Monday, December 3, 2012

Coleus: seed germination

dec 3, 2012
ottawa ontario canada

this year, i promise myself to stay focus on my kids, and not take on many winter project. I did have many seed packets waiting for me to work in my basement shop.

today, I pick up the seeds of coleus that i collected from my garden and start the seed propagation. I hope it will germinate, as I am hoping to replace my collection. I did not save any cuttings for myself.

so, here is some cheers hoping to get more colorful collection for next season.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Update: The bittermelon are still producing fruits!

sept 27, 2012

ottawa city, ontario, canada

officially fall and i thought my bittermelon would die to the ground, but they are producing fruits , more than i expected. here are some pictures taken today.

producing right beside fall aster

randomly showing up beside the pot of medusa sweet pepper

Hiding under the vines!

shy, just hiding close to the fence!

another smaller one under the canopy of scarlet runner beans

way far, near the basella rubra vines.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Batata (Sweet Potato)

sept 11, 2012
ottawa city, ontario, canada

yesterday I went to produce depot and found batata (sweet potato). I like this one very much because it looks ugly in the outside, but the white flesh inside is sweet but not watery.

The North American yam - is the sweet, watery orange flesh one. it is nice, but I do not like it, it is too watery for my taste. i plant this variety to harvest the leaves for food, but if I get any tuber, I will not cook it as boiled sweet potato but add it to soups.

for those who want to know what batata looks like: I found this website:)

batata - less moist but very sweet, sweet potato

" boniato = tropical sweet potato = Cuban sweet potato = white sweet potato = white-fleshed sweet potato = batiste = batata = batata dulce = camote   Notes:   Boniatos aren't as sweet and moist as other sweet potatoes, but many people prefer their fluffier consistency and more delicate flavor.  Store them at room temperature and use them soon after your purchase them, since they tend to spoil quickly.  Substitutes: sweet potato (This is sweeter and moister than a boniato.) OR yam (moister) OR russet potato  "

I put one of the tubers today in a glass of water, hoping to produce more slips. Next year, I am hoping to plant lots of sweet potato in my backyard.

The North American Yam - sweet potato looks like this one:
which was describe as: "sweet potato  Notes:   In American supermarkets, sweet potatoes are displayed next to something called "yams," which are moister than sweet potatoes and have darker skins.  But according to the rest of the world (and botanists), we have it all wrong.  To them, our  "yams" are just a variety of sweet potatoes.  They use the word yam to describe a completely different vegetable, something we call a tropical yam.   
Sweet potatoes are quite versatile, but they're most often baked, candied, or made into pies.  It's best not to boil them, as they'll lose much of their flavor.  
 Substitutes:  yams (less mealy and sweeter than sweet potato) OR boniato (less sweet and fluffier) OR mashed cooked pumpkin (especially for pies) ".

I also bought another tuber called yam: which is the true yam (Dioscorea alata). It goes by many names, but ube in my language. Not sweet, but a little bit nice texture for benignit.

Here is what it looks like and what it is called in supermarkets:

"tropical yam = true yam = greater yam = cush-cush = mapuey = yampi = namé =  name = nyami = igname   Notes:   These firm, white-fleshed yams are widely used in tropical countries.   They're somewhat bland and dry, so they're often served with spicy sauces.   Substitutes: sweet potato   ". 

So these were my finds yesterday, and do not be surprise if you find them growing in my backyard next year. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Wall

sept 7, 2012
ottawa city ontario canada

looking at my backyard wall...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

No Garden? Here Are 66 Things You Can Can Grow In Containers.

 I found this like on facebook about 66 things you can grow in containers. I have mine and I will probably alter the list as I go. I will post a picture of what I have!
No Garden? Here Are 66 Things You Can Can Grow In Containers.

Tree fruits
1. Apples I grow sugar apple instead (Anona squamosa) - shorter than apple and bears fruits within 2 to 3 years. Here is a video!

2. Kumquats - what is that?
3. Avocados - well, avocado is a tree, and even the dwarf Hass may have a problem in my Zone 5B. my harsh winters my slow its growth in winter. But here are my avocado seedlings video. 

4. Blackberries
5. Blueberries
6. Pomegranate
7. Cherries
8. Figs
9. Pears

Citrus fruits
10. Dwarf oranges
11. Grapefruit
12. Tangerines - All my Mineola tangelos germinated, so here are the pictures. 

13. Meyer lemons
14. Limes
Tropical fruits
Tropical fruits can also be surprisingly easy to grow indoors, even in non-tropical climates. Such as…
15. Bananas - a dwarf banana is expensive, but tropical bananas won't fit in a pot, unless we are talking about a half barrel. Bringing them indoors is another trial. see this picture!

16. Pineapple - well, you have to give it ideal condition. Otherwise, this plant is candidate for root rot.

17. Papaya
18. Guavas

The real surprises
19. Hops
20. Aloe Vera
21. Strawberries
22. Tea (well, herbal tea)
23. Quinoa!

