Saturday, March 12, 2016

Around The Garden Today...

Broccoli flowers

A little before noon, this male cardinal came to visit my cardinal bird feeder.  Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone with me at the time and I was standing too far away AND I couldn't see anything on my screen so I aimed it haphazardly.  The result had to be cropped in order to see the bird, but the quality of the picture is really poor :(

So I went to get my better digital camera and, while I was gone, the bird had flown away but his missus had taken its place.  She remained standing on the other side of the feeder the whole time, though.

 I had the extremely good surprise to see that, despite the lack of rain in recent weeks, EIGHT of my pineapple plants are flowering... which means that I should get 8 pineapples this year.  Yay! This is the first time that I have ever seen a pineapple "flower".  Have you ever seen one?

The little bean plant that reseeded itself in the old bean bed hasn't grown much, possibly because it's a pole bean plant and I haven't provided it with any support yet.

But the other one that reseeded itself in one of the cement blocks that is the border of the bed is already flowering! I was thinking about replanting beans in that bed, but you're not supposed to keep planting the same plants

A couple of my tomato plants survived my neglect and the winter (ha!  we really didn't have a winter!) and the extreme dry season that we're having and are presently flowering.  I refilled the bins (they were almost empty!) to reward them for being so resilient!

I was astounded, a couple of weeks ago, to see that a couple of my lettuce bins were full of little lettuces that had replanted themselves!  This is truly an unexpected benefit of my having waited so long to harvest/cut down the lettuce that had gone to seed this past winter, so yay for laziness and procrastination, no?!  I'm letting them grow but I'm also going to plant more seeds in the same pots, in the bare spots.

The little red serrano peppers were cute but I left them on the plant way too long so they're actually all puckered and dried up. I plucked them and threw them on the other side of the pot. Tomorrow I'll bury them, in the hope that some of them will turn into more serrano pepper plants, à la lettuce.

The collard greens were a huge disappointment this past winter as they never grew to the size of their cousin from the previous year.   I think they were lacking in nitrogen, probably.

This small kale plant is the only one that grew. This year I'll grow it in a self-watering bin.  In the meantime, I need to harvest this one and us it in a small batch of "zuppa toscana".

As reported a few days ago, the broccoli plants grew but remained very leggy and really didn't produce anything but this tiny head of florets. I really can't use it for anything but I'll harvest it tomorrow and throw it in the broccoli soup that's on the menu.  The broccoli greens can be cooked, I believe, so I'll look up a recipe for them.

The Japanese Ichiban eggplants had 9 flowers last time I checked up on them, but the heat coupled with no water in the bin means that most flowers fell to the ground. I refilled the bins with water today so we'll see if they produce more eggplants this year.  Greg hates them but they're at least pretty to look at...

My red canna plant is growing again but it really needs a new pot.  I have a couple of large plastic pots that sit empty so I might try to repot it.

The small lemon tree has grown some although it's a very slow growing tree. I planted it 4-5 years ago and it's still only a couple of feet tall. However, it's in the very back of the yard so I never water it.  Which might explain why it's not even flowering this year...

Our orange tree keeps on looking horrible, without much foliage. I never picked the oranges that grew. In my defense, they taste horrible. I was going to turn them into marmalade but I got lazy. I still have a jar of it from last year, I think, since I'm the only one who eats it and I really should go on a diet so making more marmalade is probably not wise at this juncture. They don't look very good so I'll probably cut them off and put them in the compost bin :(  New orange flower buds are forming right now but if the rainy season doesn't start soon, I don't think we'll get many oranges at all!

The wild blackberries that are growing in the back of the property are flowering I think we shall have some this year although the birds and squirrels usually get to them before we can!

I cut the raspberry canes back a couple of weeks ago.  The one on the left (pictured here) is coming back nicely, but the one on the right is probably dead.  I only ever harvested about 4-5 raspberries (black raspberries) anyway.  They were delicious but raspberries aren't really good to grow in Florida, even though they sell them at Home Depot and Lowe's down here.

I was delighted to see 3 strawberries growing in my bins that I had moved to the western side of the house!  The squirrels will probably get to them before they ripen.  A lot of the plants have died back, but some of them are surviving. I added water to the bins, as well as to the planters were I had put the runners.

The 3 leeks that I have should be harvested. I might make carrot soup with them next week.  I want to plant peppers in those same bins.

