Friday, August 10, 2012

Pepper Tracking Heritage

 I got this pepper seeds from saving the seeds from the fruits that I got from our local seed-saver group meeting last year because I knew that this was heirloom seeds, true seeds. However, I forgot the name of this pepper and the generous seed-saver member that grew this pepper. Got distracted easily when there are so many new things to learn during meetings. So I have been trying to get the name of this pepper by google image. The saved seeds really grows well in our garden and thrive with neglect. Perhaps due to the origin of the pepper parents from the generous gardener garden has similar micro-climate like us. So its one of the pepper that has make into our easy to grow list in our garden. At first, I was not sure whether this pepper will be in the same group with chilli or capsicum? I am thinking more towards chilli because when I was harvesting the seeds this week, I feel my hand sting a little but not as strong as our chayenne. I would say the heat level is low or moderate. I really appreciate if anyone can give me some ideas what type of pepper is this. To me it looks like pimiento or topepo pepper. Dear pepper guru and pepper fan please help me.
This plant is really compact, does not seem to take up much space. The fruit seems to be not following Newton law of gravity slightly because the fruit bottom faces upward. The fruit size is slightly smaller than the cherrytime capsicum, we usually grow about 3~4 cm in diameter. But it was easier to differentiate between the two as this pepper plant fruit is more roundish and the fruit is facing upside down. A very drought and heat-tolerant plant. I don't know how it manage to survive heat waves when I just abandoned them. I am very cruel with my plants this year, all must survive by their own without care. Tsk...tsk...tsk....yet the plants still give rewards to the lazy gardener.
 This photo is taken last week. How nice that this pepper seems to cope well in our mid-winter as well. Pepper picking time. Hopefully the plant will fruit earlier when the weather starts to get warm again. Its officially end winter here now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Growing Gerbera by Divisions

 I just remembered that I have not give any update the result of our adopted gerbera that we made divisions and transplanted 2 years ago. It was a success and the plants still live on till today and now we know the colour of the adopted gerbera plant bloom as well. Gerbera or also known as African daisy is a perennial plant in our garden which bloom twice a year in spring and autumn preferring the milder weather. Gerbera is a very drought-tolerant plant. Prefers well-drained soil and does not like its feet to be wet in a long period of time. Likes the sun very much, although still produce flower in partial shade not as profusely as the one receiving more sun. Needs a good air flow and dry condition in partial shade or the leaves tends to be sickly or caught some disease.
 Two years ago, my boys gave me 2 pots of gerbera plant for Mother's day. Since we will be moving by the end of this year, I wanted the plants to be in a place that I can always take some with me whenever we have to move to a new place. So the safest place will be transferring the whole plant to my parents house all the way to Malaysia. I am one crazy girl I know, probably not an expensive plant but reminds me of the difficult days of trying our best to make sure Rayyan be strong until he goes for his complete corrective surgery. Rayyan rarely goes out to public places to avoid infectious diseases. So the garden is where he spent most of his time outdoors playing when he was a baby and toddler. You can divide gerbera plants which has grown more than 2 years old especially if the pots look really crowded during dormant season. For my climate will be winter through early-spring to propagate new gerbera plants by divisions.
This is how I basically did when my sister help me transported our gerbera plants back in Malaysia last May. Carefully lift up the plant with all its root intact, washed out gently all the soil away from the root, wrap the plant gently with newspaper. Plant as soon as you reach your destination. The gerbera plant was bare-rooted for 2 days wrap in newspaper before it got planted. As you can see on the photo above, the plant on the right can be easily divided to several plants with a sharp tool (roughly about 4 plants, probably more since that is just the front). Those gerbera plants were divided before it was planted in my parents garden.
Here is one of the new gerbera plants growing a few weeks after making a new home in my parents garden. Liking the warm weather after leaving the cold winter growing really fast. Some of the new plants has already producing bloom in my parent garden. Growing gerberas by division saves a lot of money and you can also swap with other gardeners too.
Does gerbera have seeds?
Yes they do have seeds.
But gerbera is not a plant that grow easy by seeds.
Not impossible just difficult.
Need to find the right season and requirement to have successful germination perhaps.
I tried several time in my first year in gardening from the seeds I bought.
Not one germinate.
Used fresh seeds from our garden in different season still did not germinate.
I forgot to continue the gerbera seed sowing experiment for more than a year now.
Maybe someday I will continue with the experiment again.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Another Adopted One ( Cotyledon)

