Sheri Ann Richerson's exotic gardening, elegant cooking, crafty creations, food preservation and animal husbandry... all on two and a half acres in Marion, Indiana!

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    Growing Fruit

    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    Growing A  Garden_ Growing Vegetables-2
    With spring fast approaching, many of you are in the final stages of deciding what to grow in your vegetable garden this coming year. Most of us will agree that growing our own food not only produces better tasting produce, but also allows us to control the chemicals that come into contact with our food. With all of the preservatives and chemicals used today, it just makes better sense to grow as much of our own food as possible.

    Try Companion Planting This Spring

    Basic garden produce usually includes green beans, peas, corn and tomatoes. Companion planting has become quite popular in the past couple years. It is especially useful in small areas. For example, try planting tomatoes, geraniums and basil together. The geraniums will help the tomatoes to turn color faster and produce more, while basil has always been a good companion plant for tomatoes. It also makes it more convenient when picking for freezing. Just add a few leaves of basil to your tomatoes and freeze. This allows the basil oils to flavor the tomatoes without much additional work on your part.

    Don’t Forget About Fruit!

    While many of us grow a vegetable garden, what about trying your hand at growing fruit? Grape vines are fairly easy to grow, as are apple, pear, and cherry trees. Although most fruit trees will take up to five years to produce an abundance of fruit, they may produce minimal amounts before that, and it gives you control over the type of pesticides that is used. Choosing dwarf fruit trees is also a good idea because they usually produce faster and are easier to harvest fruit from.
    Fruits and vegetables are an important part of our daily diet. Along with providing essential nutrients to our system, they are delicious and refreshing. The summer months give us the best opportunity to experience fresh produce. If you cannot grow your own, be sure to carefully wash the produce you buy with soapy water so that no unwanted residues remain.

    Finding Places To Grow Vegetables

    There are many other benefits to growing and using fresh produce from your garden. There are even “garden plots” that many larger cities offer where the residents can grow a garden of their own if they cannot grow one at their home. There is an abundance of recipes out there for fresh produce and of course, fresh has a one-of-a-kind taste that cannot be duplicated on your grocers’ shelf.

    Even if you can only grow a container garden, you will most likely find that it will be well worth the effort and many garden plants can be over-wintered indoors with proper lighting. Herbs are also great pot plants that will survive indoors.
    So get out there, harvest your garden and enjoy the fruits of your work in your culinary efforts!

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ bloomed for the first time this year. I planted it outdoors in the spring of 2005.

    I moved here to the farm in August 2004. My goal – even back then – was to fill the land with useful plants. I brought a number of plants with me from my old place and promptly began planting new ones. Fruiting plants was an area I focused on fairly heavily – as were herbs and medicinal plants. Of course, I wanted fragrance – and finally I have it all. Everywhere you go in the yard this year you are greated with something that produces food or medicine and you inhale a delightful fragrance. Of course the smell changes depending on where you are in the yard and what time of year it is.

    Here are the fruit plants currently growing here. This list is more for me and not intended to make anyone jealous. You too can grow a wide variety of fruiting plants – indoors and out – if you have the space and set your mind to it.

     

    Apples

    Bananas

    Blackberry

    Blueberries

    Cherries

    Cranberries

    Elderberries

    Fig

    Gooseberry

    Grapes

    Mulberry

    Oranges

    Passion Fruit

    Peaches

    Pears

    Pineapple

    Plums

    Quince

    Raspberry

    Star Fruit

    Strawberries

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    Sam Benowitz – Raintree Nursery

    There are few pleasures in life that can compare to picking and eating fresh berries, apples and other fruit grown in your very own backyard orchard. While fruit trees and berry bushes may take longer to mature than fast-producing annuals, they will reward the patient gardener with loads of tasty fruit every season. Many trees and berry bushes bear so heavily, in fact, that you can’t eat all the fruit fresh—so canning and preserving is a great way to enjoy an orchard’s bounty all year long.

