Growing Season 2007
06/11/2007 @ 0900
The first seeds have germinated, which is always good for spirit boosting. The usual suspects were the first: the honeylocust, and the wisteria. These seeds are very reliable, and I always recommend them to anyone who is planting seeds with kids. The honey locust germinates within 10 days, and the wisteria within 2 weeks. I expect the ginkgo and catalpa seeds next.

Actually, checking the seeds this afternoon, I see that the crape myrtle seeds are germinating, tiny but there. First time for these guys.

Tree Planting Day 2
05/31/2007 @ 0900
The fourth of seeds included (Tray D):
  1. Ginkgo - I collected these seeds from my neighbors house; he usually rakes them up, but I snagged a few. I planted these last year, and I had very good results with germination. These seeds really stink, and the guys at work make me work with them outside. 

  2. Northern Catalpa - I have to grow some of these; they are so easy to germinate and always make me think I know what I am doing. 

  3. Green Castor Bean - This is an annual plant, not a tree, and I ordered the seeds rather than collect then, but I saw a photo of the seeds and the plant and they looked so interesting I had to try them.   

Here is the diagram of Tray D.  Be sure to see the page for each individual seed type to learn more.

Tree Planting Day 1
05/31/2007 @ 0900
This year I planted very late,  on the 30th of May, due to several reasons, including house issues, other interests, and a little laziness.  I don't know what will happen, but it is already hot here in Delaware, over 90 today, so there should be no problems with germination.  As usual, I planted in the standard seed trays, 6 by 12, that you can buy at any home store. I didn't use the  "greenhouse" lids, just set the trays in my planters and then left town. I planted 3 trays of seeds this year, so far.

The first tray of seeds included (Tray A):

  1. Katsura - I found a nice tree at Rockwood State Park near my house, in their walled garden area. I snagged some seeds last fall, and just held them in a plastic bag, dry, over the winter. All the little pods had split open and ejected the seeds.

  2. Zelkova - There are a bunch of these planted around a chemical plant near my plant. I just happened to be walking by last fall and spotted these very tiny seeds hanging within reach. I just held them over the winter in a dry ziploc bag. This is a first time for these guys for me.

  3. Siberian Elm - I spotted this tree near my house last fall, with the seeds still hanging on. Most elms go to seed early in the season, but these last into the winter. I held the seeds dry in a plastic bag.  

  4. Crape Myrtle - I found these while walking in Brandywine Park next to the river last fall. I held the seeds in a ziploc bag over the winter, and they split open easily to release the individual seeds.

  5. Poncirus - Hardy Orange - I manage to germinate and grow some of these each year,  but they do not overwinter. Maybe they need to be brought indoors until they get larger. 

  6. Hophornbeam - I managed to grow 3 of these trees from seed a few years ago, and 2 are still alive. They are about a foot high, and very pretty. I discovered a new source for seeds last year, in a local park, and gathered a handful of seed pods. These particular seeds I removed from the pods and held over the winter in a plastic bag.

Tray B:

  1. American beech - I collected these seeds from my backyard last fall.

  2. Goldenrain - not to be confused with "Goldenchain" trees. These have very pretty pods in the fall. I have planted several here at my plant, and for some reason they seem to grow well in the mix of clay and old brick here.

  3. Holly - from a tree near my house I pass while walking to Home Depot.   

  4. Magnolia - from a "bigleaf" tree growing in a county park near my house. Macrophylla is the species name. The leaves and flowers from these trees are truly "big" - the leaves are over a foot long. I held the seed pod in a ziploc bag over the winter, and it was pretty rotten and soft by now. I put on some latex gloves and worked through the pod to find the seeds.

  5. Wisteria - I collected from a great trellis wisteria in a state park near my house. I just held the pods in a bag until the spring, then gave the pods a twist with my hands to get them to pop open. These seeds are easy: they  need just to be stuffed into the ground to germinate.

  6. Osage-Orange - I feel a little silly planting these guys, since they almost always germinate, and aren't much of a challenge. However, they are about the only tree that seems to grow in the clay-we-call-soil here at my plant, and I need to finish a hedge around the area.

Tray C:

  1. Persimmon - the "historic" seeds I collected two years ago while on a camping trip through North Carolina. I visited Morrow State Park, which contains the homestead of a Dr. Francis J Kron, who was the main country doctor for those parts in the mid-1800s. He was quite a horticulturist, and had many "collectable" trees on his property. I gathered some dogwood, persimmon, and magnolia seeds while there. Persimmons used to be used for golf club heads ("woods") as the wood is very strong, dense, hard, and fine-grained.  Now I guess everyone uses the titanium heads, but if you get a chance to see an old set of clubs, check out the wood. It is very beautiful. The seeds had been held in a sealed ziploc bag since I collected them, and had not rotted nor molded. Last year none of them germinated. I scored the seeds gently with a hacksaw this year before planting.

