Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Amaryllis and other bulbs

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

I’ve been growing an amaryllis in our worm bin for the past year. It’s probably been there six months, so i’m going to follow kdjoergensen’s instructions at Dave’s Garden and harvest the bulb. The gardener writes, “3-4 months later the flower scapes will appear” and then, once it is repotted, “it will typically flower within 3-5 weeks.”

I also bought a Red Lion amaryllis at the hardware store this past weekend. Looks like if i want it as a mid to late December bloom I should plant it mid November.

The other bulbs are from Van Zyverden Mammoth Yellow Crocus (12 bulbs ; plant 2″ deep), Hyacinth Carnegie (white, 3 bulbs; plant 6″ deep), and Daffodil Cheerfulness (double pale yellow , 5 bulbs; plant 6″ deep). There’s a size on the packages. The crocus says 3.1″-3.5″, the hyacinth 5.5″-6″ — maybe this is the size of the bloom? It isn’t the bulb size or the height.

I bought the hyacinth and daffodils for forcing. I’ve a forcing pot for five bulbs. In looking for a simple guide to how long i should allow for the bulbs to start, i found a few notes that gave me pause: 14-16 cold weeks? In pots? At least this guide for water forcing says the bulbs can be kept cold in bags. This guide makes it sound even easier. I found a note that says, “after resting they typically bloom in three to five weeks.”

Looks like if i should just put some bulbs in a bowl every four weeks. I’ve put the hyacinths and daffodils in the fridge so they’ll have six to eight cold weeks, at least.

Garden & Bread Check-in

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

I updated my notes on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day with photos from the first mix and rise today. Still need to bake the pizza stone; not interested on doing it on a warm day like today. Tomorrow is forecast to be ten degrees cooler. (Yay!)

I did stop to take some photos in the garden. I’d planted some chard and spinach on the 23th of August (or there’bouts): the squirrels dug it up. The Meyer lemon is blooming beautifully. It’s definitely been tomato ripening weather. I’m afraid i let the squirrels get too many of those fruit, too.

Today's Garden Notes

While i’m updating, i should also note that months ago, when i was fiddling with printing, i asked the Artistamp folks about acrylics through the mail — too sticky? adhere to other mail pieces? Jenny Groat and Mike (“mikesrgreen”) recommended clear bags from

Seeds planted

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Only up to a brief stint in the garden, but the mild and beautiful weather calls for an examination of the growing things.

Parsley is thriving. The pansies have aphids. The Daisy-like shrub is blooming. Buds on the hydrangea (which i always think i have killed). It’s possible a tomato has survived, ditto the pepper. I cut those way back, though, and believe they might actually be gone.

The planters across the five gallon water containers may not be working. Some sagging. Could the water containers be leaking?

I trimmed back the lemon grass (aggressively).

From previously unopened “Renee’s Garden” seeds:
planter 1: Long standing spinach Summer Perfection (packed for 2005) & Container Chard Pot of Gold (packed for 2008)
planter 2: Fragrant sweet peas Perfume Delight (packed for 2008)

Flower and other gardening

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Not only did i replant tomatoes this week, but i cleaned out some dirty dirt* and introduced over 1.5 cubic foot of purchased soil to the containers. The cat planter — with catnip and cat grass — has been completely replanted with the catnip that was thriving with the volunteer tomatoes. A long planter was cleaned out and now has a variety of parsleys and basils that may be spent — or not. We’ll see. The large oregano planter was a victim of the dirty dirt problem as well, and that’s been completely replanted with purple and yellow flowers:

* Pansy, Crystal Bowl Yellow (“Crystal Bowl series-All are clear colors without a face…. The compact plants do not sprawl in the garden.”)
* Viola, F1 Penny Violet Flare (“A series of F1 Hybrid Violas that has been bred to have more cold and heat tolerance. They provide a multitude of large rounded flowers, making a superb show in any garden position. Deep violet with white centre.”)
* yellow and purple lantanas from Kawahara Nursery’s Garden Jewel collection. I think these are Lantana montevidensis — but the yellow one? Lantana ‘Goldsonne’ (Lantana camara)? or Lantana montevidensis ‘Pot O’ Gold’?
* A yellow to purple osteospermum ecklonis from Kawahara Nursery’s Garden Jewel collection. (Cape Marguerite, Blue-and-white Daisybush; “Osteospermum blooms will close every evening, and open up again in early morning.”)

