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Well, this experiment is going better than I’d expected. The first fruit is forming!
When I first lopped off the growing stems of some of my tomato plants, my expectation was that I would be able to keep them alive in water through the winter, and I wouldn’t have to buy new plants next season. I set the bar low.
They had some flowers when I first brought them inside, and the stems continued to flower in the foyer. So every day I would tap the stems to move the pollen around (“I am wind, hear me roar”) and apparently that was good enough for the tomatoes.
I moved them from water to soil a few weeks ago, and since then the plants have stopped flowering but they are shooting up in height. I’m gonna have to stake them, and probably move them into a bigger container, too. Here they are in their south-facing windowsill:
Living beside the basil, just like outdoors.
Even though I initially set the bar low, now I have exaggeratedly high expectations of actually bringing tomatoes to harvest. In my foyer.
That would be so cool.
I’ll be back tomorrow with plant puzzler action. Hope to see you back here.
Hello tiny dancers, and happy Friday!
Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.
Thanks to Friday, too, for finally arriving. It’s good to see you again, my friend. We’re going to play another round of Friday’s Ask the Experts, starting by saying hi to the Experts. Hi Experts!
You’re adorable! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.
In the spirit of the season, here’s this week’s question for the Experts:
Q. Do you have any scary stories to get us in the mood for Halloween?
Expert Andy, start us off today, won’t ya?
A. Flagstaff, AZ doesn’t seem too scary….on paper. “Flag” as we affectionately refer to it, is right off of I40 dead west about 4 hours of Albuquerque, NM, home to our lovely moderator & most of her “expert” crew. Off to see my favorite band again I was, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, with my wife and my great friends the Kings. This was my pre-cabin days in the 2005 era let’s say. We booked rooms at the Monte Vista hotel right in the heart of town. The Monte Vista is one of those 100+ year old joints that you would see and confuse with an old western. It’s interior resembles the same, including the furniture and carpet. It sits about a block north of the railroad which sends a vicious train through with bells blazin’ about every 20 min. on the way to Alb. or LA. The hotel is notorious for being haunted by various ghosts. Rumors swirl about many things disappearing or being moved in her rooms.
Before the show we had decided to venture out across the tracks to grab some great Thai food. I put my spare change on the night stand. Before the show we came back to the room to do something or other like grab coats or use the restroom rather than battle the lines at the ill-equipped Orpheum Theater. Upon entering the room I see my change is strewn across the floor now, not on the night stand where I had put it. There was no reasonable explanation for that. No earthquake, no drunken stupor yet, nothing. Of course we had to sleep in there later. Strategically, I did not inform my wife of the event knowing full well she would’ve forced us to pack up, leave & miss the band. That was not possible. I did divulge the incident the next morning though & she couldn’t wait to zip out of there. I slept fine with no further incidents although I’d hoped for more interaction. I even baited the “ghost” again when we left for the show but he/she clearly had moved on to bigger things.
If you are ever in Flag, check it out for yourself.
A. Two of my roommates in college dressed up as the 2 kids from Kris Kross, with the backwards pants and everything. I remember because the year was 1992 (college, go Bluejays!) and I dressed up as a young Republican. Which in 1992 meant taking a shower, wearing a suit with a ‘Bush for President’ button and putting my hair in a ponytail. Now I wear that “costume,” minus the long hair and Bush button, 4 days a week, which is the scariest thing of all!
A. The only movie that truly frightened me as I watched it was The Exorcist way back in the 1970s. It resonated further when I learned of the many deaths that surrounded the film shortly after the filming and the strange occurrences on the set. I once spoke to a priest who was involved in an exorcism and he was intimately familiar with the case the movie was based on. He dismissed a lot of it as Hollywood, but allowed some truth to it based on his own experience.
I haven’t heard from Expert Dottie this week. Not too surprising in that she’s the busiest retired person I’ve ever met. If she sends something in, I’ll update the post. In the meantime, let’s admire her cuteness:
And move on to Expert Lewis:
A. In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost (sometimes known as a spectre (British English) or specter (American English), phantom, apparition or spook) is the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions.
