weed control as much as possible.
  • That I may want to look into some simple, organic fungus and bacterial controls to encourage flower bulb foliage health. This is an issue faced to one degree or another, even under normal moisture conditions.

Finally, were there lessons learned from intense summer heat and drought?

  • This is a good reason to have a permanent irrigation system in place, though, under normal circumstances, irrigation is not all that important for most flower bulbs.
  • Wear a HAT, Crazy Man!!!

I have not been promoting sales aggressively for about three years, now. The bulk of my business, in years past, had been through dormant import sales, and that avenue of marketing had become untenable. So, I watched my nursery to see how it would perform, since a number of species were only in the nursery as leftover stock from unsold dormant import inventory. The last few years have brought some very extreme weather conditions which have been a true test for hardiness and bulb durability in our area. I have been encouraged with that success.

I am also encouraged by how well some of those products have appeared to increase in the beds. This will lead to some mass diggings, dividing and re-plantings over the next couple of years, and this should make some of my bulbs available at lower prices for short periods of time. I have the parts received for repairing my bulb digger, so I’m all set to get digging!

Due to these circumstances, I have been actively marketing again at a level that will allow me to keep up with requests. This has me looking toward the immediate future as a period of slow growth and added nursery improvements to facilitate efficiency. I hope you will also take note that I do have a presence on Facebook. Please click the image and give us a “Like".

I wish to give my heartfelt thanks to those who have remained loyal customers through my lack of public communication. Not all trials are bad for us. They provide information to help with adaptation or making improvements helping folks learn and grow. It’s time to grow forward! :D


Indian Summer

The year’s activities have been intentionally slowed down at Bulbmeister.COM, but, nature, it seems, “decided” to make things go even slower in the months of September and October. The rain seemed never to cease, making it difficult to even mow, much less prepare the nursery for winter time or dig bulbs for customers. Well, what a refreshing November we are receiving so far! Temperatures have been warmer, and we’ve had mostly sunny weather all month.

Now, it is time to get settled in for the winter. Last orders for immediate shipment will be accepted through the end of the month, although the list remains open through the winter, with products being shipped in the spring. I have started what should be the final mowing of the property for the season, and now is probably a good time for me to bring in bulb pots for winter protection. If I’m lucky (that really translates to “industrious"), I will finish the winter greenhouse and get started on my non-business related apple orchard deer fence.

The fall foliage this year was at it’s best, and I plan to upload some images of autumn to my business page on Facebook. These particular images will not necessarily be flower bulb related, but I’ve already posted to that page some beautiful images of Lycoris in bloom. I would be honored if you would visit the page and even become a fan if you, too, are a Facebook user.

Now is a good time to finish up fertilization and mulching of flower bulb beds for the winter. I will be trying out a brand new product, FreezePruf, this winter to see how it protects my fall foliage Lycoris. Reportedly, it is supposed to protect foliage by a differential up to 9.4°F. In other words, if your foliage normally gets damaged at 30°F, the applied product may keep your foliage from freezing all the way down to 21°F. I’ll try to report on it this spring.

Additionally, this summer, late, deer started foraging heavily in my nursery, chewing Crinum and Hemerocallis, among other categories, down to the nub. I ordered a product called Deer Scram which claimed to repel deer and rabbits for up to two months. I’m very happy to report the product lasted at least six weeks, keeping the deer away, even through several rains. It’s a 100% natural, organic product, but a bit expensive in my budget. With that in mind, it’s active ingredients being dried blood, garlic, white pepper, and cloves, I’m going to try some experiments next season and see if I can’t make my own for much less. That said, I am very pleased with the product and it’s claims.

As a final note, if I don’t post again before then, I want to wish everybody in the U.S. a very Happy Thanksgiving! May you be blessed with family, friends, and/or your favorite things and activities surrounding you.


What's In A Blog, Anyway?

:oops:Here, I went and set up a blog and did very little to get things going. Now that the season is slowing, I decided to drop by and write a word or two. Just who do I think I am!? This has been a pivotal year for Bulbmeister.COM in that I had to make the difficult decision to discontinue the importation of flower bulbs to concentrate on developing the flower bulb nursery. The primary reason for the decision is strictly related to economics especially as affected by the falling value of the U.S. dollar.

Additionally, I’ve not been actively marketing, simply handling orders as they come in and “strategizing” as to how I want to further develop the nursery. I’m seriously contemplating a significant dig in October for the purpose of reestablishing plots at better plant spacings. If this is done, there will be a significant discount on related items in a special sale. Although it was supposed to be this spring, I now plan to add inventory to my nursery sales list by next spring, so keep your eyes open.88|

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A Gardener Grows

This page is intended to reflect on observations made in and around the garden, landscape and nursery here at Bulbmeister.COM.


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2019 Lycoris Seedling Development - One Year Update

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