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Y2K: How To Garden In The Dead Of Winter!

With the new Millenium fast approaching, and another Christmas almost over, I can’t decide rather I should worry about all the Y2K rumors or laugh them off.

It often makes me wonder if the entire world is worried about the year 2000.

I worked in retail sales at the beginning of this year and it was funny to see how people were scurrying around to purchase tons of water, canned goods, and camping supplies, just in case the world as we know it suddenly comes to an end, but I doubt if this will happen.

What I’m Growing

Anyway, as you may have guessed, with my greenhouse, I’m ready and prepared for any diaster……well, that is, as long as it doesn’t destroy my greenhouse!

With a wood burner inside, I’m sure to be toasty warm, just in case we have a power failure, and then there’s the situation with food.

So many fresh vegetables will grow in a cold frame, and although I’m certainly not a vegetiarian, I can survive on vegetables.

As for the rest of my food supply, I have tomatoes growing in my greenhouse, along with various herbs and other edible plants.

In your Y2K diaster supplies, you should add a couple nice thick rolls of plastic and some wood or PVC to make a “instant” greenhouse, just in case!

A very small house could be heated with kerosene……or wood, or even a BBQ grill should it become necessary, and who can refuse fresh vegetables?

Another idea is to house chickens or rabbits inside of your small cold frame.

Not only do they fertilize everything, but they produce heat, and although it may not be enough for your tropical plants, it would certainly keep some things alive, and give you meat to eat.

What I’m Germinating

I will be spending this weekend germinating more exotic and tropical seeds, expecting the new year to proceed just like all previous new years.

One joy that I did get this week was the emerging seedling of a Canary Vine.

I had started the seeds weeks ago, and had almost thought nothing was going to happen, when suprise, here it poked its head up.

It always amazes me the way seeds germinate….one day it seems like nothing is happening and the next day you have a small seedling.

Other plants on my germination list this week included Passifloria Incarata, Passifloria Caerulea, Clitoria Ternatea (“Butterfly Pea”), Gloriosa Rothschildiana (“Glory Lily”), Cananga Odorata (“Ylang Ylang”), Clianthus, Acacia Nilotica (“Gum Arabic”), and Pimenta Dioca (“Allspice”).

As you can tell, I have been quite busy, and I might just say, I have learned a lot this week about these various seeds and germinating them.

Germination Information

Pimenta Dioca seeds should be planted 3/8” deep in a mixture of a sandy, loam type of soil.

These seeds require bright light, and must be keep warm and damp.

They also require high humidity, and must not be kept too wet.

Cananga Odorata seeds need bright light and constant warmth.

There germination is very slow and may take up to five months.

Plant them 1/2” deep and keep the soil slightly moist.


Gloriosa Rothschildiana tubers have always mystified me because I could never get one to grow, so I decided to attemp to grow this plant from seed.

These seeds must be planted 1/2” deep in a well draining soil mixture.

The seeds need bright light and must be kept warm and damp.


Clitoria Ternatea is another plant that I have desperately wanted to grow, but either couldn’t get the seeds to germinte or lost them once they did germinate, but now that I know a bit more about how to germinate the plant, maybe I wll have better luck this time around.

These seeds need to be covered very lightly with a sandy/loam mixture and require constant warmth and high humidity.

They also need bright light and must be kept damp.


Finally, I finished up with Acacia Nilotica.

These seeds required a lot of work, but I know it will pay off.

The seeds must be pre-soaked in boiling water, and I chose to change the water several times so the contianer was filled with fresh hot water, for twenty-four hours.

Once this step is completed, the seeds must be planted at 3/4” deep in a potting mixture.

Then, they must be kept warm, damp and in bright light.

Should worse come to worse this year, and the Y2K situation destroy life as we know it, I will just put all my tropical plants around my wood burner and carry on.

Until next week, happy gardening, and have a safe and happy holiday season!



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