    The stories below feature quality fruit-bearing trees and bushes ranging from fig trees and cherry trees to historical heirloom apples and improved berry varieties. Any of these productive trees and bushes can be great additions to the garden. Adding a new fruiting tree or bush will add beauty and structure to the landscape—and can feed you and your family for years to come.

     

     

    Fig ‘Desert King’

    Nature Hills offers hundreds of fruiting plants

     

    Looking for a cold-hardy fig tree? Desert King Fig (Ficus carica ‘Desert King’) is a good choice for cooler climates because it’s hardy to USDA Zone 5 and produces large, sweet figs with strawberry-red flesh. How about an early-ripening cherry variety that’s perfect for pies? ‘Early Richmond’ Cherry (Prunus cerasus) ripens in late spring and the bright red fruits are excellent for cooking. Perhaps you’d rather grow raspberries. Raspberry ‘Brandywine’ (Rubus idaeus ‘Brandywine’) is cross of red and black raspberry plants, and it’s been called the best purple raspberry available.

    Fig ‘Desert King’

    All of these fruiting plants—and hundreds more—are available from Nature Hills Nursery. This online-only retailer offers more fruit trees, berry bushes and other edible-producing plants than any other website. Nature Hills Nursery proudly calls itself “America’s Online Garden Center” because it also offers a full line of shade trees, perennials, fertilizers, pest controls, tools and even gift items. Visit www.naturehills.com or call (888) 864-7663.

     

     

    Tom Doyle among the blackberries.

    Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry® out-produces traditional varieties

     

    The typical blackberry bush produces 1-2 gallons of berries per plant each year. Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry® is variety that yields 10-20 gallons of sweet, vine-ripened berries every summer. That’s 10 times the production of a normal blackberry bush—plus there are no painful thorns. The fruit sets in bunches of 10 to 30 large, sweet berries that ripen over a 6-8 week season in the summer. Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry® is a trailing variety that grows best on a trellis. The plants need two years to establish and then the disease-resistant plants start producing sweet, delicious, healthful, antioxidant-rich berries that are great to eat fresh, as beverages and deserts, or frozen for later use. Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry® plants grow successfully throughout the USA and Canada in USDA hardiness zones 2-10. Potted plants sell for $20 each or $17.50 each in quantities of 10 or more. Call (812) 254-2654, see customers’ comments and pictures at https://www.facebook.com/doylesthornlessblackberries, or visit the web site at www.fruitsandberries.com.

     

    Apple ‘Esopus Spitzenburg’

    Grow a Johnny Appleseed tree—or other famous varieties

     

    Did you know that when Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity he was sitting under an apple tree? It was a variety named Flower of Kent. Thomas Jefferson had many dozens of apple trees at Monticello, but the very flavorful Esopus Spitzenburg was his favorite. And the most famous apple trees of all are those planted by Johnny Appleseed. All three of these special apple trees are available from Raintree Nursery—plus many old-time and new varieties of fruit trees and berry bushes.

    “Growing great fruit and vegetables at home is a way for people to learn the self sufficiency that previous generations took for granted,” said Sam Benowitz, who has owned Raintree Nursery for 40 years.

    Raintree Nursery offers more than 800 varieties of fruit trees, berries and vines, each selected for flavor and disease resistance with the home fruit grower in mind. Raintree Nursery offers the best new varieties from research stations from around the world as well as the best of the heirloom varieties. To place an order, request a catalog or get more information, visit www.raintreenursery.com or call (800) 391-8892.

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    Tomato Super Sauce – the world’s largest sauce tomato.


     

    Every year, horticulture experts around the world cultivate new and exciting plant varieties to enhance the diversity and productivity of gardens everywhere. Not just for show, most new varieties of fruits and vegetables offer improved yields and hardiness, and they thrive right alongside the tried-and-true varieties.

    Gardeners always love to grow the newest varieties of their favorite plants, and the ones listed below are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Resulting from years of experience from established companies and garden enthusiasts, each of these unique varieties has something special to add to the garden. Increased disease resistance, more compact growth habits and unusual-colored fruits are all reasons to consider adding one of these new varieties to your garden.

