Iris foetidissima can grow in about any well-drained soil. First, you can scarify the seeds to try to speed up germination. For faster germination, soak the seeds in slightly hot water for 24-48 hours, followed by 3 months cold stratification before sowing, 1/4 inch deep, in your soil. Keep damp soil, not soaking wet. Best sown in autumn. Plant has creeping rhizomes. Iris foetidissima provides a wonder accent in the shade garden, adding interesting flowers, attractive seed heads, and providing year round, evergreen foliage. Plant it with hostas, ferns, and other shade loving plant, preferably near the border where you can enjoy the subtle flowers better. Note: The common name refers to the smell you get when you crush the leaves or rhizomes. The flower themselves are actually slightly fragrant.
Plant four-inch pots 18 to 24 inches apart or scatter seeds for a pollinator-loving perennial in partial shade to full sun. Keep watered while plants get established. Grow in well-drained soil enriched with compost, but no additional fertilizer. Lamb's ears do not like rich soil.
Bee Balm (AKA Wild Bergamot):
Seeds originally from Baker Creek. These are an annual, lemon-flavored variety. Superb tea plant; striking pink-purple flowers, beautiful and tasty. Can be planted in the spring or in the fall and loves full sun. Space plants 18-24 inches apart in rich, well-draining soil. Bee balm needs good air circulation, otherwise it can develop mildew on its leaves. Bee balm is antimicrobial and soothing, so it's often used to treat colds and flu. It also has a soothing effect on the digestive tract and helps to treat indigestion, bloating and nausea.
These do great in any average, well drained soil, preferring full sun to partial afternoon shade. Start seeds indoors in late winter to early spring and harvest the plants when young.
Tomatoes (all varieties):
All tomatoes shared by the Host in the SLSS are Indeterminate, meaning that they could be vine trained. Instructions on how to do this are coming soon to this website. Start indoors six to eight weeks before the average date of last frost. Fill the pots with potting mix to a 1/2-inch of the top and place a pair of seeds on top of the soil in each one near the center of the pot (having two is good insurance in case one doesn’t sprout. Pinch off the smaller, weaker of the two if they both sprout. Cover them with a ¼-inch layer of soil mix and press down slightly. Good seed-to-soil contact is important for germination. Sprinkle water on the seeds whenever the top of the soil mix appears dry. Don’t keep the soil soggy, however – the seeds may rot or cause them to dampen off. As the plant grows, move it to a bigger pot (making sure to bury it deep to help it establish hardier roots), and move it into the garden when the outdoor temps are above 55 degrees F, after hardening off, when the plant is around 6".
Artichoke seeds can be started in February in a greenhouse or under a fluorescent light, planted about 1/4-inch deep in 4-inch containers. Artichokes are known as tap-rooted plants, which means their roots grow deep, even as seedlings. Be sure to plant the seeds in a deep container. To begin germinating, artichoke seeds need a temperature around 70-75°F. (20°C.) and will take two to three weeks to sprout. Artichokes like full sun, but not excessive heat. They thrive in the cool, foggy, coastal climates, but with some care can produce well in other mild-winter areas. Afternoon shade can help where summers are hot. To produce the large and tender buds, the plants need rich, deep soil and ample watering. Plant can be eaten or allowed to flower to attract bees.
Pride of Barbados:
These seeds were brought back from my recent trip to Ecuador. Soak the seeds for 48 hours in "hand hot" (hot, but not too hot to touch) water. Pour off the water after 24 hours and refill with fresh "hand hot" water for the second half of the soaking. Then, sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in a well drained seeding mix. Keep moist but not wet and around 75-80 degrees. Pride of Barbados plants need a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Hardy in zones 8-11. In hot tropical climates they are evergreen but, in zone 9 Mediterranean climates, they are deciduous. In zone 8, frost kills the stems of the plant to the ground, but they return each spring. They grow between 8 and 20 feet tall, depending on the climate. Water deeply once or twice a week.
African (Giant) Marigold
This great companion plant reaches up to 5'! Direct sow after danger of frost, ideally between other plants to prevent weeds and help repel aphids, Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, whiteflies, mosquitoes and even rabbits!