Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What Does Lining Out Mean?

 Tuesday, September 24, 2013

41.1° here on the mountain with a fairly constant 4 mph wind. People from the pond are heading out to work early today and some very questionable motorcycle maniac is going up and down the road a top speed  apparently testing something that is still not working correctly. Odd behavior for 5:15 AM. Oh well, part of living here.

Just returned from a long walk with Karl the Wonder Dog. He sniffed and snorted a few times and got me worried once when he backed out of the bushes with big barks but I didn't see or hear anything of concern. A neighbor reported a bear crossing the road above our house last night and perhaps it's still in the area, smelling the bee hives or the compost pile.

Sometimes when I write on Blogger or Facebook, I mention that I am lining out daylilies or other perennials. Not everyone has heard this terminology. Up top is a picture of my truck with some boxes of daylilies which just arrived from Walters in Michigan. We have used Walters for years since the quality of supplies from Europe began to diminish. Walters is big but it cares for customers and sends consistently sized roots. Although we continue to raise our own stock, there are times when we miscalculate and have to buy in replacements. This was the case this year when the daylily Prairie Wildfire was so popular. It's wasn't that it was new or different but the plants grew well with all the rain and the bloom counts were exceptional and we ended the season with only a half dozen plants. That was not enough to divide and get going for next season. .

Lining out plants simply means dividing them into smaller divisions if necessary and then planting them in rows to grow bigger. We leave space between the plants based on the size of the plant and how long we intend to leave them in the row. Some we plan to dig and pot, others we plan to dig and sell from the field but regardless, they all start out in rows--all "lined out" to grow bigger. This new garden pictured just above here is 120 feet long and it is heavier clay than I hoped for but it will help us with more space and more of the popular daylilies for next summer.

Sometimes we take large plants and divide them ourselves. Below here are two rows of a popular daylily named Ruby Spider. It's not a spider classification daylily but it has 9"-10" blooms at maturity and it blooms for a long time so it's really popular. I lined out 100 about three years ago and this summer we sold giant plants for $40 each. They were a chore to dig and carry but they sold well and we made a bunch of space by the end of the season. These that I lined out will go into 5 gallon pots come spring or will be sold from the garden again. Should be very nice!

So whether we dig and divide our own stock or buy in more new or replacemnt stock, lining out plants into the garden is a quicker way to get plants looking good really fast. Being planted in the ground requires less care and the plants grow more consistently because the humidity and fertilizer are not impacted as much by heavy rains. Potted plants require more work to keep nice as temperatures fluctuate and rain washes out nutrients. Today I have another 10 cases of plants to get in the ground and Gail has 8 more plants in the field that have to be divided and replanted. I'll be busy but I don't care as nice weather is on the way and by Thursday after lunch I'll be headed for Maine for some hiking. If you get a chance, stop by the flower farm if the gate is open. We are not staying until 5-6-7 PM any more this time of year but we're happy to see you if you're in the neighborhood!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where it's a very quiet morning. Peak foliage should be here the end of this week--middle of next week-- so come see the color. It's special and an important part of Vermont!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
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