Saturday, March 25, 2017

What's New For Spring

Tiny Greenhouse

What's New For Spring

Spring has sprung and seems to have gone...

A little late to the game, but we ordered a greenhouse and received it this last week.  Our little greenhouse (7w x 7t x 12d) was set up very easily and vented in preparation for the summer heat.  We now will move on to getting a device to monitor the heat and humidity and put it on our home system for some automated features.  Mr. Man is managing the electronics that will allow this to be a bit hands free.

As the summer continues, we may hike up the sides to the side rails and drop a shade cloth on top.  This area is the coolest area in the summer, protected from winds.  This will be a great place to start some seedlings and get them out of the house (along with the plant gnats).

Unknown shallot types

It's Allium In The Family

We have several allium members growing and self-seeding.  These are no maintenance plants as far as I'm concerned.  We purchased some shallots a while back and I cannot remember what type they were. May have been a mixed lot. Here they are, growing like crazy.  We'll need to divide them up after the leaves die off.

Hardneck garlic
We also have some unknown hardneck garlic types. They seem to have wildly shaped leaves and if I remember correctly the garlic scapes had quite a bit of heat to them.  We didn't eat many of those.

And finally, we have some chives. I don't remember if these are
just plain chives or the garlic chives.  We've seeded both types in this pot and I don't know which ones are growing.

These are great grass type plants to keep around. They have very interesting flowers that are popular with all types of bees.

Lonicera japonica

Ready For Take Off

Our Japanese Honeysuckle seems to be well established and poised for a major take-off. This plant is known to grow to 30 feet and are vigorous growers. We are hoping to have a flourish of growth and flowers to keep our bees happy and hopefully expand to the new hive.

This variety of honeysuckle is edible,  purported to have great effect at fighting flu when made as tea, and is the common flower and fruit producer many people ate as children.

Wrap Up

There isn't a whole lot going on in the garden right now, but it's growing well enough. We've been focused mostly on the interior for a while. Not the exterior so much. We should be getting back in the swing of things here pretty soon.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Spicing Things Up

Schinus Molle Tree

Spicing Things Up

Things have been slow in the gardening scene around here. We have no vegetable garden to speak of this year. A few snow peas are doing well along the welded arbor/fence. We've been concentrating on interior improvements during the cooler weather and will be moving outside as the weather warms up a bit.

However, we did break from the interior focus after a mail order disappointment for some pepper tree seedlings.  We found a local retailer that had an 11 gallon Schinus Molle tree available and we decided to take a look.  

When we got there, we discovered the tree is actually quite tall and marked down to $29.  We had to get it because it is one tree we agreed on and were looking forward to.  Our plan is to replace the tree that provides shade to the bee hives with a tree that is edible, medicinal and good for the bees.

Our honey is currently very citrus during the flow. Adding this will probably make it a spicy citrus flavored honey.  We are really looking forward to the end result.

About The Tree

Pepper tree (Schinus molle) occurs in California along the coast and in the southern part of the state as far north as the Bay area.

Hardy in zones eight to 11, this species resembles Brazilian pepper tree, but
Schinus Molle Leaves and Peppercorns
is slightly taller and wider with drooping, slender shoots. This broad headed tree develops a contorted, thick trunk and wide spreading branches. It features delicate-looking foliage that is smaller and features a greater number of leaflets. In addition, its flower panicles are less dense.

Schinus Molle flowers
The tiny yellow or white blooms can appear several times a year from Spring through Fall with the main blooming period between May and July.

Both of these species are excellent, reliable, consistent, major honey plants in Florida and California. Yielding lots of nectar, the flowers are much loved by bees. The flow is heaviest when temperatures are elevated. These can bring 50 pounds of honey per colony.

The honey is rather dark, usually some shade of amber. It has a strong, somewhat spicy flavor and spicy aroma. In Florida, the honey is popular among local consumers. ~ Bee Culture