Saturday, June 30, 2018

Inside our #VeggieGarden

This is the second year I am trying to grow  vegetable  in our second home.  Last year was a trial and error phase because I don't know which part of our yard would be best to put a vegetable garden.   I was trying to figure  out  where  to best plant  specific veggies.  This year, I kind of have an idea  where   to plant them. I also expanded our garden a little bit.  I don't have a big space so I just plant it on the sides of our  house.  I was planning to  make a big garden by our driveway since there is a big space there but my husband didn't want a veggie garden in the front yard so that plan was eliminated.
Last year, I saw these little asparagus  seedlings on sale at Rural King and thought of trying to  plant them  and see if  it will grow in our garden and it did.  It is still in the growing process so this year when they came back I was ecstatic.  They are however still small so no harvest yet for me but according to gardening experts, it will take few years before you can harvest asparagus when you initially   plant them.
I have three blueberry bushes that I planted last year.    We love blueberries but I only buy it once in a while because of the price.  I hope that these bushes will continue to grow so we could enjoy it in the years to come.  We actually had a few blooms but the birds kept pecking on it that  I never saw  the mature fruits.
This year, I wanted to  put an edger  where I can also use  as planters.  Since I have so many of these  plastic  pots  from the  plants I bought last year, I thought of using it.  It's a great system to plant your spinach and  lettuces.  Our bunnies are greatly benefiting the lettuce that we have this year and of course I do too since I love salad.  I do however find some of the  leaves bitter, any tips you can give me?
A friend of mine gave me some bokchoi seeds  to plant and she said that  it will grew even on cold temperature.  So after  the last frost I spread them  in a  flower bed so I can just transplant them afterwards.  The unpredictable weather that we had during spring somehow  made the growth of the  bocchoi stagnant.  They bloom  before I could enjoy the leaves so I just let them mature so I can gather the seeds for next year.
They make pretty good accent in the vegetable garden.  Their blooms are tiny yellow flowers and  it's pretty, I think.  You can even use it as filler when you're arranging flowers on a vase.

One of the few fruits that I planted last year was these hardy kiwis.  They are not the  regular fuzzy kiwis but  it said that they are as good.  Their fruit are a little smaller compared to  New Zealand kiwi but  the skin is not fuzzy.  We will see how it looks and taste when they bloom.  It said that it will take a few years before  it bears fruit.
Here it is now getting thicker  each day.  I am requesting a trellis from my husband but he doesn't like the idea of putting trellis on the porch sill.  I was hoping he would agree so it would block the view of our neighbors ha ha.
I actually got excited when I saw  the  flowers in  each vines.  I thought it will  mature as fruit but  they were just flowers, no fruit yet.
Another fruit I planted last year  is grapes, I have two of them.  Again, this fruit would take years before it blooms so it's a waiting game at this point.
Okay back to  veggies.  I planted a lot of cucumbers this year because we all love cukes here at home.  If I get lucky to have  a bunch, I would love to pickle them.
I also planted a bunch of carrots.  I should have just  planted the seeds directly to the ground instead of  starting them on plastic containers.  But they are getting thick now.  Aside from seeds, you can also  plant the  scrap from your kitchen.  I always stick the top of the carrots on the ground and they grow faster than the seeds.
During the winter season, my  living room window get crowded with all the  plants that needed to be  put inside.  Glad that summer is giving the  plants the much needed sunlight now that they are out in the patio/porch.  

You can check out the rest of my tropical plants from my previous post.  It's satisfying to grow stuff especially when you harvest them.  The  thought of eating  what you grow is priceless.  I am starting to harvest some of our veggies like green beans and cucumbers and other  veggies are now starting to bloom too.

Oh the joy of gardening!  Anyone else enjoys it as much as I do?  Some says  gardening can prolong your life span so whose with me?  I don't know if that's true but nevertheless, I  love gardening very much!  I don't mind my  hands  getting dirty, digging into the ground is satisfying, relaxing and rewarding at the same time.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Tropical Plants

I am from the tropical country of Philippines so I miss  all the tropical fruits that I used to enjoy back then.  I am trying to  grow them here in the US so my kids can see   how the fruits that I introduced to them grows.  I also love growing plants from scrap, it takes a little while for it to  develop into a mature plant but it is worth the wait as you will see it's transformation.  It is more of educational for my kids and  of course a satisfaction for my love of gardening.

