Delphiniums, family and fun

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Raising the roof

Ok, I’ll start this blog by answering a delphinium question then get on to telling you what’s

happening at our place.

The image to the right is "Juanita" blooming in our garden.

When is the best time to sow delphinium seed in Alberta?

I really love questions like this as there are so many right answers. Just how long is that piece of string? The best I can do is to suggest what I know some people do find successful.

The best time to sow seed in Alberta will depend on the method you use. If you have Gro Lights and can keep your greenhouse free of frost then November or December is a popular time to sow. Sow in a flat and prick out into small (3 inch) pots You would then have good plants to plant out at snow melt. If you can't do this then sowing in flats in February will be the way to go. Some folk sow in late summer, just as the heat is coming off, and have plants large enough to overwinter under a good layer of mulch.
Whichever method you use, remember that seed should be stored in the frig until you need to sow it. Never buy delphinium seed that may have been sitting on a garden centre shelf for a while, especially during, or just after summer (like just when you need to buy it). Delphinium seed loses viability very quickly at room temperature so unless it is stored in the frig at the garden centre, you are unlikely to get good results.

Good results on the right..........................................................

We sell properly stored seed and culture notes come with the seed we sell. This information and much more, is available free from the information pages on our web site :

Right, what’s happening here?

The new growing house continues to grow. The frame is up and the builders are waiting for a nice calm morning to put the roof on. I hope this comes soon as we’re paying for their accommodation! They’ve already missed a couple of good “skinning” opportunities by not knowing the local weather and, I presume, trusting the advice of their boss in Christchurch (several hundred kilometres away) rather than consulting with me. Hey, I only live here and follow the weather with a passion! No! I’m not angry and frustrated!

Having a plastic growing house built (as opposed to building it yourself – I’ve done both) can be frustrating on other counts too. Firstly, haven taken care to ensure that the builders know my requirement for the house to be either level (which the site is), or sloping slightly to the south. They have managed to construct is sloping to the north. This means that the rainwater water from the roof runs to the wrong end of the house and now has to be piped an extra 45 metres back to holding tanks. It’s a good job that I have acknowledgement of my requirements in writing - thank goodness for email!

Pollination is in full swing and we are employing eight people now. This will continue until early January when the work will lessen and we can return to two or three staff. I’m not doing much really, just keeping my head low and all the balls in the air – so don’t distract me - Ow, my foot!

Apart from a few days, the last 4 weeks have been gloriously warm and quite sunny too. Day temperatures have been several degrees above average and all plants are growing away like they want an early Christmas. I guess the pohutakawa trees will be flowering soon.

Have a Merry Christmas



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