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Garden Diary: February 21, 2016

Hoping This is What My Celosia Looks Like

Well, it's been awhile, but January wasn't a good gardening month for me. We had several cold snaps, and the most gardening I did was moving plants in and out of the house and trying to
cover up the ones outside.

I've managed to start some seeds, finally. The courtyard is still a mess, and like everything else in my life, not much will be done until after my trip to Washington in June due to lack of time and money, so I'm just growing a very few things.


I've started seeds of Texas Star hibiscus and Datura inoxia (night blooming white), but no sprouts so far. I also planted quite a few seeds of Celosia argentea (variety unknown) I'd had a couple of years just to see if it would grow. It has edible leaves, but there are several varieties, so it will be a surprise. So far, the leaves are looking as if they have purple undersides. I've never grown it before, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. 


I started Cherokee Purple and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, both of which came up quickly and now have true leaves. I'm only planting two of each, due to lack of full sun area. I also planted Roma, which didn't make it, so I replanted those and have seen no sprouts yet. Also planted Black Cherry seeds from a friend, but no sprouts yet. I put one of the Early Girl clones into the pot that grew last year's EG, and it's now doing pretty well, dark green and growing, though small. Remember the NOID tomatoes that volunteered in a bone-dry six-pack? I just upsized those from their small six-pack to a larger six-pack. I think I'm going to plant those outside the wall as "community tomatoes," since I really don't have room for them in here. I have way too many clones of Everglades, but I love them, so you can have never have too many. I'll plant those outside the wall too, since they are so prolific. Also have clones of the NOID large red cherry, which I will also put outside the wall.  Once again, I have way too many tomatoes for someone who isn't especially fond of them, thus most will become community tomatoes. If no one takes advantage of that, I guess I'll be making green tomato pickles and chow chow.


I started a lot of cayenne seeds, but none have come up so far. I also started pequin pepper seeds. I've never grown those before. I'll be sowing YOLO Red bell pepper and maybe a Sweet Banana pepper soon. I plan to try to do a bonchi (bonsai peppers) with the pequin peppers, and maybe one with the cayenne. I'd love to get seeds of more ornamental peppers, but just have no time to do that this year.

Other Veggies

I wanted to know if my 2+ year old angled luffa seeds were still good, so I soaked two in water and put them onto wet paper towels inside a plastic bag, and both sprouted. Planted them in a 3" pot and they are both up and growing. I don't have a clue what I'm going to do with them, but thinking about growing them up one side of that old broken ladder I was going to use as a trellis and letting them grow up and over the wall on the South side. I don't think anyone will steal those, because they don't really look very appetizing unless you know what they are.

I want to also grow a regular cucumber, but have no idea which one or where to grow it. I'd rather have cucumbers than beans, so maybe I'll try growing one on the other wall and just put those Contender bush beans around the bottom. They did really well last year when I grew them in the community garden. I have 3 kinds of cucumbers: Earnest White, which is a USDA experimental variety (short, blocky white with black spines), regular pickling cucumbers and all those hundreds of Marketmore seeds Dollar Seeds sent me. I may try to grow them all along that wall just to see what happens. I love cucumbers, so the more, the merrier.

I have potatoes coming up in several places where I buried kitchen scraps, but don't know if they're red or russet. I found a russet potato sprouting in my pantry, so I cut it up and put them into a container. I'll see what happens with that. I have a few red potato eyes I want to just stick here and there and see what I get. I'm not much into growing potatoes, since they are so cheap, but I do love the baby ones, which are expensive, so that's why I let these grow.

Last, but not least, I planted yellow straightneck squash seeds in a bucket. I've never grown those in a container, so I'll just have to see how they do. Also found a few sweet potato sprouts coming up, so I cut three and am rooting those. I left the plant from last year in the ground. These are the dark-red ones that I really love. I'll probably use sweet potato as ground cover all over the place, so I should at least get a few next year.

Perennial Veggies

The pigeon peas are still thriving. The large one outside the wall is about to set buds, so I should have beans in a month or so. The smaller one next to the banana I've decided to just let stay as a nitrogen fixer there. I'll plant a few more around that banana as well, and chop-and-drop them regularly to give it more nitrogen, to see how it does. It has a pup, which is right now buried under leaves, but I can't wait until all danger of frost is past so I can see how much it has grown over the winter. The banana survived all the freezes and is actively putting out new leaves. I doubt I'll ever get fruit, because it doesn't get enough sun, but who knows? They grow and bear in the jungle, after all.

I managed to keep the Albemoschus manihot alive and will be planting that outside the fence as more of an ornamental, but I may use the leaves, or sell starts of it. I still haven't gotten any Hibiscus acetosella seeds, but will try to order some later. I have seeds of H. sabdariffa (Florida Cranberry) and H. mechowii (edible leaves and flowers, but I'm growing it more as an ornamental), which I'll start when it gets a little warmer.

I know this is long, and not a lot of pretty pictures, but I don't have time to seek out pics to post right now. What is going on in your garden?

Photo Attribution: By Hedwig Storch (Own work) GFDL or CC BY 3.0  via Wikimedia Commons