Saturday, March 01, 2008

Still Picking On Peppers

You know when you hear a tiny tid-bit and swear you'll put 2 and 2 together later, much later, when you have time?

This is what went in one ear and got promptly filed: Pepper producers have discovered that cramming two to three times the amount of pepper plants into the same amount of space has improved the yields on each plant by almost double the normal amount.

Yup, I heard it and stashed it away in my 'mind file' for some further research. Yeah, that file waaaay at the back of my brain.

I can't even remember where I heard it.

After much researching, all I can find are bits and pieces of info:

"Previous studies have documented that higher plant population densities usually result in greater pepper yields."

"Yield responses varied greatly by location, year and variety, but results
indicate that a density achieved at a spacing that is nearly three times the standard density will not reduce yield."

"With increased plant density, stem thickness and main fork angle were reduced, while fruit and plant height were increased."

"At this time, we recommend increasing (pepper) plant populations."

"Plant population did not affect average fruit weight even though it was expected that crowding due to greater plant populations would lead to lower fruit weights."

Now, keep in mind that I've always planted peppers spaced so that the leaves of each mature plant would barely touch the leaves of the mature plant next to it. Why should the leaves touch? I have no earthly clue, and it may just be a myth or an old wives tale, but that's the way my grandmother did it, so that's the way I've always done it. (And yes, I found references to that too).

It just goes against my grain to cram plants together in my garden. With wintersowing, hunks of flower sprouts just get ripped apart in chunks of 5 or 6 and plopped into the ground. No thinning, no trimming, nada. They grow just fine.

Vegetables, however, are a different matter altogether.

Or are they?

I think we'll give this a try this year and see what happens. I know what we got for a yield last year so I'll be able to compare. I know I'm really going to have to fight the urge all summer, and very hard, not to move them farther apart. This should be an interesting experiment. I guess we'll see what happens.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I Wanna Grow A Peter!

Well, I do!

I giggled (couldn't help it) when I was leafing through the Jung seed catalog and first saw the picture of the Peter Pepper.

When I showed the picture to my 17 year old son and said, in a very serious tone, "I should grow that", He laughed and said, "You can't grow that! It looks like a...penis!" To which my daughter interjected, "You have to grow that! Can you imagine the look on peoples faces?"

From Victory Seeds: "Originally released commercially by the late H. W. Alfrey of Knoxville, Tennessee, he named the variety for its obvious similarity in appearance to a male anatomical part."

It was Rated "most pornographic" by Organic Gardening magazine.

Exactly! lol. There's other 'interesting' (ahem) veg I could grow, but right now I'm fascinated with the 'Peter'.

Yes, while gardeners all over the blogosphere are jabbering about daffodils and crocus, I'm yakking about growing pornographic veg...

Looking For Cheap Books?

In case there's anyone that is looking for cheap books (gardening or otherwise) and doesn't know about Edward R. Hamilton , go give them a look. They have books in any and every category you could want and the books are new, not used.

They have some excellent prices and selections in their gardening book list.
You can order their catalog for free (which is what I drool over every month or so).


So Many Houseplants, So Much Info

What a wealth of useful information!

Aggie Horticulture's Interior Plants searchable database (You can browse by photos!!)

Plants Suitable For Hanging Baskets

Plants That Will Grow in Water

Plants That Will Withstand Most Adverse House Conditions and Abuse

Light Requirements Of Selected House Plants

Plants That Do Well Under Average Home Conditions

Front Page

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Hereby Proclaim This Weekend To Be...

Seed Starting Weekend!
March 1st and 2nd. (Planned that pretty good, eh?)

Ready, set....start those seeds!
Not sure what seeds you should start inside? (yeah, yeah - or outside for you 'special' people where spring has already hit)

Try this ---> Grow Guide
Yes, it's also prominently displayed in my sidebar. I love the stupid thing!

So, whip out those seed packets, start dreaming of a lush full flowerbed or garden and...GO!

Don't forget to post a list of what you started this weekend in your blogs next week and let me know you did so I can be nosey. lol.
Yes, winter sowing containers count but, before you even try it, no, things you've already sown or have seedlings of don't count. I guess you'll just have to start more!
Enabler? Who, me?

