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Garden Diary - September 10, 2016

As you can see from the picture, my giant carrion plant, or starfish flower, is blooming. The flies are loving it, as it smells like rotting meat. This was one of my mother's favorite plants, and we traded cuttings back and forth for years until
both of ours died. I got a cutting from a friend and regrew mine in her memory.

I was offered an apartment with a large yard -- about 1,000 sf outside of the courtyard -- and I turned it down because I didn't really have the money or the time to move right now. It would have been lovely to have the space for a real garden, but I would only have had 3 weeks to move, and that's not even enough tiime to pack. People leave around here all the time, so it will likely come to be available again in a year or two when I'm more able to take it. In the meantime, I'm going to be reconfiguring the space I have.

A few days ago, I took down the potting table and laid it on the ground. I didn't really need it for potting anymore, and I didn't want to dig up that section until I can put more organic matter in there. This is yet another experiment to try to see if I can reflect sunlight to get things to grow better. I will eventually paint that concrete wall white and repaint the old table white to see if the reflected sunlight helps with plant growth and production.

I planted a few seeds in containers. Not much. A few collards, kohlrabi (never grown before), bunching onions, radishes, and some lettuce for cut-and-come-again greens. When they get large enough, I'll transplant a few of the lettuces and greens into the ground or their own containers. I sat the larger pots up on the table to get better drainage, because I had found them not draining well sitting on the ground. I need to get some pavers to set pots on to allow them to drain better. I've also been putting holes into the sides of the pots to facilitate drainage.

Signs of fall are everywhere. The leaves on some plants are yellowing and falling, like the Caesalpinia mexicana (yellow dwarf poinciana) I planted this summer. It did o.k., I guess. Grew about a foot, then stopped in the heat, then grew a bit more when the rains started. I knew it wouldn't grow much this year, but next year should be better. I'm going to move it this winter, because I want to eliminate anything that throws shade on the garden from the South. I'll probably put it further down at the end, where I'll have to dig another small section out for it. I'd like to move the pigeon pea, but it's too large and they don't like transplanting, so I'll just plant a new one in a new place and take that one down completely.

The desert rose is also doing its fall thing by putting out a last gasp of flowers while it's dropping leaves. I don't know how people get theirs to bloom all summer. Mine puts on a grand show in the spring, then pretty much goes dormant in hot weather. Maybe I'll try some bloom fertilizer on it next year.

The brugmansias put on quite a show right before Hurricane Hermine stripped all their blooms off. I'm still having problems with army worms, but I am diligentlly picking and killing them every morning. I'm only going to keep one plant, because I need that sunny space for veggies, so I'll be giving away lots of cuttings and some whole plants this fall.

That's it, I guess for now. Could write more, but this is long enough.

Happy Gardening!