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Tactical Ninja - Let me show you my flowers.

Jan. 30th, 2014

09:53 am - Let me show you my flowers.

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It occurs to me that I haven't made a garden post for a while. So here's one, mostly to clear up a question that was raised by pundigrion a while ago..


It so happens that I planted both this year. The delphiniums took way longer to flower, but seem to be better equipped to handle the wind. The larkspur came to flower in half the time and is not as tall, but the stems bend over in the wind and get all wiggly.


Delphiniums



Larkspur


The main difference I can tell, apart from those listed above, is that the larkspur is smaller and more flower-dense, and has more feathery leaves. They seem to be in the same family though, and I understand they are both poisonous. Larkspur comes in lighter colours too, including cornflower blue, pink and white.


Meanwhile, we have been eating out of our garden since Christmas. I wasn't sure what to expect because a lot of it has never been cultivated before, and it's had zero care for the last few years. However, we've consistently had broccoli, courgettes, beans, spring onions and tomatoes. The peas didn't do too well, turns out we don't really eat radishes, and I think the capsicums will be lucky if they get to fruit before it gets too cold. The pumpkins are pumpkining but I don't know how well those will grow. The rhubarb will be harvestable next spring. I have silverbeet and spinach getting close to ready.

The herb garden is going great guns, although the parsley bolted it's still edible. So, I consider this a win. I'm off to Wainuiomata for shearing on Saturday, so I'll grab some bags of pony poo, and next year the garden will produce like something that's actually had some care. It's a matter of working out what we can grow vs what we will eat. I want capsicums damnit!

Comments:

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From:labelleizzy
Date:January 29th, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
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Mmmm capsicums!!! And garden photos are always welcome. I like yer flowers, I might plant them too!
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From:tatjna
Date:January 29th, 2014 09:13 pm (UTC)
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Larkspur are very easy and will grow almost anywhere. This is my first go at delphiniums and I like them, but they're slow.

Meanwhile, I think I might have to put the little greenhouse Dr Wheel gave me for Christmas over our capsicums to get anything out of them. Damn you, cool temperate zone!
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From:ms_danson
Date:January 29th, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC)
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Cooking radishes makes them taste less radishy.
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From:tatjna
Date:January 29th, 2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. I thought maybe if we had them, I'd cook them and it'd be awesome. As it turned out, I had like 20 ready at once and they went soft in the fridge really fast, and we only ended up using about 5 of them.

Maybe if I worked out how to plant only 5 seeds a week?
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From:ms_danson
Date:January 29th, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
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I understand. I planted a whole package of white turnip all at once. I will not do that again.
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From:tatjna
Date:January 29th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
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This may explain the turnip posts!
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From:ms_danson
Date:January 29th, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
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YES! I have enough that turning some into zombies doesn't even dent the pile.
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From:nessainwe
Date:January 29th, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
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I love the flowers, and garden :) I can't wait til spring here, and we can start prepping for the year. Last year the squirrels kept getting into the herb garden and eating everything, so that was annoying..

They aren't regularly called capsicums over here, at least not where I live and it always trips up people if Daniel forgets and calls them capsicums over whatever colour peppers they are.
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From:tatjna
Date:January 29th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
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I think most of my expat US friends call them bell peppers. The names are used more or less interchangeably here. ;-)

We don't have squirrels, and while possums will eat your fruit they don't seem to go much for vegies. At least, not around here they don't. I've never had a vegie garden in a possum-popular area though, so maybe some people have trouble with that. There isn't really anything else that'll raid the vegie garden. Except bloody chickens..
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From:nessainwe
Date:January 29th, 2014 11:21 pm (UTC)
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We call em green (red or yellow) peppers.

I know about the squirrels, Daniel freaked out a bit the first time he saw one. We didn't have them in the Yukon, so that was only a few months ago.

Rabbits are our biggest problem in the vegetable garden though.
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From:tatjna
Date:January 29th, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
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Wow, yeah. I can't imagine trying to keep rabbits out of a vegie garden. I had them in my flowers once, but I didn't try vegies at that place. Luckily where we are now doesn't seem to have them.
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From:pundigrion
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
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! *lightbulb*

All this time I kept thinking people were talking about hot peppers when saying capsicums since the word reminds me of capsaicin and it only *just* occurred to me that those are not the same word.

We discovered we aren't big into radishes pretty much the same way you do. I can tolerate a few in stir fry, but even if I chop and freeze them thinking I will use them slowly that way....all that happens is I have a giant ice block of freezer burned radishes in the spring.

Interesting to see both plants! My delphiniums start off like yours, but then by the second year they flower like your larkspurs do.
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From:tatjna
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
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That's interesting. Do their leaves also change?