     

    Burpee introduces “world’s largest sauce tomato” 

     

    Burpee is known for bringing new vegetable varieties to American gardens for 136 years—including the first white sweet corn, the legendary ‘Big Boy’ tomato, and ‘Sweet Seedless,’ the first ever seedless tomato. For 2013, Burpee has introduced SuperSauce Hybrid Tomato, “the world’s largest sauce tomato.”

    SuperSauce is the new superhero of tomatoes. The first ripe fruits tip the scale at up to 2 pounds, measuring a whopping 5.5 inches tall and 5 inches wide. SuperSauce produces gallons of luscious, seedless sauce from a single plant harvest—one tomato fills an entire sauce jar. The easy-to-grow, indeterminate, disease-free plants yield a summer-long supply of exquisitely flavored marinara, tomato gravy or meat sauce. But wait! It gets even better. With its large segments of meaty and delicious flesh, SuperSauce is the only paste tomato that doubles as a sandwich slicer. Try it on a hamburger or tomato sandwich and you won’t believe the taste bonus over a horizontal slice of beefsteak.

    Tomatoes are the nations favorite backyard garden fruit because they are easy to grow, are prolific producers and have unrivaled summer flavor. SuperSauce Hybrid Sauce Tomato is already one of Burpee’s best-selling tomato introductions ever. A packet of SuperSauce Tomato seeds sells for $6.50 or 3 garden-ready plants sell for $14.95, exclusively from Burpee, (800) 888-1447 or www.burpee.com.

     

     

    Mango ‘Cogshall’

    Grow “Condo Mangos” on a porch or patio

     

    Mangos are prized worldwide for their sweet, delicious fruit. Unfortunately, full-sized mango trees grow too large for small yards and containers. A new variety of mango called ‘Cogshall’ is nicknamed “condo mango” because of its dwarf growth habit and ease of growing in a pot. Known by the botanical name Mangifera indica, the tree matures to about 8 feet tall and will bear a crop of mangos every year once it reaches fruiting age (in 3-4 years). The sweet, fiberless fruit has a yellowish-orange skin with a red blush and ripens in mid-to-late summer. Mangos are self-fertile so a single plant will bear fruit. Allow the fruit to fully ripen on the tree for maximum sweetness. Grow in full sun in well-drained but evenly moist potting soil. This variety is cold hardy to USDA Zone 10, so bring it inside when the nighttime temperatures drop to the low 40s. Available in a 6-inch pot for $39.95 from Logee’s, (888) 330-8038 or www.logees.com.

     

    Tomato Rosella Purple

    Rosella Purple Tomato is the perfect container variety

     

    Rosella Purple is a new dwarf tomato variety that produces fruits similar to Cherokee Purple but on short plants, making this variety ideal for container gardening. Bred by the Dwarf Tomato Project, an international group of tomato enthusiasts devoted to breeding short tomato varieties with great flavor, Rosella Purple fruits weigh 6-10 ounces and feature a delightful deep purple color. The productive plants grow to about 36 inches tall and benefit from some staking to keep them upright and to protect the fruits from sunscald. These determinate plants produce fruit 65 days after transplanting.

    Rosella Purple originated from a cross between Budai (a small red-fruited dwarf) and Stump of the World, made in 2006 by Patrina Nuske Small in Australia. A subsequent selection discovered by Craig LeHoullier led to Rosella Purple—after other members of the Dwarf Tomato Project (www.dwarftomatoproject.com) made their own contributions. A packet of seeds sells for $3.25 from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, www.southernexposure.com or (540) 894-9480.

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    Get kids growing in the garden by starting them off planting their own strawberries. You can let them plant and care for a whole patch, or just one or two plants, planted in a strawberry jar or garden container.  Be sure to engage your kids in the planting process and let them get their hands dirty. Then show them how to care for and water their home-grown tasty treats. You can make this more fun for children by buying them their very own watering can. Don’t forget to show kids how to pinch off plant runners to reap larger sized berries. And of course have them do the harvesting and enjoy the fruits of their labor!

    You’ll find most kids enjoy helping in the garden, they’re allowed to get dirty, they get some good exercise, actually learn and understand, first hand, where their food comes from and they’ll gain a good sense of nurture, nature and responsibility within the process.

