Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hope Grows Day: June 2011

Hanni over at  Sweet Bean Gardening
hosts this meme and I always manage to be a bit late with my contribution.

The Frangipani has gotten too tall to photograph with any real evidence of progress. These small 'fleshy' trees root easily if a "limb" is cut off and just planted into the ground. Two years ago, I received a 6" cutting and just stuck it in some potting soil in the garden, it took a year to start growing.

Frangipani May 2011
Cane Orchid May 2011

Amazingly the Cane Orchid is still blooming! To deter the ants (that I believe were beginning to farm aphids) I used some garlic cloves and the "paper" coating from garlic cloves and that seemed to take care of the problem.

Now the temperatures have reached the 90's the Gardenias have done blooming, but we enjoyed their brief visit to our backyard paradise.

We continue to have a severe lack of water in these parts and I don't think the water from the hose is sufficient enough to aid the plants' best growth.

We will soldier on and hope our summer rains begin soon.

Armenian Cuke May 2011
Cuke June 2011
In May's post I reported on the Armenian Cucumber.  Since then this cuke has developed powdery mildew - which I have read is a combination of very hot days and cooler nights. I used a remedy which basically served to fry the cuke's leaves. The cukes still developed though and they taste great!

The peppers and tomats however survived the spray with no ill effects. 

Here is the powdery mildew recipe if you wish to give it a go.
Take a gallon container, put 2 Tablespoons baking soda and 2 Teaspoons dish soap and fill the container to the top with water and then transfer to a spray bottle. Spray leaves upside and underside on a cloudy day.

Moving right along with my June Hopes post...the Boniato (Ipomoea batata) is a member of the morning glory family. 

Boniato May 2011
It loves to climb and climb! It is like a sweet potato that can be baked, roasted, boiled, fried, mashed et al. I tried mine as a baked potato and it was delicious. So I just picked one up from Publix, I cut it in half and kept it in the dark pantry until it had "eyes" (also known as chitting in other parts of the world), then I planted it in the first week of May and 2 weeks later a little stalk popped up. I kid you not when I say that it is currently scrambling up the trellis one inch per day.

Calabaza Seedling
The Calabaza is a Cuban winter squash, and is also known as Seminole Pumpkin. It is my first time growing this and it might be a little early to have started but it takes 4 months to develop. I scooped the seeds out and dried them for 5 days. Then I planted the seeds in a pot and they were up really quick. This pumpkin needs a lot of room to grow.

Last but not least, is the Chayote (Sechium edule). Aka: vegetable pear, mango squash and mirliton this vegetable is good for Florida's hot and humid climate. Plant the whole plant since the fruit is the seed. Leave the crinkled bit (the stem) exposed. They need a trellis or fence to support the 1-2lb squash. They can be creamed, buttered, fried, stuffed or baked. According to a report I read the vines are edible and taste like asparagus. I started mine off as you would a advocado seed. When I transplant it to the garden it will need protection with a cage from our (blank) gang. Fill blank with mouse, raccoon or whatever loves to eat these. When the stalk gets underway it should still be OK. The leaves are a dark green with a vining habit - like peas, beans, cukes and the boniato.

Chayote Squash

Coming soon: Cantaloupe, Fordhook Lima and Corn.

....And then an exciting update on Owl!


  1. Dawn, you certainly have some pretty unusual veg in your garden. I'd love to be able to grow Chayote, but I don't think the English climate would suit them. In your picture is the Chayote growing in that glass of water, or is it just posing there for the photo?

  2. Some interesting plants! Thanks for the recipe to treat powdery mildew as we all have that problem at some stage. Kelli

  3. Hello Mark: the Chayote "seed" was started off suspended above the glass of water using toothpicks (in the same way one would get an avocado going. When sprout appears plant the whole seed with just sprout and top of "seed" above ground. Also the Chayote can just be started off in the soil with top peeking out.

    Thanks Kelli: as mentioned the spray might have been too strong for the cuke, perhaps dilute for your purposes?

  4. Dawn ~ Interesting veggies you've got growing there. I'm impressed and encouraged. I live south of you.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind comment.


  5. Dawn, How did I miss this??? I'm sorry! I'm going to give your powdery mildew spray a try...I was just thinking that I need to look something up to use for this. :)


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog and leave a message. Happy Gardening!

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