After reading the postings from Jim McKenney and Mary Sue Ittner on pot culture, I thought the List Members might appreciate the article reprinted (with permission) below. It was published in the current issue of The Daffodil Journal and was written by Delia Bankhead, chairman of theADS Miniatures Committee for many years. There is a photo illustrating her observations but I haven't received it yet. When it arrives, I'll attempt to post it to the wiki. Linda Wallpe Cincinnati -------------------------------- The Advantages of Open Ground vs. Pots for Miniatures Delia Bankhead, Hendersonville, NC I have been growing miniatures for about thirty years. Mostly, I have grown in raised beds with 8" x 8" timber borders, and have planted the little bulbs in plastic berry baskets to keep them confined, and to assure that all are found at lifting time. I just dig out a row, level the bottom, place the baskets, and half fill them with soil and a layer of sharp sand before placing the bulbs. I cover the row with soil from the next row. Some of the ones that must be dry all summer are planted in heavy duty black perforated orchid pots and sunk in the miniature bed so that they can be lifted without too much disturbance to the soil. (Berry baskets "leak" too much soil through the summer to lift them intact. However, the berry baskets, being so much more open, produce better bulbs than those in the orchid pots) I put the pots I lift in the shed until September, when they go back into the beds. For several years, I tried growing about half the bulbs in pots that were not sunk in soil, but in a protected frame with a gravel base. I used the same type soil (a gritty compost) as is in the bed. But when I dumped the pots, the bulbs were much smaller than those of the same cultivar that had been in the open ground, and the roots were thin and few compared to the ones from open ground. This was made stunningly clear to me when I received some bulbs of 'Crevette' that year, and the contrast in size was remarkable. The skins on my bulbs were a rich, shiny russet, and those from Jim (Welles) a dull brown. I had no more doubts about the best way to grow miniatures in a reasonably temperate climate. (Zone 6b-7a at 22oo degrees elevation, with the average winter lows at 15 to 25 degrees F.) I have found that miniatures in Divisions 1,5, and 6 enjoy a cooler location---they actually like cold weather, and don't do as well in warm climates. I put these in the coolest location I have. So I suspect that Southern growers might do well to plant these divisions on a north-facing slope. I probably should give my miniature tazettas some protection from cold, but they must do as best they can in my open beds, albeit at the southern end. They manage to flower reasonably well, though generally with fewer florets than others grown in warmer places. ----- Original Message ----- > > Message: 4 > Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 16:16:45 -0400 > From: "Jim McKenney" <email@example.com> ................... > I was intrigued to read that you grow everything in pots - until I completed > the sentence and you mentioned balconies. Although I've been growing > geophytes for decades, I took pot culture seriously only very recently. The > results so far have so encouraging that I don't hesitate to recommend pot > culture to other grower/collectors. > No doubt about it: I know my pot plants much better than I ever knew those > growing out in the garden. >> ------------------------------ > Message: 8 > Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2006 15:13:40 -0700 > From: Mary Sue Ittner <firstname.lastname@example.org> > Subject: Re: [pbs] Introduction .................... Still there are > some things that are so much happier in pots when you can more easily pay > attention to what they need to do well. Adding them to the garden often > means you are biding them farewell.