Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Favourite Christmas Dinner Veggie Traditions

                                                                 
At this time of year there is nothing better then bringing out the family traditions that give you that warm taste of comfort and Christmas feeling. It can be ones passed down from years of multiple generations or ones that you may have just started with your own immediate family.  Either way, these are special times and there is nothing better then to share it with friends and family.

Many gardeners grow vegetables for fresh eating as well as storing. With loads of social gatherings of family and friends, this is the perfect time to bring out those veggies again and make some of your favorites or to try something new.  Besides that's what you worked so hard and grew those veggies for right from the beginning.
                                                           
                                                            
To make things a little more interesting this week, I decided to ask some co-workers what types of traditional veggie side dishes they enjoy at Christmas time. By sharing these traditions it gets everyone excited about the season and may even give others ideas of what may become something they could try as well.  I loved being able to talk with everyone about this as it brought smiles and a bit of that Christmas nostalgia to each others minds.  This time of year is so special as we look forward to mostly just having that peaceful rest time together and to put all the busy days behind for a few days, hopefully!

I gotta say...it was quite interesting when touring around the office to gather these ideas because as with every idea, everyone has a story.  This is another reason why I felt that it would be great to share!

There was much conversation generated around Vesey's when staff were asked this question..."When you sit down for your Christmas dinner, what type of vegetable, whether its a casserole or a certain way it is done up, would complete your Christmas dinner that you just have to have?" Some shared unique traditions such as roasting veggies to make a Shepherd's Pie with, and this staff member indicated that instead of using white potato he uses sweet potato as the topping. Other interesting side dishes mentioned were creamed cabbage and beet salad, "the way mom use to make them." Some side dishes are so special to carry on as traditions especially when enjoyed in memory of loved ones.  I can definitely relate to those unique traditions as my husband's family have always enjoyed the Green Bean Casserole with cream of mushroom soup and french onions to crisp on top.  This was one of his dad's favorite side dishes that he just had to have, especially on Christmas day. This tradition still continues to be enjoyed by family in his memory.  These are all things that bring us that warm comfort of home and how important it is to be with friends and family.
                                                      

I did find many had said, "Oh you can't mess with serving the veggies the old traditional way, just mash them and add a bit (or lots) of butter.  When cooking all different types of vegetables and so much variety why not keep it simple if that's your preference. You don't even need any recipes! It's all in what makes this complete for you.

Along with cooking your veggies no particular way there is a method in how they are served as I mentioned. Whether carrots are cut into "coins", Julienne with parsnip, glazed with either just butter or brown sugar, mashed with turnip, butter and brown sugar, combination of mashed carrot with turnip and parsnip nothing added, they are simply delicious! Is this making you hungry yet?

Another favorite Christmas veggie mentioned was the turnip aka Rutabaga.  It's interesting how many prefer them prepared as well.  It was specifically said to be sure to just cut up turnip in "cubes" and not mash them, another staff mentioned, "Oh no, you have to have them mashed with brown sugar and butter, YUM!"  The conversations were so entertaining, and very interesting to hear everyone's slightly different preferences even though the vegetables mentioned were the same. Turnip is also great mashed with other vegetables such as parsnip, carrot and even winter squash.
                                                    

Of course you can only imagine that most enjoy the mashed potatoes and it is a definite must to have gravy! This seemed to be THE favorite of all as there was great emphasis on the importance of pairing it with the Christmas dinner.  Some staff have even indicated that they try their potatoes mashed with different flavors such as parsnip or garlic. To make the potatoes light and creamy it was also suggested to add cream cheese, I have even heard of some adding sour cream when mashing them. This sounds so yummy and I'm sure you are getting some interesting ideas to try. 
                                                      

A few other veggies that were suggested were corn, grilled zucchini and grilled asparagus simply because they were interested in having these veggies since they haven't had them since the days of BBQing. We are always open to adding new traditions with each year as our families grow and look forward to ideas from our next generation.  One of my newest favorite Christmas side dishes has become sweet potato casserole.  So easy to prepare as well as a new and interesting way to add flavor to these delicious veggies that are so easy to grow.
                                                   

You may also have an abundance of delicious preserves stored in your cold room that make an excellent addition to any meal. This was also a preferred choice from a staff member. Many people think of meals that will pair well with their preserves because they enjoy them so much. Be it mustard pickles, pickled beets or chow, they are all simply delicious and really add to any dinner especially at Christmas.  Is your plate full yet? Another mention of a delicious side was creamy coleslaw and the ever famous cranberry sauce. I found it funny when some even mentioned if they could say their favorite thing was, is the dressing.  Although it's not a vegetable side dish, it does have a specific spice called summer savory we like to grow.  If this is one of your favorite additions, I can understand why because it is simply delicious and most Christmas Turkey dinners aren't complete without it. After the dinner it may be another one of your favorite traditions to have one of these...
                                                          