    Children love watching strawberries grow, they’ll see flowers bloom, garden bees, and fruit develop and turn color. After developing a sense of ownership of their plants, they will especially love eating the sweet fruits they grew themselves.

    Here’s some tips to ensure strawberry success:

    *When planting strawberries, be sure the crown is above soil level and the upper most roots are 1/4 inch beneath soil level, buried crowns rot and exposed roots dry out. Have kids  measure and then dig holes for placing plants, depending on space and quantity. Strawberry plants should be placed approximately 14 to 18 inches apart from each other in neat rows that are separated by 2-3 feet each.  Let runners fill in until plants are 7-10 inches apart.

    *Use mulch to keep berries clean, conserve moisture and control weeds.

    *If you want to keep it simple, plant strawberries in a container.  Just remember that container plantings need much more water than in-ground plantings, usually once a day; and if it’s hot, twice. Strawberry pots are the obvious, best container choice for growing strawberries. You can fit several plants in one pot; just make sure whatever type of garden pot you use has good drainage. Strawberries have a relatively small root ball and can be grown in containers as small as 10-12 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep. However, the smaller the container, the more frequently you will need to water. Synthetic and light colored pots will keep the roots cooler than dark colors and natural materials that conduct heat.

    *Strawberries like well drained fairly rich soil, so be sure to add compost or other organic matter when preparing the pot or patch.

    *They need full sun, and frequent, deep soakings. Be sure to give adequate water during bearing season. They will grow in all zones and should be fed twice a year — when growth begins and after the first crop. Use a complete fertilizer high in phosphorous for feedings.

    Choosing Strawberry Plants

    There are four different types of strawberry plants, June bearing, everbearing, day neutral and alpine. Bonnie Plants, the largest producer of veggies and herbs in the U.S., with 65 growing stations across the country, regionally serving 48 states, offers strawberry plants at your local garden retailer. Use  transplants- they’re easier than seed and the growing process will take less time. For more info and tips on growing strawberries please visit www.bonnieplants.com.

    Strawberries are one of the easiest and best home garden fruits for kids to grow. They’ll produce fruit throughout the summer and children will love to pluck them right off the plant, wash and eat! If your kids have yet to plant and care for a fruit or vegetable, strawberries are a perfect choice for their first gardening experience. Kick off this gardening season with your kids and get them growing strawberries!

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    A grove of banana trees.

    Banana trees are really cool plants – not just because of their huge, exotic leaves or the tasty fruit they produce – but because of the many different colors or sizes of the fruit and the leaves. We are not talking about the same old yellow bananas you find on grocery store shelves either. No ma’am – bananas comes in pink, red and even purple! As for the leaves, there are banana trees with red leaves, ones that are red and green variegated as well as white and green variegated. In fact, the AE AE Banana, as the white and green variegated one is known, is highly sought after by banana plant collectors world-wide.

    Of course, not all bananas are suitable for eating because of the massive amounts of seed the fruit contains, although some prefer to simply remove the seeds and eat the bananas anyway – and this is fine.

    If you’ve not grown a banana tree in the past, they are easy to grow – and in the event you do not live in a tropical climate, you can find varieties that are a mere 3 to 4 feet tall at maturity. These are ideal for growing in containers and they do produce fruit within two to three years as long as they are well cared for. While you are not likely to end up with a banana tree grove – such as the one in the picture above, unless you have lots of containers filled with banana trees – you can still enjoy growing them year-round in your home or office. Here is what you need to know to get started growing your own banana trees.

    The botanical name of the banana tree is Musa and there are many varieties that are easy to obtain.  Florists, grocery stores and discount stores often carry banana plants in addition to many mail order and Internet vendors.

    Bananas require lots of water and light to thrive. Brown leaves usually indicate that the plant is in low humidity or not receiving enough water. It is a good idea if you are growing this plant indoors is to provide frequent misting.  If this is difficult for you to do, keep a humidifier close to the plant.  A natural method for humidity is to cluster plants together although this can lead to other problems, such as powdery mildew, if you are not careful.

