Newbie questions

Paul McCarthy via pbs
Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:14:32 PDT

I joined PBS about a year ago and I'm relatively new to horticulture
generally. The PBS wiki is an amazing resource for individual species, in
addition to the "how to grow bulbs from seed" guides. However, I still have
a few questions that I can't seem to find the answer to, despite those
great resources, and I'd love any advice from folks with more experience.

I got a bunch of amazing seed from the fall 2020 BX/SX 471 and I planted
most of the stuff I got immediately. I'm in the Mission area of San
Francisco, in zone 10b, so I mostly got South African stuff that would do
well in my climate here in SF. I now look back and see some of my rookie
mistakes (4" pots aren't deep enough, slow-release fertilizer is probably a
bad idea for seedlings, writing labels even with "fade resistant" sharpie
is a bad idea, etc.) but overall I've been pretty happy with my progress,
for a first-timer. After germination I moved most of the pots into a cold
frame that got a few hours of sun a day. As the season progressed, it got
more hours of sun per day, such that it was in full sun all day by Feb or
March. But still with our mild temperatures (it rarely gets below 50 or
over 70 here) and with the lid to the cold frame always propped open an
inch, my temperature logger inside the cold frame showed max temps of 85 or
so on the sunniest days. Growth looked good. But then we had unseasonable
heat on April 1 (85F!) and the cold frame got up to 110F briefly when I
didn't prop it open far enough. Ouch. Things got brown after that.

I had been prepared for things to "go brown" for dormancy in summer, but I
think that day I really fried them, and they wouldn't normally have gone
brown so quickly, especially in this mild climate. Should I stop watering
them now and put them in full shade, or part shade? Do I treat the
amaryllids differently and still give them water once a month or something?
Was I wrong to have them in full sun, even in my mild climate? Even if I
hadn't made that mistake of frying the plants on a hot day, I was still
unsure about how much sun to give them in their first year, and when to
expect to stop watering them. Is the dry dormancy period in the first year
usually about 6 months? Or 3 months? Should I have pricked out the freesias
into individual growing pots, or maybe just sewed them more sparsely? So
many questions!

I have attached 3 photos but I am really unclear on how the email list
photo attachment system works, since it seems that half the people who send
emails intending to show a photo don't actually end up with the photos

Thanks to all the seed donors and seed exchange coordinators. It's an
amazing operation and I'm so glad to have joined.

 - Paul
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