Our holiday season is fast approaching and may have even started long ago for most. My hope for you all is to be able to make time to just sit, relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the season with family and friends.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all from the staff of Vesey's Seeds. Thank you for your continued support as we look forward in hearing from you in 2016
                                                             












Thursday, December 17, 2015

Easy Christmas Houseplant Tips



As you go about your Christmas shopping errands, you may get “bit” by a bit of nostalgia. Stores are loaded with the infamous Christmas Advent Calendars, yes you know the ones I mean, the ones with the little chocolate behind a secret door. You may also be reminded by the books of lifesavers and Quality Street Chocolates, all of which are considered our yummy favorites!

                                           
                                                                           





Christmas time reminders are everywhere! As we go about our shopping, much to our delight we find stores loaded with gorgeous Christmas houseplants too.




One that I’m sure you know and may even have as a center piece in your own home. Pictured left is a beautiful white Poinsetta that my dad picked up for my mom a few weeks ago. This definitely earned him some "brownie points" as it is a gorgeous plant and a very thoughtful gift!
There are many other beautiful Christmas plants that you can choose from as well that make a stunning display this time of year and will even last beyond the holidays with the proper care and its so easy.

But…how do you keep these plants looking just like they did at the store when you bought them?  I will share the tips that have worked for myself as well as my family over the years. In one of my blogs I had mentioned one of my grandmothers that had come to Vesey's for a visit as well as how she succeeds with saving her geraniums . I do have another picture to share with you that I just took the other day while visiting her. There standing in front of her patio door was a beautiful Poinsetta full of bloom and enjoying the sunlight of her very own apartment.  She indicated that this was a plant that she kept from last year.  I tell you, it looked just as if it was a fresh one that was just purchased at a flower shop.  You can have this kind of success too and as I mentioned, its very easy to do.


                                                    

The best general care and advice I can offer applies for pretty much all holiday indoor houseplants with a few added tips that are best for each individual one if there are different cultural requirements. Flowering houseplants will generally thrive in a room temperature of 15 degrees.  Some plants such as Christmas Cactus and Poinsetta tend to like it a few degrees warmer but the key component in plant health is to keep it consistent. Placing these heat loving beauties in a warm sunny location such as your kitchen table or counter where there may be lots of light would be ideal. One of the main reasons why we purchase these plants is so that we can display them for everyone to enjoy.  If you do place them near a window or on a ledge, keep in mind, especially at night time, there could be a draft and a temporary location may be necessary during this time.

We always love to keep our homes cozy, especially during the holidays. Lit fireplaces or blown in heat from fans or rads will give you that extra warmth but also may make the plants too warm if placed nearby. When placing plants in these locations keep in mind that temperatures may either get to warm or soil could potentially dry out faster.  The first sign that the plant may struggle in these locations is wilting leaves.  Before watering check the soil for moisture as wilting leaves can sometimes be the sign of over watering as well. I have always found that I had best results setting the plants into a saucer of water.  This will enable the plant to soak up moisture at the root which is where it is most important for continued plant growth and health. Leaving the plant in standing water for too long is not advised and any excessive amount of water that didn't soak up is recommended to drain off. Overhead watering is fine as well, however be mindful that you don’t give it too much and try to avoid getting too much water on the leaves.  If foliage is wet too often it can make it easier for diseases to set in. Flowering plants will also benefit from some food and by doing this, it will encourage an even better display of blooms.  A regular fertilizing regime consists of a water soluble all purpose houseplant solution to be applied every 10 days.  This can continue right up until it is done blooming.


It is also recommended that when you receive these plants to remove the foil that surrounds the pot. I know that this makes the pot look more decorative but it actually keeps the moisture in too much. It also will lessen air circulation for the roots eventually resulting in root rot. You can choose to set the plant in another container but be sure it has holes for proper drainage and adequate air circulation. Many of these plants such as Christmas Cactus and Poinsettas can stay active and bloom for a month or more. This picture below was taken at my mom and dad's place and is putting on a stunning show with its brilliant colour. It's a Christmas Cactus.


