New Pineapple Sucker

gardening

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

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Growing Avocado Trees

gardening

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

gardening

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

gardening

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.

Grocery Shopping in the Garden

gardening

It is summer and the vegetables are thriving in the garden. Vines thick with green beans, heads of crisp lettuce, carrots popping through the soil, and tomatoes of all sizes can be found in our modest backyard garden. Now the fun begins.

I’m finding it quite enjoyable not having to add vegetables to my cart at the grocery store this summer. Oh, a few make it in, but for the most part, I am trying to shop in my own garden for the vegetables I need this summer. Not only are they fresher, but they are cutting down the shopping bill a bit as well. Not to mention the fact at how enjoyable it is to pick the vegetables right before they are prepared in the kitchen.

My routine, as of late, has been to snatch a bowl from the kitchen, kick off my slippers, slip into my garden clogs, and grab my floppy hat as I head out back to my own little store. Along the way taking in the fresh air and greeting the birds at the feeders. Once there, I fill my bowl from the lovely produce isles envisioning what I will turn them into tonight.

The key to cooking from garden produce is variety. I think one can easily get sick of having green beans the same way throughout the summer. Preparing them slightly differently can reduce the boredom. No home cook wants to hear, “Are we having tomatoes again!”. It is really about presentation and creativity. Last night, for instance, I turned the ever abundance of tomatoes into a fresh tomatoe tart in a rustic crust. Along with that a side salad with a homemade dressing. Fresh yet inviting. Did you know that zucchini can actually taste like apples when baked as a cobbler? Delicious and with less carbs to boot. Zucchini also makes a wonderfully moist chocolate cake. A sneaky way to add vegetables to your diet. Clever!

Tonight I will head out and pull up enough carrots to fill my French-style chicken pot pie. No worries about finding a parking spot or finding the shortest checkout line. I do not even need to bring my wallet, just a bowl.

Baby Bluebirds Have Arrived

gardening

It is mid July and we have spotted our first glimpse of our newest baby bluebird. The parents have been nesting for a while so we have been waiting for this day. Now that the day has come we could not be more thrilled!

Baby Bluebird

We have had baby Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) now for the past few years. Ever since my husband made and gifted me a bluebird house, the birds have come to make their nest and raise their babies. Both the male and female bird help to prepare the nest and take care of the young.

Daddy Bluebird
Mommy Bluebird in Action

It is such a treat to watch the activities of this newly formed family. The parents are very attentive to their babies and can be seen flying to and from the nest throughout the day with food for their young. Welcome Bluebird family!

Chrysalis Crisis

gardening

Last week, I published the happy, exciting news of caterpillar sightings in our garden. I even found a chrysalis on the side of our house. I had never spotted a chrysalis before. How exciting!

The very next morning, I checked on the chrysalis. Everything looked the same. I was intending to check the chrysalis frequently, as I did not want to miss out on the butterfly as it was developing and breaking free to fly away. My son and I left the house for a few hours and when we returned I decided I should take a picture of the chrysalis. This I decided to do every day so that I would have a record of the butterflies emergence.

As I went outside, I noticed first the side of the house had been splattered with something. Then I looked at the chrysalis. Only the top part of it remained. At first, I thought it hatched while we were out. Then I realized it should have changed first to a dark color and then to a clear encasement. It was too soon in the process to have fully developed. Something had gone wrong. Had something gotten a hold of the chrysalis before the caterpillar had time to complete the process?

We will never know exactly what happened to the chrysalis. Unfortunately, things like this happen in nature all the time. It is hard for animals to survive in the wild. Predators, weather, lack of food, all sorts of things put animals at risk. My poor little Monarch.

There are still caterpillars on our plants. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to find another chrysalis in the yard and hope to see that one turn into a beautiful Monarch butterfly. I wish them all good luck.