My Experiments

Potato Box potatoes
Potatoes tried Fall 2010: All Blue (planted 4, harvested 4), Purple Viking (planted 2, harvested 4), Red LaSoda (planted 6, harvested 12)
Potatoes tried Spring 2011:  White Kennebec (planted 4, harvested 2), Red LaSoda (planted 5, harvested 10)

Growing Quinoa
Tried Fall 2010: Fail - 3 plants, 6" tall
Tried Spring 2011: Fail - epic
Tried Fall 2011: Fail - 6 plants, 6" tall

Growing white pumpkins
Tried "Casper" spring 2011:  25% success rate sprouting, plant died, no pumpkins

Growing sweet potatoes
Tried Spring 2011: planted 4, harvested 16.

Growing peanuts
Tried Spring 2011:  Not bad - but only got a handful of peanuts (only planted one, so I'm not surprised).  The biggest thing to remember is that the plant needs to fall back to the ground for the peanuts to actually form.

Growing culinary ginger
Growing every year since Summer 2011.  Rousing success.  2014 was the first time I had too much to replant and gave some to my neighbor, my sister in law, and my coworker so they could grow ginger themselves.  I just follow the directions here:  Tropical Permaculture.

Growing Saffron
Fall 2012:  Failure.  The bulbs may have done better if in the ground, but I didn't want to plant them in a location where the cats could get to them since they cause kidney failure in cats.

Growing garlic
Every year since Fall 2009.  Rousing success.  I particularly like Burgundy.  Roberta has has great success with Inchellium.  She also gives her garlic a good compost tea or seaweed or fish emulsion soak every month...and she always plants it on time whereas I'm much more lackadaisical in my timing.

Making seed starting pots
I tried using old toilet paper rolls - it worked, but not very well - they were too tough for the roots to go through after they were planted.  I haven't tried egg shells yet, though I would suspect it would be same problem.  I think the best have been made out of newspaper...and of course after I bought a newspaper seed pot making doohickey, I decided I'd just use the plastic 4" pots since I have a billionty of them.

Growing popcorn
Spring 2010 - pretty good.  I only planted 8 kernels, I got enough for one serving of popcorn (and if I hadn't been so dumb, I may have gotten two servings).  I still haven't popped any of it, so maybe it was a crap shoot.  I don't know.

Start seeds in a wet paper towel
Various years - good success.  This is my go-to way to sprout old seeds - that way you're not over planting a 4" pot, but you're also not wasting too may pots with seeds that may or may not sprout.

Growing Lemon Balm and Nasturtiums to repel the dreaded Squash Vine Borers
Various years - it doesn't seem to work.  And I've just given up on growing squash.  It's not like it's THAT expensive at the farmer's market.

Growing Tomatoes/Peppers/Eggplant from seed
Spring 2008: Failure on all fronts
Spring 2009: Got a handful of Thai Peppers from seed
Spring 2010: Got about 10 very bitter green bell peppers.  I started a bunch of tomato plant seeds, but gave them away. Eggplants produced 2 edible eggplants.
Spring 2011: Red Demon plant went crazy (150 peppers), Eggplants produced 3 edible eggplants, Cayenne pepper produced a handful, Black Krim produced a few tomatoes.
Spring 2012: Black Jalapeno did well.
Spring 2013: Black Krims and Romas did well.  Planted Red Demons in a pot, but had to hold them over to the next year.  No eggplants started from seed this year.
Spring 2014: Orange Fogo finally did well enough to produce peppers, Red Demon held over from last year producing. No eggplants or tomatoes started from seed this year.

Collection and subsequent planting of Agave pups
Agaves work pretty well - just be sure to have enough of a base for roots to start.  Yuccas don't work as well...but then I've never had good luck pulling enough of the roots out to keep the plant alive.  Succulents have been working really well and I've been propagating like mad.  Cacti are easy enough - just need a pad.

Growing purple cauliflower (the seed packet I got includes white, purple and romanesco cauliflower)
Failure...always failure.

Growing Carnival Mix carrots
Carrots are so very hit or miss...mostly miss for me.

Using tulle bags to protect developing tomatoes
Haven't done this one yet.

Attracting Hummingbirds
Plant some hummingbird plants (like Turk's Cap), and put out some feeders.  Voila! Hummingbirds!

Making a Homemade Grow Box
You can read about that here:  Grow Box.  The grow box is still being used (2014), but the metal wire has since broken.  I may be able to get one or two more years out of it before it's done for.

Growing Black Jalapenos:
2012 - pretty damn good.  Not a super producer like the red demon, but pretty damn good.

Making some Ollas
Don't know yet, but you can read about the project here:  Fall Planting and Homemade Ollas


Anonymous said...

Does cauliflower actual grow in TX? Just seems like you have no luck on them- maybe they aren't meant for a different climat. - dani
Ps I giggled with fail-epic'

katina said...

@Dani - yes, they do grow (others have great success with them), but I think they're just too finicky for me. Tomatoes are finicky, but they mostly just want consistent water, which I can do - I think cauliflower need more consistent weather and fertilizing which I just don't do.

Of course - most people don't grow the purple variety - varieties that are different tend to be even more finicky than the original plant.