JoAnn's blog

What's going on: Grow Shelf, Outdoor Beds, Flowers.
Posted on Oct 6, 2014 9:04 AM

Right now, I only have 2 things on the grow shelf. A friend gave me a bunch of broccoli & cauliflower seedling, but I don't they're doing too good. They've been under the lights for almost 2 weeks and have barely grown at all. Unfortunately, he's not the best gardener in the world. I think I'll just plant them outside & see is they survive. There are at least 5-6 seedlings in each 3" pot. I really can't use that many, so I'll just plant the entire pot & remove all but the strongest one.
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When I ordered on pepper seeds from Buckeye Pepper Company, , they sent along some complementary seeds for Bulgarian Giant. Never grown leeks - never even ate leeks. My Mom grew up on a farm & they grew leeks, so she swore she'd never eat another leek in her life!! So, I'm giving them a try. These are suppose to grow really HUGE!! I'm not sure how they'll work here in hot, humid New Orleans, but I'll give them a try. I've started them under my new grow shelf and in a week or so, they'll be ready to go outdoors.
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Let's see, what's happening in the outdoor beds. The 2nd planting of purple hull peas are just starting to flower. I think I can get at least one picking before cold weather kills them, or I need the bed to transplant my onions:
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The Thai peppers are still going strong. These were purchased as transplants. Were SUPPOSED to be habanero pepper. That's why I put in the grow shelf & will start my own seeds next year. These little buggers are so very hot. I was giving them away to a Thai couple I know, but I kept having requests for a super hot pepper jelly, so I made one with these. 1 cup chopped Thai to 2 cups chopped red bell peppers. Even though I make it, I refuse to taste it. My eyes water just stirring the pot!
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Onions have been seeded outdoors for transplanting and are coming up:
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Texas 1015, Red Creole, Isikura and Crimson Forest Bunching Onions, both planted together in the same bed.

And I know the beds need to be weeded. Those little seedlings are probably having a hard time competing with the weeds. That's today's job!

My little kumquat tree is loaded with fruit. Even though it's only about 4' tall. I plan on keeping this no more than 6' tall with a lot of pruning. Can't wait for December/January to get those little golden gems. Makes a great Kumquat/Habanero marmalade:
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Flowers: Spring & fall are are great time for flowers in New Orleans. Let's see what I have blooming:
Epiphyllum strictom Night Blooming Cerise: Thumb of 2014-10-06/JoAnn/bf11d9

Butterfly GingerThumb of 2014-10-06/JoAnn/996136

NOID Desert Rose. This is my oldest. I've had it about 8 years. Thumb of 2014-10-06/JoAnn/d86a4e

Giant elephant ears. At least 9' tall, with leaves 3' across. Gotta thin them out some. Anyone around New Orleans want some? Thumb of 2014-10-06/JoAnn/36caf1

Some sort of crinum. I've divided this thing up so much & it just keeps blooming & blooming. Thumb of 2014-10-06/JoAnn/cf4dbf

Naked Ladies, red & yellow are blooming: Thumb of 2014-10-06/JoAnn/5aaa18 Thumb of 2014-10-06/JoAnn/d5ee81

Well, this has been a long blog post. But a lot of stuff is going on.

Happy Gardening everyone!!


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Potato Onions and Leeks
Posted on Sep 26, 2014 8:47 PM

I ordered some Green Mountain & Yellow Potato Onions from ebay on Last week & received them a few days ago. The seller threw in a small pack of Bulgarian Giant Leek seeds. Leeks are one of those things I've been meaning to try, but never got around to. But these leeks are the biggest things I've ever seen: I think I probably need to get those seeds in the ground right now.

I guess I should also plant the potato onions now. Here's a pic of the onions I received. Green Mountain on the right & Yellow on the left. There really is an appreciable difference in size.

Watered my onions seed beds, planted 5 days ago. On the lookout for any sprouts and I thought I saw some green, but I don't want to be optimistic. Also planted some of the Bulgarian Giant Leek seeds that were given to me when I bought the potato onions on eBay. I've never grown leeks before, never even tasted them. My Mom grew up on a farm where they grew leeks & she hated them, so they were never in the house. We'll see what happens.

I'm excited about the potato onions I ordered. I probably need to get them into the ground in the next few weeks. I'll probably use one end of the onion beds since the growing needs seem to be similar. Here's a pic of the potato onions I received. Green Mountain on the right & Yellow on the left. There really is an appreciable difference in size.

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Onion Seeds Planted Today
Posted on Sep 21, 2014 6:56 PM

Finally got all my onion seeds into the ground today. In previous years, I've purchased transplants from Dixondale and they have been great. The only problem is they're kind of expensive if you're only buying a few. I tried growing some from seed last year & it was pretty good, so this year I'm going all out with the seeds. Here's what I've planted

Texas Grano 1015Y Supersweet Onions. A yellow, sweet onion. I had pretty good luck with this one last year so I'll give it another try.

Red Creole Onions. A red, sweet onion. I use a lot of red onion in a certain pepper jelly I make for sale at a farmers market. And red onions are much more expensive than the yellow ones. So I just grow my own. Plus they make fantastic onion rings and are great on sandwiches.

Ishikura Onion. A bunching, green onion. This is my go to variety for green onion, scallions, bunching onion, whatever you want to call them. A nice size, very white stalk with tender green leaves. I use a lot of green onion in my cooking so this comes in handy. I found out last year that if you leave about on inch of stalk attached to the root, you can replant it & get another plant. I did that & kept green onions until the weather turned brutally hot.

Crimson Forest Bunching Onions. This is a new one for me, a red bunching onion. Supposed to be dark red to purple. We'll see how it comes out and how it tastes. Just to add a little color to my dishes. I think I'd love to see red onion in some scrambled eggs!!

So that was all of my work for the day. At least in the garden. The bulb onions will probably be ready to transplant to their final bed sometime in December or January. I'll follow Dixondale's advice for spacing & fertilizing. I've had really good luck the past 2 years doing it that way. Last year, I planted in January and harvested in May.

The bunching onions will stay in the bed where I seeded them. I'll cook with any that I have to pull for thinning. All of the beds have a mixture of some really nice homemade compost & aged chicken manure. All seeds were scattered over a damp bed & then covered with about 1/4" of compost/manure mixture. Should see some sprouts in the next 10 days to 2 weeks.

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New Grow Shelf
Posted on Sep 18, 2014 6:13 AM

I started preparing my grow shelf for germinating & growing my seeds. I'm using a single shelf in my indoor storage room, approx. 4' x 18". That room gets kind of chilly in the winter, so I wrapped the shelf with one of those emergency blankets. Figured that would keep the heat in, plus maybe bounce a little more light around. I'm using 4 t8 bulbs in 2 fixtures, Spectralux 901616 - Fluorescent Grow Lights. I'll use a warming mat to germinate the seeds.

I think I'll have to watch out for heat buildup. A thermometer yesterday showed 92 degrees inside, although I know it'll be a little cooler come winter. If it gets to hot, I can always open the front flap. I may need a very small fan in there for some air circulation. Last year, I had some problems last year with aphids or something, so I'll keep an eye out for those.

I decided to try better with my grow shelf this year. I have a small garden & grow a variety of hot peppers. Previously, I had no problems finding the 8-10 transplants I needed at the nursery, but last year, all the plants were mislabeled & I didn't get what I needed: those labeled a habaneros turned out to be Thai peppers. So I'm just going to grow them myself this year.

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