My (Endless ;) Avocado Project

Guess what I found in my compost pile yesterday!! Yet another rooted and sprouted avocado pit. I brought this one indoors this time, instead of planting it and leaving it out do die in our cold winter. It doesn't get that cold where I am (Vancouver, BC), just too cold for avocados, apparently.

I brought this one inside and gave it a good bath, to get any critters off. At the moment it's sitting in water on my kitchen counter, waiting for me to have a moment to plant it in a pot with indoor potting soil (I'll probably do this later today). Meanwhile here are some pics so you can see :)

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How To Extract Marigold Seeds

I wrote an earlier post about how to get next year's seeds from dried Marigold flowers, but now I actually have pictures, so I thought I'd post about it again:

1) Pick the dead flowers from the plant and put them somewhere to dry completely.
2) Separate the top and bottom portion.
3) Open up the bottom portion to reveal the seeds.
4) Take the seeds out. Make sure they're completely dry before you store them in a sealed container (to prevent mold from growing).

That's it!

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Are Brussel Sprouts Safe To Eat After A Cabbage Worm Infestation?

Supposedly. If you thoroughly examine and wash them, Brussel Sprouts are safe to eat even if the plant has been ravaged by cabbage worms. That's what they say, anyway.

I think I'll pass. Call me paranoid, but after reading articles such as this about parasitic infections, I'm a little leery of eating something from a plant that I know has been infested.

What a shame! I love Brussel Sprouts. I was looking forward to having them fresh and organic from my garden, instead of the ordinary store bought kind. As you can see from the first picture in this post, they're growing nicely too! Not so much in the second picture, where you can see some worm damage.

Maybe next year I'll get some nets to cover the plants and keep the butterflies off. Meanwhile I guess these plants will get pulled and tossed...

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Planting A Rooted Rosemary Cutting

I thought I'd try planting this cutting, so I took some pics (I haven't figured out how to position them in the post the way I want yet... I'm still working on that).

For anyone who's never planted a cutting before, it's pretty easy... you simply put some potting soil at the bottom of the pot, then hold the cutting above it in the middle and scoop in more soil around it. I prefer this method to filling the pot and scooping out a hole because I find it less messy, and I end up with better results.

Fyi I use a big plastic tub with a snap on lid for my potting soil - it saves me from having to reseal the plastic bag every time I use it (I'm kind of a bugaphobe - if that wasn't a real word, it is now ;)

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Heuchera Peach Flambe (Coral Bells)

Ahhh... red foliage!!! I have a weakness for leaves that aren't green. I have to be careful that I don't buy too many red leaf plants, because my garden could easily be taken over by the colour. (Have I mentioned how much I love Japanese Maples?)

I have a Heuchera 'Peach Flambe' (a.k.a. Coral Bells), which is thriving in my front garden. Of course now I wish I'd bought more than one ;) Not to worry... I intend to propagate it somehow. Maybe I'll try a cutting.

Here's some Coral Bells info:

  • Herbaceous Perennial
  • Saxifragaceae family
  • Zones 4-9
  • Likes full sun or partial shade
  • Not a native of BC (but thank you to whoever brought it here :)
  • Grows tiny white blossoms on tall thin stems
  • Can be propagated by division, every 3-4 years
  • Preferred soil PH 6.0-7.0
  • Size: 14" spread, 7" leaf height, 16" flower stem height
  • Spent flower stems should be removed
  • Prefers moist but well drained soil

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Pea Rooted In Water

Remember this post which featured a picture of a pea I pulled from the ground that had started to sprout? I didn't have the heart to toss it in my compost tub (the poor thing is trying to live, after all ;) so I popped it in a glass of water to see what would happen. I used plastic food wrap to hold it up at the top, and put it on a sunny window sill. As you can see, not only has it grown more leaves, it's also grown new roots as well (the clean roots with no dirt on them are the ones that have grown since being in water). The only question now is what on earth do I do with it? I guess it's going to become an experimental new houseplant ;)

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Fine Wine Weigela Florida Bramwell

I planted my Weigela shrub in a shady spot, and as it turns out they prefer full sun (oops!). It should do well in the location I've put it, it just won't flower as much. (Note to self - research first!) It's one thing to plant an annual in a less than ideal spot because the following year you can amend this, but a perennial shrub... I suppose I could try moving it, but I don't want to risk killing it. Besides, it should be just fine where it is.

I bought it at the end of August (when everything is on sale ;) so it has no blossoms in this photograph - just beautiful rich green and burgundy leaves (love it!). I can't wait to see it in bloom, at which point I'll take more pictures.

Weigela info:

  • Deciduous (so when it loses it's leaves in the winter I won't panic ;)
  • Perennial.
  • Can be pruned after flowering.
  • Prefers well drained, moist soil, with a PH range of 6.8 - 7.7 (no coffee grounds for this plant!)
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Prefers full sun to flower more, but they will tolerate some dappled shade.
  • Cold weather hardy to -20F/-30C

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How To Stop Cats From Eating Plants

I love my cats. I also love my plants.

Cats need to eat greens, for hairball management, extra vitamins and fibre. They prefer grass, but if they're stuck indoors they may turn to house plants instead. House plants with long slender grass-like leaves. House plants like mine! (sigh)

Since some plants are poisonous to cats, and since the plants no longer look as nice once they've been chewed on, I thought a quick review of cat deterring strategies would be useful.
  • Water bottle squirts! Having direct personal experience with this one (think "keeping my cats away from new leather couches") I know this would work for plants as well.
  • Offering planted cat grass for them to have instead.
  • Placing the plant on some plastic carpet runner with the pointy side up (ouch! aw, that's just mean ;)
  • Surrounding the plant with tin foil - cats hate the noise and feel (again I can vouch for this one, having had success with it myself).
  • Spray the leaves with vinegar (although some plants might not like this either).
  • Try creating a homemade spray with ingredients such as lemon juice (not hot pepper sauce though because this can burn the cat's eyes).
  • (Have you noticed that I haven't included "put your plant out of reach"? That's because my cat is an agile Manx who can climb and jump A.N.Y.W.H.E.R.E.) However, relocating plants might be a useful tip that would work for someone else.
So far, this time around, my cat has focused on one plant in particular, left all the others alone, and not had any ill effects from the plant she's been eating. I'm ok with that for now, but I'm glad to have some strategies in case the situation worsens in the future...

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