The progress of seeds planted..

Well…..I have three-four varieties of plants(seeds) out of 12 that have actually made it.  Between the bugs in the greenhouse munching on the fresh green sprouts, to just plain ole not making it… is just frustrating. I can see why the mother plants have to throw out so many seeds in nature.  Then there is the care…In the desert I have to mist these guys twice a day every day-Its like having children again and then when you lose them-ugh..the pain….

I am thinking that with the investment of seed, and the percentage I am able to maybe bring to growth, that I just may plant them in the good earth outside, with a little root hormone, water and good soil around them and let the true mother do her work. I am not a very good surrogate…even though I try. I think I have to stay with cuttings and division as my means of propagation as I seem to have better luck there.  I ordered seed for pacypodiums, pachyuals, and cacti and as I said I have only the pachypodioum gaeyii, and pachypodium lameri, and my yuccas seeds from under my tree- still toughing it out with me. So I will keep you up to date. I bought the seeds from Cactusstore.com-those are the pachypodiums that are hanging on. The other seeds I bought well those are not faring too well as of yet or at all. The other seeds I got where from the Cactus and Succulent society-those have not sprouted at all so far-but most are cacti, and the rest I am going to let mother nature work with.

So for my seeding adventures it is into the ground they go. Where ever I see a seed pod I am trying to plant it…Lets see if they sprout imagesCAYXI0QXthat way.

Succulents from California..

I was just n California in San Diego and come upon these amazing trees-not really sure what they are. Maybe someone knows but they grow vines from their branches that anchor the tree into the ground-truly amazing.

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More succulent arrangements courtesy of Debra Lee Baldwin

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PhotoPhotoPhotoPhotoPhotoPhotoSome incredible photos by Debra Lee Baldwin. They are inspiring me to go and plant some containers this weekend. I will share often as I begin mixing and working on container arrangements with succulents. Debra is a great inspiration with her photos and designing with succulents books, as well as her new one coming out this spring which I am sure to get.

Plant remedies from the Kitchen!!

Plant Pest Remedies From Your Kitchen

cinnamon.jpgYou would be surprised how many household items (like cinnamon) can come to your aid when plants find themselves under attack from pests and disease.  Below is a list of ten such items to give you an idea of what can be used before resorting to store-bought chemicals or pesticides.

Have you used any of these ingredients with success?

  • Water — that’s right, just a thumb over the end of a hose and you have a powerful weapon against aphids and spider mites.  You can knock a lot away with just a strong spray of water.
  • Dish soap — a great additive to plant sprays, helping your concoctions adhere to leaves and insects.  A soap and water solution alone can be effective against aphids and other soft-bodied insects, causing their bodies to break down.
  • Citrus — it can repel and also break down soft-bodied insects.  Pour boiling water over grated lemon, orange or grapefruit rinds and let it steep overnight (1 pint of water over 1 whole fruit’s worth of rind).  Strain out the liquid into a spray bottle.
  • Vinegar — put a small amount of vinegar and sugar (or just use cider vinegar) in a jar next to your plants and aphids and fruit flies will be attracted, fall in, and drown.
  • Hot peppers — they contain capsaicin which causes insects to be ‘burned’.  Too strong of a concentration, though, and plant leaves can also be burned.  Combine 1 quart of water, a squirt of dish soap, and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Ginger — contains capsaicin, just like hot peppers, and can also be used in the same way to make sprays, mixed with water and dish soap ( and sometimes canola oil) to irritate and smother pests.
  • Garlic — contains allicin, which confounds many insects’ sensory receptors.  You can chop up cloves with water in a blender, strain the bits out and then use this extract in a dilute form.
  • Baking soda — has fungicidal qualities.  Mix a few tablespoons in a quart of water, and use this as a spray against fungus on plants.  Reapply every few days until the fungus is gone.
  • Milk — mixed with equal parts water can be applied to tomatos, cucumbers, lettuce and other plants to help control mildew.
  • Cinnamon — If you see that your seedlings are being affected by damping off disease, you can sprinkle cinnamon down as a fungicide.  Damping off is when fungus proliferates in the damp seedling environment, attacking and killing the young stems and roots.

