Growing Season 2010
Germination Report
06/05/2010 @ 1500
It's been hot and dry the past week or so and I've been checking the trees while watering. 

The first seeds to germinate were the honeylocust. Next was the Kentucky coffeetree. I was surprised to see the Sibereian Elm is coming up, and just today a wisteria popped up. So far so good.

The hot peppers are settled in and are getting larger. More heat!


Tree Planting Day 1
05/20/2010 @ 0800
This year I planted a little late, earlier than last year, but I've been pretty lazy this spring, and.....well, you know how it goes.  The weather has been wet, but we've had a few hot days and I think things will go pretty good.  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 4 trays of seeds this year, so far.

I have only one "mystery" seed this year - I remember collecting them, but I can't remember what they were, or what they look like, or anything else. Getting old. We'll see what happens.

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. Ginkgo - boy, do these things stink. My neighbor has a beautifully shaped tree, but the fruits are a little much, especially when they get onto my driveway and I hit them with my bike. I love the trees, though; there are several streets here in Wilmington that are lined with these guys, and when they turn yellow in the fall they are something to see. I collected these particular seeds over near the Gibraltar mansion - the trees are a nice columnar variety and I have a little one growing (4 years old) at my office.

  3. 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 a good seed for beginners or kids, since they always come through. I'm growing a lot for a friend who wants to try a hedgerow this year. As usual, I left the fruits in a ziploc bag over the winter and just poured the mush into a strainer when I wanted to collect the seeds.

  4. Siberian Elm - Most elms have spring seeds, but these are fall. There is a small tree in a park near my house, so one day I toted a ladder over there on my shoulder and collected some seeds. First time for these bad boys.

Tray B:

  1. Poncirus - Hardy Orange - My goal for 2010 is to get one of these to survive over the winter. 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. 

  2. Lilac - I was up in Vermont last fall for a cider festival, and found some seeds hanging onto a lilac tree outside the house where I was staying.

  3. Rugosa Rose - I got a new supply of these from my friend's house in Maine last fall. I tried these last year, and got nothing.

  4. Mountain Ash - I found these last year in Maine. I don't think I've seen them around Delaware.

  5. Korean Dogwood - from Rockwood Park near my house. A lot of the native dogwoods suffer from anthrocnose around here, but these seemed to be in good shape last fall. 

Tray C:

  1. Northern Catalpa - haven't grown these for a while, and I want to see how they do at my house. They grow here at my office, but are stunted except in one wet spot.

  2. Persimmon - spotted this tree in Bellevue State Park, near the stables, last year and collected a bunch of seeds. Just shoved these in the dirt. I scored a few.

  3. Lilac(?)  - well, I think these are lilacs - the city is planting them as street trees. I think the species is Himalayan lilac, based on the white flowers and that these are 15-foot trees.

  4. Redbud - no mistaking these seed pods.  I scratched the seeds with sandpaper just before planting. I usually scarify them this way in the fall, but didn't last year.

  5. 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.

  6. Linden - I've never had any luck with these, and I'm not even sure if they are American linden, or littleleaf. Usually either the fruits shrivel up into a rock-hard ball, or they are total mush by spring. These were still soft and I could pick the seeds out easily.

Tray D:

  1. Wisteria - I collected from a great trellis wisteria at Bellevue 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. I built a trellis last year for another climbing plant, but it isn't going very fast so I think I'll put a couple of these in with it.

  2. 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. A bunch of the seeds were hollow, and some little bugs crawled out. I remember collecting late in the fall last year, so apparently the bugs made their home over the winter.

  3. Hornbeam - I found these on several good-sized trees on the Greenways trail between Bellevue State Park and Rockwood Park. I've never had any luck with them before; maybe this will be the year.

  4. Ginkgo - boy, do these things stink. My neighbor has a beautifully shaped tree, but the fruits are a little much, especially when they get onto my driveway and I hit them with my bike. I love the trees, though; there are several streets here in Wilmington that are lined with these guys, and when they turn yellow in the fall they are something to see.

  5. Kentucky Coffeetree - I love working with these giant seeds. This year I scored them with a hacksaw. I have a 16-footer here at the office I planted about 6years ago, and a 2-year-old one at my house. They get big, so it's tough finding a spot for them at the house, but I have some big trees with problems and these might replace them.