The Perils Of Ponies

I just have to pass this along!

Apple posted it the other day: A Boy And His Pony

I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face. Seriously!
Read it! It'll make your day. (just have tissue handy first).
And don't blame me if you suffer incontinence - you've been warned.

OMG...still laughing! Hehehehe.


A friend visited last night. She walked in the door, took one look at my box full of seed and a plant stand full of sprouts, shook her head and said, "Why?"

Good question.

Why is my youngest daughter enamoured with the color pink? (she'd dye her hair pink if I let her).
Why is my youngest son so 'into' comp tech that it will eventually be his occupation?
Why is my husband so wrapped up by cars that he only has to listen to one run for a minute or two to tell you what's wrong with it?

Well, I can't answer their obsessions, but I know the answer to mine. Amazingly, it's easy.

I'm a nurturer.

It's what I've always been and I suspect it's something I'll always be.
In the very beginning of my life, on the farm, I nurtured all kinds of plants and animals (including insects).
In my teens, I nurtured friends.
As a newlywed, I nurtured my husband.
As a Mom, I've nurtured 4 children.

It's my calling, it's who I am. Add in an obsessive compulsive personality and - oh, boy.

Now that my kids are mostly grown, my nurturing has turned to plants. Well, seed.
Since my patience has grown thinner with age, plants were probably a good choice to return to.
Compared to the rest of the nurturing list, it's almost like instant gratification.

Think about it...husbands, kids and animals take years, and compared to that, plants can be nurtured from one seed to massive seed production in the blink of an eye.

I'm sure it's something I'll be until my dying day.
As they age, most people fear disease, pain, alzheimers.
Me, I fear not being able to nurture something. If my kids stick me in a nursing home, someone please bring me a houseplant! I swear, I'll remember to water it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Go Ahead - Point At Me And Laugh

A while ago I made the decision that this was my blog, no one else's, and I was going to post what I damn well pleased. This included the mistakes as well as the triumphs. Yeah, those dumb things I do that I really should smack myself for.

Keep in mind that I have been gardening for almost 40 years. Yeah, a long time.


Apparently, after almost 40 years, I can not tell the difference between a weed and...


Ok, go ahead. Laugh. Snicker. Point. Go for it. Make yourself feel better.
I'll wait...

Ok, that's quite enough. Would you like a tissue for those tears of laughter?
~sigh~ Yes, I am admitting I don't know lavender doesn't look like a freaking weed! Well, erm...since when does a lavender bud start opening yellow? Yes, that sprout I was lavishing love and care on? Remember me extolling my prowess of green thumb over such rapid growth and lushness? The excitement that it was in bud a month after it sprouted?

Give me a break, I've never gotten one to grow before, remember? Actually, I don't ever think I've seen a real live plant in person.

Ok, I've bared my 2008 mistake. Well, the first one at least.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogs by gardeners who know a weed when they see one.

Why Would Someone Be So Rude?

Melanie, at Old Country Gardens blog, received a very rude comment to one of her posts the other day.

Ok, I don't get that! If you have nothing nice to say - say nothing. (your Mom's voice is echoing in your head right now, isn't it?) Hmm, maybe that's why I don't get too many comments. Mine are only from the diplomats among the gardeners because the rest would rather say nothing? lol.

I mean honestly, do these people lead such boring lives that they have nothing better to do with their time than slam someone's garden? People work hard to get their yards to look so beautiful (yeah, I drool over pics daily) and even if they say a flame doesn't hurt, I don't think anyone is that thick-skinned.

I've seen people take things the wrong way when read. A few times. Let's face it, tone doesn't really transfer well in type. I usually reread my comments (unless I'm time crunched) a few times to make sure it wouldn't be perceived as something I didn't mean, but that doesn't always work. Contrary to my numerous rants, I'm a pretty nice person. I would never, ever hurt someone's feelings intentionally. See, that's why I have such a problem with Blotanical-who wants to have hurt feelings for not being 'favorited' or ranked high or not receiving a perk for being toward the bottom of the ranks?

