Drilling Down the Numbers

Happy Tuesday morning! Hope all is well in your piece of the planet. We had some rather warms days over the last week, I – for one – am happy to see the rain return, 85 degrees in early May was a bit of a shock for my babies out in the field. So much so, that some of my little ones are already putting on blooms – at less than four inches tall, there are blooms….not sure what this means for the overall health of the plant – maybe Carol Lee has some insights for me?! Not sure if I should tear them out and start over….which would be sad because they are Gomphrena that I purchased from plugs, and they looked so happy and healthy when I put them in — which I think was part of the issue, I put them in too early at April 21. I think they tend to like warm and dry, when I put them in it was chilly, and rainy for several days – and very windy. The fine balance of finding the right combination is always tricky!

I manged to get a four and a half hour stretch of time in the garden yesterday. It was almost nine when I came in for dinner! I’ve been a bit of a nervous Nelly waiting for the heat to subside, and for the wind to calm down….short of pacing the floor and biting my nails…I was anxious to say the least!

I planted a few of these at the end of row 1&2 to attract bees & butterflies. Not sure what they look like…but we’ll find out soon!

I manged to get 326 plants in the ground in that 270 minute time frame….which brings me to 49 seconds per plant. I obviously wasn’t just picking them up and putting them down, I was back and forth to the greenhouse, fussing over what goes where and what-not, but it’s always interesting to me to poke out the numbers. Drilling down on numbers has been a thing for me for a while…I happen to like spreadsheets and data, it’s not like it makes a huge difference knowing these things, but it’s always interesting to drill down on the numbers. Probably has something to do with my wanting to pick situations apart and analyzable things constantly.

Lisianthus at 6 inch spacing

By the time I finished with the row of 163, I realized I was going to need more room. Last year we had room for 1,300- in ten rows….this year I thought perhaps I would “cut it back” and do seven. We are back up to ten. We turned one of the 12 inch spaced rows into 6 inch spacing to accommodate the Lisianthus. The tenth row, was originally a 12, which holds 100, this year we turned it into a 9. All of these numbers flying around….it come down to this…we are at around 1,400 spots to fill now. Thankfully, many of them are already filled!

Last year I tried to direct seed some things, which didn’t go well the weeds over took it too quickly, so not all the spots were actually filled.

This year I have more then enough to fill those spots, so there will certainly be 1,400 flowers growing in the field. Let’s loop back around and see if I can do this math… 1,400 at 49 seconds each…works out to be about 19 hours of planting time into the field….that doesn’t count the seed starting, the watering, and the bumping up to bigger containers for the better of the plant. Thankfully, I was a bit smarter about it this year, and was actually able to break up that 19 hours over the last few weeks. I might pay for it in a higher mortality rate because some of the things might not survive being out in the field so early. We shall see how it goes. I haven’t been keeping track of the mortality rate this year so much as last, this year, I just go out and check the field. If there is something dead, I fill the hole with something that is doing well, and is hardy – usually a Zinnia.

I’ve enjoyed utilizing the greenhouse more this year, on the days it was rainy with periods of cloud and sun I was careful to have the windows closed so it warmed up in there nicely. It felt good knowing there were things “cooking” and working even while it was rainy/chilly. I’ll probably utilize the greenhouse for my two little Eucalyptus that actually grew this year, and possibly Celosia, but we shall see where that puts me for space in the field. I also did a better job at succession planting this year, so I would say so far things are better than last year. Indeed, we do learn from year to year, it just isn’t as obvious in the moment – what’s the most important is that we improve based on those learning moments. I’d say I don’t feel as dumb this year as last!

Hope all is well with you. Take care, be safe & well. Hopefully I will have time to blog about the new to me flowers that I’m so excited to see in the field. I need to be careful of my expectations though, I’ve noticed that some times my expectations are so high they get dashed—the tulips being my prime example this year! Hugs to you!

2 thoughts on “Drilling Down the Numbers

  1. I’m a numbers person, too, so I enjoyed your math. You are correct in assessing that the gomphrena probably wanted more heat. Move it down on your plant-out list for next year and put them in just ahead of celosia & zinnias. For now, snip off any flowers. They will take a while to recover from the cold, but eventually you’ll have nice flowers again. Gomphrena is not hard to grow from seed if you remember it needs total darkness to germinate, and heat. I think you will love the agastache. I grew that rose one for several years. Nice scent and heavily flowered stems. Hummingbirds and butterflies love it. Pink/rose is not my color, so I grow one for all my deck containers that is a soft orange called “Tango.” Looking good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all the info Carolee! Thankfully I did plant gomphrena by seed and had a decent germination rate, I think there might be 30 out there still cooking in the greenhouse! So it’s not a total bust yet!

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