Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some successes

Coleus on front porch.

This coleus was so great that I am attempting to root a cutting so that next spring I can root eight cuttings and thereby bypass actually having to purchase it again. It's not that I want to short change the local nurseries, but with my kind of luck, they won't have it.

(I just looked at its tag. The name is Coleus Velvet and it is supposed to be a DWARF plant, growing only 12" tall. As my great uncle Ditlev used to say, HA!)

Strawberries, although they are NOT everbearing. Jung Seeds, I'm talking to you!

As recommended by Square Foot Gardening, I ordered everbearing plants and crammed them into one 4'x4' bed. The first hint that these were not everbearing was the shear abundance of runners. The second hint was the total lack of a second crop. It will be interesting to see what happens next spring: a humongous crop or, due to the crowding, nothing.

(There is a third option. I grew fennel in the bed next door and not knowing any better, let it go to seed. Too late, it leaned over the strawberry bed, dropping seeds that, as I understand it NOW, will grow willy nilly everywhere. So next year my strawberry bed may become a fennel bed.)

Asparagus. I think I'll be able to harvest some next year.

Also per Square Foot Gardening, I stuffed this bed with asparagus roots, which grew and spread and grew some more. (You can barely make out the pink flamingo in the near right corner.) I tried to corral the plants with an old rickety stretch of mini-picket fencing. Next year I will have to replace that with something more sturdy. And rabbit-proof.


I'm a slow compost kind of person: I pile all my yard waste into these tired old bins, then dig out the compost the following spring. This year I layered some extra manure into the piles, and the piles cooked down to half their size in a few weeks. Lesson learned.

Other successes: first year for raspberries (also from Jung - wonder what variety they will turn out to be), grown-from-my-own-slips sweet potatoes, garlic (except for the one soft neck). The three redbud trees survived that heavy spring frost and no longer look like sticks. The herbs I planted grew like gangbusters, then went to waste as I was too tired from watering to make use of the chives and basil and dill.

I planted sunflowers here and there around the yard (note to self: do NOT plant them by the patio where they block the view). While listening to The Spendid Table the other day, I heard the interviewees describe being served sunflower seeds (in Japan? China?) - the whole sunflower head was laid on the table and the guests picked out the seeds themselves. Today I found a couple of heads seemingly unscathed by bird or chipmunk and brought them in, for my own dining pleasure.

Bon appetit!


  1. Wow! What fantastic coleuses! (colei?) Just beautiful!!!! Everything is looking good going into fall!!!

  2. I'm happy to visit you here.:) Beautiful coleus; hope your cuttings winter over. Gosh, I wish I could be there when your asparagus is ready to eat! Love it!

  3. I'm also interested in rooting some coleus cuttings for planting next spring, but I've never known how to handle them over the winter. I don't get much sun inside my house -- do you? Is it your plan to put the rooted cuttings in a sunny window in an attempt to keep them alive until you can plant them in next year's garden? I could buy gro-lights but that seems to defeat the purpose of being thrifty (AKA cheap).

    I'm also a fan of Splendid Table. I like when she has people call her up and ask how to make do with oddball ingredients. "I have only one turnip and four mangoes. What can I make with this?" She always has something good to suggest -- although I'm not sure even she could make anything out of a turnip and a mango.