Sunday, January 25, 2009

Daisy Girl Scout Troop Flower Garden Patch

For the January 4th meeting of the Daisy troop, I volunteered to help the girls with their mini garden Daisies project. It makes sense since gardening is certainly one of my main hobbies.

This project would allow them to receive their background garden patch for their 3 journey awards to be earned at a later time.

I was charged to provide 12 pots, potting soil, trays to hold the pots. So far so good. These are supplies I have plenty of here at home so they were ready. The more difficult task was to determine what type of seed to get. The goal was to start the plants at the beginning of January but not have them bloom until April or May. YIKES!

Typically, I would suggest a great flower seed to start with children indoors or out is marigold or zinnia or sunflowers. Pole beans in the ground are also a great choice. They are all quick to germinate and don’t typically let you down. I didn’t pick any of them, because they would be ready way too soon. We might have blooms by Valentine’s Day with the marigolds or zinnias and the ground outside would not be ready for them yet. I did consider mini dwarf sunflowers because they are so adorable but they too would be ready too soon as well. Funny twist since a quick turnaround is usually the goal!

So I used a date duration calculator and found I needed something with a 100-120 days to bloom. I then went to my favorite seed source, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and started searching for seeds that met this requirement and that I’ve had a positive experience with in the past as far as germination and surviving the hot summers of Central VA.

In the end I selected 2 varieties, 1 annual and 1 perennial.

China Aster – Benary’s Princess Formula Mix – an annual. I’ve not grown this one before but I am hoping it is similar to a zinnia in its dependable habit. It noted 103-112 days to bloom which bring us to mid to late April.

Black Eyed Susan – specifically Prairie Sun (rudbeckia hirta). I have grown this successfully and although it says it is for zones 9-10, it has been a perennial for me so far here in hardiness zone 7. It is also a bit different than the more common Indian Summer Variety with the black center. The variety we planted has a light green center.

This is a photo of some that grow in one of my gardens that I planted from seed. They bloom beautifully in July.

I first noticed this variety in the entrance way of a local hospital when we first moved to VA. I was only familiar with the more typical black centers.

I wanted to post this here so I could keep the troop members apprised of the progress of their planting.

All of these pictures are taken today, 3 weeks after they were planted.

I kept the lid on the trays until most all seeds germinated. I now move the table to the sunniest spot of the house every day which is at the front glass door. The sun’s heat seems magnified in that spot and will hopefully help these little babies flourish.

They also need to be watered frequently when we have a string of sunny days because the peat pots and light seed starting soil dries very quickly.

When they need water, I typically carry the trays to the kitchen counter, put some water in a sink and move the peat pots to the water bath to soak up the water from below. This benefits the seedings by not disturbing the seed and delicate seedlings with top watering. It also allows the peat pot to absorb water again so it is not all dry.

There are many things that could go wrong with them between now and planting time but I am doing my best to keep them going. So far, so good. Wish me LUCK!!

They are also starting their cookie sale today for the next 3 weeks so please buy some cookies from anyone you know who is a scout. If you know me, give me a call for some!
The goal is to raise enough money for the troop to have an end of year pizza party and donate a garden ornament to the local church that allows them a meeting place.

Other ideas:


HarryJack's Mom said...

Oh, what an adorable patch and a great project. I think I may get as much out of this project as they do ;-) Did you ever think of writing a book?!? Can't wait to see their progress!

Missy's Blog said...

Such a wonderful project to help them earn their patches!

You are so creative with your gardening choices and I know the Daisy Troop is going to have alot of fun with this!