When the world loses a young soul it loses a significant and essential essence of hope for the future, did the driving entity for the cure for ailments, new sliced bread, future transport, round rainbows, caught lightning, world peace just pass back to the other side to await for another life.
CL had a smile for everyone, friend to many, classmate and team member, ran Track, blocked in Football, sweated in Weaseling and was a good mechanic from a family of mechanics.
He loved his truck a beautiful 1968 Chevy truck that he had made into a hot rod work of art, fast 4 on the floor, Hurst shifter,
396 cubic inch engine lots of go fast power, immaculate blue moon blue paint, chrome deep dish wide wheels, red pin stripe white interior and a musical horn ARUUGA . A truck of beauty made by his hand with pride.
On a dark stormy night (aren’t it always a dark stormy night) CL was riding with a friend ?? who was driving his fast fancy car that his daddy had bought him
Death met them on a hill at the base of a power line pole, the fancy fast car going over a hundred miles per hour was torn in half and death was swift
The High School halls were sad to walk without CL cheer and smile but after tears and hugs life for the living goes on
Years pass, new joys come and old joys go
On an evening just past sunset driving down the same stretch of highway where this terrible accident occurred
Near the top of the hill the fated power pole still stand in tragic testimony
On that fateful road ahead there is a whitish colored car setting in the middle of the road across from the pole
“Where did that come from” is quickly thought by the driver as he slams on the brakes
But the dynamics of a moving vehicle do not correspond with a futile attempt to stop
The car full of the living quickly overtakes the stationary whitish car and in a moment they become one
No horrific crash, no blinding flash, no tearing and crush of flesh and bone
Only a fleeting feeling of fear and cold and a swirl of mist
Then the living move on through the ghost car they have gone
A stop, a look, a walk back, A “What the Hell was that” is asked, no signs no trace nothing but a years old story
Of young men’s fate at death door, via a fast car and a power pole whose scars have faded
My brother rode in the livings car that day, he and a friend saw and passed through the ghost car
It is not an experience easily forgotten, he spoke of it recently when we passed the fated spot
There have been other supposedly who have also seen the whitish car
Maybe CL was not so quick to leave,
In fact his brother occasional drives the cherished truck
If you believe and look closely you can see CL smile and his pride in the windows
Wow! Impressive Experts! I enjoyed your stories very much! Super spooky!
Great, great job once again this week. Thank you so much for sharing.
That does it for this week’s panel. The Experts will return in exactly one week. They hope to see you back here.
Let’s move on to the current puzzler:
???Real or Fake???
Last week, I asked if this Schlumbergera was real or fake:
Let’s see how you answered:
Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “It’s been such a long time since you fooled me that I can’t even feel embarrassed about it.
But this one is real for sure. I mean, who would make a fake plant with just buds instead of flowers?”
Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “Dang I’m good.
And that’s a very nice REAL holiday cactus.”
That’s two votes real, zero votes fake.
So what’s the correct answer?
Let’s take a closer look:
It’s real of course! I knew you’d get it easily but I just loved how it looked so I used it for a puzzler. Very pretty real Christmas Cactus, days away from being even more beautiful.
Good job to both of you! Ivy, you were first with the correct answer, which makes you the best answerer. For being so speedy, this week, you’ve earned the following title: “Second to No One – Ha!” So for example, if you’re at the nursery this weekend and meet someone new, you should introduce yourself as Ivy Second to No One – Ha! I’m sure that won’t be weird at all. Congratulations. You may multiply all the prizes by Halloween.
I appreciate you playing, so I’d like to award each of you the following prizes: One spooky holiday, four full-size candy bars, two jack o’ lanterns, french onion dip, 13 bonus points, jive talk, three pumpkin pies, a platter of marshmallows, a brief visit from Caspar the Friendly Ghost and his cousin Ned, 16 extra points, one spooktacular, five toes, refreshing water and a farmer’s hug. Congrats, and thanks for playing.
