pod's blog

The bittersweet days of fall...
Posted on Oct 4, 2017 9:37 PM

As the days grow shorter and work becomes seasonally busier I treasure the time I spend outdoors. Difficult to leave for work on time and that is not a good thing as the road is still being repaired. The drive time is longer with the distance to work now doubled.

This morning Stretch & I walked and I found I was dragging my feet about going indoors to get ready for work.

It started with an errant bloom laying on the drive. Carolina Jessamine. I have never seen this vine bloom in fall.

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I am fascinated by the bloom from the Shampoo (or Pinecone) ginger. It is taking on a reddish hue as the days grow short.

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Finally on Oct 3rd, the Hibiscus sabdariffa aka Roselle began to bloom. This morning there were two open blooms with many more buds in the future.

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Also in bloom on the edges of the drive were Echinacea

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And the color is more intense than the photo shows but a wild Salvia in a brilliant blue is in full bloom.

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So the weather is still hot and ever so dry. I am procrastinating on moving plants into the greenhouse. I wish for a slow soaking rain so I won't need to immediately begin to water in the greenhouse.
I hope there will be suitable time to move the mass of plants indoors at a later date.

One raised bed is full of the Roselle, a malingering tomato and some herbs. The lettuce is struggling to take off. It doesn't like the heat nor the shade I planted it in. Most of the Petite Rouge seedlings have died off. I have another batch started.

I need to decide which raised bed will host the multiplying onions this year. October is the time to get them planted. One raised bed is laying fallow and I intend to plant hairy vetch in it. The third raised bed still harbors the Jambalaya okra, one bell and one loaded Aleppo pepper. I am letting the Aleppo ripen and will remove the seeds and dry the sliced pepper meat. It will be flaked when dry to use as seasoning. I think this bed will be where the onions will reside till springtime.

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I have a plan... now I just need the inspiration.

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Reaping the raised bed harvest....
Posted on Sep 24, 2017 2:43 PM

I started sweet potato slips in April from a grocery store sweet potato. I planted them in a 4' x 4' area of a raised bed in May.

Well today I decided it was time to dig for buried treasure.

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I had a remarkable harvest.
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The larger potatoes will be cured, cleaned and stored in a cool dark pantry.
The smaller ones will be sliced and pan fried in olive oil with onions and seasoning.

Not a bad harvest from such a small area.

The Aleppo pepper has 7 peppers which are beginning to ripen.

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It shares the same raised bed with the sweet potatoes as well as three Jambalaya okra which are steadily producing. I have eaten some and filled a couple of quart bags in the freezer. Also tucked into this bed are lemon thyme, Spilanthes and basil. Oh yes, a meager redskin pepper plant which has delivered only one fruit.

Oddly I found the large and the majority of the sweet potatoes traveling to the south in this raised bed. I have a hunch I will find more sweet potatoes under the pepper and okra plants. I wasn't inclined to disturb their roots to day.
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Posted on Sep 21, 2017 8:33 PM

I have stumbled on a couple of interesting things with pineapple and want to make note of them to see if my success from last winter will continue.

I have a penchant for fresh fruits. I keep a couple of different compost piles and will toss the trimmings into the compost. Apparently I have enjoyed a few pineapple this past summer.

I found three rooted tops in one compost pile.
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I found two that had taken root in the other compost pile.

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Last year I had one top that rooted and knowing that it would not endure the freezing winter temperature dips, I had dug it up and potted it. It survived moderately well. During its' winter vacation in the greenhouse, I read about wrapping the root ball in moist sphagnum moss so as not to over or under water it. I gave it a try and when I removed it from the pot in the spring I was astounded at the large and healthy root system it had. I replanted it in the compost pile near its' origin. This summer it has grown abundantly. This is the second year pineapple.

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I will be digging it up and relocating it into the greenhouse as well.

With fall nearing, this evening I got started on the five smaller tops.
With a spading fork, I gently removed them from the soil.

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They all had small but healthy root systems.

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I used what was at hand for the containers for these smaller plants.
I lined the containers with moistened moss.