The lantana and osteospermum are perennials, so perhaps the pot will continue to be home to blossoms past this fall. I also invested in a Hippeastrum Red Lion Amaryllis.

I’ve two unplanted window boxes and some spinach and chard seeds. I’m thinking of giving those a go.

About pansies.

*a euphemism. Let’s just refer to it as a cat problem.

Tomatoes and peppers

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Later today i may make some variation of these oven fried green tomatoes. Earlier this week, i repotted the volunteer tomatoes into a container i can more easily move to shelter this winter, and i cut back the long rambling vines, giving me a cluster of green fruit.

Reading this morning, it’s clear that these volunteer plants must be “indefinite” plants with long rambling vines and the production of suckers. I did prune back the “suckers” — branches off the main vine — this summer, but i think any growth to the suckers this season is to be encouraged. In fact, since i’ve cut back the main vine on the three plants, all the current growth is essentially the sprouts from near the roots. I’m pondering whether i should be pinching back the flowers so the plant will focus on vegetative growth and not fruiting. There’s a useful distinction about different pruning theories at How Stuff Works.

One site states, “The tomato plant can die if temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Soil temperatures should be around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer for the tomato to thrive.” This seems to be the advice given for spring planting out; another site simply states that planting should be when “temperatures are consistently above 50° F at night and 65°F during the day.” I suspect they’ll be somewhat dormant, but survive colder temperatures as established plants. There doesn’t seem to be much advice about how one can over-winter tomatoes and get the benefit of growth on mature plants. My suspicion is the second year of growth could be an even better fruiting year because of the established plant.

I also pinched back the flowers on my pepper plant, another perennial. It was a purchased plant, and i’d like to see if i can get another season out of it.

May Day(-ish) Gardening

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Since i was out of town on May Day, the little bit of gardening for the season happened today. A trip to Summerwinds Nursery while Christine was at Foothill’s gym resulted in a red azalea for the dining room sideboard table and a variety of herbs and a few veggies.

At home, i got the last of the potting soil and mixed with worm castings. That filled a new low bowl planter — this one plastic — and a medium pot. In the low bowl i planted the six beans (I hope they’re runner beans!), dill, and two varieties of basil. In the pot went a Poblano pepper (if i recall correctly) and some sage. I pulled up most of the ginger root from the square planter, and left only two small nubs that looked like they’d sprout. There was already English mint in that planter; i added pineapple mint. In the herb planter, where the tarragon and thyme looked a little peaked, i added a lemon balm and loosened the soil a bit. I added a nice thyme to the oregano planter; Greybeard’s taken to sleeping in that planter, too.

Weekend efforts

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006


I’ve imported all the creek and deck photos from 2006 into iPhoto on the iMac in preparation for using iMovie. (In general, i haven’t been impressed with iPhoto.) It seems the brief video bits that the Minola will capture can be imported into iPhoto, as well, making it a very useful cache for iMovie. I’m hoping that the audio notes can be imported as well. I can imagine making a Stevens Creek slide show at some point.

I had a fairly interesting time experimenting. It does seem that if i’m going to apply some sort of video effect (like the watercolor filter) it should be done before adding in transitions. I had a well timed transition that became “off” after adding the video effect. I’m not sure i have the timing specification down.

I do wish there was an option where one could have a still photo and and create drop zones — essentially making an iMovie theme. We have tiny videos i shot with the Minolta camera, 320×240, that would be OK as an inset, but not so impressive as full screen. The watercolor effect does help there.