Up next, the new puzzler:
???Real or Fake???
Is this plant real or fake?
Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, October 31st, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. Remember, the prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.
I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you here.
Thinking of bringing home a plant for the first time? Here are some things you should know.
Plants are not like knickknacks that just sit there.
For one thing, they’re messy. I’ll illustrate my point by using my own houseplants. Here’s what happens after my Aeschynanthus (named Lady Evermore) blooms:
The spent blooms oozed a gunky sticky sap:
If you can’t tolerate leaves on your floor, or wads of goo stuck to furniture, then don’t get plants.
I mean, look what they did to my foyer!
Haha, juuuuust kidding – it was mostly my fault. Overwatering, underwatering, that’s on me. Spent blossoms on the floor, totally on them.
Anyway, for me, the whole point of having houseplants is to connect with Nature, it’s about having a relationship with Nature inside your home.
From that perspective, you should want to do nice things for them.
With my own plants, I take them on a field trip to the front yard twice a year:
There are no concession stands or rides, but they love it.
It’s like a morning at a spa for them – they get showered, they get their soil flushed.
They get all happy looking, like this:
Aw. So cute!
>>>>Quick Houseplant Tip>>>>
Don’t leave houseplants out in the sun for long – their leaves can burn very easily. Even the sun on a fall morning can be too hot. Remember, they’ve never been out in the sun in their lives (other than the brief moments between greenhouse and truck, and store and car). Error on the side of caution and bring them back in the house as fast as you can.
>>>>End of Houseplant Tip>>>>
Anyway. Before inviting a plant into your home, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. They may not be able to bark like dogs or cry like babies, but they are living breathing creatures.
>>>>Quick Holiday Tip>>>>
One plant that didn’t go outside one the field trip was one of the Schlumbergeras, or Christmas Cactus. That’s because when Schlums are budding up, like she was:
…they are very fragile.
So many people buy Christmas Cactuses that are blooming or full of buds, only to take them home and all the blooms fall off. They are sensitive, you have to be very careful. I took mine to the kitchen sink for a gentle shower.
>>>> End of holiday tip >>>>
It’s important to get to know your plants once you’ve brought them into your home. A lot of that mess plants make is them trying to communicate with you. Some leaves naturally get old and fall off, but usually leaves that turn brown are getting too little water, or too much. The plant is trying to tell you which…it’s up to you to figure it out. Looking for the perfect balance, the exact right amount of care will continue as long as you own the plants – that’s the aforementioned relationship.
It’s important to learn how to prune your plants. It’s important to learn how to fertilize your plants. It’s important to look for pests. It’s important to flush their soil once in awhile. I’ve talked about all these topics on this blog before – there is a ton of guidance out there to support you.
Bottom line, don’t be a jerk to your plants.
They’re 100% dependent on your care once they are inside your home.
Their life literally depends on you.
Do a good job, and they reward you. Like mine do:
Abundant rewards make the work worthwhile.
I’ll be back tomorrow with an all-new Ask the Experts panel, and a new puzzler. Hope to see you back here.
A couple of months ago, my Dieffenbachia (I call him Danny) got so top heavy that he could no longer stand upright. Clearly, he needed surgery.
But I was hesitant. One, because I really love this houseplant – he’s got such big beautiful leaves and he’s super low maintenance. And two, because I’ve never had to chop a Dieffenbachia before, either for work or a personal plant. I’d read a lot about their resiliency but until you try it for yourself, it’s a little nerve-racking.
Since he kept falling over, I was forced to take the plunge.
Just as I’d read, he turned out fine. In fact, he was more than fine. He was flowering!
I first noticed the buds about four weeks ago. One has since opened (the other somehow got caught in an emerging leaf, which is weird), exposing the spadix:
It looks just like an Aglaonema flower or a Spathiphyllum, not surprising since they are all in the same family (Araceae).
Still, I thought it was very cool.
