Thursday, June 26, 2014


So I didn't plan on having tomatoes this year...or maybe I planned on having 2 plants.  I somehow ended up with 6.  I blame Roberta. We went to the Sunshine Community Plant sale together (as we always do; and just like every other year we both are like "only 4 tomatoes" and end up with 8).  This year has been a very good tomato year (sorry Lori!).

This is a picture I took when the plants were all producing at the same time (except for the Early Girl).  In this photo, clockwise from upper left: Blue Berries, Cherokee Purple, Japanese Black Trifele (center), Dwarf Arctic Rose (bottom center), and Chico III.  I should point out that the very green looking Purple Cherokee is the size of both my fists together.  And I'm pretty sure I don't have carny hands.

As of today, I have harvested the following amounts from each plant:
Blue Berries: 180 (I'm very happy with this plant and recommend it)
Cherokee Purple: 13 (I like the taste of Black Krims a little better)
Japanese Black Trifele: 26 (I don't like this plant at all)
Dwarf Arctic Rose: 5 (a very short patio plant)
Chico III: 59 (but only 30 of the plants haven't had blossom end rot - do not grow in a grow box.  The fruit is okay, but the skins are very tough.  Most definitely a sauce tomato.)
Early Girl: 2 (meh, but I also planted this one very late - the most "traditional" taste of all of them)

Since the plants did so well at the beginning and are now looking extremely sad (especially the Trifele and Chico which are in the grow box and have horn worms), I don't necessarily feel bad about not keeping them alive through the summer. (Disclaimer - I say this now, but I notoriously can't say no to a plant which is TRYING to survive.)  I have decided that I'm going to try to take some cuttings of the Blue Berries and Cherokee Purple tomato plants and get those started now so I can plant them for a fall harvest - I even went and bought rooting hormone which is like totally crazy.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sprouting Pineapple

After reading Claude's blog post about growing pineapple from the tops, I decided to give it a go.  The first pineapple I had didn't sprout any roots (I think it was actually "cored" even though it didn't look it), but the second did grow roots.  And, after leaving it in a jar of water for a month or so, I finally planted it in a pot.  This isn't the first time I've grown pineapple, only the first time I 'sprouted' it myself.  The last plant died during a freeze, so I'll have to be sure to not take any chances with this one...

Other plants that can be grown from parts include Celery (which I have blooming right now), Green Onions, and Cabbage

Ginger and Garlic can be grown really easily, though you'll have to give up some of your edible part to get them going (whereas with the linked plants, you're growing the part that you throw away, or it's a part that isn't that big of a deal if you don't eat.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Attracting Butterflies to the Garden

How to attract butterflies to the garden:
1.  Plant Gregg's Mistflower.  The mistflower I have in the back (i.e. full sun) is blooming right now.  The mistflower in the front (i.e. dappled sun) isn't blooming, nor will it until the fall.

2.  Plant Butterflyweed.  Oh my God.  This plant is ALWAYS COVERED in aphids.  But! Aphids eventually bring lady bugs and lacewings.  And, of course, it is the host plant for the monarchs, and they need as much help as they can get.

3. Plant Dill, Parsley, or Fennel (though I've found that Dill works the best).  When it blooms, it brings the bees, and until it does, it will host all those swallowtail caterpillars.  And eventually, you'll find a few of these on other plants (the swallowtails sure like to travel to a different location to pupate).

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 2014 Wide Angles

At the beginning of the month, we join Heather at Xeristyle to show off the wide-angle photos of our yards.

From the Neighbor's house.  I'm really digging the hell strip.  The purple flowers are Horsemint, the yellow ones are mostly santolina.  The white plants are Artemisia.  The cat is the neighbor's (Princess), and the man is my husband (trying to get out of the photo)

Closer in - this is the Berm Bed.  The Purple Puff balls are Peter's Purple Monarda, the yellow are Englemann's Daisy, the purple spikes are Horsemint, and you can just make out one of my heart-shaped cactus pads (in the front right), and the Echinacea in the back of the bed.  The tree in the planter by the door is my Avocado tree (grown from a pit) which came back from the roots after this winter.  I would have left it in it's original spot, except I planted a Desert Willow in that spot because I figured there was no way the avocado would survive the winter we had.

From my driveway.  The Mexican Feather Grass is starting to look a little iffy.

The hell strip.  The neighbor who lives next to us told me the other day that he really likes the hell strip right now.  We'll see how he feels when the horsemint stops blooming.

The Rose Bed and Far Hell Strip.  The yellow/orange flowers by the sad-looking Dr. Huey rose are Zexmenia, the white is Blackfoot Daisy,  I also have some Larkspur and Thyme in this bed.  The Hell Strip on this side of the driveway currently features Prairie Fleabane (white), Blanketflower (red/yellow), and Dahlberg Daisy (yellow).  It also has a bunch of weeds and seeding poppies.

And around to the side yard:
The Passionvine.  Which I have to occasionally pull off of the neighbor's gate.

Looking through the our giant brush pile.  My long-term plan is to fill in the low spot where the brush pile is, and maybe put in a hammock.  Because I'm now obsessed with hammocks.

The panoramic from the deck.  Also featuring the brush pile.

The panoramic from the other side of the deck.  Featuring the electric box.  Seriously, the grasses can't grow fast enough.  I've added a bird bath in that corner, I haven't seen any birds in it, but I have noticed water missing from it every once in a while, so it's probably being used.  Again, the purple poofs are Peter's Purple Monarda.

June 2014 World Photo