Brussels Sprouts Stalk, Close Up

This Brussels sprouts stalk was ready for its close-up! I planted seeds in my raised row bed garden last year and months later, am seeing healthy results. I’ll soon remove the tops of the more mature stalks so that my currently small sprouts will become much bigger. Frankly, I’m just happy seeing that the seeds I planted successfully germinated! I’m amused with how excited I still get with any kind of gardening success. I’ll be planting more Brussels sprouts seeds in another part of the garden in September. It’s a good thing I love to eat Brussels sprouts! Even so, this sturdy, vigorous vegetable is aesthetically pleasing as well.

Informative video on this topic, by Gary Pilarchik (2014) is posted here:

 

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Caged: Thornless Blackberry Plants

I was fortunate to have a few hours tonight after work to tidy up my large containers of thornless blackberry plants. Using some of the remaining chicken wire (stucco netting), I caged them up. No fancy stuff here, just cut the chicken wire to fit around the inside of each container and securing them by bending the cut ends into makeshift hooks. I then carefully lowered them into the containers.

The task was challenging because 4 out of the 5 containers were root bound so I could not move those containers. So, it was a matter of detangling the multiple canes to know which canes belonged to which container. Aside from the weeds, surrounding the containers are a few canes that came through the containers’ drainage holes, enjoying the uncaged life – freedom! Several blackberry flowers have emerged so I’m likely to enjoy these fruits this season. The next challenge, of course, will be the trick of removing cages as needed come harvest time – steady hands!

 

Black Krim Tomato Plant, from Broken Vine is Fruiting

Last season, my one Black Krim tomato plant grew vigorously in the ground, where it has remained to this day. But during last season, part of the vine broke off. This broken part did not have any tomatoes yet, but I decided to plant it as a stand alone in a 5-gallon container with potting soil.

Happily, this plant is now fruiting. This is an easy way to propagate tomato plants. Simply plant them into potting soil and water enough to keep moist a couple of times per week.

I’ve already eaten several pounds of Black Krim tomatoes from the parent plant and it’s only early June, so I imagine that between the parent plant, this one,  and separate Black Krim plant taken from another piece of broken vine and in its own container, I will be quite awash with just these tomatoes. I’m waiting to see if other varieties will take in my raised row bed garden.

I’ve not decided if I will eventually transplant them into the ground since they seem happy in their containers. Certainly, this season, they will remain in their containers, now that they’re fruiting. This is shaping up to be a bountiful season.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Partly Red Lettuce, Unknown But Cherished

It’s bound to happen (and probably not the last). Around 2 weeks after I plant seeds in my raised row bed gardens, I see if they have germinated. If they have not, I make a decision on planting more of those seeds or perhaps plant seeds from an entirely different vegetable or fruit. Well, I no longer have the empty seed packet (likely from seed I’d kept from previous years), but I now have a few of these rather strikingly lovely partly red lettuces. A variety of butterhead perhaps?

This year, I’ve had to replant several seeds (birds regularly feed in my garden), so my raised rows may end up with a rather fun and eclectic mix of “Hey, you made it!” and “I was expecting you!” Sounds like a rather interesting party!

Thornless Blackberry Plants, Thriving

They were small, neat, and tidy when I bought them, honest! But these thornless blackberry plants are enjoying their sunny location a lot. I’ll have to figure out how to get them a bit more tidy-ish. No use to move the containers as they’ve firmly rooted through the containers’ drain holes and have sprouted new shoots  inches and feet away directly into the surrounding soil. This gives me hope that I may get some blackberries this year. I’d shared some cuttings with a friend, but looks like I’ll have to share with even more friends before I’m through – not a bad problem to have!

Brussels Sprouts, Season 1

I’m pleased to see that the seeds took to my raised row bed garden! It’s my first attempt at growing Brussels sprouts, and assuming that they like where they are, these lovely plants will eventually produce the sprouts that I dearly love to eat. I am tempted to harvest a few of the leaves, though. They look so enticing in the sunlight, don’t they?

Western Fence Lizard

Not exclusive to fences, I’ve noticed a pair of western fence lizards hanging out on the sunny wall around my thornless blackberry plants. They seem to be enjoying life quite a lot, making note of when I water my plants! It’s their mating season now, though I don’t know if they’re a mating pair. In their position, I couldn’t see if one is a male (per their blue bellies) – next time!

I love having lizards in my garden and hopefully they are helping themselves to a few pesky grasshoppers I’ve seen munching on some leaves. I think these beneficial creatures are rather beautiful!

Southern Belle Dwarf Nectarine Tree

After contemplating my backyard garden space, I came to the decision to welcome a new fruit tree, the Southern Belle dwarf nectarine tree. This genetic dwarf fruit tree, according to its label, is to grow no larger than 5 feet tall and produces very large, juicy and delicious (!) nectarines. I was so excited going to my neighborhood nursery this early morning and found my tree. It already has one very young fruit on it. I am hoping that it will enjoy its new home and stays healthy and will be productive.

I’m still thinking about how best to use my backyard garden space. I will have think about my future nectarine needs (!) and am actually looking for a space where a second of these nectarine trees might be realistically planted within the current backyard scheme. As you can tell, I’m very excited about this latest member of my backyard food garden!

Crown Princess Margareta Rose Debut

About 3-1/2 years ago, I bought several English roses, in containers, to replace several that were planted in-ground but were decimated by gophers who devoured their roots. I’ve kept them in their original containers all this time because of this.  Having a “buy now, investigate later” mindset, I found that these plants were not suited to grow in my area, but were still selling here (a rather dodgy business practice).

Taking a chance, I’ve seen some meet an untimely end (e.g., Munstead wood), but I am so very pleased to report that this past week, the two climbing Crown Princess Margareta rose plants have flowered! Mind you, these were not extraordinary displays (1 flower for one plant, 3 for another), it was heartening that they fought on against all odds and provides a very positive message of hope and patience. I don’t mind that it flowers every few years, as long as it does, which is probably an unusual perspective, but I love these plants.

More information on this fragrant beauty can be found here: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/us/crown-princess-margareta-english-climbing-rose

Jerusalem Sage

Every few weeks, I go to my neighborhood home improvement store, mostly to look for the latest plants. Today was a lucky day for me: I found beautiful plants from the clearance rack, among them 2 Jerusalem sage plants. They are healthy and I already had a backyard vacancy in mind when I saw them. Earlier this year, my beloved white iceberg rose succumbed to one too many gophers who became quite fond of its roots.

These two natives of the Mediterranean and elsewhere will invigorate that corner of the garden and have already stirred up quite a bit of interest among butterflies shortly after I planted them. This is drought-resistant once established as well, practical and lovely! If they thrive in my garden, I will likely propagate them by taking some softwood cuttings in the summer. So very pleased that these fuzzy-leafed beauties are now part of my garden!

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