When I performed the surgery, I lopped off the top part of the houseplant – that’s the part that is flowering now – and put the stalk in vermiculite. It has since grown its own roots.
I trimmed the stalk into three smaller pieces and put one in vermiculite and two in regular potting soil. They are all growing just fine:
And the original stalk that had roots already I left in regular potting soil, it’s growing just fine as well:
Between the inflorescence and the new leaves everywhere, Dieffenbachia has secured a place in my heart as one of the best houseplants ever. (Nevermind the poison part – as long as you’re careful to wash your hands, you shouldn’t be affected.)
Now I just need to figure out what to do with all of Danny’s offspring.
I’d like to thank everyone for your patience with my vacation art photos. I wanted to post something while I was gone so you weren’t left hanging. I hope you enjoyed them.
I had a great time in the Midwest, but it sure is good to be home again.
Hello dreamers, and happy Friday!
Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.
Hey, guess what?
The Experts are baaaaaaack! Yay!
Here they are, aren’t they cute? Hi Experts!
You look adorable with your sunfloweryness!
From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. Readers, if you’d like to know more about them, please click here.
Welcome back to all of you, it’s great to have you back! I hope you enjoyed your time off, I know I missed you around here.
I tried to think of a universally appealing question, one that both welcomed you back and addressed current events, but I struck out. Instead, I’m offering you two questions, you’re welcome to answer either one. Here are your questions:
Question 1: As the NCAA tournament comes to a close, what would you like to say about the college basketball tourney?
Question 2: You’ve been on a break from this blog for the past month. How was it, did you do anything fun you’d like to share with us?
Most of my regular readers already know that I love college basketball (except when bones burst through skin). I’m bummed that Indiana lost – I had my beloved Hoosiers winning it all – but I’ve been enjoying the competition anyway.
Just because I’m obsessing over the tournament, doesn’t mean everyone is, hence the two questions. Some of the Experts share my love of basketball, some have other things on their minds.
Let’s hear what they have to say. Expert Andy, you’re up first:
A. I would like to say that I am glad my euphoria of Indiana basketball was self-controlled to the point of not buying Final Four tickets, a flight, rental car and a hotel room. Only 1 fan base, Louisville, could have been so bold and been rewarded this year. If the fans of the other 3 teams bought tickets in advance God Bless them for believing. Two #4 seeds and a #9? Wow. Who knew? This goes to show you that the NCAA tournament is extremely unpredictable and we all need to keep our sports passions in check. I won’t go into the 1 week of depression cycle after the IU loss for fear of relapse.
A. Wichita State makes it to the Final Four (TM, NCAA), and the team that stomped them twice in regular season conference play, my Creighton Bluejays, gets bounced in the Round of 32 by, of all teams, Duke. Where is the justice in that?
A. The past couple of days I have been going through newspapers 30 years old. It was 30 years ago this week that the NCAA Final Four arrived in Albuquerque. With it came an unlikely team from North Carolina State. They had a coach named Jim Valvano, son of Rocco and Angelina from Queens. During the two weeks I covered his team, I watched him compete in a dance contest at a local drinking establishment, saw how he cared for his players and they for him, and watched them pull off one of the greatest upsets in tournament history. At one point, Valvano told me (and I later discovered he told anyone who would listen) his secret to a full day: laugh a good laugh, allow yourself a cry, and think.
Whispers of Spring – March is one of my most nostalgic months of joy – heralding the earth’s awakening. I feel the energy oozing through my body –from head to toe – I want to throw off the shackles of winter and run wildly thru the woods
And sit under a tree and listen to the birds’ songs as they busily build their nests with the expectation of another generation of life beginning. Henry David Thoreau expressed it well:
“I perceive the spring in the softened air ….Looking through this transparent vapor, all surfaces, not osiers and open water alone, look more vivid. The hardness of winter is relaxed. There is a fine effluence surrounding the wood, as if the sap had begun to stir and you could detect it a mile off. Such is the difference between an object seen through a warm, moist, and soft air and a cold, dry hard one. Such is the gentleness of nature that the trees appear to have put out feelers by which the senses apprehend them more tenderly. I do not know that the woods are ever more beautiful, or affect me more.”
