Monday, December 21, 2015

My Father's Orchid collection

Orchid, exotic flower from the Far East.  Exquisite, dainty, fragile, simply gorgeous.  My late father an orchid enthusiast had well over 100+ plants in his collection.  As I am the photographer of the family I captured these beauty every time I am in his garden.

Caring orchid in the tropic which is their environment is easy but in another part of the world they need a lot of pampering.  More important humidity, warm temperature, no soil needed just add bark in their container.  In the wild orchid grows latched on to trees, they absorbed food through their leaves.

I remember as a child growing up in the tropic, when my mother needed vanilla she would go to the garden and harvested the slender dark bean.  Fresh vanilla has a strong distinctive taste.  So delicious taste better than those bottled vanilla extract.   These photos taken all with film Canon SLR  macro lens.  Enjoy these exotic photos of Orchid the jungle Queen.  Unfortunately I do not know the name of the orchid species, nevertheless all of them are pretty flower.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Autumn Harvest and October Gardening Calendar

Late August through October is my hectic time in  the garden.  Harvesting every other day before frost arrive.  From the garden, juicy tomatoes, carrot, pumpkins, digging the potatoes, kale, mustard, chard, etc.  The orchard, apples, pears, plums, strawberries, raspberries and last month blueberries.

So far this year has been excellent, over abundance of everything.  That is good for my hard work. (smile broadly)

October is the month to start preparing the garden for winter and next year planting.
  • Spade or till available organic matter such as tree leaves, into the empty spaces in the vegetable garden.
  • Mass plantings of one type or color of spring bulbs masses a more effective display than mixing them.  I’ve place an order for next hear bulbs.  Waiting with excitement.
  • Scrape loose bark from trunks, forks and main limbs of apple trees to eliminate sites where insects could winter.
  • Save seeds from vegetable and flower garden.  I have gathered cosmos and marigold.
  • Plant evergreens now and winter rains will do the watering.
  • Dig and divide rhubarb (should be done about every four years).
  • Rake and destroy disease infested leaves. apple, cherry and rose., etc.
  • Harvest squash and pumpkins.  Store in dry area 55F. to 60F.
  • Dig and store potatoes in a cool, dry and dark location so they don’t turn green,
  • Clean and oil gardening tools, coat with handles with raw linseed oil to prevent cracking.
  • Mulching around azaleas, rhododendrons and roses will keep weeds from invading and will protect the roots that are close to the surface from severe cold.
  • Correct any drainage problems in the yard before the winter rains begin.
  • Divide crowded perennials.
  • Harvest sunflower heads and hang them in a warm dry area to dry the seeds.
  • Shake off dead rose petals, allowing hips to form.  Plants will then wind down and go dormant.
  • Early October begin manipulating light to force Christmas cactus to bloom in late December,
  • Store garden supplies, fertilizers in safe, dry place out of reach of children.
  • Ripen green tomatoes indoor.
  • Clean and paint greenhouses and cold frames for plant storage and winter growth.
 Happy Gardening……

Ready for compost pile

Growing Herbs Indoors for Fresh Flavors

Since there is less gardening to do outside at this time of year, there is more time growing herbs inside.  Most herbs that grows outdoors can be grown indoors on the kitchen window sills where you can harvest as you need it. 

In late fall fragrant herbs can be started from seed or by dividing a perennial from an outdoor garden.  As long as they get at least five hours of direct daylight per day in a room that stays at 60 to 70 degrees F.  Many herbs will do fine.

Annuals such as basil, coriander, cilantro, dill, summer savory and perennials including catnip, chamomile, chives, lavender, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme, can be started from seeds indoors in fall or winter.

To start herbs from seed, plant seeds directly into containers in loose well drained soil.  A mixture of coarse sand, peat moss and loam works well.  Place seeds on soil surface and cover with soil about twice the depth of the diameter of the seeds.  Keep in 65 to 70 degrees F. room temperature.

Water each pot gently, daily preferable with a spray bottle of water.  Cover with a wet paper towel until the seeds germinate, to prevent mold of fungus infections.  Remove the wet paper for a couple of hours and expose them to fresh air.

Once herb seeds sprout, put them in a cooler area with indirect light.  Turn the containers daily to keep them growing straight.  When the seedlings have two sets of leaves, thin them to about one and one-half inches apart or transplant them into their final home.  Dill with a taproot, does not transplant well.  Fertilize lightly with a well balance fertilizer.


Delicious soup serve with crusty home made bread and green salad.