                                                      

A few other plants that come to mind when I think of this time of year is the Cyclamen and Kalanchoe.  These plants are found over a wide range of different stores and make a nice addition to your home really at any time of the year.  These plants both have similar type of leaves, blooms and care requirements, and can sometimes be a challenge to keep a bloom.  

                                                           

                                                          

These plants can also be prone to a fungal disease known as Botrytis. The best care I can offer for these types of plants that has worked for me are to choose a brightly lit location that is away from direct sunlight and heat sources.  You can completely remove spent flowers with the stem  intact right from the base of the plant on a Cyclamen, and on the Kalanchoe you can simply just snip the bloom off the main stem when it is spent. By picking off old blooms it will encourage it to set new blooms as well as continue to flower longer. After these plants have finished their flowering and have started into dormancy you can continue to water and fertilize until all leaves turn yellow.  Reduce watering when the plant becomes dormant during the summer months and you can even set them outside in a part sun location.  I found my Cyclamen did quite well with this. Kalanchoe will continue to hold its leaves and will stay green but may stop flowering for a period of time.  As new growth appears on both of these, you can re-pot as well as freshen up the potting soil and start a regular watering/fertilizing regime.

Along with these beautiful potted plants there is also the ever popular Amaryllis that I had mentioned in a previous blog.  I have a few of these on my list to give as Christmas gifts.  You can purchase these ahead of time and have as a beautiful Christmas bloom through-out the holiday season as well.  I know that my other grandmother who is 96, that I am also blessed to spend time with, loves the results of these bulbs and can grow them so easy right in her own home.

                                                     


Along with the Amaryllis bulb, there are other types of bulbs that you can force as well, one in particular is called paperwhite narcissus which is a type of daffodil that is meant for forcing indoors.  These bulbs also make a beautiful display and are so easy to grow. Most stores offer these as potted plants already started if you choose to enjoy them that way also. Care for any of these types of bulbs can be found on our website under our online growing guide.  You may also want to check out some of our Holiday Gifts 2015 or some handy tools for your garden buddy to give now or any time of the year!

Until the next time...stay cozy, keep those shopping lists checked off but most importantly...take time to put your feet up and smell the flowers!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Benefits of Attending Trade Shows


                                                                    


It’s trade show time!  What is a trade show you might ask?  If you have never heard of or experienced a trade show before, I encourage you to consider attending one of these fun and informative shows for the first time. There are many well planned events where gardeners can get together, learn some new and valuable skills, drink coffee, eat, drink coffee, sample different flavours, drink coffee, and have fun!  And... if you still feel like having another coffee…go for it! No better time to attend these shows then while your garden is resting.
                                                                    
Trade shows begin in full swing around this time of the year, because like all other gardeners, as we approach winter, we are in a lull where digging in the soil for any extent of time is almost non-existent. Although you never know what you may find that will grow in winter months at one of these trade shows!

Just last week, I attended the ACORN (Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network) trade show event here in Charlottetown, PEI.  It’s a fun, informative 3 day show that always has a great line-up of speakers from many different “fields”. Next year this event is held in Moncton, New Brunswick from November 23-25th and Vesey’s booth will be there!

                                                             


Trade shows break up the manotomy of the winter blues and help you look forward to what’s to come in only a matter of a few months.
We meet our friends new and old, and please don’t take that literally!  We can also network with other businesses with regards to seeing products and services firsthand and explore competative pricing. Some of the gardening products are demonstrated so you can see the actual job and the quality of the equipment. Get excited as you take your mind into garden planning mode. By doing necessary garden planning at this time it gives you the ability to organize and budget for another hopefully successful season, I am sure. 

When touring through the trade show, you may also come across companies that you never even knew existed and be pleasantly surprised with what they have to offer.  Always something that can be learned.

                                                                


As I mentioned, along with the trade show booths, you can attend informative presentations through-out the day.  It’s so beneficial to attend these talks especially if you are interested in carrying-out a gardening project the presenter is instructing. If you have further questions after the conference, you will have the opportunity of talking with the professionals at their booth.


The part that I always enjoy the most about these shows whether I attend as a delegate or as a representative for Vesey’s Seeds, is networking and meeting new gardeners. Of course its always great to re-connect with friends that you have made from years ago.


If you would like to attend one or more of these trade shows I have included a few links of upcoming events that I'm sure you will find so valuable as well as fun.  You can watch for the Vesey's booth in Wolfville, Nova Scotia at the Scotia Horticultural Congress next month.

Oh and Ps...remember the amaryllis bulbs I had talked about in a recent blog, take a look at this as you get in the Christmas spirit!