Maybe these rude flamer people should waste some of that spare time gardening! :)

*And spellcheck is on the fritz again. ~sigh~

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why The Sudden Interest In The Seed Vault?

Wow, I've seen tons of posts about the Svalbard International Seed Vault today. I posted some thoughts about it way back on January 17, 2007!!
Why the sudden interest? What finally got people talking?
All this interest isn't a bad thing, I'm just curious.

Hey, I Can Skin A Deer!

Well, then. How depressing is it that the only time I'd be useful is if we had a national or world crisis?
This article: I Cannot Yet Skin A Deer, was published in July of 2005 by Mark Morford in the San Francisco Chronicle. He almost got the price of oil right (his prediction was half right) - or he may yet.

90% of the stuff in that article are things I really can do, and most were learned out of necessity.

Who says there is a down side to living in the country and being low income?

Wow, we really have become a nation of instant gratification. "I want it, I want more of it, I don't want to work for it and I want it now!"

Along with the rest of us, Colleen is experiencing a bout of cabin fever, but she made a great point in her recent post. As gardeners, I think we possess a lot more patience than the general population.

We wait...

We wait for spring.

We wait for fall harvest.

We wait for seed germination.

We wait for first bloom.

We wait for first fruit.

We wait for rain.

We wait for sun.

We wait for that first scrumptious taste of that first tomato.

We do a hell of a lot of waiting! And it teaches us that there really is no such thing as 'instant gratification' in nature. She takes her time, does it right. And hopefully, we learn to do it her way and do it right. What's wrong with those instant garden makeovers? They suck! They don't stay that way if the person caring for them doesn't have a clue and doesn't have patience.

Yes, gardeners may have more patience than others, but damnit all, we get tired of waiting, too!
So, Colleen, nope, you are so not alone.

Monday, February 25, 2008

On The Plant Stand In February

As I've mentioned before, my husband built me this fabulous plant stand (modified a bit) and I love it.

On the plant stand in February:

Lavender 'Lady'
Lavender 'English' ?
Hibiscus 'Luna'
Coleus 'Chocolate Mint'
Daylily 'X'
Dahlia 'Dwarf'
Cardinal Flower 'Lobelia cardinalis'
Lily 'yellow Asiatic'

Pepper 'Hungarian Wax'
Pepper 'Jalapeno M'
Pepper 'Red Cayenne'
Onion 'Bunching'
Onion 'Sweet Spanish'

This weekend I'll start the sweet bell peppers, head lettuce and cole crops - cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.

And it will finally be time to start tomatoes next month. Yay! Nothing else I start gets me as excited as tomatoes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Grow Weirdos

I must. There is just no other explanation.

Remember when I was complaining about not being able to grow lavender 'Lady' from seed after three tries and only got one little sprout?

Well, I think something is wrong with it. Not bad wrong...weird wrong.

I mean, here I was doing the happy dance to get one measly sprout, and babied that sucker like it was my own child. (My real children didn't even bat an eye at my behavior - I wonder what that says about me?) grew. And grew. And hasn't stopped.
By the time the foliage hit 4 inches tall, I had to transplant it to a larger pot because the roots were literally cramming themselves silly. I couldn't believe the mass of roots on that plant. If you just looked at the roots and not the plant, you'd have thought it was a full grown tomato.

Now it's in the biggest pot I have inside at the moment. I am sooo not digging through the snowbank for something else! In less than a few days it has grown at such a ridiculous pace that it's cramming itself against the lights. Dang, they're already as high as I can get 'em. Radishes don't grow this fast!

It's not happy growing like it should be eating my house - it's decided to bud. Yes, bud!
Now, what the hell is that about? The stupid thing is either gloriously happy with the above-and-beyond care it receives or is some kind of lavender mutant.

It's 8" tall for pete sake! And at only one month old (exactly 1 month!) it has decided to bud out. I'm not complaining, I'm just bewildered and unsettled at it's growth habits and I don't like to be discombobulated by plants.

Why can't I ever grow anything at a happy medium?

And the English Lavender seed I started just for the heck of it - 9 sprouts. I wonder if they'll be normal or I'll be grinning from ear to ear over more mutants?