Collecting seeds

It seems like all I can talk about is gardening. That's not the case, but I'm going to do one more blog about gardening before I move on to other things. This wonderful fall weather has made it easy to gradually ready the yard for winter, rather than breeze through like a whirling dervish to complete everything over one weekend. It also has allowed for me to collect seeds from the various annuals I planted. One of the most interesting vines I planted this year was the Egyptian pea vine. The seed is a very interesting black pea with white tips, and the vine is spectacular, shooting tall branches into the air with purple flowers littering the top. I planted it around the mailbox and in the corner of the chain link fence, which added beauty and grace to the yard. The seeds were easy to collect, with large pea pods containing three or four seeds each. The pods were purple when forming, and turned a shiny brown as they dried. I have many more seeds than I can use. Maybe I will try to sell some of them... Another plant I am collecting seed from is morning glories. I know it's not necessary because the morning glories reseed themselves like weeds, but I really like them. The … [Read more...]

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Bugs won visually – I won produce

Even though they won the war, I won the droppings - the PRODUCE is mine! Most of my plants are producing beautiful flowers or wonderful fruit and vegetables. The chain link fence is barely visible through the morning glories, cucumbers and tomatoes. The cucumber plants grew over the top of the fence and all the way down to the driveway, where they are making their way along the retaining wall. Even the five green bean seeds I planted are producing delicious beans, though the leaves look like lace doilies. Recently, I took a large colander when I went out to harvest and it was totally inadequate. After several trips, my kitchen counter was covered with tomatoes, cucumbers, banana and jalapeno peppers, green beans, rosemary, basil, oregano and zucchini. The insects that were working on the Chinese lantern plants must be an early summer pest because the new growth looks much better. I had completely dismissed the idea of drying any of the lanterns, but as they turn orange, I have noticed many look pretty good. I dried one bouquet and have another drying hanging upside in a closet. I also have these incredible sunflowers growing next to the garage. One is as tall as I am … [Read more...]

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The war is over

Ever since the Chinese Lantern Plants started peaking out of soil the insects decided they are delectable. Hundreds of the interesting little creatures descended on the fine leaves. Normally, I co-exist well with insects, as long as they stay outside. I leave them alone and study their fascinating tiny bodies. But this year, they are destroying my plants. I declared war and started looking for ways to rid my flower bed of those pests. Leaning toward organic gardening, I decided to try an insecticide made with herb oils. Even after dousing the leaves, the lacy holes continued to appear. Next I used dish soap in water, soaking the plants, which accomplished little. By now, the insects had spread to other fine-leafed plants, like my morning glories and sweet potato vines. I had never seen such a variety of cool little creatures, but the plants were turning into stubs. The war was making my stomach sick. The idea of using an insecticide that would kill everything, even the beneficial insects, was abhorrent, but I wanted to save my plants. I would stand in front of the pesticide isle in the garden center where I work studying the different products, picking up one after … [Read more...]

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