Welcome sweet springtime “Mr. Bo Jangles”. “Mr. Bo Jangles” is our little colorful Anna humming bird, who weathered the cold winter with us, and has just found himself a wife and is busy building a nest and starting his first spring family. (Actually it is Mrs. Bo Jangles who does the “building”. Mr. Bo Jangles stands by to encourage her inspiration or is it perspiration?)
Wow look out world we are back
Great and good we have done
Easter Sunday we feasted family came from far and wide
All in good health and good cheers
Blessed in their travels to and fro
All loved by all
Young bright eyes,
Old the same just wiser
From the earth springs new life, greens and reds and blues
But only SOL the sun cross our sky, we love you but
Rain cloud as rare as a honest political lobbyist or a sane NRA’er (Hell let’s give every school kid a gun)
PFR / pray for rain it is critical we are in a crisis drought
Why do weeds grow like hell with so little rain
How many of you out there are CPR/First Aid/AED trained
That many huh, well good,
The rest of you it’s time to step up and get trained
Recently at a Senior Center we were inspecting there was a senior dance going on
As a lady left the floor at the end of the music she collapsed with a heart attack
A couple of people went to her aid, we called 911, started CPR and then an AED was brought to the scene
The AED(Automatic External Defibrillator)was activated, instructions followed, a shock was given, CPR was continued
AFD Paramedics arrived about 12 minutes after she collapsed, they took over, we moved away
The woman was scheduled to have emergency bypass surgery early the next day
She was alive,
Don’t be a wall flower don’t be afraid, some one’s life is in your hands
To do nothing is not the answer
Liza, It great to be back, I’m sorry I called you all those terrible names while I was away I’ll try not to do it again
Oh, how I’ve missed you! You’re awesome!
Each in your own individual way! I enjoyed all of your answers today. I feel your pain, I feel your joy. Thank you, everyone!
I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your time and effort. Seriously, you guys rock!
That does it for today’s panel of Experts. The Experts will return in exactly one week. They hope to see you back here.
Up next, the answer to last week’s puzzler:
???Real or Fake???
Last week, I asked if this flower was real or fake:
Let’s see how you answered:
Steph from Indianapolis wrote, “Makes me want to eat eggs for some reason. Maybe I’m just hungry for breakfast. REAL”
Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Real!
I hope I remember to bring my camera to my next dance practise – spotted a potential puzzler-picture in our new practise room!”
Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “Real. tulip?”
Jason from GardeninaCity wrote, “I vote REAL. Not sure what it is, although maybe a species tulip of some kind.”
Tina from Canada wrote, “I love the egg analogy Steph! It’s gotta be real. Happy spring all!”
That’s five votes real, zero votes fake.
What’s the correct answer?
I neglected to get a wider view of that particular flower, but here’s a look at some other flowers:
To prove that they are REAL!
They are some type of Tulip but I don’t know which one. My landlady must’ve planted them. I think they’re darling!
Steph, you’re first yet again this week. What a streak! Good job, girl! For being the swiftest this week, you’ve earned the title of “Blah, Blah, Blah, Winner, Blah, Blah, Blah, Winner, Blah, Blah, Blah, Winner, Blah, Blah, Blah, Winner,” for the next week. Congratulations, haha! You may multiply all the prizes by spaghetti.
You’re all winners this week! To show my gratitude for you playing, I’d like to award each of you the following prizes: All my leftover Easter candy, four dominoes, one singing mermaid, green chile chicken enchiladas, 13 2/3 extra credit points, one platter of shooting stars, a poetic license, two symphonies, six herbs, one mysterious conversation, a voucher good for a treasure, 14 bragging rights, a pelican, three daffodils and chocolate milk. Congratulations! And thanks for playing!
Up next, the new puzzler:
???Real or Fake???
Is this plant real or fake?
Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, April 11th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote.
