Tomato Time

May 20, 2016

Here’s an interesting infographic on tomatoes.   I didn’t know about the copper wire around the base of the plant to prevent powdery mildew.  I wonder if it really works?

Tomato infographic by Victor PaiamCredit: Victor Paiam

A few more tomato tidbits for you:

A guide to Pruning Tomatoes

A guide to Grafting Tomatoes

And if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, here’s a page from Cornell University.


Wild fruit before domestication look very different than we would recognize today.  I thought this video was very interesting!


May in the Garden 2016

May in the Garden 2016Weeding, mulching, fertilizing and watering and pests; that’s what needs to be your focus this month.  The weather is getting warmer, the smell of flowers is in the air and most of us feel the need to get our hands in the dirt on a daily basis.

Personally, I’ve been cleaning up my garden supplies, fertilizing a lot, and repotting succulents that are looking a bit ragged.  Ladybugs have been dispersed and my garden is relatively pest free at the moment.  I’m going to spread diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of my house and in some of my carpets to keep the roach and flea problem down to a minimum.  Even with my little house and yard, there is always a project!

Since we’re spending more time in our gardens, don’t forget to sunscreen up and wear a hat!  Happy Gardening!!!!


Aloe Leaf Propagation

April 27, 2016

Aloe destructionHaving a puppy has its challenges, and Lassie has challenged my garden quite a bit over the last few months.  Today’s victim was a pretty aloe that spanned this pot.  The yellow arrow is pointing at what’s left of this pretty aloe.  There are a couple of pups that were hiding under the plant before Lassie chewed it up so that was a nice surprise.

2016-04-24 10.12.01I found a few leaves that Lassie hadn’t destroyed yet, so I’m going to give aloe leaf propagation a try.  I like this particular aloe a lot because of the pink edges and dots.  I would love to make more of these beauties.  I cut them as close to the base as I could, leaving a clean, straight cut that I let heal over for a day.

I use a porous potting mix.   In my reading, it was suggested that the cut end be dipped in a rooting compound before being placed in potting soil.   I stuck three pieces in soil without using Rootone.

Aloe Leaf Propagation Aloe Leaf Propagation

I dipped the last two leaves in Rootone and planted them the opposite direction so I remember what I did!   I won’t water this for  a few weeks.   It will be placed in an area with good light, but I don’t want the sun hitting full blast because I think it will fry these leaves. I guess it will take about 4 to six weeks for roots to develop for repotting.

Aloe Leaf Propagation Aloe Leaf Propagation

Now we wait…..   If they actually do set off pups, I’m interested to see how much difference the Rootone makes.  I’ll report back on this eventually.



My Fig Trees

April 24, 2016

I’m growing two figs in pots on my roof deck.  One is a Violette de Bordeaux and the other is a Janice Seedless Kadota Fig.  I chose these two varieties because they grow well in containers, and also for my coastal climate.

My Fig Trees

This is a Violette de Bordeaux fig. This little tree is suffering the effects of not enough water. I found it wilting a few days ago, probably from a combination of the hot weather we’ve been having, and I have deep-watered for a couple of weeks. Sorry little tree!!!

My Fig Trees

This is a Janice Seedless Kadota Fig. It’s growing much faster than my other little tree. It’s growing in the same kind of pot as my other tree but didn’t suffer from the lack of water.  Weird since they always  get watered at the same time. Ah, the mysteries of gardening….

My Fig Trees

This ‘Honey Delight’ fig was my tree until we sold our big house and I had to relocate a lot of my potted plants. My ‘now’ neighbor planted this in her front yard and it has grown three times the size since it was in my yard.  I can see it from my roof deck, so I don’t have to miss it too much! And I get figs! 

So, here’s a little info on the care of fig trees:

Irrigation: Young fig trees should be watered regularly until fully established. In dry western climates, water mature trees deeply at least every one or two weeks.  Mulch the soil around the trees to conserve moisture. If a tree is not getting enough water, the leaves will turn yellow and drop. Also, drought-stressed trees will not produce fruit and are more susceptible to nematode damage. Recently planted trees are particularly susceptible to water deficits, often runt out, and die.