    Growing Bananas inside presents a special challenge to the grower because supplemental light must be provided. Bananas require two years of being in the exact same spot, grown under the exact same conditions before they begin to flower.

    Once you decide to try your hand at any of the Musa family purchase a very large pot.  Bananas grow quickly.  I have found that using a large pot to start with eliminates the constant need for repotting.  The longer the time between moves the better chance you have of getting fruit. Set the plant in a warm spot with plenty of room overhead so it can reach its mature height unhindered.

    I prefer to use a combination of compost, peat moss, vermiculite and perlite as the growing medium for my banana trees.  I feel that this combination is a better growing medium than most commercial potting soils.   I do add a handful of compost or kelp from time to time so the plants have access to the nutrients they need to thrive.

    Never prune a banana tree. Allow the dead leaves to fall off naturally. Separating the banana pups from the mother plant is the best method of propagating of this plant, although you can grow banana trees from seeds.  When you separate the pups be sure to break the soil away from the roots and trim about an inch off the roots.  Root trimming removes the dead roots and encourages the plants roots to grow.  When you repot the plants water the soil with vitamin B-1 or a starter solution fertilizer.  This will help to minimize transplant shock.

    Frequent fertilization is recommended and you should increase your fertilizer during the summer months since this is the period of active growth for banana trees.

    If you have access to horse manure, add some composted manure to the bottom of your pot.  Your banana tree will reward you with faster growth once the roots begin to take up the nutrients in the compost.  Make sure the manure is composted, because fresh manure can kill your plant.

    Bananas dislike drafts and cold weather, however there are varieties that can withstand temperatures of 30 degrees F. with wind – but not frost – and still survive. One such variety that can withstand these extreme temperatures is the Orinoco that grows wild in the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Other varieties, such as Rajapuri, might experience leaf damage or some other type of physical damage but still survive. Musa basjoo is winter hardy in United States Department of Agricultural hardiness zone 5, but must be mulched over the winter months.

    The best way to know what your particular variety of Musa can withstand is to research it. You can always separate a “pup” from the mother plant to test the hardiness of your plant. After all, you never really know what will happen until you try it for yourself. Different areas of your yard receive different degrees of wind, rain and cold temperatures depending on your sheltering conditions – these areas are known as microclimates.  The only drawback of this is that most likely these varieties will never produce fruit under these conditions.

    In the event that you cannot grow your Banana in your house over winter you can dig it up in the fall and store it once frost blackens the leaves. Keep the banana tree bulbs in a cool, dark place over the winter the same as your other bulbs.

    When spring arrives replant your Banana in the ground outside once the ground temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and all chance of frost is over. Allow only one plant per hole. The ideal banana grove consists of one plant that is fruiting, one that is half-grown, one that is a quarter grown with the final plant just emerging.  Make sure the banana trees are at least a foot away from the main plant once they are old enough to remove from the mother plant so they do not drain energy and prevent her from flowering. The “pups,” as the young banana trees are called, can be divided to produce more plants or cut-off and tossed into the compost pile.

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    There is a wide variety of berries that will thrive in clay soil as long as you take the time to amend it. From your typical berries such as blueberries, strawberries, cherries and raspberries to berries that are less common such as honeyberry or service berry, there is sure to be a variety that is ideal for every garden. Understanding the correct way to prepare and amend the soil before planting your berries is the key to success.

    Step 1: Select a site in full sun that has good air circulation. Prepare the soil by digging a hole by hand that is twice as deep as the head of the shovel and approximately 4 feet in diameter. This technique is known as double-digging. Break up any clumps. Remove roots, rocks or other foreign material from the soil.

    Step 2: Add compost or other organic matter such as leaf mould. The appropriate amount of organic matter to add to each hole is 3%, or 3 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet. Mix the soil and the organic matter well and then fill the hole back with the amended soil.