The non-surprises
24. Tomatoes
25. Summer squash
26. Other squashes, like acorn and pumpkin
27. Hot Peppers
28. Sweet peppers
29. Cucumbers

30. Small cantaloupe
31. Jenny Lind melon
32. Golden Midget Watermelon

33. Basil
34. Oregano
35. Parsley
36. Rosemary
37. Chives
38. Catnip
39. Thyme
40. Sage
41. Parsley

Leafy Greens
42. Kale
43. Mesclun greens
44. Spinach
45. Swiss chard
46. Lettuces
47. Mustard greens
48. Collard greens
49. Arugula

Root Vegetables
50. Carrots
51. Beets
52. Potatoes

Other healthy stuff
53. Sprouts
54. More sprouts: mung bean and lentil sprouts
55. Wheatgrass
56. Kohlrabi
57. Turnips
58. Rutabagas
59. Celeriac
60. Parsnips
61. Jerusalem Artichoke
62. Sugar snap peas
63. Rhubarb
64. Mushrooms
65. Pole Beans - a massive pole bean growing in my backyard, both in ground and in pots. see video below. 

66. Asparagus

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vegan Dish in 5 minutes: Summer Squash with Herbs

August 26, 2012 Ottawa, ON Canada
Scallop Squash - Sunburst Hybrid 2-3 inches long

 I was out gardening today for the day, and believe me, I am tired. I needed a 5 minute meal. So I went in the backyard and I picked the scallop squash. They are young and tender at 2-3 inches long, and I cook them like Zucchini.

I cut some onions and ginger and put some EVOO in the skillet. I toss the onion and ginger, and some diced tomato and cover it. I set the temperature to just below medium and I headed out in the backyard to get some herbs and greens. 

I was gone in the backyard for maybe 1-2 minutes. When I came in, I added the thinly sliced summer squash to the skillet and cover it again. I washed my herbs and greens.

Here is what is in my bowl of herbs and greens: beans, basella rubra, sweet potato leaves, lemon balm (Melissa offiicinalis), Orange mint, Golden Lemon Thyme, oregano, basil and that's right, marigold flowers. I just use the petals and throw out the center. I grow these marigold from seeds, so I am sure no pesticides are sprayed on them.

After washing my greens, I opened the skilled and stir the mix. The squash is cooked and I added the herbs and greens - I covered for another 1 minute.

Herbs and Greens added in the skillet
Cover for another 1 minutes. Optional (Add your salt and pepper!)

And my meal is ready!

My dinner - ready in 5 minutes, from vegetables grown in my backyard. Summmer 2012.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where are the honeybees? ottawa city, ontario, canada

my impatiens balsamina is a honyebee magnet!
love it1

How to cook squash flowers, zucchini flowers and bittermelon leaves?

i thought i would share my grandmas old recipe. this is boiled chicken, with vegetable soup stock. once the chicken is cooked, about 7-10 minutes of boiling, add the herbs: basil, lemon thyme, lemon balm, oregano, and chives. I added the traditional filipino tinola: squash flowers, zucchine flowers, and bitter melon leaves. hope you like it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cultivate skin-soothing calendula - Canadian Gardening

 i always use marigold in my veggie garden to help me stop nematodes, fungi and other garden pest.

On top of that, it is also good for your skin and it is edible.

what more do you need from this plant from the humble plant who even survive until first frost? this year, I have them in pots, along with my container peppers, beside container okra. Amazing little plant, everyone should have it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Container Garden: Growing Peanuts (Arachis hypogea) Ottawa City, Ontario...

Basella rubra (Malabar Spinach) Growing in Ottawa City, Ontario, Canada

How to save bitter melon seeds? Bitter gourd - Momordica charantia (Otta...

How to save bitter melon seeds? Bitter gourd - Momordica charantia (Otta...

Sweet Potato - Blackie (accidental harvesting)

august 15, 2012
ottawa city, ontario, canada

i knocked down the pot of my sweet potato blackie, and it was totally upside down. I got no choice but cut off the vine, put it in flower vase to have another sweet potato.

so, i have harvested 3 small tubers. the color is white.

we have a BBQ in the afternoon - and the color of the sweet potato is light yellow. the taste is really sweet, and i really love it. so I am hoping to harvest more sweet potato soon, around fall.

sweet potato blackie in a pot

3 small sweet potato tubers - light yellow when cook, very sweet.

harvest for the day - ready for the BBQ: eggplant, okra, young sweet potato leaves, mints, lemon thyme, lemon balm, oregano.

Container Garden: Pepper Little Blue(hot) and Pepper - Medusa(sweet) (O...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Growing Tomatoes in Pots: Container Gardening (Ottawa city, ontario, can...

Book: Edible Grdening, Any Size, Anywhere (William Moss)

august 15, 2012
ottawa city, ontario, canada

I got this book in the mail today, and I am very excited. I always way there must be a way to maximize yeild to my small backyard, so this is it! I will be reading, and reading this week, and I will get back to you on what tips and tricks I learned.

interested in getting to know william moss:

and this book is available on amazon:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Coleus 2012

The ugly coleus - pale brown with green edges were almost toss in the compost. However, I planted them along the fence as slug bait for my hosta. And guess what? - honeybees love them! Ugly Coleus rocks!
Coleus flower with a bee - can you see the bee?
august 12, 2012
ottawa city, ontario, canada
Coleus collection in my backyard.