1.  Pineapple -   I planted this pineapple from the fruit that we bought from the store.  What I love about pineapple is that you can  chop off the crown and  stick it in the  pot with soil and it will  grow.  If you want a more elaborate way of properly planting it, you can read this article from Wikihow, I just grow it the way my Dad  taught me  when I was a kid.  I have two  pineapple pants now and I transferred  them into bigger  pots.
2.  Calamondin -  This calamondin tree is  a native  fruit in the Philippines commonly known as Kalamansi.  We used it for cooking and  making lemonades.  We don't really use the  lemon and lime that you can find here in the States.  I will talk more about this at the end of the post.
3.  Avocado - Okay, I know that this will be impossible to  grow  here because of winter  but I am trying  anyway for the kids to see.  Avocado is also easy to grow, you just need to put the seed in a pot of soil and it  will perk right up after few days.  The only problem  about this fruit is, it grow as a big tree.  I need to find out if I can  prune it  and maintain it as a small tree as I can bring it inside the house on  freezing season.  Hubby and I love avocado.  He love it for dessert but I love it in salad.
 4.  Taro (Colocasia esculenta) - I grew up eating this plant, both the leaves and the roots.  It's a  common leafy vegetable in the Philippines and other Asian countries.  My Dad  used to cook  it in coconut oil and  put lots of spicy peppers and oh it's so good!  I grow it  because when  I am  homesick and missing my family back, I cope with cooking the  food that my family  love to eat.  You can cook the leaves fresh or you can dry it and cook it. Dried taro leaves  lasts a long time too.
 5.  Moringa or malunggay as we  commonly call it.  It's a very  leafy vegetable  that has a lot of healthy benefits.  You can use it for soup or cook it in coconut milk, yum!   It is a good herbal alternative to relieve stomach disorders, allergies and diabetes. Moringa also aids in liver and eye protection and bone health improvement.
 6.  Lemons - I have few lemon plants.  I grew it from the lemon seeds that I used in the kitchen.  I'm not sure how long  before  this plant bears fruit but I'm excited.  I can't grow them in the yard because of winter weather but I can sure grow it in the pots.  Comes winter though, my living room window is crowded with plants ha ha.
7.  Jack Fruit - we call this langka in tagalog language.  It grow as a big tree but I wanted to grow it  just so the kids can see it.  We bought a piece of  ripe jackfruit from the Asian store last month and I thought of trying to grow two seeds.  It's now coming up although it's  not that big yet, I am excited.  The fruit smells so good and taste even better.
8.  Asian Pear - I fell in love with this fruit  when we lived in South Korea few years back.  They are crunchy and juicy, a tad bit different from the US pears.  I also grow the seeds from the fruit we bought at an Asian store.  I did a research online and I found a farm that grow this fruit in Virginia.  So I am hoping that it can  tolerate the freezing temperature here in WV.  We will see.
This calamondin tree is  a new addition to my potted tropical plants.  I  got it from ViaCitrus.  It's a company that sells  citrus fruits such as Key Lime, Meyer lemon trees, and this Florida Calamondin.  I will find out if their calamondin is like the kalamansi that we had  in the Philippines.  
The packaging is great and it  has specific instruction for the  courier but of course in transit you can never guarantee that it won't be disturbed.  Half of it's soil  went in the  box but it's okay because I needed to transfer it in a bigger pot anyway.
I love that they shipped it right away when you order it.  Within  2 days, I got my calamondin which I think is super fast and awesome!
I put sand at the bottom of the pot  for good drainage as I did not have  pebbles or small rocks anymore.
I hope that it won't wilt while we are gone for a week.  I prepared a small bottle of water  that has  small holes on the lid and will put it beside it.  
I think the best  strategy for this to stay small is to prune it so we will see how it progress in my care.  If you want to  grow a calamondin, check them out at Via Citrus.  They ship fast.
I hope that in the near future, we can convert this  back porch into a sun porch so I will have  a place to put all my potted plants  with a good amount of morning sunlight during the winter.  It would be a costly project but hope to be able to do it.  For now, our next project will be the kitchen.
To better understand what the calamondin is, I found this video on Youtube that you can watch.

Disclosure: The owner of this blog was NOT financially compensated to write this review. I was provided with the complimentary product/s mentioned for testing purposes and to help me facilitate this review but opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Memorial Day Project #DIYlandscape #RedWhiteAndBlue

Last year, we did so many projects  during  holidays and this year, I would like to do some also.  I wasn't satisfied with the work I did in front of this grotto last year so I thought of redecorating it and add some stuff.  So on Memorial weekend, I decided to revamp it.  
These scorpion grasses or popularly known as forget me nots have pretty little blooms with  white, blue, and yellow color.  I love how low maintenance  they are and  they do come back every year.
I bought two of these Elijah Blue Fescue  are great addition to this project.  The slender, wiry blades of blue is a pretty character to any  landscape project. This ornamental grass is a tidy evergreen that is very tolerant of a wide range of sites and conditions. This plant is the kind of plants I love planting because it is one of those “no fuss” plants which is perfect for the low maintenance garden.   There are plants that I love but I don't buy it because  you only get to enjoy one season then they die.
Another addition to this  project is this echeveria agavoides that a friend of mine gave me.  She has one big garden bed full of succulents.  I traded it with some hostats which I have plenty of also.  That's one way of  saving some money when  planting some  ornamental plants, see if you can trade some of yours  with your friends.
Of course, I have to have blue star juniper in the mix because they are low maintenance as well and they are pretty.
I believe this plant is called strap leaf plant, they have purple blooms.  I can't wait till it blooms.  Correct me if I am wrong but I can't remember the exact name of this plant.
I used the plastic planters from the plants that I bought previously instead of throwing them away.  I just remove or cut off the bottom so that the roots will go  on the ground.  It's a way to recycle and avoid  stacking them in the landfill.  I wish the store would buy  those containers back.  I have so many of them.
I also planted some  snow carpets  along the border.  They are also perennials so let's see if  they come back next year.

These pretty little plants are freely growing in my yard so I thought of incorporating it  here although the yellow doesn't   go along  with my red, white, and blue theme, they're still pretty so it counts lol.

TIP:  If you're like me who likes to save money on mulch and gardening soil, always wait  till holidays like Memorial Day or Mother's Day because it always  goes on sale.  Instead of paying $3.98 for a bag, you can get them for two dollars a bag or 5 for $10 which is a big difference.  Lowe's and Home Depot always  have it on sale during  special occasion.  The same thing with gardening soil, when on sale, you can get 4 bags for $10.  

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