Next Friday, the Experts will be back with an all-new panel. I’m going to ask them this question: “If April showers bring May flowers, what does your milkshake bring to the yard?” Juuuuuuust kidding. You’ll have to come back if you want to know the real question.
I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) of the puzzler after next week’s panel. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.
I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.
I like to pair little bitty plants with older plants whenever I can.
To show them what they can aspire to.
You still have time to guess the current puzzler, in which I asked if this plant was real or fake:
Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after an all-new Ask the Experts panel tomorrow.
The prizes may be imaginary, but the glory of winning is oh-so-real!
Dimorphotheca is formerly known as Osteospermum. Or perhaps they exist side by side these days. There’s some confusion over whether one is an annual and one is a perennial, if they’re both the same now, or if everyone just prefers the name Dimorphotheca over Osteospermum. No one seems to like the latter name.
Since I’m trying to turn my annual flowers into perennials by bringing them into the house over the winter, it’s possible we need a new name, like Osteotheca, or Dimorphspermum.
In doing some research on the various types of hybrid flowers out there, I found this description of the Osteospermum hybrid ‘Lemon Symphony’ on the Proven Winners own site:
“Osteeospurm-m-mum. Sheesh. I wonder who came up with that one. Osteo or African Daisy is much more me. In case you didnt know, Symphony Osteos are among the most popular Proven Winners in the world. Its easy to spot a Symphony. Were the ones with the amazing sapphire blue eyes (centers). Just like that actress whats-her-name. Lets see. I bloom nonstop from early spring through fall, and my new flowers quickly cover old ones so you never have to deadhead. Im Annual except in zones 9 11, and do best in full to part sun (heat doesnt bother me a bit). Since I grow between 8 and 12 inches tall, theres room for me even in small spaces.
Besides me, there are four other colors: Melon, Orange, Peach and Vanilla. But Lemon is best. My petals are a clear, soft yellow without the slightest bit of brassiness. Im a spiller, too. I spill over the sides of hanging baskets, window boxes, etc. It drove my mother plant crazy.”
I had to read that more than once.
Lack of apostrophes aside, I find the excerpt curious. It’s like they wrote it to appeal to children. Which, of course, makes me wonder who they think their target audience is.
As far as I could tell, that was the only description written from the point of view of the flower. The rest were more straightforward, listing the features and characteristics of each plant.
I just thought it was weird.
But it’s unrelated to how to collect the seeds of the flowers.
How To Collect Dimorphotheca Seeds
Here’s what my flowers looked like:
Obviously not Lemon Symphony, but some sort of Osteospermum hybrid. Purple symphony doesn’t seem to be likely.
Whatever the name, they sure are cheerful flowers.
The method of seed collecting is the same as practically all other flowers.
Step one, wait for the flowers to be spent.
Step two, remove the seeds from the spent bloom. You can do this by holding a paper bag underneath the bloom and snipping it off with scissors. Or you can gently crush the bloom with your fingers so the seeds fall into your container below.
I removed one of the blooms so you could see where the seeds are hiding:
Right in the center:
I generally keep seeds in an envelope, in a container in my refrigerator. But I think everyone has their own methods of seed saving – some people repurpose old Altoid tins, some people use Ziploc bags or paper bags.
It doesn’t really matter (unless there is moisture or pests associated with the seeds) as long as the seeds themselves get sown back outside for more color splashes in the landscape.
Please let me know if you have questions about these flowers, or how to collect flower seeds. You can leave a comment for me, or shoot me an email.
I’ll be back with an all-new Ask the Experts panel tomorrow, and a new puzzler. You still have time to guess the current puzzler, in which I asked if this Poinsettia was real or fake:
The deadline is tonight at midnight MST (that’s 2am EST). Leave your best guess in the comment section or on my facebook wall. The prizes may be imaginary but the link back to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.
Hope to see you back here.
There’s not a lot of variance when it comes to collecting flower seeds. The seeds may look wildly different, but the method of collecting them is essentially the same.