 This is another plant that we adopted together with Arum Green Goddess blooming side by side in the garden at the moment. I still have no idea what plant this is. Not very good with this type of plants. I thought it does not produce any flower, how naive can I be. Still am novice in this part of group plants. I hope you can help me identify this plant. The flowers are slightly reddish and in a shape like bell. 
This is how the plant actually look like growing in pot.
A drought-hardy plant and thrive without care.
Never got any fertiliser since we adopted this plant.
Suddenly a flower stalk appeared in the middle.
Just noticed that there is a yellow insect nestling between the bud.
Do you know what it is?
Apparently not a good bug.
Infested the flower stalk and causes it to rot and not blooming.
Weird never seen this bug on other plants before.
Lucky some flower stalk were save and free from that bug.
The flower does take a long time to bloom from the emerging buds.
It took several months before the buds finally open and bloom.
New Blooms.
Have a lovely weekend!
Are you staying indoors for Olympic or outdoors gardening :).

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mid-Winter 2012 Harvest Summary

The garden has been very generous in mid-winter even without care. We even did not give any watering since June so the plants depended much on rainwater. I tried to record what we harvest each month because this give me an idea for new vegetables sowing time and how early or how much I can extend the sowing of seeds for certain vegetables. It seems that I can sow broccoli seeds a month earlier than I used too. The problem with early sowing is infested by aphids, although producing head earlier to enjoy. Washing the aphids away for cooking does take a large amount of time, of course the chef complain all the time but that the reality of home-grown ones. The broccoli harvest might look like there are no aphids, don't be fool by it cos the bottom or between the stems has tons of aphids.
Tried growing green dragon broccoli for the first time and had success. Italian sprouting broccoli never seems to stop producing new shoots to harvest. We did not plant any new plants of Italian sprouting broccoli this year. The produce that we have each month from last summer till now were solely from one very generous plant. The shoots are much bigger in mid-winter.
Tatsoi also have plenty to offer in mid-winter, usually the chef pick em' fresh because the gardener often neglect her harvesting duty. Therefore, the Asian greens has had not much chance to join photo sessions. Although, many Asian greens were harvested just to take note.
The last cauliflower and the gardener regrets that she did not plant many cauliflower this year. Well we thought I could complete my studies on time earlier this year but too many things happened so we still stuck here (over-confidant and high expectation :p ). We usually grow more than 30 plants of cauliflower each year, sigh should just planted more. Savouring last year planted leeks cause we don't grow them this year. Chinese celery volunteer abundant in the patch for cuttings. Daikon and watermelon radish is also available in the garden for picking.
We harvested our last purple skin sweet potato grown in one container.
More variety of root vegetables available in winter~ carrots, beetroot and white sweet potatoes.
Strange but true, our peak pepper harvest this year is in mid-winter compare to other season. The fruit took a long time to ripen from the flowers blooming from autumn. Actually this is a good thing, because peppers are so expensive in winter. We also give-away to friends. Picking half-ripe pepper and leave them on the counter-top for just a few days will make the fruit become ripe. We just pick how many we need and just leave the rest on the plant rather than keeping them in fridge. We left many pepper plants over-winter this year, so we hope some early harvest of capsicum next warm season. Pink radish is also filling the basket harvest in mid-winter.
Kailan (Chinese Broccoli) also one of the main dish in mid-winter. Start to harvest peas, but not many and no chance for photo shoot because it is only enough for Rayyan to pick and eat fresh in the garden or the mother will not have some peace.
Could not keep up with the red choi harvest, growing so fast. I am guilty in leaving one container full of red choi showing sign of flowering at the moment.
38th weeks now.....still waiting for the biggest harvest for this year.