                                                          

                                                           
                                                   

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Late Fall Gardening Chores


                                                                 

By now you may have lost your gardening momentum as the days become shorter and not to mention colder. As your yard begins to bare of colour, and your trees have gone into dormancy, winter is showing signs of setting in and it may be time to retire your garden tools for a bit…even if it is only a few weeks. Come on now…you surely do deserve at least a two week break!

I do have a little bit of a suggestion for you in case you are already getting bored. Let's just say, your tools and gardening supplies will thank you and not to mention, your plants, next season.

Many gardeners tend to get tired at the end of the season and just put the tools and pots away as quickly as possible, I’m speaking from my own experience, I’m guilty!  Even if you do only retire your tools for a short time, there does come a time when they are in need of some maintenance and now is the best time to do this. When gardening, especially during the height of the season, we can be pretty hard on our tools.  We especially want to preserve our favorites so they will be in good condition to use from year to year.  Maintaining your garden tools properly will extend the life of them as well as save you money down the road. Once the busy spring comes, there will be nothing more satisfying then to grab a clean, sharp tool as you enthusiastically enter the garden for yet another season. Tools that are in good working order are not only beneficial for the plants, but they are good for you and makes your job more accurate and enjoyable.
                                                            



This process really doesn’t have to take long or even get complicated. Grab yourself a coffee or hot chocolate, put on some good tunes and clean, clean, clean! Start by laying down a tarp in an open, well lit area to allow your tools to stay clean and dry on. Remove any "caked" on soil with a firm scrub brush outdoors first and then wash with warm soapy water. This will get the tools clean and ready for assessing for any damages as well as any sharpening that may need to be done. Once the tools have completely dried you can give them the “once, or twice over” for damages.  For example: cracks in handles or nicks in the metal of blades.  After you have doctored up your tools and they appear to be in good working order they are ready for sharpening.
                                                                                 
                  

                                           
                                                              
Sharpening can and should be done at this time. Some tools like shovels, axes, hoes and trowels are best sharpened with a hand file.  If an edging is really dull, a grinding stone may be more beneficial. 
                                                          

 If you don’t have these sharpening tools on hand, they are very inexpensive to purchase from any hardware store or you can even invest in taking them to a sharpening professional.  The most useful and basic tool for sharpening is an 8" mill file. 
                                                      

When sharpening this way, work by drawing the teeth in ONE direction over the dull edge. Sharpening edges can range from 10-45 degrees.  Tools that need finer edges like handheld pruners,
                                                         

should be sharpened to between 10-25 degrees. It is also recommended at this time to apply oil to the blades to prevent rust as well as lubricate hinges.  When using oil, use a petroleum-oil-free alternative such as organic vegetable oil.  This type of oil is natural and safe to apply to tools especially when digging in soil and around your plants. It is usually on hand in any household and works well. When your tools are properly serviced, it is one last garden task that I’m sure you will be happy with. When putting away your tools, you may also want to take the time to organize your tool shed or storage area.  Hang your tools safely by the handles.  This will prevent damage to any newly sharpened edges as well as being able to reach your tools with ease and safety.
                                                        


Now that you have your tools and equipment tucked away and in order you might as well keep going! You may be wondering what I’m referring to? 

                                                         


The containers/pots that your plants were kept in during the growing season is what I’m talking about. It is so beneficial to do this easy process before storing, especially since you are in the “cleaning mode”!
Why bother cleaning your pots?  This is definitely a great question, besides isn’t dirt dirty? I know it seems like a very tedious job but your plants will be much healthier as a result and it only takes minutes to do it. During the growing season soil builds up salt and it gets deposited on the insides and bottoms of any type of planters. 

This residue may cause damage to the plants and their roots as it continues to build up over time. Cleaning your pots will also ensure the durability of them as well as removal of remnants of diseases that may have occurred during the growing season. Simply remove any dirt that is caked on, you can use a stiff scrub brush that you used for cleaning tools.  Once you get them clean, use a sterile mix to kill off any remaining disease organisms that may still be on the surface. Mix up a solution that is 10% bleach, one part bleach to 9 parts water.  Fill a container large enough so you can dip your pots in it to soak for up to 10 minutes.
                                                        

Thoroughly rinse off bleach and allow them to air dry.  Once the pots are clean and dry they can be neatly stored on a shelf waiting to get planted next season. 

                                                              


If you are anything like me, you will feel such a sense of accomplishment.  When the busy and exciting gardening season rolls around again, you’ll be so glad you took the time to do this as it becomes part of your late fall ritual.

