2023 Field Notes

Aster -- Callistephus chinensis -- Miss Europe Resist and Valkyrie Mix


Sown 4/2
Germination 4/5 (3 days)

Germination counts
4/5, 4pm: 1/3 (4)
4/6, 7am: 5/16 (21)
4/6, 2pm: 9/30 (39)
4/7, 7am: 16/40 (56)
4/7, 6pm: 21/40 (61)
4/8, 8am: 26/41 (67)
4/8, 6pm: 28/41 (69)
4/9, 8am: 30/43 (73)
4/9, 8pm: 33/43 (76)
4/10, 7am: 35/43 (78)
4/11, 7am: 36/43 (79)
4/12, 7am: 40/43 (83)
4/14, 7am: 44/44 (88)

Split germination numbers above are for varieties Miss Europe Resist (full tray 72)/Valkyrie Mix (58 of a 72).

4/4 -- Two varieties sown into two 72s. One variety took up the entire tray, the other most of a tray. The one that took up most of the tray shares space with some extra Gomphrena seeds, since they share conditions and germination temperature ranges. Used potting mix, sown one per cell, 1/8" deep per instructions. Bottom watered immediately thereafter and will continue bottom watering as needed, likely every other day.

4/6 -- Germination already! The packet says 10-14 days, it took only three for the first to germinate. Counted three thus far, one in one tray, two in the other.

4/8 -- Germination continues, a bit unevenly between the seed types, which is interesting. Valkyrie Mix is about 67% germinated already, while Miss Europe Resist is about 40% germinated. Sowing method, watering schedule, amount of available light and heat are all basically identical. We'll see if Miss Europe catches up.

4/11 -- Germination has pretty much stopped here - heading to around 80 Asters, all of which do look good. For the record - two years ago, I sowed 60 and it looks like I got 38 total germinated, enough to fill a 38. I did note that these kept coming into the third week of April, so we'll see what happens with this group. Percentage-wise, 38/60 is only 63%. This year, so far, I'm 79/132, which is...60%. It helps to read old notes and realize that while you aren't doing better than 2021, you're not doing worse either!

4/14 -- These look good, are growing well, and, similar to two years ago, new ones keep popping up periodically. Up to 88 total now, which is exactly 2/3rds germinated.

4/24 -- No real issues here - gave them both some water with fertilizer yesterday, and many are getting big. Some are smaller, which is very similar to my experience with these in 2021.

4/30 -- All good with these, they're getting quite big and look healthy. There are a few of them that are smaller for sure, mostly in the Miss Europe Resist variety. Overall the Valkyrie Mix variety has fared better so far in the greenhouse, but only slightly.

5/25 -- 50 (?) of these into a 4x8 bed, using 9 inch grid spacing. Split the difference on the recommended 6-12" spacing - from having done these two years ago, I think this spacing will work nicely. I did them further apart two years ago and there was plenty of room for more in the bed. Alternated the five rows - three of them are Valkyrie Mix (so 30 seedlings), of which I had more (and frankly better looking) seedlings, and the other two rows (20 seedlings) are Miss Europe Resist. Watered them in using the phosphorus-rich fertilizer. These will need horizontal support, but I'm still working on how to best do that, and will plan to add that support in the coming week before these get too much larger.

6/9 -- All good here, these are growing nicely. Getting ready to install horizontal trellis, although the plants aren't large enough to need it just yet.

6/25 -- These are growing beautifully, poking up now through the horizontal trellis.

7/2 -- No complaints here! These have honestly done SO much better than two years ago when I did these for the first time. Proves experience matters, I suppose. Spotted the first flower bud yesterday, which is in-line but a slight bit earlier than the first bud from two years ago (which was July 6). I did have to help guide some of them through the trellis, as they were pushing it up. But that was easy.

7/2 -- That first bud is right on the verge of becoming a flower, and has been joined by...many buds. This should be quite the display in the relatively near future.

7/11 -- These are basically full-on now. Purples, pinks, yellows, going to be quite a display.

7/23 -- Beyond having to replace one random one of these that decided to kind of keel over, these are great, making many flowers and looking good.

8/5 -- These are still doing well, but seem to be starting to slow down a bit. My 2021 notes indicate that these were largely done by the end of August...so that timeline makes sense. This crop is considerably better than the 2021 crop, though, so we'll see what ends up happening!

8/25 -- These have definitely started to fade out, as anticipated. Not really producing many new flowers and I'm seeing some plants done for the season.

9/2 -- These are...done, for sure. No new flowers and the flowers that are left are looking very tired. This matches up exactly with the timing two years ago, so no surprises here. I'll likely be pulling these over the long weekend.

9/3 -- Pulled all of these (around 45), left the two that still were doing...something. But I'll be pulling them soon enough tool