    Step 3: Get a soil test at this point so you know if you need to add any other nutrients or adjust the pH of the soil. If the test shows that other amendments are necessary, add them according to the instructions on the package label of your chosen amendments, making sure to thoroughly mix them into the soil. For example, blueberries perform better in soil that ranges between 4.5 to 5.2. If the natural pH of your soil does not fall in this range, it will be necessary to add finely ground sulfur or aluminum sulfate to the soil to adjust the pH of the soil before planting the blueberries.

    Step 4: Allow the amended soil to sit in the hole over winter. This will give the amendments a chance to fully integrate themselves into the clay soil. Once spring arrives, plant the berry plants in the amended soil. Mulch the top of the soil, water the berry plants in well and prepare for your first harvest.

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    We are finally getting some much needed rain. The garden is beginning to look like a garden again. I have posted a bunch of new pictures in the photo gallery athttp://www.exoticgardening.com/modules.php?name=coppermine&file=profile&uid=2 .

    We have had a busy week. Jerry laid a new flagstone walkway, moved one of my greenhouses and did more work on the vegetable garden so we can plant our summer crops.

    We have added a ton of new plants to our gardens this year. To name a few, we have recently added a Semi-Dwarf Santa Rosa Plum, a Red Bartlett Pear, a Methley Plum, a Dwarf Black Tartarian Cherry, Salix integra ‘Hakura Nishiki,’ Dogwood ‘Cream Cracker,’ a Golden Curls Willow, Rosa ‘Golden Celebration,’ a Pink Dogwood, Rhododendron ‘Purpureum Elegans,’ Rhododendrum ‘Roseum Pink,’ Rose ‘Pat Austin,’ Rose ‘Baby Love,’ Phlox ‘Blue Magic,’ Magnolia grandiflora ‘Edith Bogue,’ Akebia quinata and Rose ‘Abraham Darby.’

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    foodiesfeed.com_Gunel-Farhadli-3

    Today was another busy day. The kittens are crawling around on their own now so I put them in the attached garage.

    Jerry dug up a lot of Rose of Sharon bushes from his mom’s house yesterday. He brought them home and we are planting them along our back fence row to create privacy.

    I weeded some of the vegetable garden today, planted the eggplant and a few tomato plants.

    Jerry’s mom bought us another Peach tree tonight. That brings our fruit tree count to 2 apple trees, 12 blueberry bushes, 4 peach trees, 2 cherry trees, 3 cherry bushes, 2 plum trees, 3 pear trees, 1 hardy orange tree, 2 cranberry bushes, 11 raspberry bushes, 3 blackberry bushes, 2 grape vines and so many strawberries that I can’t count them all.

    My peppercorn bush is coming back from the winter so it is indeed hardy here. I can’t wait to harvest fresh peppercorns.

    The herb garden, which we re-did, is taking off like mad. The basil seeds I planted are going to town. I am going to have a ton of fresh basil this year.

    The strawberries are loaded. There are more berries on them this year than I have ever seen before. I am really excited. I canned some last year and we did enjoy those when the time came to eat them.

    The goats are giving us a ton of milk and we have made a decision to get a third dairy goat so we have some extra to use for soap making.

    The roses and poppies are blooming their heads off right now. The peas are up and we are already enjoying fresh radishes from the garden.

    I am going to get off here for tonight so I can go help Jerry make supper. Tonight we are having shells and cheese, corn and green beans mixed and filet mignon.

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    Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I received many of the products mentioned in these blog posts for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog is written by Sheri Ann Richerson. Any guest posts are clearly marked with the guest authors name! All photos and blog posts are copyright. Do not republish any of the photos or blog posts without written consent. Sharing on social media is fine. Thank you for understanding!
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    According to legend, the Passion Flower (Passiflora spp.) was named by early Roman Catholic missionaries in South America because the flowers bore a fancied representation of the Passion of Christ. Roman Catholic priests of the late 1500’s believed that several parts of the plant symbolized features of the Passion, the suffering and death of Jesus. The ten apostles who remained faithful to Jesus throughout the Passion are represented by the five petals and the five petal-like sepals, while the hairlike rays above the petals were thought to represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore. The five stamens were thought to represent the wounds of Christ, while the pistils represented the nails.These large, woody rapid growing vines cling to their supports with long tendrils and bear one-half inch to six inch wide flowers in a variety of colors, most commonly in shades of purples and reds, though some bear white, yellow, or blue flowers. The majority of these plants are native to tropical, subtropical, and warmer temperate regions of North and South America.Passiflora prefer a dormancy period in late fall or winter, although they will continue to grow and many will produce their famous one-day blooms year round. They like to receive four hours or more of sunlight a day – although this may be provided by grow lights. The trick to indoor blooming is to get the light close enough to the plant and bright enough to make it think it’s natural light without burning the leaves.