                                                
For additional gardening information, please visit our Veseys website or contact us toll free 1-800-363-7333.
                                                          
                                                         


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Over Wintering Tender Plants

                                                                    

Oddly enough, here on PEI we still have some tender plants such as Annuals and Tropicals that are still blooming in November.  Of course many of these plants are in a sheltered location, however that still counts doesn’t it...? This is definitely something that can be celebrated as we deserve to have an extended fall here in the East this year after what mother nature dumped on us last year! Remember this...
                                                                


If you have always wanted to try to over winter your plants that could still be actively growing outdoors, its not too late to bring them inside to try to over winter them.  This can be done so easily and you don’t even need a greenhouse to do it. Aside from checking for moisture from time to time for a light watering, there really isn’t much work involved.

Of course the indoor tropical plants that you put outside during the summer months have already made it indoors, but like I say…you may be surprised what you find still thriving as you take a walk around your gardens.  Today, November 18, I noticed right outside the Vesey’s Garden Gate store there is a cluster of geraniums still in bloom as shown in the picture above.

Some gardeners, like my dear sweet nanny, Beryl Wood who is 95 years young, keeps hers going all winter and then sets them outdoors once risk of frost has passed.  Of course she still plants new Geraniums in the spring as well because she just can’t resist the beauty of the new varieties. I know what your thinking…its all fine and dandy if you have the time and space, but all it takes is either a sunny window or a cool dark location in your basement. There are a few types of plants that go dormant (not actively growing) during the winter months and will do well in any cold room, unheated garage (that doesn’t freeze) or as mentioned a cool basement. As you can see from the picture below what types of plants that I have been able to successfully over winter in my cold room the past few years. Grouping plants together as well as misting foliage lightly will provide an added benefit to these plants. This gives them natural humidity resulting in the exact amount of moisture needed during their transition. 
                                                    


If you do decide to try this its a good idea to take the time to inspect the plants for insects or diseases before setting them in their temporary winter location. Certain types of plants will also benefit from being trimmed back as this will help them reach dormancy in a natural way. If you do find some pests, common ones are white flies and mealy bugs as shown in the pictures below.


                                                           

                                                         
                                    

You can use a dab of rubbing alcohol diluted with an equal part of water on any infestation. A spray of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap would work as well if you have it on hand.  I have even had success with giving the plants a steam bath. Watch the bugs scatter from the pot as they don’t link the steam/heat combination and the plant also benefits from the humidity!
    Winter care is so easy, just water if soil feels dry as if you were treating the over wintering plants that need sun like a houseplant. For winter plants that enjoy the sunlight you can water when the upper two inches becomes dry. If they are over watered it will risk them to have problems such as root rot. Overwatering is the biggest reason why houseplants die. For the over wintering dormant plants they would only need a sparingly amount of water every couple weeks and no fertilizer is needed on any of these plants during the winter months. Good air circulation is also essential when storing any plants during this process. As the daylight starts to lengthen and temperatures start to warm, you can slowly start to water more as well as introduce a low application of fertilizer.
    Do not get discouraged if plants drop some leaves.  This will sometimes happen as plants adjust to a new location, just a minor setback. If you find your plants are struggling a bit you can try moving them to where there is more light or provide them with a proper plant grow light.
    Its always good to have a little "heads up" with tips for individual plants that may have different requirements. Plants like Hibiscus and Mandevilla do not go dormant, instead they are considered “semi-dormant” plants. Leave these types of plants with their old foliage. If they were cut back they would put on new growth which would exhaust the plant creating spindly shoots and risk of insects and diseases.  My Mandevilla seems quite happy in the dark as it put out a new bloom on its own!

                                                          

    Tropical plants that grow from bulbs or tubers such as elephant ear, caladium, sweet potato vine, canna, dahlias and begonias should get nipped by frost before they are brought in.  This sends a clear message to the plant to go into dormancy, but don't worry if haven't done this.  For these types of bulbs you can do one of two things. You can leave the plants right in their existing pots and keep the soil at a very minimal amount of moisture then store in a cool, dark location.

                                                           

 You may also choose to cut the stems and foliage back, dig them up and surround them with peat moss or sawdust. This drying material will ensure that there is the right amount of moisture around them as well as preventing them from drying out. You can surround the plants in this storing medium in newspapers or in a cardboard box. This will allow for good ventilation during dormancy unlike a plastic bag or container would. Check these bulbs from time to time to be sure they don’t dry out and lightly mist the peat moss/sawdust if they appear dry.