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Then adding soil which will be around the root ball of the pineapple plants.

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All five are now in their winter homes.

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And have landed in their winter resting place in the greenhouse.

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They were moved inside as we have been having pop up showers and my 'cheesy' containers would fill up with water drowning the pineapple plantation.

The container size I need for the 2 year old pineapple 'tree' will depend upon the root system. I will remove it first but am soaking the moss to plant it next.

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With apologies for the quality of the photos, I was running out of daylight and rushing to get these relocated.

Lest anyone feel the need to correct me, I am poking fun at myself. In talking to a friend that had lived in Hawaii, I was questioning him about pineapple trees. I meant the fields but as usual, put my foot in my mouth and walked with it. He will not let me live that one down...

To be continued....

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Hurricanes, rain and business as usual in east Texas...
Posted on Sep 4, 2017 9:16 PM

Well, the rain has stopped and the sun is out but after Harvey dumped 15 inches here, the humidity is oppressive. The mornings are cool but there is so much dew it is impossible to mow. By the time it dries, the humidity and heat make it grim to mow. I got the weedeating done this a.m. and hope to mow in the evenings when I get in from work this week.

Harvey also made the highway impassable so I'm doubling the mileage to work each day and spending more time on the road as well. The highway has split in half and is sluffing off down the side of a hill into the creek. This is the third time in 10 years. The bonus is no road noise. The woods are delightfully quiet.
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The bloom from the pinecone ginger (aka shampoo ginger) fascinates me. The blooms are tiny but when you squeeze the pinecone it exudes a clear watery substance that is viscous with a light fragrance.

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While visiting through my plants this a.m. I found this Sansevieria Cylindrica cutting had a baby.
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Picking the container up to inspect the little guy and I found it had two plants that are growing out of the drain ports. Amazing!

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Between the rain and the snails, the beans which had germinated are toast. Not sure if I'm willing to try again. I do have lettuce germination as well as cilantro, both for cool weather growth. This time of year inspiration is hard to come by. Feeling the pressure from work and short day syndrome.

One last share... my old canine buddy Stretch. Showing his age as am I.

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Successes, Failures and rain, rain, rain....
Posted on Aug 28, 2017 9:18 PM

Slow to add to the blog but as Fall nears, my time becomes more valued and my energy wanes.

Last weekend I planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans (excellent germination) and Strike beans (no germination yet), Spacemaster cucumbers, a winter crop of Cilantro and two types of lettuce. The Little Gem has not germinated but the Petite Rouge looks good. The timing was good as we are inundated with rain due to Harvey. But by the end of the week, the seeds and plants may rot with the projected rains.

I hate to do so but need to discard some of my older seeds or at least proof by a germination test. Seeds are cheap enough.

The blooms on my NOID Crinum have renewed my Crinum love affair. I have acquired a few new ones and am passionate about the old ones. The thread "Solving this Crinum..." in Texas Gardening forum

Each time I stepped out to take photos of a couple of plants, the bottom fell out. Photos just don't do well in the rain but here goes.

One of my inspirations this summer was planting three different bromeliads in coir baskets. These broms clumped freely and seemed to be likely candidates for this type of planting. I lined the inside of the basket will plastic with drain holes sliced in it. My thought was to retain moisture while is was so hot and dry.

So far, I will consider these projects a success...
Aechmea Orlandiana Reverse Ensign

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Aechmea Nudicaulis Rubra

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Neoregalia Ampullacea which is really outdoing itself with lots of pups. I am hoping this one will have plants grow through the coir. That would make an interesting display.

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We will see how they all overwinter in the greenhouse this winter.

Showing first bloom on the Shampoo Ginger (aka Pinecone Ginger). A passalong plant from Larry and Mary. This is not a good photo of the blooms as the rain is beating and bruising them.

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One of the Curcumas but I have no idea which one... putting on its' first new bloom.

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Can't stand too many days at home with the wet gloom. All I did was cook and eat and bake and eat. I would not fit through the front door if I stayed home and couldn't get out to work. Back to gainful employment tomorrow.

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