And, I figure part of learning to feed ourselves is learning what we will and won't actually eat. Ideally I'd like to replace the staples we've traditionally bought at the supermarket, and capsicums are the only one I've had any trouble producing so far.
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From:pundigrion
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:55 pm (UTC)
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Nah, my delphinium's leaves look just like yours, nice and bushy. I might have to plant some larkspur seeds to get my own side-by-side since they sound very easy to grow at least. If I keep trying this planting flowers from seed thing eventually it is bound to work, right?

Yes, we see this pretty similarly. It turns out we will eat most things, but it can get a little overwhelming when you have multiple giant buckets of the same things coming in every day. Canning helps with this, but I am finding the dehydrator can sometimes be even more handy. We eat a lot more dried fruit for example, and I'm not sure I would *want* to can eggplant. Dehydrated salsa however, sounds like a terrible idea.

We had trouble with our peppers too at first. Things I have learned: Sun. Lotta sun! Water, more than you think they need. Rich soil. (And death to squirrels, but happily that is not your problem!) The mild ones are quite heavy feeders and those fleshy walls take a lot of water. Even now for mild types with our bumper crop last year, the sweet Italian and banana sorts did better than the bells. Hot peppers can take a leaner soil and more neglect, but they still crop better when they are happy.

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From:tatjna
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
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Good to know! I probably haven't watered them enough, because I thought hot climate would equate to liking it a bit dry. And the soil isn't all that rich either. So maybe it's just amazing they've survived at all. Ah well, maybe next year.

My plan for this winter is to load the soil up with compost, horse poo and seaweed, then layer straw over the top and let it sit like that till spring. Hopefully this will help improve it some, because right now it's a bit poor.
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From:pundigrion
Date:January 30th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
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They come from a pretty wide range of habitats! Many come from areas that are more tropical than desert. Also I found this interesting article a while back although I then neglected to go and dig up the study itself: http://www.livescience.com/17579-chili-pepper-spicy-drought.html

Kew has a bit on their origins: http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/Capsicum-annuum.htm or for a much better and more technical description, try the Am. J. Bot. http://www.amjbot.org/content/96/6/1190.full (Super fascinating reading!)

That sounds like a great plan to me! Mostly because that is very similar to what we do at least in concept :-)
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From:fbhjr
Date:January 30th, 2014 12:03 am (UTC)
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Very cool!
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From:tatjna
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:38 pm (UTC)
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I think so. Living in an apartment, I didn't realise how much I missed my gardening until I got it back. ;-)
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From:nick_101
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:36 am (UTC)
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Those are nice flowers.
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From:tatjna
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
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I particularly like larkspur - they are so pretty and prolific, and if you're into cut ones they last ages in a vase too.
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From:kehleyr
Date:January 30th, 2014 10:17 am (UTC)
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I just loved this entry :-)
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From:tatjna
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:37 pm (UTC)
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<3
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From:kotturinn
Date:January 30th, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC)
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Most peppers will continue to ripen (at least a bit) off the plant - cut them with a decent stalk/lupm of foliage. Otherwise could you pot them up and move them indoors somewhere with decent light? FWIW I still have the last two plants from last autumn sitting around and it'll soon be time to plant seeds for this year! Of course YMMV, considering 'tis the opposite end of the world :-)
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From:tatjna
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:37 pm (UTC)
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Good to know! Maybe if I can coax them into having some fruit, and can keep them alive over winter, they'll do better next year.
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From:kotturinn
Date:January 31st, 2014 06:11 pm (UTC)
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They'll probably need a prune. Chilli peppers do better at two-year survival than bell peppers but anything's worth a try!
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From:helianthas
Date:January 30th, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
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Lovely!</p>

I remember you moving somewhat recently, is this a new garden planted at the new place or a garden you've had for a whole elsewhere? Or am I getting confused?

I think Wellington and SF are similar temp zones -- I've had success with both Lettuce and arugula being easy to grow (and eat!)

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From:tatjna
Date:January 30th, 2014 07:38 pm (UTC)
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This is our new place - it had a vegie garden years ago, but nobody's done anything with it in forever, and it's basically a new one.

What is aragula?
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From:helianthas
Date:January 31st, 2014 04:24 am (UTC)
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Nice!</p>

I think Brits call arugula "rocket". It's a green that has a little bit of spice in it. I love it! So delicious in a salad. Just don't put it in a smoothie. Trust me on this one. ;-)

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From:fuvenusrs
Date:February 1st, 2014 09:30 am (UTC)
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Larkspur's pretty :)
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