  2. Mystery - what would a growing season be without a mystery tree? This is a double mystery, because I can't even remember where I found them. I found a plastic bag of dry pea-size seeds; they might be linden, since I remember collecting from a littleleaf linden last fall, but I don't know.

  3. Crabapple - I really have no interest in growing crabapples, but I was collecting in my neighborhood and saw some of these fruits still on the trees in the winter. Anything that birds and animals might use for food in the winter is cool, so let's see what happens.

  4. Hornbeam -   American Hornbeam (carpinus carolinia) - these seeds I collected from Brandywine Park while on a walk. I just held these dry in a ziploc over the winter. 

  5. Pink Shrub - I found some little red seeds, looking somewhat like dogwood seeds, on a pink shrub I saw while hiking along the Brandywine river last fall. This whole section of woods was full of these pink-leaved shrubs, which were at most about 10 feet tall.  

  6. Chinese Scholartree - I like the looks of these trees a lot, and the trees are reputed to be very "street" smart - they resist pollution, lack of water, dogs, and salt. I have a couple growing here at my plant in clay and stone, and they are doing well. The survive the dry weather in the summer here with only minimal leaf loss, while the honey locusts will drop all their leaves.

  7. Kentucky Coffeetree - I love collecting and growing these seeds. They are about the toughest material in nature - you need a hacksaw to scratch them. There are some large trees in a state park near my house that I visit each fall and winter. Early in the fall it is good sport to try to knock them off the tree, but by January most of them are on the ground. These need to be cut about 1/16" deep with a hacksaw to germinate.

  8. Honeylocust - I collected these seeds last fall from my favorite  "wild" tree with lots of spines; last year was a seed year, since the tree  seems to produce seed pods only every 2 years.  As usual, I just made a little cut into the seed hull with a hacksaw, more like a scratch. And lots of thorns on these guys - as many as osage orange.

Here is the diagram of the Trays A & B and Tray C.  Be sure to see the page for each individual seed type to learn more.

Pepper Planting Day
05/19/2007 @ 0900
The weather is warm, no danger of frost, and my peppers want to get into the ground. I planted in the 4' x 4' planters I have used in the past. I covered 3 of the planters with black landscape fabric to try and keep the weeds down. I put 5 plants in each planter, which isn't quite enough room, but this year I plan to use a tomato cage on the center plant.

Here is the diagram of the planters.

Pepper Seed Starting Day
03/14/2007 @ 0900
This year I got my pepper seeds started right on time, just before St. Patricks Day. With the climate seeming to warm, and the USDA hardiness zones moving, maybe I could start a little sooner, but I am used to this date.  As usual, I plant in the standard seed trays, 6 by 12, that you can buy at any home store. I use the  "greenhouse" lids to hold in moisture until the seedlings get too big. I use my homemade planting light, with two flurorescent bulbs for light, and a single incandescent bulb for heat. I planted 2 trays of seeds this year.

Note: I get most of my seeds from Pepper Joe's ( I have had good luck with germination using their seeds, they have a great variety of seeds, and I recommend them. I do not receive anything from them for this endorsement.

The types of peppers and their descriptions  from the seller in blue quotes:

  1. Long Red Slim - no description, but this one is like an Italian red pepper, long and thin. When dried, great for frying with potatoes for a winter warmer.

  2. Thai Sun - "Perfect pepper for apartments and small Gardens. The miniature plant only grows ten to twelve inches high and about one to one and a half feet wide. The one inch peppers grow facing the sun. One plant has literally hundreds of these fireballs. This little devil packs a big wallop. The leaves are tiny so the plant is almost all peppers. It is easily grown in containers put on a porch, patio or deck. Anyone, anywhere can enjoy plenty of hot peppers with the Thai sun pepper. They ripen early and produce all season long. Each pod has a few scarce seeds."

  3. Las Cruces Chile - "This new and awesome Hot Pepper comes from Las Cruces, New Mexico... known as the world headquarters for Chile Peppers. It is the Mecca for Hot Pepper research and development. This is a great Pepper and highly recommended by Pepper Joe. It has a Jalapeno shape...but broader and more blunt with a thick skin and fabulous, spicy taste. It has tested well and we proudly introduce it to you."