  6. Mystery.

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

Pepper Planting Day
05/13/2010 @ 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. The last few years I covered I covered the planting beds with landscape cloth to keep the weeds down, but didn't have any this year - last year's got a little torn while preparing the beds. I weeded the beds, put 2 bags of manure into each planter, and turned everything over well. Nice soil after using the beds for 5 years. 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
03/20/2010 @ 0900
This year I got my pepper seeds started right at my traditional time, close to 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 fluorescent 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, the catalog is a lot of fun, and I recommend them. I do not receive anything from them for this endorsement.

  1. Pumpkin Habanero - "A beautiful Pumpkin Orange/Yellow Habanero. Don't let the name fool you..this is a 9.5 on the Pepper Joe heat scale. This smaller plant is easier to grow and harvest. This beautiful pepper from the Chinense family is a must-have.I've had trouble ripening habaneros here in Northern Delaware, so I like to try a new variety each year.

  2. Atomic Starfish - "A beautiful Pumpkin Orange/Yellow Habanero. Don't let the name fool you..this is a 9.5 on the Pepper Joe heat scale. This smaller plant is easier to grow and harvest. This beautiful pepper from the Chinense family is a must-have." I grew a bunch of these a few years ago and they made a very nice hot sauce.

  3. 5-Color Marble - "You harvest tons of these novel Hot Peppers in an explosion of fancy colors. From cream to white to yellow to purple to orange and then red. This gorgeous plant is the real show stopper! Very beautiful and very different. Compact growth makes it perfect for container gardening. You can grow this as an ornamental pepper as well. " I pickled a bunch of these last year, for sandwiches and just general eating, but haven't tried them yet.

  4. Bahamas Seafood - "Direct to you from the sunny shores of the Caribbean! Some things just belong together like bacon and eggs, ham and cheese. Our Bahamas Seafood Pepper spices up your fish, shrimp, scallops, crabcakes, oysters & seafood chowder. Also great with lighter meats like chicken and pork."

  5. 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." These are great peppers for drying, smoking, or making sauces and jellies. Hot and fleshy, but not hot enough to kill.

  6. 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." These are great for container growing, and can be brought in for over-the-winter color.

  7. Pakistan Chunky - "In the Middle East this pepper is a main staple in their spicy dishes. The 3 plants are loaded with these hefty, thick skinned dynamos. It grows like a weed and is disease free. I love to roast these on the BBQ grill, peel off the charred skin and marinade in olive oil and use as a great spicy topping on almost anything." This is a new pepper for me, but it sounded interesting.

  8. Yellow Jelly Bean - I grew a bunch of these a few years ago and wanted to try them for hot sauce. About the size of a jelly bean, but they are hot.

    ...Also known as the Naga Pepper. This is the one you heard about. THE HOTTEST PEPPER IN THE WORLD at 970,000 Scoville Units out of India. And what a great tasting Pepper too!! These Original and Heirloom seeds are the finest available. There are many rip-offs and imitations, especially on Ebay for up to $12 and $15. My seeds were field tested for years and are sheer perfection! It's been a long 4 years coming, but we believe this is the finest Ghost Peppers available today. It is genetically superior to most other and comes with an 100% money back guarantee.
     I grew some last year, tasted one, and am still recovering. Very hot. You should look on YouTube for videos of the Australian guy eating one of these.

  10. Long Red Slim - no description, free seeds, good experiment.

  11. Hot Banana - no description, free seeds, good experiment.

Here is the diagram of the Trays A &B.

Seed Collecting for 2010
03/02/2010 @ 0800

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:

Kentucky coffeetree
sawtooth oak
osage orange
poncirus trifoliata (hardy orange)
Northern catalpa
Chinese elm
goldenrain tree
goldenchain tree
thorny honey locust

Welcome to 2010!
02/28/2010 @ 1000

Welcome to the growing season of 2010.

Well, last year was disappointing at Trees From Seeds - lack of time, bad weather, too busy, the usual excuses. 2010 will be different, I hope.

I did some repair on my pepper boxes this year, replacing rotting wood and using the strapping machine from work to temporarily secure the most unstable box. The hop trellises at my house are ready for action, and I've enlarged the home garden to try some peppers at home.

The land around the office that was sold and clear last year is still vacant, and we are still here. The plant might be moving within a few years, but we are safe this year.

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

I had a hop blight in 2009, hopefully not the same one that wiped them out the year before. If it returns this year I'll have to save some rhizomes and replant somewhere else.

And hot peppers: as usual, I will be growing way too many hot peppers. I made some interesting hot sauces and pepper jellies last year, and I hope to do more this year. My basement is full of hanging dried pepper plants.



Welcome to "The 2009 Growing Season," the story of the 2009 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.s.

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Last updated: 06/03/2010 03:32:36 PM