Gardening, Part 2

Lesson #1 from the lettuce tower:

At least at first, i had to tape up the holes so the soil didn’t run out when i watered. My hope is that as the plant roots penetrate and bring some structure to it, this will not be needed, but for now, it gets water all the way to the bottom. So, first challenge solved. Plants are still a couple weeks from transplant size, so we will see how that goes.


i have seen videos of people building these towers. what i noticed, they used a heat gun to soften the PVC and the, using a glass bottle, flared the hole to make a smal lip on the underside - like a small balcony that helps retain the dirt. think of a terra cotta strawberry planter.
did you fill the entire tower with soil? can you make small “flashings” of aluminum cans - cut and placed to the retain soil?


Time to get some plants in the ground.


First almond blossoms. Just a baby tree, probably will get nothing this year, but encouraging nonetheless


First round of seed starts are looking good.
Spotted bee balm, butterfly milkweed, thai and Italian basil, amaranth, purslane, sage, baby bok choy (light was too high so they are too leggy), and 3 kinds of chilis.
Next few days will see some more perennials started along with kabocha.


I can never get milkwerd to sprout. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Probably everything


These are from Baker Creek, no special treatment. I did try sprouting some locally collected native milkweed last year with no luck. May need stratification / scarification?


Have you tried reading poetry by Dylan Thomas to it?


Or better yet, singing it?


Milkweed does need stratification. I’ve been able to get several varieties to sprout. Now getting the seedlings to survive has been a struggle


I usually collect wild seeds in the fall and put them in the fridge over winter, then set them indoors in the spring. Do you suppose I need to freeze them?


I got them to germinate by stratifying in the fridge. Damp sand mixture. Everything I’ve read says fridge. But I’ve also read they are difficult to germinate and transplant. Prairie Moon sells a bunch of varieties and has guides on how long to chill before planting.

I love milkweeds and wish I could get the native varieties to grow in my yard :pensive: I failed to get seeds this year but will try again next year. Maybe directly sow after stratifying.


Garden shot.

Ive also been transplanting. Purple coneflowers (Echinacea), flowering sage, and shasta daisies.

Digging raspberries out of the lawn for giveaways


Got the major repotting done.

And 12 guava trees (3 varieties)

Had a few extra guavas, so I gave root trimming a shot and we’ll see if I can bonsai them.


Ooooh, I LOVE guava fruit! Riding my bike the back way to the guava trees that grew at the end of the runway on a certain island was a formative part of my summers back in my misspent youth in the 80s!

Please, all the growing details! Are yours staying in containers? Do they produce fruit? Does your growing zone allow any outside time? Are yours dwarf varieties? Did they self seed?

I’m now in 8a after the latest revision of the USDA map, and I grow my container citrus outside almost all year in a protected south-facing area that is always a few degrees warmer than the rest of the yard. Meyer lemon, a thornless key lime, and a calamondin. I tent them under cheap Aldi greenhouses when the temps are forecast to go below 26F and bring them inside for temps below 23F. Would guava handle similar care, or do you think they are more delicate than my citrus?


Oh! There aren’t many details yet!

I started these from seed just last summer. Three varieties - cas (costa rican), strawberry, and a wild strain from seed harvested on Maui. That’s where I fell in love with the fruit, and I hope they’re as I remember. They’ll be in containers, and are really my first container tree experiment. I hope they’ll fruit, but I have a while to go before that!

Growing zone will allow summers outdoors, which is the eventual plan. As it is, my plant room temperatures approximate Hawaii’s zone, so I hope they’re okay. Need to replace the deck outside the plant room before they can get any real outdoor time, and that’s a few years away yet.

Guavas are usually zoned 9-11, so…maybe? They’re deciduous, will drop their leaves in a subtropical environment. My plant room isn’t heated as well as the rest of the house. The lowest it got over the winter was about 40°F for a few hours. After that, I started leaving the door open to the rest of the house overnight. We never felt less comfortable in the house, but it stopped the room from dropping below 50 again for the rest of the winter.

Most of the guava’s leaves turned red. Strawberry didn’t, but they did discolor a bit. The trees definitely went dormant. On two of the wild guavas, the top leaves got crispy, but didn’t drop. They may have damaged the terminal growth point. Early to tell this spring, but it looks to me like they’re branching below that point now. I just repotted today in good root-promoting soil, so I expect to be able to evaluate their top growth after 6 weeks or so.

I have a wide, unused, south-facing brick wall (mmm, royal adjective order) and I’d love to try espalier against it. It’s not very protected though, so I’d probably have to do what you did and get removable greenhouse covers.

Anyway, that’s a lot of anecdata but unfortunately the it’s all I know. Maybe a long winded way of saying “sure, give it a shot!”


We have really slacked on the food beds. Should have all the plants in by now meh :confused: But the blackberries are blooming like mad and the roses are so happy you can feel it

Edit to add: I did prune them in February. But each bush has put in at least 16 inches of growth on each cane since then.


Busy evening potting up pepper plants and starting tomato seedlings, and some herbs. Nine varieties of tomatoes this year, but I’m only starting about six of each variety.