The hibiscus cutting has  a lot more leaves this year and several new branches have grown and are forming flower buds right now. I've only ever had 1 flower at a time on this plant so it would be nice to see more of them flowering at once. I'm thinking this pot might do better in the front of the house where it's less sunny, but I'm afraid that I'll forget about it there.

I'm so pleased that the rose bushes didn't die!  I thought I had cut them back way too much but they're covered with leaves and I even saw this tiny bud on one of them! They were starting to die, though, because it's been so dry and I didn't make sure their self-watering pots had water.  So I gave them plenty of water today.  It's supposed to rain for the next 3 days but I don't trust the weather apps anymore so I decided to water everything today and if it rains tomorrow then the plants will be really happy!

My last great surprise was that some of my thyme seeds DID germinate. Hooray!  They only germinated in the portion of the pot that's at the southern end, where it gets shade in the afternoon and where the soil probably didn't dry up as much! I added water to it today.

When I was commenting on all these pictures, the gardening bug bit me again so I looked up some information that I had saved on my laptop about crop rotation and I came across the pages that I had scanned from the "Container Gardening" book that I had borrowed from the library last year. Yay!  So now I'm all excited about planting seeds again and if they don't grow, it's OK since I wasn't planning on gardening this season anyway :)

Seeds that I want to plant: Vegetables and Herbs
Mint (my mint is almost all dead!)
Peanuts (where I grew beans last season)
Kale (in self-watering bin where I grew tomatoes last season)
Swiss chard (same)
Pole beans (where kale/collard greens are right now)
Bush beans (in self-watering bin where I grew tomatoes last season)
Okra (where squash was last year)
Lettuce (in bare spots where it's regrowing)
Summer squash (in self-watering bin where I grew tomatoes last season), with lettuce growing at the corners
Peppers (in self-watering bins where the leeks are)
Brussel sprouts (in large planters) although it might be too hot for them now...

Seeds that I want to plant: Flowers
Roselle (in large pot on berm)
Sweet William

Seedlings/cuttings I need to transplant:
Basil (2)
Pineapple (2)

Plants I need to move to larger pots:

How are your gardening plants coming along?


  1. Thank you for a tour of your garden! I like your self watering bins and lucky you having 8 pineapples! My mother used to be able to get pineapple tops to root, but I've not been able to do that. Don't have the green thumb she used to have.

    1. I was very intimidated to start rooting pineapples because I just didn't understand the instructions and didn't know what to look for when they said to peel the leaves back until you saw the rhizomes (I think that's the word for the little roots that are forming). So my first try was a bust. But then I guess I got the hang of it and I've rooted 99.9% of all the store-bought pineapples that I have gotten over the past 3 years. I just twist the top off, then cut off any of the fruit that might be remaining on the top, and then start peeling the leaves from the bottom (where the cut is), one by one, until I can see some rhizomes. Sometimes it's just little buds, they look like seeds maybe. Then I put put it in a jar of water on my south-facing window. Most of the time it takes several weeks to start seeing roots growing and you have to keep on topping off the water (or changing it if it gets too murky). Since I'm lazy I just leave the tops in the water for a long time and several times I was surprised to see that a top that I thought was dead (because all the remaining leaves looked dried up) actually came back! Once the roots are strong (think several months), I plant each of them in a pot outside, changing pot size as the tops grow. Last year was the first time that I experimented planting them in=ground and I'm lucky that it actually didn't freeze this past winter. I didn't water them at all this winter and it's been extremely dry here, so I was very surprised and delighted to actually see them fruit yesterday! It takes 3 years for a pineapple plant to produce a fruit so you have to have lots of patience. I'm going to have to practice this too as apparently the actual flower won't appear for another 50 days (so that should be around May 1) and then it will flower from 20 to 40 days. According to a video I found, my plants should have fully formed fruit about July 2. Woohoo! I'm going to have to look up pineapple recipes.

      Also... I think you definitely have a green thumb! I can't believe all the varieties of plants you grow in your garden. I know you have help, but you also have a good instinct as to what grows well and where. That's something that I lack completely. I just sew seeds and keep my fingers crossed, ha ha.

  2. Love, love all the photos you took of your garden. No wonder you are excited about the prospect of starting again. Looks like you will have enough lettuce to start eating homegrown salads again. The leeks are humongous. There must be enough there for leek and potato soup. Yum. I like all your plans for rotating your veggie beds. Apparently last week while I was gone, they had an ice storm here. Power was out in several locations in Ontario. Hard to believe, but there is no snow here now. I have snowdrops and crocuses growing. It will be a long time before I can work in the garden, so I will enjoy looking at your garden and dream.


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