    During their flowering and growing periods they prefer moist soil, however allowing them to dry slightly between waterings will not harm the plant. Ideal air conditions would be moist and humid. Passiflora should also be repotted infrequently.

    Passiflora can be propogated either by seeds or cuttings. Cuttings are the easiest, with blooms becoming possible within a few months. Propogation with seed can be difficult, although it can be done with patience.

    Varieties of Passiflora include:

     

    • P. Alata (Winged stemmed passion flower) A free flowering variety from Spring till frost. 4-4.5″ attractive, sweetly fragrant, carmine-crimson flowers produce a large edible fruit popular in Brazil. This Passiflora loves warm weather, and will not tolerate a frost at all.
    • P. Ampullaceae (Cream passion flower) High in the Andes mountains of Ecuador to 13,000 ft., is the native home of this very rare and beautiful vine. It thrives in cooler temperatures from 45-80º F. This Passiflora bears exquisite tubular white flowers about 2″ in diameter with cream colored petals.
    • P. Antioquiensis (P. Van-Volxemii) Also known as the Red Banana Passion Flower. A lovely plant with large rose-red flowers that hang down. It produces a large banana shaped fruit that turns yellow when ripe and is quite delicious. This species will tolerate a slight frost, but the roots must not be allowed to freeze.
    • P. Caerulea (The Blue Passion Flower) Very hardy to freezing but must grow back from the roots in spring. One of the most common passion flowers in the world originally from Brazil. The flower has white petals, with blue corona filaments up to 4″ wide. Edible fruit is also produced with a bright orange skin and a rather tropical insipid taste.
    • P. Capsularis (The capsule fruited passion flower) Grows 10-13 feet high. Similar to P. Rubra. Will tolerate a slight frost. Flowers are a greenish-white to pale yellow and are between 1″ and 2 1/4″ wide.
    • P. Cinnabarina (The cinnabar red passion flower) Native to South East Australia, this showy red variety sports 2.5″ flowers. Prefers temptures above 40º F., and humid conditions. Use a high potash fertilizer, being sure to avoid too much nitrogen. Misting the foliage during hot weather certainly helps this variety. This Passiflora will grow to 35 feet on a slim vine.
    • P. Coccinea (The red granadilla) Native to Brazil, this Passiflora has very showy red 3-5″ flowers with a white center. Exotic, tropical, and loves warm weather. Keep above 50º F.. A very vigorous vine for those who need to cover an arbor. Free flowering from mid-summer to autumn, and seeds from this variety germinate very easily.
    • P. Edulis (The edible passion flower) Known as passion fruit the world over, it is commercially grown in many countries for juice. This is a very adaptable species that will tolerate mild frosts of no less than 28º F. There are many different sub-species of Edulis, although some of these will require hand-pollination if you want more fruit. The sub-species include:
      • “Black Beauty” Large Black/Purple fruit with beautiful flowers
      • “Purple Giant” Huge purple fruited variety resistant to many viruses.
      • “Golden Giant” As the name implies, humungous sweet yellow fruit.
      • “Gold Nugget” Yellow fruited variety resistant to viruses, good tasting fruit.
      • “Panama Gold” Yellow fruited with good disease resistance. Tasty.
      • “Panama Red” Red fruited delicious taste, good resistance to disease.
    • P. Foetida (The goat scented passion flower) A fuzzy vined and leafed plant, with over 50 named varieties. A very vigorous plant that is hardy to 40º F. Easy to grow it bears beautiful white, pinkish or blue flowers followed by fruit that has a sweet-acid taste.
    • P. Gilbertii A vigorous climber that is tolerant of a wide variety of conditions. Great for a cooler but frost protected environment, will take 30º F. for short periods. Fragrant 3″ mauve and white flowers are produced profusely followed by a lot of fruit which is inedible.
