Saturday, September 20, 2014


It doesn't really matter what time of year it is I always get the gardening bug.  I count the days until I can plant the first seedling of Spring.  I keep the Spring garden going through the scorching temperatures of Summer until Fall when it will again begin to thrive.  I move my container plants inside during Winter until I can put them back outdoors in the early Spring.  So it goes.  My Round Robin of the gardening bug.

Which season is easiest to grown the best crops?  The only honest answer to that question is-it depends on what part of the country you plant your garden in.  Where I live temperatures over 100 in the summer are common.  The warmer season holds on longer than many other climates.  The coldest part of the year is shorter with fewer days below freezing.  If you live, say in the Northern part of the US, you might have a shorter Summer season and longer Winter season. I adjust my routine accordingly.

In the Spring I plant my tomatoes, green beans, peas and peppers earlier than some may in other areas of the country.  They also tend to fizzle out sooner as the hot weather comes on quickly and seems to last forever.  I don't give up the garden though.  I still keep my crops watered and check on them every day removing as much of the dead foliage as possible.  While Summer winds down the blossoms on these plants will again peak out of the stems and I soon have a whole new set of crops.

In addition to the revival of my Spring vegetation I do blend in my favorite cooler weather sprouts such as broccoli and kale.  Some are placed in containers, typically a 5 gallon lard bucket with holes drilled in the bottom, so they can continue to prosper in the bright lights of my bay window during Winter.  Others work better in the inverted container, which will hang securely above the same bay window.  It's like having my own mini garden right indoors.

 Where I reside there is little doubt in my mind that my Fall garden thrives much better than the Spring garden. I attribute my more productive Fall garden to timing, determination and Mother Nature.  If I know the climate best suited to my crops than I know when to best plan for my garden.  For example green beans, tomatoes and peppers will thrive in Spring and Fall.  If I care for the Spring plants they will succeed with more vegetables in Fall.  The harvest will also be much greater. Why? Because the plants are already mature.  There is now waiting for seedling to grow and yield results.  Once the weather begins to cool off the blossoms will appear in abundance and fresh crops soon follow.

The Spring and Fall garden can both be gratifying.  One of the most important tools you will have for success is proper planning.  Know the environment best suited for your crops, and know the climate you will be harvesting in. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Giant Yucca
I have several Yucca in my yard.  Some were rescued from a demolished apartment complex.  Some were swiped  from the side of a road in Oklahoma.  I have several different varieties.  The "Giant Yucca" is quite possibly my favorite.  It stand majestic in the spring with it's elegant white flowers reaching for the heaven's.  It has strong, thick leaves that are sturdy and hold up to a lot, including the colder temperatures.  It has sharp pointed leaves that can be quite painful

Adan's Needle

The Adam's Needle has much thinner needle like leaves that grow outward more than upward.  They do not achieve nearly the size of the Giant Yucca and are much more delicate.  They also have beautiful, majestic white flowers that grace the cool spring weather with there presence.

Native American used almost every part of the yucca plant for everything from weaving to mastering ritual concoctions.  Little is actually know about the benefits, or dangers of the yucca plant.  One thing I do know first hand is that you can't battle one.  No matter how hard you try to remain protected the yucca is more powerful than any planning and preparation on your part.

I am very proud of my Yucca's.  It took some work to transport them from the original dwelling and nurture them to the appealing landscape they became.  Low and behold I noticed my favorite Yucca was beginning to look extremely droopy.  At closer glance I realized my worst fear.  There they were scurrying all over my succulent like they had always been there.  These little creatures (commonly referred to as Yucca Bugs) thrive by draining the yucca of all the vital fluid in it's leaves.  They are merciless and can destroy an entire plant before you may even realize you've been hit.

Fortunately I was able to take preventative measures at the right time.  Armed with a 3 cup spray bottle full of canola oil and shampoo the entire plant was sprayed top to bottom and underneath.  The spray lands on the tiny bugs and literally suffocates them beyond survival without doing any harm to the Yucca.

With the first round of treatment complete all I could do is wait a few days.  Another good coating of prevention was added to be sure nothing was missed. Like most tiny infectious creatures it doesn't take long for these destructive mites to reproduce, even if only a few are left behind.

Once I was sure I had removed the infestation the daunting task of removing the destroyed foliage began. Armed with gloves, long sleeves and slacks I concentrated on cuttin off the dead leaves starting at the bottom.  It wasn't long before I began to see that my yucca was going to survive just fine.  There was even plenty of new growth sprouting from the ground underneath the destroyed leaves.

It wasn't until I removed my gloves and shirt that I became concerned.  Even through the protective clothing the sharp needlepoint leaves left my arms looking as if I had developed a terrible rash.  It wasn't pretty and yes it became irritating.  The tiny pricks were on my legs and event on the top of my feet.  After some research I learned that with proper care (to avoid infection) my predicament was not as severe as it appeared.  Plenty of anti-itch cream and good cleaning prevented any real harm.  The best part is that my yucca not only survived but grew even larger once it was trimmed back.  Maybe this was just mother natures way of saying my yucca need some serious attention.