Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm still learnin'


So, a couple years ago, I bought some Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth from Baker Creek because, well, the picture just looked neat…er, unusual. I had never heard of that plant before I saw it in the catalog and it doesn’t look like anything I have seen in any yards around where I live. So I just had to have it! Of course, the first year I got it (2006), I didn’t plant any… HA! That’s just like me… Well, that’s a lie, I did try to start some inside before the frost date, like a good little new gardener, but it died. Along with everything else I tried to start inside. WAA! So that year, I ended up going to the local Lowes and bought some stuff to stick in the ground. Instant gratification, American-style lol. But I saved the rest of my seeds – ‘cuz I’m a pack rat like that. Kept ‘em in the basement, nice and cool.

Well, along comes “next year” (2007), and just when I thought “its time to start my soon-to-be-dead seedlings inside again”, we decided we might move and sell the house. Well, these plants were just too cool to let someone else enjoy, so I was going to take them with me and didn’t start any inside (good for them!!). Then, around June we decided not to move and sell the house. Now I am thinking, it’s way too late to plant this, but I did anyway! At this point, I didn’t care if I saw flowers or not. I just wanted to plant something! So, I sowed a bunch of seeds in the corner of my garden to see what would happen. Wouldn’t you know it, they grew! And grew!…. Boy did it grow! Everywhere online I read about this plant, it’s supposed to be around 3-4 feet tall. Mine got over 6 feet tall!!! I wish I had taken pictures… Oh well, there’s always next year.

Well, I guess I just didn’t have faith in myself, or the plant knowing when to set seed. I figured since I put it in the dirt a month too late that I wouldn’t get seeds out of it. Plus, I guess I was thinking that I would see seedpods or something at the end of summer (forgetting how small those suckers are!). I didn’t, so I figured there were no seeds. So, around the first frost, while cleaning out the garden, I just chopped everything down and stuck it in my little ‘compost’ pile out back. I did cut some of the flower tassels and hung them on the fence out back. ‘Cuz they look pretty cool hanging there lol.

This was months ago, around October. A few weeks ago, I was reading some forum talking about how Amaranth self-sows. Would the seeds survive the winter? That got me thinking maybe I do have seeds in those few flower tassels hanging on the fence. I went out back to take a look. I trudged into the back yard, in the snow no less! Of course they were no longer hanging on the fence. They were buried in a pile of leaves! Argh… Not to be deterred, I dug around till I found it! I tore off a piece, and, lo and behold, SEEDS! Pretty, tiny, little seeds all over my hands! I hit a little red goldmine!

Ok, so now I have seeds, but are they viable??? The next step was to see if they would germinate… I took some out of all the chaff and stuck them on a moist paper towel in a little plastic sandwich bag. Two days later, they sprouted!!! Wow. So now I know what “self-sow” means. LOL… I just wish I didn’t throw out 10 times that many seeds out back in the compost pile!!

I wonder if I will have some Amaranth growing out of my little wanna-be compost pile out back this spring???… We’ll see.

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