All posts by Dustytoes

About Dustytoes

I grew up in New England but spent most of my life living in central Florida and blog about seashells, beaches, gardening, boating, fishing, hiking, photography, PKD, and my work as a designer at Zazzle. I move around a lot and try to discover the best in all places I live. Life may be tough, but it's not boring.

propagated croton plants

So How is The Landscaping Coming Along?

The yard at my new house (been there a year now) has only a few flowering plants. The house we bought was some sort of a rental where people stayed for short amounts of time. Because of this, the landscaping is made up of self-sufficient shrubbery. One azalea bloomed last Spring, but the plant itself doesn’t look all that good.
Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 9.46.38 AM
So I planted a hibiscus and a small rose bush. Then I started some crotons from the big croton out front. And recently I planted that next to a poinsettia in the same hibiscus garden. I use the term “garden” but it’s just a few plants stuck in the ground next to the house. Not very impressive.

New croton plants in pots
New crotons begun as cuttings

I still have 2 more crotons to put in the ground somewhere, but I honestly don’t have the ambition to do it. And there is no place for them. I will have to either expand this garden or begin a new one to make space. That will be a lot of work and I’m a tired old lady. Tired of starting over and working so hard only to have to pack up and leave my garden work behind for someone else to enjoy.  I shouldn’t have to do that again, but this time if I have to move, I won’t be leaving a beautiful yard.  Guess I’m burnt out.

Gardening in Florida doesn’t appeal to me. I really don’t care how my yard looks. I hate to say it, but this is not where I want to be. My focus is on the vegetable garden, and as soon as I can I will be buying more dirt for that.  But that is small too.  Nothing too interesting there either.

I know my poor health plays a part, since I often don’t feel all that well. This blog may have to go by the wayside like my New England blog did.  It’s tough to write a gardening blog when I do so little gardening.

 

Advertisements
weird smelly fungus

Garden Fungus Begins as a White Pod and Then Gets Weird

As I have been gardening I keep noticing these weird, puffy white balls under the soil in my raised garden bed. As I dig them up I throw them into the yard.

Yesterday I found another one. I just set the round slushy blob on top of the dirt and left it. Today this is how it looked.  Pretty gross.  There is some slimy thing at the top, and the whole thing smelled bad.

weird smelly fungus
Columned Stinkhorn

The round white balls are around 1-2 inches and have little white roots at one end. They are soft and squishy, and I had no idea what these weird things were.

When I noticed those bizarre orange things sticking up from it, I had to investigate further and find out what it was.  When searching for white “puffballs” mostly the puffball mushrooms show up. Then I came across this post at East Tennessee Wildflowers site which showed the exact same thing.  Now I had a name for it.

So now I know it is a Columned Stinkhorn (Clathrus columnatus) and according to Wikipedia it is commonly found in mulch.  It also mentions that it is edible… gag… who could eat this nasty thing?

Since I live in Florida, home to nasty creatures and all types of weirdness, I was afraid it would be an egg that lots of hideous things would crawl out of.  I guess I am relieved to know it’s only a smelly orange fungus.

how to grow eggplants

How to Grow Eggplants When the Flowers Keep Falling Off

eggplant tall plant
My Eggplant “Tree”

You may be wondering about my post image of the eggplant with a paintbrush. I’m hoping that little brush will help with eggplant production. When your eggplant flowers keep falling off, you may need a little paintbrush too.

For many months now I have had an eggplant “tree” growing in my garden.  I’m not familiar with growing eggplants.  In my New England yard I think I tried a few times and picked maybe one eggplant from my own garden!  The plants never grew very large – maybe a couple feet high. Here in Florida, my eggplant has become a small tree. And this photo was taken AFTER I pruned big branches off the thing!

Because of the warm climate, vegetable plants just go on living for many, many months. I am not used to that. The New Hampshire growing season was very short. When frost and freezes don’t happen, I suppose the plants could go on living forever. I don’t know. Does that happen? I thought vegetable plants were only good for one season.

Eggplant flower
I get lots of these

The plant produced many little purple flowers, and I kept hoping to see the dark purple vegetable pop out, but it never happened …. until just recently.

I figured there might be something wrong, since the plant itself is healthy and big.  It gets plenty of water and sun.  The weather has been hot, so I attributed the lack of fruit to that. However, the days have become cooler and now that one eggplant had set, I hoped to see more. That is not happening. All the other flowers are still falling off.

title eggplant beginning to grow
November 15th – Finally, a Little Eggplant is Growing!

I searched online and found a helpful article at Gardening Know How, which told me that lack of pollination may be the problem.

So this morning I went out with my little paint brush and swished it around inside some of the flowers. This is what that article said to do. Now I’ll wait and see if I get more eggplants forming.

I don’t love to eat eggplant, but I would definitely use them in a stir fry or vegetable lasagna dish.  I just need this big plant to give me something to cook with!

In the meantime, I am using green peppers daily. I never thought I could grow them, but it appears I just had to wait.

Must Plant More Fast Growing Tropical Hibiscus Plants

The photo below is of my orange hibiscus and rose bush after planting in my yard. This past April, 2017, I dug up a little patch of grass in the back yard to create a space for a colorful flower garden.

The pretty double-flower orange hibiscus is a typical plant to grow in Florida. I prefer the double type flower, and I thought the color was lovely.  You can see that it was a small plant.

hibiscus and rose bush
New Garden, Hibiscus and Rose Bush – April 2017

Roses are such a bother, but this one was pretty and I decided to try it. The rose bush looks awful now, but the hibiscus has grown like crazy.  This just goes to show that if you plant what likes to grow in the local climate it will flourish.

Here it is 7 months later.

orange hibiscus plant and rose bush
Hibiscus and Rose Bush in November 2017

The hibiscus plant was watered regularly after it was planted, as was the rose. There were some mites on the buds, so I picked off the buds and threw them away. I’ve noticed that sometimes there are still mites on the plant, but it is not affecting the growth. I never water it now and it is flourishing in the sunny spot by the house.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 9.49.17 AM

Hibiscus are tropical plants and I fully expected it to survive quite well. I didn’t realize it would grow so fast.  It constantly buds and blooms and the leaves are nice and green.

All I do is occasionally pick off the bug infested buds and give it fish fertilizer and sprinkle some bone meal around the base for good root strength.

I have plans to plant more like this in the front yard. The wind blows from the front and it’s also more shady, so I don’t know if that will be a good location.

Something I’ve always enjoyed is watching my plants grow and change.  I once took photos of the Pinky Winky hydrangea in my New Hampshire yard for an entire blooming season to show the changes in the flowers from summer through fall.