Pruning: Fig trees are productive with or without heavy pruning. It is essential only during the initial years. Trees should be trained according to use of fruit, such as a low crown for fresh-market figs. Since the crop is borne on terminals of previous year’s wood, once the tree form is established, avoid heavy winter pruning, which causes loss of the following year’s crop. It is better to prune immediately after the main crop is harvested, or with late-ripening cultivars, summer prune half the branches and prune the remainder the following summer. If radical pruning is done, whitewash the entire tree.

Fertilization: Regular fertilizing of figs is usually necessary only for potted trees or when they are grown on sands. Excess nitrogen encourages growth at the expense of fruit production, and the fruit that is produced often ripens improperly, if at all. As a general rule, fertilize fig trees if the branches grew less than a foot the previous year. I feed my figs in pots with diluted fish emulsion.  By diluted, I mean more water than suggested when mixing.

By June, we should be getting a good harvest off my neighbor’s tree.  Time will tell if I’m going to get any fruit from my little trees this year.   I’m assuming not from the little tree that was under watered, but miracles do happen occasionally!   We’ll see!


Propagating with Honey

April 23, 2016

I have never tried propagating with honey, but it makes sense since honey has enzymes that contain a natural antiseptic and antifungal properties.

Pure or raw honey is better to use than generic honey you would buy in a store which typically are processed or pasteurized which would remove the beneficial properties. One method is to mix 1 tbsp honey to 2 cups boiling water and let it cool.  You can put the stems of your cuttings in that and let roots form.

Another method uses undiluted honey for dipping, then place the cuttings directly into potting medium.

This video gives some good guidance on propagating with honey.


Take two aspirin……

April 3, 2016

I’m always so hopeful when I plant my new tomatoes, but dread seeing first signs of leaf fungus on the bottom leaves.  I’ve been blasting the plants with my hose in the morning so they can dry during the day, but I’m going to try an aspirin treatment this year.

Aspirin for tomatoes; hmmm, interesting thought, and it makes a lot of sense. Salicylic acid in aspirin is said to produce more blooms so fruit production is up. Another reason to treat with aspirin is to boost your plant’s immune system. Couldn’t hurt, so what the heck!

There are two ways to administer the aspirin to your plants.

1) When you are getting ready to plant, toss an aspirin into the bottom of the hole and cover with a little dirt so your plant roots don’t have direct contact with the aspirin, preventing burn. I might even go so far as to say it would be optimal if you crush the aspirin before you throw it into the hole.

2) If you’ve already planted, all is not lost. You can also administer the aspirin as a foliar spray by adding one aspirin to a gallon of lukewarm water and spraying on your tomato plants. It doesn’t have to be a heavy soaking, just spray it on.

Use uncoated, inexpensive aspirin for this garden job. Lukewarm water is better than cold so you don’t shock your plants when you spray.  Morning would be the best time to administer so the leaves dry off promptly.

I’m going to try it. Maybe tomorrow….

Here’s some more tomato planting and growing info that I found interesting, so you might, too:  How to Plant a Tomato



Botanical Nomenclature

April 2, 2016

BOTANICAL NOMENCLATURE IN A STANDARD FLOWER SHOW – If you are going to enter plants into Flower Shows or other competitions, it is important to understand the botanical nomenclature so your plants are labeled correctly.  Here’s a basic example: Genus: Sedum Species: rupestre Variety/Cultivar: ‘Lemon Coral’ (Variety occurs in nature Cultivar is cultivated by someone) […]

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Don’t Let the Fancy Talk Scare you

April 2, 2016

With all the discussion about “Sustainable Gardening”, “Going Green”, and “Organic Gardening”, it can be overwhelming for the gardener. I say, let’s stop all this fancy talk and get back to basics. Which is really what the fancy talk is all about. First, let’s read the gardeners definition of “Sustainable Gardening”: Capable of being continued […]

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April in the Garden 2016

April 1, 2016

April is National Gardening Month. There are lots of flower shows and garden tours this month to inspire you and get those creative juices flowing.  In our gardens, this month’s focus should be fertilizing and weeding.  We’ve had a decent amount of rain so the weeds are thriving.  Stay ahead of that job or you’ll […]

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Fertilizing Your Plants

March 29, 2016

As promised in yesterday’s post, here is a primer on Fertilizer.  Not really complicated, but it can seem that way when you are faced with a wall of choices at your local nursery.  Take a deep breath and let’s get through this! A Guide to Fertilizing Plant fertilizer comes in liquid and powdered forms. Liquid […]

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