Sunday, January 31, 2010


My plumeria is not dead. I wasn't sure how it was going since it only had two leaves left but all three stems have started growing new leaves again. One of them more than the other two but that's still good.
Keys: Keep it near the light and keep it watered.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sasafrass Season

The sassafrass will be flowering this month which means it's time to go look at what I believe is the local tree. This will further confirm that I have identified it corectly and let me know when to go back again to collect seed. Hopefully there is another one somewhere in the area that I just don't know where it is.

On the potting front there is still no sign of anything coming up. It's only been a couple days though so I'm not too worried. I also haven't bothered to look up germination times for anything.

Coming up is the Hunger moon since it is the next to last moon before the vernal equinox. As most of us know in the northern hemisphere this is a time when very little is growing and withouth the local grocer we might be having a hard time finding food. It's a great time however to plan the bed and prep for the coming growing season! I have an expansion in mind but again I will have to chop down a tree.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Seed It

A competition is on among some seeds in one of my pots. A variety has been sown and I have no idea which seed will be the victor.
In the one corner we have citrus, a good grower and great to make refreshing drinks.
In another corner we have rose of sharon which I have yet to see grow anywhere in any of my pots. The do however make very nice flowers. A real underdog.
In a third corner we have fresh banana seeds. There are a lot of them but since I didn't bother looking up how to plant them I have no idea if they even have a chance. They are wonderful in sandwiches and of course banana pudding.
In a fourth corner there are blueberry seeds. They may like the acid from some of the banana mush that was planted along with their seeds but then it might not keep them going. Blueberry scones are of course one of the tastiest things on earth especially with fresh whipped cream.
may the best seeds win.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Life Always Goes Back to Citrus

I can't help myself I guess. Give me a citrus seed and away I go.
Today I got some more seeds, clementine and grapefruit, and promptly peeled and planted them in some extra dirt. not many people have extra dirt but what else should a self acclaimed gardener have?
I have dirt in my desk, in my truck, in the green house, out front of the house and a few other places around town that I can get to easily in case of emergencies.
Another of the already planted citrus sprouted this week at the office but I don't know how well it will do with the other citrus in the pot. I should probably transplant one or two of them to their own pots for plenty of room.
My lemon tree on the other hand lots one leaf. I guess it has to happen some times.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dumb Cane Revival

The dumb cane at work has gotten fungus gnats which were introduced to the office through one of my coworker's new plants she brought to put in her office. It's not her fault that they were in the dirt it just happens sometimes. I saved the plant from the dumpster and have placed it outside the house in hopes of killing off the gnats. The plant itself is still doing well even though it hasn't gotten any water in over a week except for some rain today. Even today I doubt it got much since it's partially under the roof overhang and the gutter catches most of the water.
I will probably repot it soon and check again for the gnats. Hopefully it can be salvaged but I don't really want to spend any money on the problem so I'm just going to wait.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Basil in Cooking

Today I had a fresh pizza baked in a wood fired brick oven. It was crispy and hot. The cheese bubbled and formed a thin skin on top sealing in the flavor. The basil was just too much.
Don't get me wrong, I like basil but it's not a pizza topping. It is a sauce ingredient at best and only if used sparingly.
I have in my deep freeze a bag of pesto cubes. They are the result of harvesting my basil plants the season before last and it only takes one cube to flavor an entire meal of pasta for four people which goes really well with fresh baked bread.
Fortunately I still have a living basil plant for garnishing which is very different from layering leaves on top of a pizza for eating.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I have been told many things about cooking plantains but no one agrees which is the best way. Personally I like them fried with sweet seasoning but that's probably because I haven't had them sauteed or boiled or many other ways they have been described to me.
Recently I have been told to buy them green and boil them and eat them kind of like potatoes.

I've tried to grow banana plants before but never with any success, probably because I never got around to putting them in the ground like many other plants that I get from who knows where.

I really do need to remember to plant things in the ground.
EXCEPT FOR THE LILLY! It's lived too long in a pot for me to bear doing anything with it. Who knows what will happen if we ever move. I'll never remember where I planted it.

