Perennials: Soil Mix Round-Up & Potting Up Plan

Rigorous Research! I love it.

This afternoon I was collecting perennial soil mix recipes in anticipation of the bare root perennials and plugs I'll be receiving in the next 3 weeks. I'm talking about astilbe, dicentra, alstroemeria, baptisia australis, anemone (japanese), sedum, buddleia, peonies, chasmanthium, and heuchera. It's not formatted to great or anything, but next post is a list of what I found, along with the source, in case this is of interest to you. Me, what I do is collect the recipes; assess what I think of the source, compare the recipes to what I happen to have on hand (right now it's a big bag of perlite and one small bale of coco peat, and soon it'll be a bunch of compost as well); do some research on local sources, quantities, and prices of the other ingredients; calculate the quantity of mix I think I'll need, and then price it all out and prepare my final orders.

I'm only a couple steps in at this point, but I plan to get it all done this week, so I can procure it by next week, so I can be ready for those babies!

Right now my plan is to build some bumps (flexible pvc ribs) out from the north side of the house on the porch. The plants will be potted up into 1 and 2 gallon pots (and maybe i'll experiment with a few extra big sized soil blocks just for fun) and clustered together, hopefully soaking up some of the heat the house releases during the day. I'll build a plastic wall on the west edge of the porch to protect from that strong wind we get.

I'll cover the pots with heavy row cover or frost blanket (I need to check on the light filtration of that), and I'll cover the ribs with HH plastic (I need to get some advice from Kido and Devin on plastic grades, and spec that out from Jeff & others). I'll sink the poles into soil in cinder blocks, and use cinder blocks to weigh down the edges on the cement below the porch. I'll also use heavy clips to keep the plastic on the ribs and around the edges.

The house will shade them a lot of the day in the early spring, but we get a lot of western light. I should probably measure the hours of daylight (which means a] keeping a notebook by the kitchen window to jot it down, and b] asking my husband the solar engineer about cheap sun-assessment tools). In any case, they're perennials, which have been "hibernating" before they've gotten to me. In their natural habitat in the ground they'd just stay asleep until conditions were right. So I'm hoping that as long as I can protect them from the absolute low temps they each specifically can't tolerate (I'm looking at you alstroemeria), the cold weather and small amount of light they'll get will keep them asleep or veerrrry slow growing until the weather warms up.

I may not get to plant them out in the 6-8 weeks normally prognosticated, BUT I'm not planning on having them be harvestable/salable this year anyway, so I'm not worried if they don't get in the ground in time to bloom this year! These are perennials baby, and I'm planning for the long game.