It is recommended that any sprays, especially ones with hot pepper and garlic or onions, be applied earlier in the morning, before the heat of the day and before the plants’ leaf pores open up.  Spraying later and during the heat of the day will increase the chance of you burning your plants.

Another good precaution is to try spraying only a test portion of the affected plant and see if it has any adverse effects.  If you do notice leaf burn, you should wash the area out with some water.

Straining your mixtures is extremely important for anything going into a spray bottle – any little bits will quickly clog the spray mechanism and make a mess.  When you are spraying garlic or hot pepper you definitely want to keep that off your hands as much as possible!

This is a post from Apartment therapy. I was looking up to see if cinnamon was a good fungicide and wha laa…a whole list graciously given by apartment therapy. Thank you.

Spring Arid Gardening Check List

As the spring comes to an end….. I think of springs gardening chores imagesCAEL5NVJcalling me..Yes you can have a desert in the arid southwest. Where we get less than 9 inches of rain. Where the hot sun blisters you at 124 degrees during May June July and August. Where it seems it is summer for 8 months of the year….But still when you hear the bird calls, see even the faint wisp of color pop up from under a the shade of a rock. Yes..that is when it is all worth it. So I begin my spring clean up and chores to bring on more of the color, more of the fragrance, and allow myself to soak up the deserts sculptural beauty…

To Do : March, April, May:

clean up the stone circles that need clean up

mulch my trees, and gardening beds, add grit and top stones to the containers and beds

start my container fruit trees-the best in the desert I have found so far are Fig, olive, pomegranate, permission. I am trying as well this year a peach and a nectarine-in pots. They are not doing so well at this point from the winds shredding their leaves-all of them poor things. I may have resign myself that fruit in Terlingua is wishful thinking.

move some rocks and make rock garden, then plant wild flower seeds among the rocks before rains.

propagate my cactus, plant some cactus seeds to see if I can grow them from seed. Remember to wear leather gloves and bring Kraft paper to wrap the cacti in…unless you want the cacti prickles.

take some tree cuttings to see if I can grow more trees in the desert-I am attempting the hardy mesquite tree..right now it is in a small container with 1/2  top soil, 1/2 perlite, and grit from the desert.

plant yucca from our garden, and pachypodium  seeds-they are planted yucca in jiffy pots I do not recommend these as they dry out too quickly, and the pachypodium seeds in top soil and perlite with a plastic baggies.

water-once a week if dry.

start to harden off plants I kept in the greenhouse, these are now outside.

Start to rehab my side gardens.

Planted cactus cuttings on the side of the studio-they already have flower buds and new pads-yipee.

Ocotillo cuttings…we shall see how these do. They look a bit dreadful at this point.

Guyacon root cuttings, look about the same as the ocotillo-dreadful.

Divide up some of my Aloe plants and transplant the Kalonoche plants. Start some on the side of the house. They seem to be liking their new area, but I am scared it will be too hot in the summer. We shall see.

Lastly I want to buy and start some succulent cuttings, plant some Adenium seeds, finish planting my cacti seeds, and plant some San Pedro cacti as I love the flowers…Flowers in the desert..Yummy!

Happy Spring..In the desert May starts to heat up like an oven on fire..May your May be a bit gentler.

OUCH-Cactus Prickles

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Okay,  I found this picture on the internet and it depicts exactly the pain those darn spines on a cactus feel like. Pain….So here is what you do about it, and I should know as the last few weekends I have been propagating cacti. For those pesky little glocoides from the prickly pear, or Optuia species I use my favorite duck tape. Yup-slap it on and rip it off. Ouch you say but it goes quick just like a waxing job. I wonder if they use duck tape when waxing-Ha.

Now for those big spines that get under your skin. Well, I hate to tell you but you have to wait it out with them. Hot water seems to help a bit, but really only time gets those suckers out. Eventually they work themselves out.

So your best bet is don’t get em to begin with, but really that is almost impossible working with cactus. I wear leather workers gloves, wrap the cactus in paper bags to transplant, and other than that grin and bear it.