Monday, December 21, 2009

A Few Plants A-Thriving

Kaleb's enthusiastic about romps in "the jungle"...

Here's the side lot, facing the back swale. Moringa tree is to the left, some seedlings being clustered at its trunk in case of frost, pigeon pea bush to the right, forefront is a cranberry hibiscus/false roselle badly in need of a good prune. Jack's letting it recover from being transplanted first.

What we initially mistook for hips really proved to be the buds prior to flowering. The leaves of this plant are edible raw or cooked, as are the flowers. The leaves have a bright lemony flavor some compare to sorrell (I've never had sorrell)

We have about ten or so each of the moringa trees and the pigeon pea bushes planted out. The 5 gallon buckets we started with three years ago (for seedlings) are now clustered under and around these because the weather here in the last couple days has dipped to nighttime lows in the mid-thirties. There are various tree and shrub seedlings in the buckets, and while they are (imho) rather an eyesore, grouping them in clusters near buffer plants seems to help them through the lower temps. I was out there today checking on some of them and among the buckets we still have some tamarinds, malangas, guavas, etc. The papayas, which are more tender at least at the height of four feet that ours are, have been moved to the interior corner of our back lanai, out of the wind and protected on two sides. We lost ALL our papayas last year, so these are from this year's seeds and we hope they'll survive. We don't even try covering everything this year when it's that cold. If the forecast says below freezing, we'll blanket the small citrus and that's about it. We have old cardboard boxes saved for cutting down and putting around the bases of some of the other plants, but mostly Jack uses them around the bases anyway to cut down on weed burden.

We've never grown the pigeon peas before, and I had no idea they'd be blooming right in December and putting out peas! Here are some of the pods that just matured, before picking them. Again, I'm not used to Florida yet...can't believe I can pick this in December...

Here's the faithful guard of The Jungle. He's next to some pigeon peas and cranberry hibiscus, with a chaya plant just behind him (in the forefront). I'm reallyyyy hoping the chaya makes it if there's a freeze. It's the plant that at first glance seems to be a thistle.

Here's the chaya closeup. It's another of those plants, I think originally from Mexico or thereabouts, that is supposed to thrive in this climate. It has multiple uses and this is the size after having ordered a small starter plant this summer. I believe it can be propagated by cuttings and the leaves are edible, though we have yet to try it. We got it because of its usefulness as an edible cut-and-come-again green that can form nearly a hedge. I don't know yet if it's edible raw.

More to come, but my computer's slow at downloading, so I'll call it a night for now. Please send pictures of snow...I miss a fireplace but otherwise have no complaints, since it gets chilly enough at night here for my liking :)


Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Everything looks so nice and greena and WARM - I am cold!

I was hoping to catch a pic of the K-man - glad I checked in.

Everything looks great :)

Lemongrass said...

In the Caribbean the pigeon peas are harvested this time of the year. We always had pigeon peas for our christmas dinner. I started mine to early last year and it got hit by the frost. This year I will be keeping them inside longer. Green pigeon pea soup is the best. Remember to add some Caribbean sweet potatoes to it.
Great looking winter garden you have there.