  4. Jalapeno - "The classic jalapeno is fleshy and irreplacable for stuffing. I stuff mine with ham and cheese and then pickle. Smoked chipotle peppers are made from this dependable favorite. Good for cool climates."

  5. Hot Caribbean - "Mega-hot and bursting with flavor. You asked for it and here it is. The heat generated by this wrinkled lantern-shaped chile is absolutely ATOMIC!"

  6. Firecracker - "Small spicy chile is big on taste and yield. Bushy compact plant tops a hundred hot peppers. Perfect for container gardening…then bring indoors to over-winter and get a big jump on next years production."

  7. Bolivian Rainbow - "TOTALLY AWESOME. Tear-drop shaped hot peppers with a spicy taste. They turn from purple to yellow to orange and then red. The everbearing plant has green leaves with purple veins. I counted over 300 peppers on the plant at one time. This gorgeous pepper bears early and continues throughout the season."

  8. Crimson Torpedo - "The reliable peppers to grow and enjoy are still in the Cayenne family. This 2 1/2 inch long pepper is loaded with flavor. It is a vivacious red in color and is delicious fried in garlic and olive oil and used for a topping...on pasta, sandwiches, pizza, just about any dish you want to add zing to. Extremely dependable."

  9. Fluorescent Purple - "Mother nature got fancy when she created this incredible work of art. The leaves on this plant are sensational fluorescent purple and white. It is absolutely the most breathtaking foliage I have ever seen. But there is more. The florescent purple and white foliage is surrounded by little hot dynamos that turn from green, to purple, then to red when ripe. I recommend this pepper for gardeners who have difficulty starting seed indoors. Easy to germinate, transplant and grow."

  10. Charleston Hot - "MOST SOUGHT AFTER PEPPER IN THE UNITED STATES... After 12 years of developing, plant pathologist Phil Dukes released the Charleston and received over 50,000 requests for seeds. In a copy of "Science Update" the ARS researchers pleaded "No More Requests Please". The Charleston performed well in all field tests for over 5 years.

    MORE ABOUT THE CHARLESTON... The charleston was selected our of hundreds of strains. The plants were kept in isolation for pure seed. "Home Gardeners will like this variety because it doesn't take up as much space as other Cayenne varieties" says Phil Dukes. 'It only grows about 15" high and produces about two pounds of fresh peppers per plant. The rainbow colors start out yellow green, then golden yellow, bright orange than to deep red when it ripens. It is about 20 times hotter than the typical Cayenne (about 70,000 to 80,000 Scoville Units) and can be grown anywhere in the USA'."

    I grew these from seeds I saved from last year - we'll see if they grow true, or hybridize.

  11. Ancho - "This heart-shaped chile is used to make chile rellanos and is often dried & ground into chile powder. It's called Poblano when used fresh, Ancho when dried. Highly requested."

    I grew a bunch of these a few years ago and dried them for use in soups. Very flavorful.

Here is the diagram of the Trays A &B.

Seed Collecting for 2007
01/04/2007 @ 0900

My seed collecting started last fall,  with help from friends and readers who either sent me seeds, or directed me to a new tree.  The lineup for this year, with the trees I'm trying for the first time marked:

Kentucky coffeetree
sawtooth oak
Eastern redbud
osage orange
poncirus trifoliata (hardy orange)
Northern catalpa
Chinese scholartree
magnolia (bigleaf, umbrella, and star(?))
goldenrain tree

Welcome to 2007!
01/01/2007 @ 1000

Welcome to the growing season of 2007.

 Things have changed around here in just the past few weeks. All the land around our plant has been sold to a group who wants to build either commercial units, or possibly a casino. All the land has been cleared, and they are starting to fill. I hope we aren't flooded out in the first big rain. Plus, some of my planting boxes are on their property, so hopefully they won't do any surveying and fencing and force me to move.

This year looks to be interesting, with some new seeds and another try at some old favorites. 

I had pretty good luck with my hops last year, with Cascade and Chinook yielding enough for a batch of beer. This year, with the rhizomes better established, I hope to get Centennial and Glacier as well.

And hot peppers: as usual, I will be growing way too many hot peppers. I smoked some last year, which I have been using for sauces and soups, and I hope to do more this year. My basement is full of hanging dried pepper plants.



Welcome to "The 2007 Growing Season," the story of the 2007 Trees from Seeds tree garden. This column will provide you with a regular update on the status of this year's crop of tree seedlings.

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Last updated: 01/08/2008 10:30:11 AM