Saturday, October 27, 2012

preparing for winter and spring

I ordered some bulbs from Brent and Becky's Bulbs:

tulipa 'Paul Scherer'
Crocus 'Jeanne d'Arc'
Hyacinthus orientalis Fairly White
Iris-dwarf 'Pauline'
Brent and Becky's Bulbs are one of few vendors who sell bulbs in small quantities, and the prices are reasonable too. They have a great collection of flowers to choose from especially for tulips and irises. My orders arrived relatively fast so I was pleased. The bulbs are carefully packaged in plastic netted pouches with labels of the flowers which can be used as a garden label to remind you what you've planted. It came with clear planting instructions, and I got a catalog too!

When I finally got around to planting them, I layered some of the bulbs . I planted the bulbs in one of the Root Pouch containers. I layered the bulbs so the container will hopefully continue to flower from early spring into summer. I learned about this from a YouTube video that explained layering bulbs in a container.

I also tidied up the balcony. Most of the tomato plants have been tossed. Only Root Pouch containers filled with potting mix remain. Empty Root Pouches will be tossed into the washing machine.

The mini rose bushes are doing very well and continue to grow and produce flowers. Despite their growth and flowering, they continue to be plagued by green aphids. I am diligent about brushing them off the rose buds, which seems to be where they like to cluster or at new growth. I also spray the bushes down with an organic product that also contains neem oil. It seems to be more effective in ridding the mini rose bushes of the fungal infection it was having. The aphids don't like the spray and eventually die but return.

I noticed one of the galore punk strawberry plants have produced runners. I plucked them off and planted them in separate pots with used potting mix. One runner had small roots while another had longer roots. I have two pots with strawberry plant offshoots. Looking forward to next spring.

photos of the flowers used in this post is from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

pickled with pickling

The tomato plants continued to produce fruit into October even though the temperatures were cooking down. Though the plants had tomatoes, they were green and given the cool temperatures, I doubt they would ripen.

I had read one of my favorite blogs that I follow, Garden Betty, and she wrote about pickling her green tomatoes. I thought it was a great way to make use of the green tomatoes from the balcony garden.

I collected the green tomatoes from the plants and pickled them during the first weekend in October. I used the basic brine recipe from Garden Betty. I also followed her instructions for a curry flavored brine. And I made my version of a garlicky and hopefully spicy brine by using one of the cayenne peppers in each half quart jar. And I also had enough to make a Thai inspired brine using the lemongrass from the balcony garden and the rest of the cayenne peppers.

After a month in the fridge, I tried them. To my delight, my first time pickling was a success. They tasted pretty damn good if I say so myself. The green tomatoes still had a crunch and a snap to it. The brine mellowed out. It wasn't too salty and the flavored vinegar permeated the green tomatoes.

TH also liked them!

I must say that the curry flavored pickled green tomatoes were okay. It has a peculiar taste but I think it has to do with the curry powder I used. I think I will have to use a different or higher quality curry that compliment the green tomato and try pickling again with curry powder.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

planting for spring 2013

I was busy with the balcony garden, getting ready for next year. I planted the tulip bulbs I got from the farm; white tulips. I also planted the bearded Dutch irises too; Immortality (white) and Michigan Pride (yellow with a deep reddish orange accent). I also planted the pansy seeds too!

I have more bulbs to plant like the crocuses and irises i started the balcony garden with. I also plan to acquire more tulip bulbs. Not sure where else I can find tulip bulbs sold individually.

spring on the balcony

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

producing ever more

It is October and the temperatures have dropped. And yet, the tomato plants and hot pepper plants continue to produce flower and fruit. It's baffling to me, or perhaps this is not surprising to seasoned gardeners. In any case, it's great to see! The tomatoes have been very juicy and tasty! The jalapeño still lack the heat I expect but the cayenne does pack a surprising punch!

I am pleased that I will continue to have tomatoes and hot peppers into autumn.

More tomatoes!


Jalapeno Plant

Cayenne Peppers

sunflowers: week 10

I'm very pleased to see that the sunflowers have bloomed! TH explained that the bigger one bloomed Wednesday. The second one which grew crookedly is opening up.

Seeing the sunflowers makes me happy. I certainly feel more confident about growing flowers. For whatever reason, I thought growing flowers from seeds would be more difficult. Had I known how easy it is to grow sunflowers, I would have planted all the seeds and I would not have bothered to thin out what I planted originally.

Well, I have seeds for next year.



the Farm in Green Village

Last weekend TH and I went to The Farm in Green Village because I was told that they sell individual tulip bulbs. I eventually found out the Farm isn't literally a farm but a garden center.

The Farm at Green Village

The Farm at Green Village

The Farm is beautifully landscaped. There is a giant pond with fountains. Trees and plants are spread out around the property. The Farm keeps a limited number of animals. on the day we visited, we saw some peacocks and chickens. There were also roosters crowing away. There is a main building, a greenhouse of sorts, where more plants and garden accessories and supplies are set out for sale. Potted mums were plentiful at The Farm.

The Farm was also decorated for Halloween. A section of the parking lot was set up with gourds and pumpkins for sale. Even the main building had ghouls and skeletons hanging around.





There's even a koi pond filled with varying sizes of carp. The area with the koi pond was landscaped with an Asian theme. A pair of bronzed dogs sat diligently at the base of the steps leading to the koi pond.


Guard dog

as I mentioned earlier, we visited the Farm because I was told that they sold individual tulip bulbs as well as other flowers. The truth is, they sold a limited color of loose tulip bulbs (red, white, pink, and yellow) and iris rhizomes (a good variety). I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed there weren't more colors available as loose. We were interested in "black" tulips but they were sold in a pack of 15!

We enjoyed visiting the Farm. It's a very pretty garden center but I don't know if it was worth the drive out.