Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Growing Myrciara vexator gives new meaning to the word patience

I've been patient with seeds before, but growing blue grape (Myrciara vexator) has pushed my patience to the limit.

I got 2 seeds early January, it has taken till now for one of the seeds to germinate. I placed it under my egg plant bushes and almost forgot about it. When I looked this week I saw a small leaf coming out ! The other seed germinated about 2 months ago and is now about 4 inches tall (2nd picture).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Seminole pumpkins - Our new favourite squash/pumpkin

The Seminole pumpkin seeds I planted earlier, has taken off like rockets. This weekend, I harvested two large ones, they look like green butternuts, a little fatter, but the flesh is paler almost cream coloured.

I decided to treat my wife to a soup - I normally use butternut but decided to give this a try.

I hit a home-run, I can say that this is my wife's new favourite soup. The soup came out thicker than my butternut soup, but much more flavourful.

The vines seem undeterred by the daily rain and high humidity. The only problem I can see so far are the moth caterpillars devouring the leaves, but the vines grow fast enough to replenish, so I haven't resorted to spraying yet.

This will become part of our staple diet.

The dog days of summer

Its that time of year where you get so busy with the routine tasks and trying to survive the intense heat and humidity, that you end up forgetting about everything else.

With our record high temperatures and fantastic daily downpours, I've been spending every spare moment away from work and family just trying to stay ahead of the weeds ! Yes, the picture is not a patch of weed invaded grass, but a huge patch of sweet potato vine patch invested with weeds. I haven't been able to salvage the situation and had to resort in spraying the whole are with weed killer.

Let me tell you its NOT pleasant working outside when its 99 F (37 C) with 80% humidity, yes last Sunday and Monday we broke all previous records, the heat index was 116 F (46 C) !

In Vero Beach a little north from here, they recorded 102 F also an all-time record.

Don't get me wrong, Ive been patiently waiting for the wet season and now that its here at last, its unbelievable how everything has taken off (including the venerable weeds). Last weekend I spent 2 hours spraying the weeds with glyphosphate, unfortunately being the budget gardener, I bought the cheapest brand and that means to be most effective you need to have a day of no rain. The day started out bright and sunny with no indication of rain. I finished spraying at 8AM, then out of nowhere we got a thunderstorm at 10AM and I'm sure it washed off most of the weed killer. Its been raining incessantly since then, so I guess I'm going to have to wait and see if the weeds are killed or not. At least the brand I bought was much cheaper, it makes up to 21 gallons and only cost $14. The other brand I normally buy starts at $19 and only makes 10 gallons at the strength required to kill the weeds on steroids (it is rain-fast in 20 minutes though).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My latest pet project

I've been searching for a sub-tropical nut tree that doesn't grow too big, so far, I haven't found any, the tropical almond grows into a very large tree. I've read that Walnuts do well and there are reportedly very large well bearing trees even as far South as Miami, but they grow into huge monsters.

After reading and researching, I found that the money tree we all know, they are typically sold braided as pictured, also known as Pachira Aquatica, but almost always named wrongly as they are almost always Pachira Glabra instead - Pachira Glabra or the french peanut is a small tropical tree that bears big fruits with seeds inside that when roasted taste like peanuts. Pachira glabra has a caudiciform trunk even in young trees and the small veins on the leaves run almost perpendicular to the main vein.

I've been searching for seeds to buy, but all the suppliers are either outside the US, or out of stock.

I know its tropical, but I found it at Home Depot under $10, so if it dies next winter it isn't too big a loss, if it makes it, it will be a very interesting / attractive addition to my collection of rare fruits.