Side note from going through the photos: I bought some sort of flower bulb, as yet unplanted, on Jan 22 — the same day i got the first birdfeeders. (Only the hummingbird feeder remains from that purchase: squirrels 3 – Judith 2)

I also did a bit of refreshing of the garden. I went through the worm bin, add that soil on top of the sweat peas soil (just seemed it might help) and under the cat garden. It wasn’t exactly a repotting but it should have loosened up any compaction and aerated the soil. I pruned back the daisy-like shrub, tied up the nasturtiums, and seeded a bit with saved marigold and sunflower seeds from last year. I’ve got a few floral volunteers coming up as well as the almost weedy parsley.

Digital Art

I did fiddle around a bit with the wacom tablet and photoshop, wanting to make doodles the same way i do pen to paper.

Click for very large images

The results were a bit rough. The pressure sensitivity is not in the range i use with real pens; i have to press much harder. And, since i was wanting to work on something with a narrow dimension of 2550 pixels (300 pix/inch * 8.5 inches) there was just some difficulty working on 6 pixel by 2000 pixel strokes.


After work on Monday we zipped to Michael’s to get Christine a proper stretcher for her needlework, and a few items for myself. When i go, i tend to collect a sale yarn or two to add to a stash, hoping that the little balls will be enough for a trim — at least for toys. This time there was a fun yarn in a blonde brown color and from the remaindered craft section weird plastic “sparkle yarn” that may or may not have been a complete mistake.

Bulbs & Compost

Saturday, February 5th, 2005

There was something jubulant about the day today. I took the window boxes i’d bought and emptied the bottom of my compost pail into them. My what gorgeous dark earth has formed in my compost bucket!!

So, in one windowbox i planted the amaryllis and narcissus bulbs i bought during Twelfth Month. Just a little action, but it felt good.

Amaryllis bulb bought at SF Flower mart, early Dec. Red. Bloom-Rite Gardens, Half Moon Bay, CA. Expect bloom 6-8 weeks.

Looking forward

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

This past Sunday (i think) i neatened up in the garden. I’d bought pansies and sweet peas and a daisy-like plant and chamomile just before N & M’s visit. They seemed to have stalled through December and January, but the pansies are blooming again and the sweet peas are stretching out. The lemon is almost yellow! And the hydrangea — who knew it would be so sensitive to the cold?

Last night i bought two new window boxes, a bunch of peat starters, and feet for the window boxes. I also bought a number of seeds i trust to be easy:

Basil, Osimum basilicum, Italian Pesto, $2.49,, 2005-02-02
Celosia, [unknown], pampas plume, $1.89, Miracle-Gro, 2005-02-02
Cleome, [unknown], Four Queens Mix, $1.89, Miracle-Gro, 2005-02-02
Coleus, [unknown], Mixed colors, $1.99, Miracle-Gro, 2005-02-02
Marigold, [unknown], Safari mixed colors, $1.99, Miracle-Gro, 2005-02-02
Statice, Limonium sinuata, Watercolor pastels, $2.49,, 2005-02-02

And then there are last year’s seeds, many that never seemed to take off. (And i don’t see an entry which lists all last year’s seeds):

Calendula, Calendula officinalis, Pacific Beauty, $1.39, Botanical Interests, 2004-05-01
Catnip, Nepeta cataria, common, $1.69, Botanical Interests, 2004-05-01
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum, Common, $1.69, Botanical Interests, 2004-05-01
Dill, Anethum graveolens, Dukat, $1.59, Botanical Interests, 2004-05-01
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus, Alaska, $1.89, Botanical Interests, 2004-05-01
Sunflower, Helianthus annus (hybrid), Moulin Rouge, $2.99, Botanical Interests, 2004-05-01
Pepper Chile, Capsicum annuum, Ancho/Poblano, $1.59, Botanical Interests, 2004-05-01

Small changes

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

I trimmed the blossoms off the hydrangea yesterday. Outside it goes. Probably ought to be repotted.

I sprayed a pyrethian-based insecticide all over the aphid infested pansies. Lots and lots of crawlies. I’m sure part of the problem is the plants are stressed by the irregular watering, wind, and sun. No aphids are apparent on the more sheltered plants.