Tuesday, March 27, 2012


My little patch of tulips are blooming.  I planted three types, the red ones are Apledoorn, Golden Apledoorn are the yellow and the little orange one you see in the foreground is Daydream.   Appearing a little later than the others the Daydreams will provide me with longer, pleasurable viewing time.  I planted about 50 and most of them have popped up through the soil.

When I select my bulbs I first decide on my color combinations.  Then I try to get a variety according to height that the tulip will grow and also whether it will bloom early, mid or late season.  This will extend the time you have lovely tulips in your garden.

If you recall I purchased my bulbs at the Garden Club of Houston Bulb & Plant Mart back in October.  In the northern regions of the U.S. gardeners plant their tulips in the Fall and the bulbs enjoy their needed cold spell from the cold winters.  Since we have mild winters in Texas most tulip bulbs need to be refrigerated for 14 to 16 weeks.  This tricks the bulbs into thinking they've gone through a cold winter underground

This is how we have to do it.
I laid a cloth in the bottom of the crisper drawer, deposited my tulips and announced to the world, "NO FRUIT IN THIS REFRIGERATOR FOR AS LONG AS THESE BULBS ARE IN HERE!".

When fruits start to ripen they release a plant hormone in the form of ethylene gas.  Ethylene gas is also known as the 'death' or 'ripening' hormone.  This is a good thing when it comes to ripening your fruit, like putting avocados in a brown paper bag to make them ripen quicker.  However, it is evil for tulip bulbs because the ethylene gas will destroy the flower inside the bulbs.

Ideally, you want to plant the bulbs when the soil is still fairly cool (45° to 50°F) so they have time to establish healthy roots before the ground really warms up they start to poke up through the soil.  This can be (and was) a challenge for me because I had to wait longer to plant because it was always raining or muddy, then BOOM it started getting hot.  They seemed to have fared well.

I'll re-visit the tulips when I show you what to do when the flowers are gone and the foliage isn't too pretty.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Starting From Seed - Jack Beans

These seeds were passed on to me by my father-in-law's girlfriend.  They are seeds from her Jack Bean vines in her back yard.  I am not familiar with these so I had to do a little research.

It carries the horticulture name of Canavalia ensiformis.  It's an American tropical vine that has clusters of purple flowers with long pods and beans that are edible.  The pods will reach a length of 10 to 14 inches, and a width of 1 to 1½ inches.  Wow!  Those are big pods!

I also read that the vines are grown for forage.  So, I'm assuming when they say the beans are edible, they are saying that cattle will like them.  Well, the plant seems interesting and I do love vines so I think I'll give these a try.

To see if the seeds are good I put them between two wet paper towels, zipped them in a baggie and put them on top of the refrigerator for a couple of days.

After about a week, this is what I had.

I made holes in the bottom of some soup cans with a nail, for drainage and planted the seedlings in seed starting mix.

We'll see how they progress.  I have several weeks before I will have to put them in the ground and decide how I will trellis them up.   Will share with you then how they are coming along!