    • P. Gracilis (The annual Passion flower) The only annual passiflora, climbs on a slender vine to 6 feet during summer. This variety needs very little attention and will re-seed itself in spring. Small white flowers about 1″ produce scarlet 1″ long fruits.
    • P. Incarnata (Maypop or May Apple) This passiflora is the only species indigenous to the U.S., one of the easiest to grow and has the best cold hardiness (to 15º on a mature plant!). Has large fragrant mauve and white flowers from June to November and sweet edible fruit. Also commonly used as a calming herbal tea. Very well drained soil that is fairly dry in winter is needed to prevent root rot. This is a very herbaceous vine and dies back every winter, only to pop back in May, hence the name Maypop!
    • P. Kalbreyeri This species is from the Decaloba section, and is also a mountain species from the Andes of Venezuela. Flowers are about 1.5-2″ and are purple to white. High temptures and humidity must be avoided and this vine is subject to over watering. Good air movement is vital as well as a sunny location. This variety is rare and hard-to-find.
    • P. Ligularis This variety has beautiful fragrant flowers with speckled petals. This vine dislikes hot weather, does best in cooler climates (45-80ºf), and is not a good potted plant. It also requires two different seed plants to set fruit.
    • P. Maliformis (Sweet Calabash) This beautiful vine is native to South America. Although it is very similar to P. Ligularis, this vine produces grape flavored fruit on a twenty foot vine. The flowers are fragrant with purple and white speckled petals. The shell of the fruit can be so hard you need a hammer to crack them open! This plant can take several years to produce fruit.
    • P. Mollisima (The Banana passion flower) Native to higher mountain regions, his Passiflora prefers cooler less humid climates than most passiflora. This vine is a Tacsonia and germinates at cooler temps. Often grown just for the large banana shaped delicious fruit which tastes like an orange. The flowers are similar to Antioquiensis and are large and showy, pink to coral pink.
    • P. Morifolia, A main source of food for the Heliconiinae butterflies. Grown all over the world, this vine is vigorous with a woody bulbous root. This plant does require a dormant period taken in the winter, and best to keep them dry at this time when in spring new shoots will appear from the root. Slight frost will not harm it if kept fairly dry. Flowers are greenish yellow or white and mauve about 1″.
    • P. Rubra (The red fruited passion flower) A vigorous slim vined plant to 15 feet. Very similar to Capsularis. This variety will not survive a frost down to the roots, but can be easily grown in a container. Free flowering summer to autumn with white or pale yellow petals to 2″ . Produces abundant bright pink to red fruit.
    • P. Seemannii A rather large vine and found usually only in private collections, this is a beautiful species with blue and white flowers 3-4″ in size. This plant is not cold hardy at all with minimum temperature tolerance of 45 degrees F..
    • P. Quadrangularis (Giant Granadilla) This passion vine is truly the giant with huge flowers and the largest fruit of any passiflora. It is a large vine, and is very vigorous. The flowers can get up to 5″ wide and the fruit can get up to 8 lb.. Best kept at 50 degrees F., but will tolerate lower temperatures if the soil is kept fairly dry.
    • P. Zamoriana (Lilac Passion Flower) An extremely rare species from Ecuador, it is a mountain vine that prefers cooler conditions. From the Tacsonia section, best grown outdoors with partial shade in summer and then taken into a greenhouse or conservatory in winter where temptures should be kept at 40-55 degrees F.. Easy to germinate, but not easy to grow, and well worth the trouble. It is large flowered and may produce sweet fruit. The flowers are 5 1/4″ wide and are deep salmon rose or lavender rose.

     

    So, as you see, there are many different colors and varieties of this beautiful exotic vine. This is one plant that I would highly suggest that you grow, even if its only during the summer months.

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