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Archive for the ‘Flowers’ Category

Garlic is coming in!

Garlic is one of the easiest plants in the world to grow. Throw it in the ground in the fall, don’t do much, and in the spring, you get garlic everywhere!

Garlic Bulbils on the stalk in the garden

Garlic Bulbils in the Square Foot Garden

The bulbs are planted in the garden pointy side up. A green stalk forms and grows into a small 18inch-ish size plant.

The leaves are edible while it is growing, but you don’t want to harvest too many from any one plant.

The one clove that you plant grows and splits into multiple cloves.

Depending on the type you planted, you may get a hard stalk that grows in the spring and forms a bulbil. This is like a flower but instead of a bloom, you get a whole bunch of little garlic cloves. There is some debate on whether you want these or not. Some people cut the stalk off so that the energy of the plant if focused on growing the cloves/bulb and not the “flower”.  Some argue that the flower should be left and that this will result in better cloves in the ground for next year’s plantings. Both may be right.

The little Garlic Bulbils from the Garlic Flower in the square foot garden

Baby Garlic!

As you can see, the garlic looks good. I am going to leave most of it in the ground until the bottom 4-5 leaves turn brown while the top is still green.

At harvest time, you can dig up your garlic and put it in a dry place with some air circulation. The can be eaten anytime!

 

Garlic before drying in the square foot garden

Garlic Before Drying

 

Garlic is one of the simplist plants to grow, it take very little work, and just about everybody (except vampires of course) loves it.

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What happens when your food blooms?

The artichoke plant is one of the weirdest plants. When it is growing, it funnels all of the water to it’s base. It is a great design for this.

When it grows the artichoke, the one you see in the restaurant or store, it is harvested before it blooms. The flower itself is amazing.

I spotted this blooming artichoke and thought you might want to see it.

The petals open up and look like a Stegasaurus. The blooms erupts from the center and looks like a giant purple sunflower with wispy elements curling in on themselves.

Creation is amazing.

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This is what happens when an Artichoke blooms

An Artichoke in Bloom

          

Container Gardening – Start Right Now!

Although I have 3 large square foot gardens, I also have many containers to add to my gardening joy. I also love to see container gardening ideas from other peopla.

One of my gardening friends has two beautiful tomato plants growing very well in pots on her patio.

Young Tomato Plants in Containers

It is still early in the tomato season here and hers are doing beautifully!

Pros: The plants get full sun from morning to dusk and are protected from winds by the fences. The patio reflects light and adds to the total sunlight they plants can get. The containers are large and should accomodate a full grown tomato plant. The basil is a good plant-combining touch and will complement the tomato both while growing and for making Italian food.

Cons: The plants are in dark containers which will lead to high temperature variations for the roots of the plants. An organic farmer once told me that one of the most important tricks for growing great tomatoes in very hot climates like ours is to make sure their “feet” remain at a constant temperature and that they don’t get too hot. There are many that will tell you that if the roots of tomato plant get over 70 degrees (F), the plant will not set fruit. They will grow like crazy but you will get no tomatoes.

I recommended to her that she wrap the pots in something to protect them from absorbing too much heat and that she mulch to plants very well.

She taught me to pinch off the redundant growth shoots from where the plant has formed a new “branch” of leaves.

She also has a reception in her backyard coming up and has planted some spectacular flower arrangements.

She has a good eye for color and has blended these beautifully. These planters, accented by the Chiminea, frame the rear part of her patio.

The Chiminea (pronounced Chim-mi-nay-ah)is a very old Mexican idea for heating and cooking and has become popular in may backyards around the world.

She has mixed at least three different types of flowers in each clay pot and also mixed the colors.

If you are a budget gardener, then start these plants from seed early in the spring or late winter in a green house. It is not that hard and can save you a lot of money. All it takes is a little planning, some room, a warm place with sunshine, possibly a greenhouse, and patience.

Some varieties of Marigolds are well know for their properties of warding off bad insects from your garden. In this case, she is just using if for decoration but it does have a dual purpose.

I plant Marigolds in may spring/summer garden and love them for their beauty and function.

You can create your own soil mix or buy premixed potting soil at your local Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, or even better, your locally owned nursery. It is important to use a light soil that will not be compacted.

Our local nursury recommends expanded shale to be added to the soil. Most potting soil uses Vermiculite or Perlite (the white, lite, little specks you see in potting soil that tend to move around when you water). Just make sure that whatever soil you use is light and fluffy.

 If you have your own pictures of growing food and flowers in containers, send them my way. I will publish them, with your permission, on future posts.

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What is this plant?

I live in Texas and had some of these flowers come up all around my garden.

What is this plant? Beautiful pink flowers on medium stems

I love them because they are drought tolerant, bloom all spring, summer, and fall, and they are a great filler plant.

They also have a very unique property. Late in the season, when you water them, a part of the plant “Snaps” at you. It makes this loud clicking noise, kind of like there are lots of click beetles in the plant. I believe it is the seed pod that is maturing and ready to launch.

My wife sees these as weeds (plants in the wrong place) and, as a permaculturist, I see it as a plant that the soil needs and both the plant and the soil are better off.

What do you think? Leave a comment…

          

Beauty and Food Together

When we plant, we always plant our annual vegetables alongside flowers. We do this for the following reasons:

 

– It looks great
– It attracts pollinators. Bees and other insects do marvelous work in the garden and our vegetables can’t do without them.
– It distracts the destructive insects.
– Plants like Marigolds may repel destructive insects. There is also evidence that their roots may kill some Nematodes.