Which is, look for the flower that is now brown and faded, then figure out the best way to get the seeds out of it.
So I’m not really writing posts like this one as “how to’s” but to show you what different flower seeds look like.
Because once you know what to look for, I’m confident you can find seeds on your own.
As I’ve said many times before, collecting seeds is easy. It’s not rocket science.
Especially when you know what to look for.
Today, the spotlight is on beautiful Portulaca flowers.
My own Portulaca flowers are past their prime, after giving me a summer’s worth of outstanding blooms. Here’s what the container looked like a few weeks ago:
They are prolific bloomers. I don’t bother to deadhead them, because they bloom like crazy without any interference from me.
Portulacas not only come in an array of dazzling colors, but they also can get by on minimal water and attention.
Those are big plusses in my book.
So how do you collect the seeds?
I picked off one of the brown flowers from my own container to show you:
Doesn’t look like much is there, but if you use your fingers to “crush” the brown casing, you’ll see the seeds inside, like these:
The seeds are so, so tiny!
And there are so many of them!
It’s easiest to store them in an envelope or paper bag.
In the center of the photo below, you can see the seeds naturally coming out of an opened pod:
Again, they are tiny seeds, and lots of ’em.
It looks like not only will I have a basil forest in the back yard, but a Portulaca forest, too.
Unless anyone out there would like to take some seeds off my hands. Anyone? Anyone?
You still have time to guess last week’s puzzler, in which I asked if these flowers were real or fake:
You can leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. The deadline is tonight at midnight MST (that’s 2am EST).
I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after an all-new Ask the Experts post tomorrow. Hope to see you back here.
Oh sweet wonderful basil, how I love you so! I love you in salads with tomatoes and mozzarella, and I love you with pasta and on pizza.
At the beginning of summer, I decided I wanted to perfect making basil oil. Not just shoving some basil leaves in with olive oil, but infusing basil leaves into the olive oil.
I asked a good chef friend of mine for a recipe. She told me to boil two quarts of water with two tablespoons of salt (that’s a lot, I’m not sure that’s necessary but she’s the expert), add a bunch of basil leaves, then after a few minutes, remove the basil with tongs, put them into a blender with two cups of olive oil. Blend until it’s a rich brilliant green.
The hard part came next. She wanted me to strain the concoction into a container, then pour that into a container that I could then squeeze over pasta or a salad or whatever. She liked to use plastic condiment containers so she could squeeze the oil over plates for a dramatic effect.
At first, I tried pouring the mix into a jar, then I covered the jar with a coffee filter and wrapped a rubber band around the jar. That worked great until the rubber band broke. Dang.
Further experiments had me using coffee filters and tape, and sieves, anything to keep the oil in a container to filter the basil oil into another container that I could then transfer to a plastic bottle from which I could spray or squeeze it onto food. Cheese cloth was way too porous – coffee filters worked way better.
Every method I tried was time-consuming. Straining takes time.
Everytime I hacked the plant, it responded by growing bigger and bigger. I eventually figured out how to effectively strain the basil bits (lots of coffee filters and tape), and had some delicious pasta meals.
That’s how the basil plant by my back door became so enormous. The more I hacked away at it, the more it doubled and tripled in size.
Then in mid-August, it started flowering and then going to seed.
After seeing it flower so fluently, I decided to collect the inevitable seeds.
I wanted to share with you how I collected those seeds.
Collecting basil seeds is easy, especially when you know what to look for.
My enormous Genovese basil plant is the perfect instructor for how to collect seeds.
See how it’s flowering like crazy?
Each individual flower should produce seeds.
If you look closely, you can see that seed production on my plant is well underway:
See the brown seed “pods”? These can be called carpels, or casings, or pods. I’ll use the word pods, for simplicity’s sake (this is a Plants 101 post).
Here’s another look:
Each of the brown seed pods will contain the magical seeds.
You can see the seeds by breaking one of the pods open, like I did here:
The easiest way to collect the seeds is to run your finger down the spike, into a container like a paper bag or a sieve (so you can separate the seeds from the chaff).
