I guess that depends on your definition of "starters." This represents 42 crosses. My signature used to state "You can't plant them, if you don't cross them!" (my system doesn't provide a signature now.)
<<That's a lot for starters, Betty! >>
It might help to know about the past four years.
When I get a chance to expand some colors or patterns, I have to go for it. In some cases, I'm trying to develop new lines. (still) In other cases, I'm combining lines. The 42 crosses represent several areas where I've been a bit lax in recent years. I've not worked on plicatas much for several years and there are eight crosses in this group. Probably more plicata seeds than anything else, over a quarter of the total. Lots of variegata crosses and red selfs. Eight crosses with 'Renown.' I was just happy to be able to make the crosses.
It's unlikely I'll be able to get them all planted this coming spring. I do hold them over. I plant according to my own priorities and some may not get transplanted at all if I decide the cross isn't what I need.
These are mum pots, approximately 8 x 5. Shallow. Twenty-five years ago, I was getting them used and free from a nursery--mums that died. They don't dry out as fast as the smaller pots. I cover the area with black plastic so grass isn't a problem. The plastic also holds some water and helps keep the soil a little wetter than usual. The chicken wire keeps the animals out, except mice, and can stay until the seedlings are rather tall. Once the pots are frozen, I'll put a straw cover over the whole batch. Letting the soil freeze first will keep the mice out!
I aim for approximately 25 seed per container. If I have a 35 count it could go either way--if it's a really important cross I'll break it down into 2 pots, but otherwise up to 35 will usually go in one pot.
This year I'm trying something a little different (for me) in that I've spread out the seed so there's distance between each. I plant all seeds, but I don't always transplant all of the seedlings from one cross. I want to be able to remove a seedling without disturbing the others. In the past, I clumped the seeds, but I'm tired of digging the entire batch and having to reset the left overs in the pot. I don't usually pitch any at this point.
Last fall, my routine was messed up and I had to put the straw on the pots too early. Mice bedded up in my pots. When I was finally able to check them in mid March, I was just thankful they'd left most of my seed even thought they'd moved them around a lot!
We all develop systems that work for us.
From: Cordesview <email@example.com>
To: iris-photos <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 2:27 pm
Subject: Re: [iris-photos] HYB: seed pots
Oh my goodness! That's a lot for starters, Betty! . . . oh, and I know you're not "just starting!"
What size of pot do you use??? I've been using 4" square plastic pots (they line up better in the ground, without gaps for weeds to grow and wasted watering) pots for TB's and 3" square pots for Medians.
On Dec 1, 2010, at 7:16 PM, Betty Wilkerson wrote:
<2010 seed crop_I.jpg>
Donald, the last thing I want is seedlings sprouted before the cold weather! I'm not about to drag them into the house! Shouldn't have to worry now. I can put the straw cover on them this week.
Here's a picture of PART of m y seedlings. Seventy Six pots contain 1670 seeds, mainly TB's. They line the entire side of my shed. I'm running out of space.
From: Donald Eaves <email@example.com
To: iris-photos <firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 2:57 pm
Subject: [iris-photos] HYB: seed pots
I chuckled when Betty said:
> I've been watering my seed pots (76) each day during this past week to try
> and keep the soil cool enough to hold off sprouting.
and again when Griff said he was soa king seeds to plant. Everyone develops
their own methods, I guess. I planted directly out of the pod and stowed
the pots in the fridge until I began taking them out at the end of
September. I water in the hopes they WILL come up. Have about 50 seedlings
up. The tedius bit of it is bringing them in when the weather threatens
temps too cold. There are about 94 pots I've had to drag in and then take
back out (photo is prox half). Too many! Some are holdover pots, but some
of those won't be brought in unless something shows up. All but one pot
contain AB seeds. I'm definitely not chuckling about several containers of
TB seeds soaking, but I like to have some TB seedlings growing at the same
time in the same beds as AB seedlings. The one TB beepod I planted only had
4 seeds, so I'm doing it. Since they haven't had the fridge cooling, I
shouldn't have to tote them in and out.
Texas Zone 7b, USA