Oh, dear...it's spring...and I'm back...

onafixedincome(z8-9 CA)April 17, 2011

...and I'm springing for plants AGAIN! Gotta be an addiction.

Been some time since I've been here to post--good to see some familiar faces, but sad to miss some others. :(

Today I splurged--(rolling eyes)--two different kinds of sages, yarrow seeds, squash (hey, I have to eat too!), alpine strawberry, red buckwheat and giant St. Catherine's Weed (buckwheat; Eriogonum). Um. I know there's something else but for the life of me, I can't think of what it was.

I started a new garden this year--it's a bit higher than halfway up my 5' chain link fence to keep the edibles away from the chickens and slugs and snails and vice-versa. Sure hope it works, I'm not working so food production is going to have to team up with the B-flies and like it! Every third container is going to be flowers; the rest are to be tomatoes, squash, strawberries (anyone want to recommend an everbearing variety?), beans, peas, etc.

So we'll see!

Right now though I have to get my ground level stuff out of hock with the foxtails. The ladybugs love the grasses but my wallet hates the vet bills!

Anyway, good to be back, and see you folks around!

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Hey, Lady! Glad to see you back! I have been growing tomatos, too, for more reasons than one. Main reason is the grocery store varieties are less tasty than cardboard, and too expensive. Costs keep rising, too. I am doing some heirlooms and a few hybrids. Last year, I grew Black Cherry, Jelly Bean Red, Rutgers, Supersweet 100, Burpee's Beefsteak. This year, I'm doing Black Cherry again, Sungold, and a bunch of others. Going to plant some summer squash, Okra, Jalapeno peppers, baby watermelons, baby melons, etc. My veggies are going to be in containers and gro bags.

Of course, I don't kill my hornworms either. I share with them. I still can't get over the photo of the red Zinnias from last year. Who was it thst posted that? Boy, has it stuck in my limited memory board! So, I am preparing a new bed for just Zinnias.

I'm growing lots of milkweed this year, too. So, it's just me and the cats! LOL!

Also growing a lot of vines for the butterflies and hummers, including Antigonon leptopus, red Morning Glories, Asarina scandens, Cardinal Vine, Heavenly Blue MG, and a few Japanese MGs.

Growing 3 types of Tithonia - yellow, Fiesta del Sol, and Torch.

I purchased the most beautiful Dianthus, called Southern Heirloom, from Bustani last year, and it didn't bloom last year. This year it has burst into bloom. It is about 18" tall, and has the most brilliant hot pink clustsrs of blooms I've ever seen. The butterflies like it, too.

Also purchased another Dwarf Red Porterweed, Dicliptera suberecta, and Cuphea from Bustani.

I sure hope it is a fantastic butterfly season this year, with all the Monarchs streaming out of Mexico.

Good luck to you, too!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 7:27AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

It's good to hear from you again - I hope all your plants thrive!
The only veggies I'm growing this year are three tomato plants - two Better Boys and one grape tomato. I tried the heirlooms several times, Susan, and they never would grow for me. The modern hybrids do great, so I'm just sticking with them, but I'd LOVE to taste an old-timey tomato!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 11:43PM
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Hi there, I started doing the same buckwheats you mentioned as well as some others and this is the 3rd season for some. The St. Catherine's Lace are already about 4 feet tall and came through winter with all their leaves in tact as well as buds for this season's flowers. I have one variety that I believe is fasciculatum and is about 4 feet tall with pom pom type flowers that last all season and start out light pink and go to white and then rust. Since I started planting the buckwheats I seem to be seeing more of the smaller butterflies like the blues and grays.

This winter I also tried covering some of the less hardy plants like the lantanas and they did very well so I have added a bunch more. Actually, the ones I didn't cover survived the winter cold well also. I have worked so hard the past couple of weeks digging and composting and weeding and planting so I also hope it will be a great butterfly summer. Last week I saw my first Gulf Frit which is a record for me as the earliest I have ever seen one in the past was July and some years not until one or two passed through in the fall.

Like you I am probably going to grow some food for me too. The money is scarcer and scarcer and I get hungry too. I was blessed to have my now 12 year old german shepherd still with me which is an answer to prayer since he has bad arthritis in his knees and needs meds to be able to walk. But he is a trooper like his old man. (I flatter myself!)

My pipe vine has definitely taken off big time and is coming up everywhere. And I have a great supply of passionvines of the caerulea persuasion. Where do you get your porter weed and what uses the cuphea?

By the way, Misssherry, the lead you gave me on securing Sonset Lantana paid off very well. I got the plants on Saturday in great condition and already planted them. Now I realize that the flowers that I have been admiring in my lantana beds were the ones I got through you years ago. I couldn't tell because I planted them all together. I also decided to try a couple of others they had too so we'll see how they do. Thanks so much. Murray

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:08AM
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Murray, I got the Dwarf Red Porterweed at Bustani Plant Farm and that's where I am getting the David Verity Cuphea as well. Both are hummer and large butterfly plants, e.g., Monarchs, Gulf Frits, Cloudless Sulphurs, Swallowtails. Cuphea is hardy to zone 8, and the Porterweed is hardy only to zone 10. I grow them as tropicals.

Bustani has very nice plants via online mail order if you're interested. I'll attach a link so you can drool.......

MissSherry, a lot of heirloom tomatos are probably more suited to cooler, drier areas than where you are located. One I grew last summer, though, that did extremely well in our hot, humid summer, was Black Cherry. It is just to die for flavorful cherry tomato. Sungold is another good one, an orange cherry. Not all are cherry, as I'm growing Bush Goliath, a hybrid medium large, Indian Stripe, a stripe, Little Lucky, a bicolor, Mountain Princess, a medium red, Purple Haze, supposed to be scrumptious, Hawaiian Currant, a small currant type, Sioux (this supposed to be good for hot, humid areas), Top Sirloin, Earlibell, Black Sea Man, and Japanese Black Trifele. Hopefully, I get some production out of most. Also doing a couple of Jalapenos, summer squash, dwarf Okra, dwarf watermelon, dwarf canteloupe.

There is a very active veggie gardening group at our Oklahoma Gardening forum, especially tomatos so a lot of my veggie recommendations came from folks who have grown them before me.

What does one plant Buckwheat for, BTW?


Here is a link that might be useful: Bustani Plant Farm

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 8:37AM
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onafixedincome(z8-9 CA)

I plant buckwheats for hairstreaks as well as any blues that may go sailing by. The good old cabbage whites aren't shy about appreciating them, either. :)

One flower I almost always have in abundance around here is calendula--bright, cheerful, almost impossible to kill...and nothing is ever seen on it.

First PVS eggs this week!! Whee!!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 3:20AM
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