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or basil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

5 cups diced fresh tomatoes (2 pounds)

1  1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2  1/4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoon sugar

Fresh herb sprigs for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, oregano or basil and thyme and cook stirring often until onion begins to soften about 5 minutes. 

Add tomatoes and cook stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Stir broth in broth, tomato paste and sugar.  season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer uncovered, 15 minutes.  Process soup in food processor until smooth.

Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with fresh herbs.

Calories 137

Enjoy !


Saturday, April 17, 2010


My gardening blog has moved to    Riosamba Gardening and Photo Journal

Forsythia with its bright yellow flowers like a beacon in the dead of winter.    A decidous shrub.  Branches can be forced indoor blooming in winter.  Tolerate most soils, likes sun, moderate feeding. I rarely feed the forsythia and yet they thrive beautifully. Height 8 feet to 10 feet, spread 6 feet to 8 feet.  Remove oldest branches, weak or dead wood.

The variety  I have is Forsythia Suspensa (weeping).  Dense upright growth, drooping vine like branches root when touch damp soil.  During winter remove the branches that took root and transplanted elsewhere.  You may use containers to plant the forsythia seedlings.

In summer the shrub will be a mass of green foliage.  Good for screening too.

Happy Gardening !

Friday, March 5, 2010


When spring arrived there are plenty of chores to be done outdoors.  Here are the list of what to do.

  • Plant cool season crops, peas, lettuce, cabbage, onions, kale, chard, if conditions permit
  • Devide hosta, daylilies,  mums and peonies in late March
  • Fertilize rhubab with manure or a complete fertilizer.
  • Fertilize evergreen shrubs and trees.
  • Drench crowns of raspberry plants with nematodes to control raspberry cane borer.
  • Plant berry crops, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries.
  • Prune gooseberries and currants; fertilize with manure or a complete fertilizer.
  • Spray trees and shrubs for webworms, leafrollers, if present.
  • Spray to control leaf and twin fungus diseases in sycamore, hawthorne and willow trees.
  • Take geraniums, begonias, dahlias, gladiolus from storage.
  • Keep tuberous begonias indoors
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs after blossoms fade.
  • Fertilize rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas with acid type fertilizer.
  • Spread compost over garden and landscape areas.Best time of year to thatch and renovate lawns.
  • Plant vegetable garden carefully for spring, summer and fall eating and preservation.
  • Protect new plant growth from slugs.  Use bait or traps.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vegetable Seeds For The Garden

All the seeds from the catalogs that I ordered two months ago are all here.  These are seeds I used and had succesfully for many years.

PEAS - Green Arrow wonderful tasting peas.  High yielder with long pods on 28" vines. Frezees well.  Resistant to downy mildew and Fusarium wilt.  I have tried many variety of peas, this is the best one ever.  It is in the greenhouse thriving in flats until ready to be trasplanted in March

PEPPERS - As pepper slow in germinating, I started in flats early last month in the greenhouse.

Baby Bell, hybrid 71 days.  Glossy brilliantly colorful, crisp and sweet with few seeds.  They are wonderful for stir fry.  Miniature 1.5" to 2.5" bell peppers cover the 36" plants for extended harvest.  I was not disappointed with this variety, harvested lots of it.

Gypsy - hybrid 70 days.  Wedge shaped with 3" to 5" long fruits ripen from yellow green to bright red.  Sweet crunchy, and delicious. Vigorous and productive. Tobacco Mosaic resistant.  Freezes well too.

Sweet Banana - Heirloom, 72 days.  My favorite, easy to grow and productive. Tappered 6" long , colorful and attractive as they ripen from light green to orange and red.  Excellent for stir fry, salad and very productive.  Harvested a full basket.  Freezes well too.

Papri-k Sweet Red Paprika - Organic, long pods 8" turn to brilliant crimson when ripe.  Sturdy 30" plants are productive.  Sweet fragrant and flavorful.

King of the North - 68 days.  Bell pepper with prolific yields of large blocky slightly tapering , thick walled, dark green fruits that mature to deep red.  Sturdy, cold tolerant plants.  Delicious for roasting.

Happy Gardening !

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I inherited this beautiful plant from the previous owner.  It did not bloom for several years.  I repotted and give it some tender loving care, finally my hard work paid off.  Since then it has been giving me joy over the year with its delightful fragrance and flowers.

Latin name Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (night blooming cereus).  Bloom only once late at night, stay open until morning.  The fragrance would lingered for awhile.  A magnificent creation by nature leaves us in awe by this wonderful epiphyllum.  A member of orchid cactus family, it needs period of dryness and cool time temperature in the winter to ensure summer bloom.

Happy Gardening