Note, it’s not necessary to break the seeds out of their casings, because that will happen naturally anyway. But it’s nice to do so if you plan on giving the seeds away.
I got four seeds from each individual pod. Um, there are a lot of pods per spike:
There are six pods in each cluster, and 19 clusters on the above spike.
That gives us a total of 456 basil seeds from just one spike.
Yes, nearly 500 seeds from one spike.
And I’ve got, I dunno, a couple hundred spikes?
If there are only 100 spikes, that’s over 45,000 seeds from one plant.
But I have way more than 100 spikes.
Which begs the question, anyone want some basil seeds?
Seriously, help me out here before a basil forest grows in the back yard.
Hopefully this helps you learn how to collect basil seeds on your own. Please let me know if you have any questions.
You still have time to guess in last week’s puzzler, in which I asked if these flowers were real or fake:
You can leave your best guess in the comments section, or on my facebook wall. The deadline is tonight at midnight MST (that’s 2am EST).
I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) tomorrow after an all-new Ask the Experts panel.
The Experts return manana, and I’ve asked them to talk about Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, and to share their memories of the deceased who matter to them. I hope to see you back here.
Again, happy harvesting, and happy Halloween!
Hahaha, not me!
One of Mom’s Orchids is having a baby!
(Mom’s photo, much better than mine below.)
So weird looking! She thought the stem would produce flower buds, but that definitely isn’t a bud.
Neither she nor I have ever seen an Orchid do this. But some cursory googling reveals that the Mother plant is producing what’s called a “Keiki” which is Hawaiian for baby.
As with everything on the Internet, everyone seems to have a different opinion on what to do with the baby.
I read that the presence of a Keiki may mean that the Mother plant is dying – she throws out a baby to preserve her legacy.
One website said to leave the Keiki on the stem until it forms roots, and even flowers itself, to insure its survival.
Other sites said it’s ok to cut the Keiki once it has roots of its own (which it doesn’t yet).
I told Mom that it reminds me of how some onions “walk” by producing a stem with bulblets that then falls over and roots into the ground.
I’d prefer input from you, my esteemed and super intelligent readers. What experience do you have with this oddball Orchid activity?
Do you think it would “walk” if she put a pot of soil next to the Mother plant?
Given how readily most Phalaenopsis Orchids grow, do you think it’s really necessary to wait until the baby has bloomed before repotting it? Can’t she just snip it off as soon as it has established roots of its own?
We both think this new growth is very cool. Have no idea what caused it, but it’s awesome nonetheless.
If you have any tips for us, that would be great. Thanks in advance!
I’ll update this post with your advice, so others can see it as well.
mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Not that I’m an orchid expert or anything, but I think yes, you can probably remove it once it has substantial roots of its own. (I no longer remember where the advice came from, but what I wound up writing in my Phalaenopsis profile was “When a keiki has grown some substantial roots, two inches long or thereabouts, and about three leaves, then it can be removed from the parent and potted up separately.”)
I also doubt that it necessarily means anything bad that the plant has produced a keiki, especially if it otherwise looks healthy.”
Nancy Popp Mumpton of Arizona wrote, “By coincidence, my garden club had an orchid expert and judge as a speaker today. She talked about the keiki (I didn’t know how to spell it until I saw your post (so Thank You for that!). Anyway, she agreed with Mr. S. As soon as it develops some roots you can cut it off and have another plant. The mother plant does not die or anything. It’s happy! it’s a mother!”
Josheph Brenner wrote, “Typically, this is a stress reaction, often caused by prolonged heat during the blooming period. If the plant seems healthy, otherwise, you should have no problems.
The next question is whether you are willing to wait anywhere from 6-12 months for those roots(it can take a while). There are many who would rather devote all of ‘Mother’s’ energy towards flower production.
For those who like to propagate there’s ‘keiki paste’. It duplicates the hormone reaction.”
And I’ll be back manana with an all-new post, so I hope to see you back here.