30 April 2013

fiery beauty

The newest leaves on my Croton are now bigger than all the older leaves! I've got its companion, the little cutting (barely seen bottom left in this photo) rooting in a glass jar of water, hoping to pot that one up soon and see some new growth.

29 April 2013


My little french Tarragon seems to be reviving and growing again. The trick, I found, was to keep it quite warm- indoors or under plastic the past weeks, only uncovered in the warmest weather. And to let it dry out. When it's been in the greenhouse box, I don't water it at all, it absorbs enough from the humidity.

little pods

Very few peas are growing, but the few that are, getting fat! I gave in yesterday and picked four pods off, to share the fresh taste of tiny peas with my kids. Small, but delicious! We'll have to wait for more, now.

28 April 2013

sad sage

My Sage doesn't seem too happy. It's drooping all over the place. I think I've been overwatering it.
But not faring too badly, as it is also forming buds!
I cut half of it off to hang and dry the leaves, it seems to be perking up now.

27 April 2013

mint cuttings

I've started some cuttings of my Chocolate Mint. These were just clipped and stuck straight into the soil, kept damp.
I also cut some and stuck into a bulb vase of water. The ones rooting in water seem to be doing a lot better.

These two pictures were taken just a few days apart; you can see how quickly the roots are growing. Soon I will put them into pots of their own, and pinch off their heads to encourage branching.
Oh, and did a few cuttings of Lavender as well since I wanted to thin that one out anyways.

pretty pink

I keep taking photos of the Cyclamen that sits on my desk. It is blooming non-stop now. In just a few weeks has gone from three flowers
to five
to a whole handful. And there are more buds coming!

26 April 2013

fat borage

I am pleased with my Borage seedlings, their robust fat leaves look like a sign of health.
But the one that seems to be doing best is in the smallest pot. The two I transplanted into larger pots, where I hope they will mature, tend to droop quickly. I have to water them every single day or they flop all over.

I did more reading about this herb and discovered that it grows a taproot that doesn't like to be disturbed, so does better sown directly rather than started indoors and transplanted. So now I'll know better for next year.

bouncing light

I continue to worry that my Tomatoes aren't growing well. Put little circles of tin foil at the base of each plant, the Peppers too. It will bounce more sunlight up into the leaves. I hope that makes a difference. I keep shifting them around on the patio, too, to keep in full sun most of the day. One side in the morning, other side in the afternoon. But once they need to go into the full-size planters I won't be able to do that...
I'm also trying to remember to feed them more than I'm used to for my plants, since I didn't put any compost into the potting soil. I've found myself dissatisfied with the potting soil I bought, too. I went with an organic mix, but made the poor decision of going with the cheaper brand. The consistency is just not what I'm used to, and it seems to matt together on the surface. Feels mostly like bark, too. Ergh.

24 April 2013


I cut this plant down by more than half again the other day, to put the chives into enchiladas since I didn't have enough green onions (it was very tasty).
I was careful not to cut the stems that are developing these little buds, because I want to see the plant finally flower!

23 April 2013


I haven't made much note of houseplants lately, but the mini-Geranium has gotten quite robust! It is full of nice large leaves with the vivid reddish half-moon markings. I turn it daily in the windowsill so I can enjoy looking at the "face" of the leaves, which themselves are always turning back towards the sun.

I am refraining from trimming it again yet because I've learned through many errors the past few years, that to develop a bonsai you don't try and make a small plant grow into the shape you want. You find a larger one, or let it grow to substantial size so the stem is thick, and then cut it down to make the miniature-tree form. Or at least, so the books advised me and I didn't really follow that until more recently with my jades (pics of those later).
So- to make this Geranium look like the stout little tree I want, I have to let it just grow freely for several years, because the food the leaves collect from sun will give it a thick stem/trunk. It's even got a funky little branch growing low off to one side, which kind of spoils the profile right now but I let it be.

22 April 2013

new stuff

I'm doing a few little growing experiments on my balcony, like always. I'm trying to see if I can grow a Potato in a bag.
Have read about this- you take a half-empty bag of rich potting soil, poke holes in the bottom for drainage, and plant a potato in it. As the plant grows, you can heap up more soil or leaves to cover the growing potatoes, by unrolling the plastic bag upwards if necessary. When ready to harvest, just tip it all out.

