Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Journal November 20, 2013 Grand Duke

Another online bargain arrived today, the plant above is Jasmimum sambac, Grand Duke of Tuscany.  I have been looking for one of these at a good price for sometime and finally found one for under five dollars on

I really did not expect much for the price I paid, however, it is a very nice healthy plant, so I am well pleased.

Also, I purchased seeds for two varieties of gardenia for less than two dollars per pack.  One is simply a common gardenia, while the other is a corsage gardenia.  The seeds for the common gardenia have already germinated and are looking really good.  

Growing plants from seed is not only inexpensive, but allows you to shape the plant to your preferences as it develops. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Journal November 18, 2013 - Growng tropical plants indoors

Two more flowering fragrant tropical plants arrived today and I am very pleased with the quality, considering that they cost less than $3.50 per plant.  

The plants are: Cestrum nocturnum Jessamine, or Night Blooming Jasmine, seen on the left, and Gardenia jasminoides, August Beauty, on the right.

To add interest I added a mud man and a rock to each container when potting the plants.  Both plants will be placed in grow tents under LED lighting to be grown hydroponically.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Journal November 17, 2013 Hydroponic Swiss chard is getting popular

A large harvest of Foordhook Swiss chard was picked today and the system was immediately replanted with Early Wonder beets for beet greens.  Fortunately, once cooked chard can be reheated,  which is good as there is enough chard in the photo for several meals for the two of us.

Reviewing the analytics for my blog,  I find that growing Swiss chard indoors hydroponically has become a very popular search term.  For whatever reason, there seems to be interest from all around the world in growing chard hydroponically lately; there have been hits on this subject from Saudi Arabia, Australia, Europe and Asia.  Why the sudden interest completely baffles me. 

The weather has moderated, and will remain so for the next several days, so I moved the olive trees back into the greenhouse until at least next Tuesday.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Journal November 10, 2013 Hydroponic bok choi

The bok choi is ready to pick so we are researching recipes to prepare it.  It has been several years since I last planted choi; and this would be the first time I have grown it using LED lighting.  As you can see by the photo, the plants are well developed, short and sturdy, not at all leggy, which means that they have received adequate light while growing.

A few days ago I received more flowering tropical plants to grow in the tents.  I ordered a Maid of Orleans, Jasmine Sambac on eBay for less than five dollars, however, when the plant arrived there were three plants in the pot.  When separating the plants, I could see that the plant had recently had flowers on it, so perhaps it will flower again soon.

Checking the thermometer in the greenhouse this morning I saw that the low temperature last night was 32 degrees.  The forecast is for bitter cold temperatures in the coming week, so I decided to close the greenhouse and move the olives indoors for the winter.  The plan was to leave them in the greenhouse until Thursday to reach the 1,000 hour chill target, however, rather than take a chance of freezing them I decided to move them.  My rationale is that they will receive plenty more chilling during the next several months.

In a seldom used area of the basement I suspended a length of 1" x 6" board using a heavy duty adjustable light hanging cord.  The LED lights and electrical connections  are attached to the board so the lights can be raised and lowered as needed.  A small fan for ventilation was also installed using a separate timer.

As most of the olive varieties are Spanish, just for fun, I used the sunrise/sunset tables for Madrid Spain to set the timer for the lights.  The calendar on Google is set to remind me to change the timer slightly over the next three months so simulate the winter solstice. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Journal November 8, 2013 Indoor gardening - tropical plants

The plant shown above is a Tabernaemontana divaricata, also known as a Crepe Jasmine, Pinwheel Flower, East Indian Rosebay and Paper Gardenia, and those are only some of the names I know of.

When I looked at the flower bud this morning, it did not look anywhere near like it was ready to open, however, by lunch it had burst into bloom.  I am really sorry that I did not set up the time lapse camera, as this would probably make an excellent subject.  Well, next time for sure.

The flower has very little scent during the day, however the scent is suppose to increase at night. Time will tell....

Friday, November 1, 2013

Journal November 1, 2013 Indoor gardening -Inspect your plants thoroughly

Continuing my quest for unusual fragrant tropical plants to brighten up the coming winter, I added a Vietnamese Gardenia plant purchased on eBay.  The plant, shown above, was offered by Hirt's Gardens.  Although I had never purchased any plant material from Hirt's, I had heard of them and knew they have been in business for sometime.  Being pressed for time the day the plant arrived, I simply washed all the soil from the roots, potted the plant and placed it a tent with the other gardenias.  

To my horror, upon closer inspection with a magnifying headset the following day, I found the plant to be infested with aphids.  Additionally, the plant had several brown holes in the leaves, some the size of a dime.  It is not a plant you would purchase if you were to see it beforehand.  

Not taking any chances, I sprayed all of the plants that came in contact with this plant with insecticide soap; placing all of them in the greenhouse overnight to contain any loose aphids.   I also wiped the bottom of each leaf with paper towel soaked in the soap.   Today, I spayed them again, this time with Neem Oil, just to be safe.  Another inspection followed, fortunately no aphids were found.

A similar incident occurred yesterday with a Tabernaemontana divaricata, or Crepe Jasmine, also purchased from a very reputable grower.  Upon inspecting the plant, I found and removed at least a dozen black scale insects.  Again, the plant was sprayed with Neem oil solution, and as I had Neem oil solution remaining, I decided to use it on the olive trees, though I have never seen an insect on any of them.  Being a fanatic on insect control, as a further preventive measure, I add Gnatrol to every batch of nutrients, to kill any larvae in the media.  Better safe than sorry.

The best advice I can offer is: don't trust anyone when adding plants to your indoor garden.  Inspect all plants, very carefully.

As an afterthought, I checked the reviews for Hirt's Gardens on Dave's Garden site; the negative reviews outnumber the positive reviews for the past 12 months.  Avoid or beware of Hirt's Gardens.