Spreading Out

There are just too many places for people to garden. Everywhere I look there are vast open spaces that just sit there, many of them ugly and a mess and they've been this way for years. Likely the land owners don't want liability in case someone chops a finger off or some such thing but the likeliness of something like that happening is so unfathomably small that it shouldn't even be a factor.
I'm not talking huge crop farming either, just plot gardening with hand tools and a little elbow grease. Not only would it cut back on the amount of mowing and ground keeping, since the garden would be tended, but it would look better too.
Looking around at people at the mall or driving along in their cars I doubt that there would be enough people who wold care to take them up on the offer even if it was there. People in this city just don't have the roots that make gardening worth it. The average time spent in one house is less than a year on average. Some of the more permanent residents have their own gardens already or aren't as interested.
In some of the surrounding cities it would be more likely to have a centralized gardening area since more of the residents are less transitory and have roots and ties to their neighbors. For most community gardens in nearby cities there seems to be a group already who just want a little more space and a place to get together. Gardens tend to be from twenty to fifty people and tended by a fairly small reigon of people but there still aren't very many compared to the population.
The hot months in Texas don't make it any easier. Daily watering is a must for any garden to survive and if it's too far to go every day then it's hopeless unless you have someone watering for you.
In short there probably won't be a centralized garden any time soon unless people start setting down their roots and making a home and learn to rely on eachother for getting things done. In today's society that alone seems nearly impossible.
It could happen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter produce (I ate part of it)

Besides the sweet potato which I already ate there are a lot of plants still doing very well in my garden.
For instance there are a few garlic plants still sprouting green tops and some even splitting. This one is splitting into four garlic cloves.

The onion is doing the same although not as impressively as the garlic. I think it just doesn't want to steal the show.

The cabbage likewise is forming multiple heads. Maybe four but I might thin it a little to make sure all of the heads have room to grow.

The beets are still growing and the foliage which withered a little during the cold has sprung back up and growing well again.

I don't know what kind of lettuce this is but it, along with several others, is doing great. We recently had a rain and you can see some of the drops still on the leaves. Mind you there is still a little bug damage but I don't think they will be bothering it again for a while.

My strawberry plants are shooting off new leaves again. If I keep them protected further then I expect to have a good early crop.

I don't really care for leeks but they seem to grow anyway. The french people, and I know this becuase I read it in a book and asked a real french woman from France, love leek soup. Of course it's not just leeks in a pot of water but neither is tomato soup just a bunch of tomato in water.

Cilantro grows like weeds. In fact these are currently classified as weeds since they are growing out of the specified area for cilantro to grow. There are also cilantro plants across the yard and driveway. Possibly some too in my neighbor's yard across the street. Who knew?

Lastly is the monster carrot. Thst is my hand in the picture. This carrot was the only one to get bigger than my finger and it got a lot bigger than that as you can see. I think the ants had something to do with it though.

This isn't the best picutre in the world but if you click on it you can see the detail and the little sugar ants crawling inside the cracks. All I can say is that at least they aren't fire ants!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Still Growing

Even though we had some really cold weather, a large portion of my plants didn't seem bothered by it. The cactus had some damage but all in all has survived the frost and the herbs and veggies I still had out all live and are perking back up with the warmer weather.
I've been helping out the wife with some crafting she's been doing (see her blogs) and have come up with some neat items. So far it's mostly practice but we plan to build some boxes from scratch and decorate them with various things.
For some reason the turmeric isn't producing any new leaves and the older leaves are shriveling. Looks like it's dying but I don't know why. I'll try putting in more dirt since it looks like it's lost some.
Lemon tree is doing well as is the kaffir lime tree. Neither has grown any inside but they haven't lost any leaves either. The last of the key lime trees isn't doing very well. They all froze and only one still has any green to the stem. That's probably why it's called a "key" lime. A little cold here. Oh well, maybe next time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Arctic Texas

I don't know what is up with this weather but I don't like it. Temperatures will be falling into the teens and stay below freezing for some time. This means I have to find a place to put the cactus that my cats won't bother. I don't want a vet bill for taking out stickers.
Likwise my lemon tree, basil, beets, lemon grass, split leaf ivy, and who knows what else I'm forgetting will all have a new home somewhere inside for a few days.
This along with crazy overtime at work (not complaining), a recent funeral, and trying to get a non-profit garden off the ground, my life is swamped.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Snow Dead

I admit it's not as catchy but I hope it stays that way. I don't want anything else catching cold. I have gotten a positive identification on my cactus plants, two of which will probably not make it. They were so pretty too.
Anyhow, what lived will still live and what died will rot and I quote, "on it's way to being black slime." I always wondered where black slime came from. Can anyone tell me where a gelatinous cube comes from? That can't be a natural shape for anything.
I talked to a relative who lives a bit south of me about my lemon tree and he assures me that it should produce within the next year or two. his trees are about ten feet tall and they produce so well that he doesn't want to trim the limbs except for the ends. Unfortunately several of his other trees died recently and he had to chop them down. So is the cycle of the tree.