I had one red potato under the cupboard sprouting, so am giving it a try.

I also recently bought this nice fat little Ginger rhizome which looked like it had some developing eyes. After soaking overnight, planted it in a wide, shallow pot in the one spot on my balcony that stays in full shade all day. Even if I never end up eating the thing (I don't actually use fresh ginger much) it might make a pretty plant. Will post updates here if the thing actually grows!

21 April 2013

leaves unfolding

More Green Beans are growing! I had planted two varieties of bush beans- Blue Lake Bush from Ed Hume Seeds and Bean Contender from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. All six Bean Contenders have come up, not a single one of the Blue Lake. Hm... looks like one kind is no longer viable.
Of the ones that are growing, this single Bean that emerged first is just unfolding its first true leaves.

baby tomato plants

Things do not look promising for growing Tomato plants on my balcony. I've moved them all up into little pots, and they look like they're doing fine.
Until I compare them to the one seedling I gave my daughter to put in her garden plot. It's been sitting in her windowsill (full sun) here in the apartment for the time being. In spite of being neglected with watering, it is far more robust in growth and has better green color than any of my tomato plants out on the balcony.
So I think I just don't get enough light here for tomatoes. If the plants do mature, they likely will not ripen...

seedlings up

Here's my group of seedlings, all of which have been recently moved up into little pots for their next stage of growth, a few into cardpots. This happened a week ago, actually, but I neglected to take pics of the plants in their new pots and now they're positioned all around the balcony so it's hard to get a comprehensive picture of them all together. It's noticeable how much bigger the Borage seedlings are than all the rest- lower right blue tray.

20 April 2013

echinacea leaf

This plant is growing so fast.

19 April 2013

green elbow

Green Bean shoots coming up!
I soaked and planted these just about a week ago.


I thought my Avocado would finally develop branch
but no, the obstinate thing is still determined to just have one new stem, the second remains small.
Well, at least it's still alive and growing.

18 April 2013

pea pod!

I wasn't expecting this yet because the plants are still rather small.


on yesterday's African Violets. The biggest one is starting to bloom again! And the little flowers are prettier than ever.
Here's the second-largest with its new trim, and a new pot.
And the leaves that came off, hoping they generate new baby plants.

17 April 2013

old into new

This doesn't look promising, does it? The leaves turning quite yellow.
But look close! There is a new baby African Violet growing from the base of a petiole.
I am amazed when I look at the trio of Violets, that all three of these plants were in the main SIP planter on the right, not so long ago.
Today I trimmed older leaves off the second biggest plant, and stuck more of them in soil to see if I can grow more new baby plants, ha ha.

11 April 2013

leafing out

The tree I rescued off my compost pile is opening lots of new leaves! I think it is the flowering Dogwood.

pea flowers!


Plants in the shops are so tempting to me nowadays. This little one, simply labeled as "Fern" has tiny delicate foliage. So cute! I just had to bring it home.
Even the stems are semi-translucent.
Anyone know its real identity?

10 April 2013

young lettuce

My Lettuces have been moved from their cardpots
into planters: seven in makeshift planter boxes (literally boxes)
and two in a basket.
I have high hopes for fresh salad!

09 April 2013

betta fish

We have some new little pets!
Someone gave us a pair of fishbowls so of course I had to find some occupants. We got a few little Bettas. My daughter has a female with reddish fins. I found two fish that are my favorite color. Photos don't do justice, but here's my attempts to capture them.

One is a male Dragonscale; it doesn't really have fancy long fins but the light sea-blue color is just gorgeous and the scales are extra defined on its sides. It has a pinkish tint to the dorsal, anal and tail (caudal)fins, with speckles on them.
My second Betta is a female Crowntail. This one is a darker vivid blue color, with a black face. But what I love is the shape of its tail. It has regular projects that are all divided in half yet again, making it look like a spiky crown.
I'll try and get better pictures later.

And why on the garden blog? Well, I was ambitious and put live plants in the bowl with the Dragonscale. I don't know the species, but they're pretty common aquatic plants.
The other fishbowl, too far from a good light source, has plastic plants.