Coleus Salmon Lace - nice big leaves to accent my Hosta Guacamole
Coleus Apple green and some Coleus Scarlet Wizard!

some garden pictures thriving after the heatwave, and loving the rain!

coleus collection - violet tri-color with some coleus velvet lime
A collection of  Coleus Velvet Lime
coleus collection in a pot

coleus-fishnet stockings

Coleus Giant exhibition - Palisandra
heirloom coleus

Container Garden: ginger (Zingiber officinale)

august 14, 2012
ottawa city, ontario, canada

in may, i mentioned that i toss in a chunk of moldy ginger in the pot. just plain garden dirt with soil, and i put it in a sunny corner.

so here is the video of my ginger and it has grown more than 1 foot.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bush beans planted today

saturday, august 11, 2912.
ottawa city, ontario, canada

despite rain forecast, no rain here on my end of the city.

i went to goodlife for a body attack class - and it was fun!

then went home to my kiddos.

my kids went out in the backyard, with their bikes. I find time to deadhead flowers, and remove brown leaves. This to make sure that squirrels, snails, slugs have not cozy bed to nest on.

kieren napped at lunch time so i got time to work in the garden.
i removed the beans - all done, and plant seeds for second harvest. Really???? yeah - im not sure, but worth a try.
i also put the volunteer seedlings of tomato in bigger pots. I did not have the heart to pull em out, so I got tomatoes this year.

Did i mentioned last year that i won't plant tomatoes? Yes - i never did. but the volunteer seedlings were never pulled out! So, I am back with 5 or 6 pots of them? I hope these are cherry tomatoes, so I can get some for kids to harvest.

So, off to another work now, and hope it won't rain while I am biking out.

What have you been doing lately? 

bean harvest

miniature white cucumber and beans

kieren and karlina

beans climbing my backyard canopy

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Loving the rain, trying to make a video.

so, here is the video of my bitter melon plant, and beans.

so, how is everyone's crop doing? I am very impress with my beans yield, not only I can pick it anytime I want, i have way more than what I need, and I have given some to neighbors.

beans and lots of beans

bittermelon (Momordica charantia)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Coleus as Houseplants

coleus chocolate mint in my room by the computer table.
july 30, 2012
ottawa, on, canada

I read many articles about coleus as houseplant. I have to say, it has to be a specific one to thrive indoors. Since last winter, I put the coleus - salmon lace in Karlinas room. she likes her plants. it is an old heirloom coleus, and it survive for about 7 months now. but her color is not as pretty.

Coleus Salmon Lace - karlina's room since Jan. 2012

Coleus-Chocolate Mint

coleus rattlesnake by2nd floor hallway.

I bring in 2 other coleus for an experiment - see how they retain their beautiful color.

One in the 2nd floor hallway and the 2nd one in my bedroom by my computer table.

The first one in the hallway is colues - Rattlesnake, maybe look alike as the Glasshouse Works Coleus Eruption

The 2nd one is Coleus Chocolate Mint - more chocolate and mint on the edges.

Minneola Seedlings (Citrus x tangelo)

July 30, 2012-Monday
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I bought some Minneola last March 2012, and I end up with seeds. I spit it out and put in 4 inch pot and see what happens.

I am busy with other plants, and I found them germinating, I have no idea when, but yesterday, I transferred them to their individual pots. I re-call bringing the pot outside around May, because I saw something coming out. Since then, it was just mingling with all the vegetable pots outside.

I am equally excited about the potential of this fruit, but it also means I need more space indoors to overwinter them. They look nice with shiny leaves. The seedlings grow at a different rate, some are at 6 inches while there are few that are like 3 inches.

A wikipedia picture of Tangelo (Citrus x tangelo hybrid) tangerine x pomelo

Here is the Wikipedia enty on Minneola:
"The tangelo (play /ˈtænəl/ TAN-jə-loh; C. reticulata × C. maxima or x C. paradisi), Citrus × tangelo, is a citrus fruit hybrid of tangerine and pomelo or grapefruit. Widely known as honeybells,[citation needed] tangelos are the size of an adult fist, have a tangerine taste, and are juicy at the expense of flesh. They generally have loose skin and are easier to peel than oranges,[1] readily distinguished from them by a characteristic "nipple" at the stem."

8 seedlings of citrus x tangelo - Minneola

the slow growing batch of the citrus x tangelo seedlings

the stronger seedlings - look at the glossy leaves

Question: what are you gonna do with these seedlings? 

Maybe keep one or two for myself and sell the rest?

How much would you pay for it?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Miniature White - Cucumber Seedlings, and Harvest today

i am planning to save the seeds of my organic mini cucumber seedlings. the harvest is plenty and my kids love it. plus it grows in a pot!

i also keep harvesting my Provider Bush beans - and I happy to feed them to my kids everyday.

My Basella rubra thriving in heat. 

Basella rubra (philippine spinach) - thriving in heat

Bean harvest today - various variety, pole beans, bush beans, good lunch

miniature white cucumber - i let it ripe, because I want to save some seeds.