Ranunculas

Branching Out

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Here are some photos of hypnotic blooms on tall, strong stems. The elegant Italian ones are outside my kitchen window on our balcony, and the flowing, colourful beds of Tecolote are at our cabin. I still can't believe they are real. It was amazing to grow these.
 

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Branching Out

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I had another batch of ranunculas sitting in the basement in the dark to pre-sprout roots, and when I checked on them about five days ago they looked just fine. Really! Then today I pulled them out to check on them and ackk!! Holey Moley. Not only have they sprouted vegetation, but they are all leggy and kind of yellow. I checked my notes, and these ones were pre-soaked exactly 4 weeks ago; in future I will aim to plant them out after no more than 3 weeks of sitting in the cold and dark to pre-sprout.

The weather will not be good for planting them out for at least five days, so for now I moved them outside and put them in a sheltered spot with two layers of row cover. That way they will get fresh air, and have a chance to become accustomed to the light (and hopefully stop stretching, and green up). Their tray was very dry as well, so I gave them just a little bit of water. Ranunculas don't like to be sitting in water, but you are not supposed to let them dry out either.
 

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Branching Out

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After I soaked them the ranunculas corms on February 8th they spent two weeks out on the deck in the cold and dark to pre-sprout roots. Then last week I brought them in to a slightly warmer spot (10C/50F) near a bright, south-facing window for seven days. When I dug down a bit in their trays I could see that most of the corms had roots sprouting, and a few were even starting to push up green leaves. The photo may not look very impressive because most of the growth is underground-- but if you look carefully in the bottom right corner a little bit of vegetative growth is evident. Apparently it is important to transplant them before they have four leaves, or the plants will be stunted; that happened with some of mine last year. Temperatures are forecast to be above freezing going forward, so it seemed to me that these little guys were ready for life outdoors.

I managed to get most of them planted out in the garden this afternoon. I added some dry organic fertilizer, bone meal, and oyster shell meal; the bone and oyster shell meal are in supposed to give them strong stems. They say that the biggest mistake people make is to water them too much, so I didn't water them at all. There is enough moisture in the soil here, so I am going to leave the irrigating to Mother Nature. I still have one tray full of corms to plant; if the weather is nice tomorrow I might plant them, or I may hold that tray back for a few more days to see if that makes for stronger growth.
 

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Branching Out

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They next stage of growth will be like watching paint dry, where not much happens and at times you wonder if they are even still alive. I suppose the ranunculas will be busy putting down sturdy roots, so they will be able to support the tall flowers that will bloom about 90 days after planting. If all goes well I may get a few blossoms by Memorial day!
 

Branching Out

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I planted a dozen or so ranunculas in large patio containers, and they are literally erupting from the soil like small green volcanoes.

Today I will plant out the last tray that I have been pre-sprouting.
 

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