Monday, February 17, 2014

Vintage Seed Catalogue Covers

      I really love the look of old vintage seed catalogue covers. The artwork is beautiful, most seed catalogues today feature photographs but I admire the old floral artwork of past generations. I think I might get a few vintage covers to frame and hang on my wall. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi 'Variegata'

        Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi 'Variegata' is blooming indoors while there is snow on the ground outside. I was not expecting this plant to bloom. I got it over the summer and it didn't start blooming until I moved it inside. The flowers are small but are a nice orange color. What a nice surprise!

Tomato Talk: Determinate vs. Indeterminate

       Since soon it will be time to start your seeds indoors. I thought I would talk about tomatoes, which are my favorite vegetable to grow, well botanically speaking they are a fruit but you get the idea.

       Now you may ask what is the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato cultivars? They are all tomatoes right? The difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato cultivars lies in their growth and fruiting habits.

       Determinate tomatoes grow to a certain size and will not get any bigger. Determinate cultivars also usually set fruit sooner and most of the fruit is produced all at one time. Also another perk to growing determinate tomatoes is that they are smaller and require less soil; this trait makes them more suited for container gardening.

       Indeterminate cultivars on the other hand keep growing all season, set fruit later, and keep producing till frost. The photo attached to this post is of a Cherokee Purple Tomato I grew last season, which happens to be an indeterminate cultivar.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Look What Arrived in the Mail Today!

      The other day I commented on a post that was on the Botanical Interests Seeds Facebook page. The post was about growing poppies. I tried growing some Lauren's Grape Poppies and California poppies last year with not much luck. I planted them too late apparently. I should have planted them in the very early spring before the last frost. The Lauren's Grape poppies never came up and my California poppies never bloomed, very sad I know.

      Anyway I commented on the post about my past misfortunes with poppies and the owner of Botanical Interests commented below and told me to e-mail him and he would send replacements. So I was expecting just a pack of seeds in the mail and to my surprise I received a box that contained several different types of poppy seed, as well as a mouse pad, a calendar, and a note pad. Anyway it really made my day and I appreciated it very much, gotta love free goodies, lol.

      Botanical Interests is a great seed company. I have ordered from them for many years and have never been disappointed. Check out their site it's in my links of my favorite companies if your interested in them, they specialize in heirloom and organic seeds and they have signed the no GMO pledge.

Deer in the Snow

      I took these photos of two deer that took a stroll through my yard after we had a nice snowfall about two weeks ago.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter Protection

      So I have mentioned methods of winter protection before in the past but im going to briefly explain how I do this again for my plants that are not 100% hardy in my climate.

      Desert plants(Hardy Cacti and Agave) In my desert garden I cover my plants with old glass window panes, cold frames, or whatever I can find I am all for being creative and resourceful. I even use Bamboo from my bamboo grove to create a frame that I put clear window plastic over to help protect some of the cacti. Cacti and Agave hate wet weather many can take the cold but cannot do wet cold they tend to rot. So in the middle of October here in USDA zone 6b I cover up my desert bed to let the bed dry out and to keep the rain off before the cold sets in. I cover everything in 4ml window plastic to keep out the wetness.

     Hardy Palms With my hardy palms Chinese Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), Sabal minor, and Needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) I use this method. I use a large tomato cage put over the palm wrap the tomato cage in several layers of bubble wrap then stuff with dry leaves and or straw. Then I put a plastic heavy duty trash bag over the top of this and then use twine and tie tightly around the tomato cage to keep the plastic on. You will probably have to use duck tape or heavy duty packing tape to keep the bubble wrap from flying off if it gets windy, they can unravel. After established(after 2 years) the palms may survive without protection depends on your climate and moisture and the species of palm. Needle palms and Sabal minors are very hardy and more tolerant of moisture than other palms. Many palms can rot during wet cold weather. There is a group of Windmill palms in Bulgaria that have survived for many years unprotected in very cold temperatures, but these may be more cold hardy than many other strains of Windmill palms. It's all an experiment really.

Here are some photos of my winter protection from this winter.