So as you can clearly see how simple it is to save some of your plants that you grew so attached to from either spending the time growing them from seed or finding one of your all time favourite plants. I can attribute my garden success stems from my family.  I couldn't resist attaching this photo below since I had referenced my 95 year old nanny earlier in this post. I need to explain this picture of her below...She and my Aunt love going for tours of the countryside.  The country roads led them to the trial gardens at Veseys.  When they drove up to the field to find me, my nanny was so interested in the weeding I was doing that she said, and I quote her, "I just need to get out and pull a few weeds." So awesome to see that gardening brings out the youthful side in everyone!
                                                     

Keep cozy as gardens are now put to bed!




Thursday, November 12, 2015

Easiest Bulbs for Winter Forcing


Once the fall and early winter hit, us gardeners can get a bit “antsy “ when we have nothing to plant or to maintain in our gardens. Why not bring the garden right into your own home if you haven’t already tried. Real flowers unfurling right in your own home is so rewarding and therapeutic, especially during the holiday season. If you haven’t already guessed what plant I’m referring to…it’s the ever-popular Amaryllis (Hippeastrum).  Many people love the cherished beauty of these large and exotic bulbs to either grow for themselves as a holiday/winter center piece or to give as gifts.

                                                      



Amaryllis are one of the easiest bulbs to force to bloom, anyone can grow them! When we refer to forcing bulbs  it simply means to bring a bulb out of its chill time and provide optimal growing temperatures so that it will eventually bloom.  The beauty of purchasing and growing the amaryllis bulb is that it has already had its necessary chill time and when planted it is tricked into thinking it is spring right in your own home.

Once you receive your bulb it is recommended to soak it in warm water for at least an hour prior to planting. This will encourage the bulb to sprout faster.  Rinse the bulb in clean warm water before planting.
                                                          



Many Amaryllis’ come with a pot but you may choose to use your own. Choose a pot that is 1-2” wider than the diameter of the bulb and about the same depth. It is also recommended to choose a pot that will provide good drainage to ensure that the roots don’t get too wet. Use a well drained soiless/potting mix to ensure your bulb performs its best. Heavy wet soils from outdoors and bagged topsoil is not recommended. Moisten the soil as shown in the picture below with warm water before filling the pot and planting.
                                        



Fill the pot about ½ way and place the bulb on top of the soil spreading out the roots. At this time you can be creative with your planting! If you have chosen a large enough pot, you can plant additional bulbs, which adds a greater impact for your display! Add additional soil around the bulbs to be sure they are securely anchored.  Apply water around the bulbs to see how much soil will settle and add additional amount if needed. Soil should only come up the bulb ¾ of the way being able to still see the top of the bulb as pictured below. Place the pot in a warm and sunny location providing room temperature and water sparingly. When growth starts, increase watering keeping the soil evenly moist. Room temperature is needed for the bulb to sprout.
                                                 


As the flower stalk starts to grow (usually within 2-8 weeks), you can begin to fertilize with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 10-14 days or as necessary. As the stalk elongates, rotate the pot to keep it straight. You will almost think you can see it grow! Four stunning flowers will generally open within 7-10 weeks once they have begun to sprout. Some bulbs are slower to start then others, so patience is required. I assure you though…they are worth the wait!
                                       



If your bulbs do not sprout within this time frame, gently check the bulb to be sure that it is still firm and lightly tug on it to make sure that the roots are starting to take hold and grow. If it hasn’t rooted, gently remove the bulb. You can try soaking the bulb in warm water, replanting, watering well and place in a warm, possibly different location once again. You could try using heat mats as an added increase of temperature just to get them started. Once they show signs of sprouting, remove the heat mats. Even though you feel that your home is warm enough, bulbs may not. They may be getting a bit of a draft if placed near a window without you even knowing.

The beauty of this beautiful plant is that you can do a succession planting all through the winter because it’s so easy to grow. Start forcing a bulb or two every two weeks from October onward and have colour all winter long.

The next question is…what do you do with the bulb when the flower fades?  Like most fall bulbs that are used for forcing in containers, as the flower fades and the stalk starts to naturally brown, you can trim back the flower stalk “leaving” only the leaves. Keep the soil that surrounds the bulb moist but not too damp and store in a cool and dry location.

Stay tuned for information in early spring with interesting instructions on how you can transplant these bulbs to grow outdoors and as well as storing indoors for a re-bloom next season. You can also check out our growing guide for additional information on how to grow Amaryllis bulbs as well as other easy bulbs for forcing indoors