Making Garden Sleeves


I can not stand to be hot when I am gardening. For this reason, I do not like to wear long sleeves in the warm seasons. However, this is not always a good thing.

Not wearing sleeves when gardening has caused me to get into some itchy situations. Some plants can irritate the skin and it is best to wear sleeves when working around them. Hence, the idea of garden sleeves.

Garden sleeves can be made by cutting an old shirt slightly above the elbow, turning it under to sew a casing, and adding elastic. If there are no old shirts to be had, or a specific material is desired, a sleeve can be made by using a pattern piece from a sewing pattern for a shirt. Genius! I happened to come across a pattern in my stash for a garden sleeve (Butterick 5506). I had bought the pattern with the intention of making the hat, which I never did. So now, I will use the pattern to make my garden sleeves.

Completed Sleeves

The sleeves can be removed when the itchy task is complete. In this way, one can keep doing their gardening without changing clothes or overheating in a long shirt. Happy Gardening!

Keeping Spiders at Bay – Follow-up


Well it has been a little while and I thought I would post an up date on my post entitled Keeping Spiders at Bay. To recall, I was trying to keep spiders from building their webs around my mailbox and in particular from being present in my mailbox itself using dried lavender. The big question is, “Did it work”?

My original post was on September 18. It is now October 10th. So it has been about three weeks since my little experiment started. To date, I have not had any spiders in the mailbox. Exactly what I was hoping for!

I may add a few fresh springs of lavender in the box every once in a while to keep the aroma fresh. So far so good. We shall see if this lasts…

Keeping Spiders At Bay


It feels as though Halloween is approaching my neighborhood. But it is only September. Yet, spider webs are everywhere.

On my daily walks in the neighborhood, I have noticed the incredible amount of spider webs found on my street. Spiders have been very busy weaving their intricate art in the yards of my neighbors. Spiders seem to love weaving their webs around lamp posts, trees, bushes, porches, and mailboxes.

One morning I woke to find garlands of webs stretching across my whole front yard, from tree to tree to bush and across the front porch. Must have been quite a party these eight legged guys were having in the night. While the making of webs is quite amazing, sometimes they can get in the way. I do not usually mind the webs outside the home. Spiders do have their benefits and place in the world after all. However, I was getting a bit tired of the spiders over-taking my mailbox.

I clean the mailbox frequently so the webs do not build up. However, the spiders come back and decorate the box again. It is a never ending process. It is not unusual to find spiders in my mailbox when retrieving my mail. I personally do not like the idea of reaching my hand inside knowing there may be a spider waiting inside.

The question is: How to keep spiders at bay? I did a little research and found that spiders do not like some plants such as mint and lavender. Lavender caught my eye. I grow lavender! Why not plant lavender around the mailbox? But first, maybe I should see if the lavender thing actually works. So, I proceeded to clean the mail box of all webs and occupants. Luckily, no occupants were in the box at the time of cleaning. Next, I took some clippings from my lavender plants and made tiny little bundles which I tied with twine. One bundle I placed inside the box. The other bundle I tied to the post. I will wait and see if this will have the outcome I desire. Time will tell…

New Pineapple Sucker


After a pineapple is picked, the plant will no longer produce pineapples. However, the plant is still making offspring in the form of suckers. The suckers on the plant will produce a new pineapple. The legacy continues.

I picked a pineapple from one of my plants in late June. It is now the beginning of August and the plant has a sucker growing on it. These can be left on the plant or pulled off and replanted. I am going to leave this one on my plant due to its location. It is in the center area of the plant and, at this point, I feel that it is best to leave it be, as I do not want to harm the roots. In the past, if a sucker is growing on the side of the plant, I have pulled it off and re-planted with success.

New sucker developing

I now have seven pineapple plants in the garden. Two plants are developing fruit, one has a new sucker, and one was recently planted from the fruit of a pineapple picked in June. The pineapple family is growing. Aloha!

New fruit
Another new fruit
Top planted from recently picked fruit

Growing Avocado Trees


Many years ago, I started an avocado tree from the seed of a store bought avocado. Why? It seemed interesting. My mother also found this interesting and since she likes avocados, gave it a try as well.

I saved the seed from an avocado. I then took 3 toothpicks and poked them into the sides of the seed so that it could be put into a cup to sprout roots. It is important for the avocado seed’s bottom (flatter end) to be placed in the water and the top (pointier end) kept dry and above water. As the roots and plant form, the seed will crack and shed it’s outer layer. This is normal. Keep changing out the water daily, so the plant has fresh water. If the roots get too long, a bigger cup may be necessary.

My avocado experiment – avocado seeds in various stages
avocado shoot and root form

When the plant has grown to about 10 inches, it is time to plant in soil. If fruit is desired, planting two avocado trees would be suggested for pollination purposes. Be sure to put a wire cage around the plant to protect it from animals. It will be vulnerable at this stage. I also recommend staking the plant, as it will be subject to snapping with such a thin stem/trunk. Be sure to cover the tree in the winter months if frost is in the forecast. The addition of a citrus fruit fertilizer will also be helpful to the growth of the tree.

My avocado tree did not survive because I did not have a cage around it, as I now suggest would be a wise idea. Rabbits find the young leaves delightful. I decided at the time to stick to pineapples. However, my mother’s two avocado plants did survive and one is now fruiting. How exciting! So, growing your own avocado plant can work, just be sure to protect it from rabbits or other hungry animals when it is young.

Mom’s avocado tree

New Chrysalis Spotted


I was cleaning the house the other day when my son came looking for me. He said he had something to show me. He pulls out his camera and lets me see the photo he has just taken. A new chrysalis has been found!

For those who have been keeping up with my blogs, remember what happened to the last chrysalis . I was hoping to spot a new chrysalis, however, I had not had the fortune of locating any. Thanks to my son and his keen eye, we are now watching another chrysalis with the hopes of seeing the emergence of a Monarch butterfly.

This chrysalis has attached itself to the wire cage around the plant that was next to the milkweed that the caterpillars were eating. My son came across it when he was taking pictures of the flowers nearby. I guess the caterpillar didn’t want to venture too far.

I am hoping that the next blog on this subject will feature a butterfly picture as well. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I will keep you posted.

I’ve Decided to Grow Papaya


My husband and I were walking around the garden displays at the county fair when the California Rare Fruit Growers booth caught our eye. We meandered over and looked at the display. Of course, this was due to the fact that I grow pineapples.

The lady manning the booth addressed us and we talked of my pineapples. She then suggested I try growing papaya. Papaya, according to her, are easy to grow and do not take long to grow fruit. She was very pleasant and even encouraged me to join the group at their meetings.

To tell the truth, I have never bought a papaya before. So, the other day while at the store, I found a papaya and purchased it with the intent of using the seeds to grow papaya of my own. I sliced the papaya open and scooped out the seeds. (The papaya, by the way, was delicious.) Then I squeezed the seeds out of their little casings and put them in a strainer to rinse them off and set them on a paper towel to dry.

papaya seeds drying

Now on to the planting. Papaya seeds need to be planted in groups in order to be certain the correct sex is planted as the seeds come in male, female, and bisexual. Five seeds seem to be the suggested amount, so I went with that and planted a few pots.

I will keep you posted on the progress of the papaya seeds. Until then, happy gardening.