Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Coral Vine Again

You might remember last year in September I posted about my Coral Vine Antigonon leptopus trying to eat our house. See that post here Coral Vine 2014.  In December I dug it up and put it in a temporary place. THEN I transplanted it again when we made our rebar arches.  See that post from February here Rebar Arches.   You couldn't even see the Coral Vine when I planted it by the new arch because I had cut it WAY back. It goes kinda dormant in winter and you'll want to cut it back if you have it growing up(as opposed to sprawling like a ground cover).

So, here it is now! It didn't grow as far as it did last year. Probably because I dug it up twice.  But it is a tough plant(as vines are meant to be) and is putting on a very pretty show now.  AND the bees love it.  It's totally BEE-fest out there all day.

And here is my Rick posing with the pretty monster :-) 
Happy Autumn! 

Monday, October 19, 2015


Ok, it's finally no longer in the 90ºs here in SoCal. Thanks goodness! I've been waiting for the weather to cool down to plant lettuce seeds.  It's one vegetable that I CAN grow. Lettuce is a vegetable, right?  Since I'm not a good cook, I'm a big salad girl. I love winter here when I don't have to buy lettuce for several months.  

But this year I'm having raccoon problems(as stated in previous posts).  So after I sowed 7 different Lettuces plus Spinach, I had to cover them.  On the empty bed I used metal hardware cloth like I put over my Sweet Pea sprouts.  It's the same stuff we used for the fencing to hold up tall growing vegetables(Sweet Peas this season).  I used up the last of that roll.  I stapled it to the edges of the bed and zip tied it in the center since it wasn't wide enough.   Not sure if I'll remove it when the seedlings get about 4" tall or not.  They can grow up through it.  And since I only plant leaf lettuce and not head lettuce, it's easier to harvest.  You can just pull off leaves instead of waiting for the whole head to be ready.  The leaves keep coming.  On the bed with the fence, where I planted the Spinach, I strung some fishing line across and back a bunch of times.  I've heard that raccoons don't like fishing line.  Let's hope!  

Are you growing winter vegetables?  I've tried carrots. They need perfectly rich and tilled soil to come out straight.   I tried Parsnips and Turnips last year.  I didn't like them.  Broccoli gets aphids. And all the cole crops get caterpillars.   And I'm not really into peas.  Remember that I can't really cook.  

In my opinion Autumn -Spring is the best time in SoCal.  I hate Summer.  I'm sure you east and midwest peoples opinions differ.   It's so hot that it saps my energy and I can only work like 7:30am-noon.  In cooler weather I can work in the afternoons too.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Blue Mistflower

We're finally getting some cooler weather.  No 90ºs showing for the next 10 days.  Yay! Only low 80ºs. I'm still looking for those wonderful easy-to-work-outdoors 60ºs! 

Last Spring when I was shopping at Matilija Nursery in Moorpark, a California native plant and Iris nursery I bought a Blue Mistflower.   The botanical name is Conoclinium coelstinium. Say CON-oh-clin-E-um  CO-el-ss-TIN-E-um(I think). What a crazy long name! It looked like a big Ageratum to me. It's native to North America, grows to about 3' tall and blooms July to Nov. It's in the Aster family and IS related to Ageratum :-)

At the the nursery Bob had it growing in the shade house AND out in the sun. I brought it home and planted it in part shade on the east side of the house. It was a small thing then and has since doubled its size. It's in full bloom now. Pretty right?

Happy Autumn!