My obsession with oxalis is not undocumented on this site. I’ve got an entire tag dedicated to it. What I haven’t said here is that I’m really not into the large-leaved shamrock-style oxalis you see in stores around St. Patrick’s Day.
Just not my thing.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise to me just how much I have come to adore this ‘Iron Cross’ Oxalis (Oxalis deppei). Although, it’s not exactly a big-leaved type, I’d describe the size as moderate…. somewhere between the big leaved types and the diminutive ones I’ve come to favour.
We ate our first tomato of the 2011 growing season on June 24, just days after the Summer Solstice. This isn’t the earliest tomato I’ve grown, but it’s been a cold, slow year so by those standards we are right on target.
The winning variety this year is ‘Ditmarsher’ a compact, tumbling determinate variety that takes very well to containers and window boxes. I started the seeds on March 20.
I first heard about this variety from my friend Julianna, the queen of tomatoes in these parts. It quickly became a favourite and one I always plan to turn to as a reliable early-producer. Like ‘Whippersnapper’ (a variety that is often the first producer of the year) it produces loads of pinkish, cherry-sized tomatoes. They just keep coming. Just look at the plant above. It’s laden with flowers that will become future tomatoes. Between it and the three others like it that I have in even larger pots, we should be set for cherry tomatoes for the remainder of the summer months.
If any of my other tomatoes are even half as productive, I’m going to have to go on a serious Nightshade Family fast come fall.
Another corner of my garden. This is fuzzy ‘Pineapple’ mint growing in a pot. I’ve resolved to grow all of my mint in pots this year. Contrary to reputation, mints behave rather well over at my community garden. The trick to keeping them under control seems to be growing them in less than ideal conditions. Plus, over there they have to fight against the wild and alpine strawberries for supreme dominance and guess who’s winning that war?
Here though, I expect mint to flourish and then some so I’m playing it safe for now. Everyone in pots!
The pretty floral design seen in the shot (above) is the top of a foot stool I found in the garbage the other night. Going out on garbage night around here is like going shopping! We’ve done well outfitting the garden with our neighbours’ discards.
The stool is red and the top is covered in this amazingly vibrant plastic mac-tac. I LOVE it! If the previous owner comes across this photo and realizes their mistake: I’m sorry but you can’t have it back.
About a month or so ago, a friend took me on a fleamarket trip out of town where I picked up several treasures that would find new purpose in my garden, including this old cast iron tea pot.
Drilling a hole for drainage was no easy feat. Uli has lots of experience using cast iron as planters and on her suggestion I used a fast-speed bit meant for steel, starting with a small pilot hole and increasing the bit size slowly from there. I was only able to make one hole as I gave my brother our old drill with a cord. Our newer drill is cordless and just doesn’t have the juice to drill through cast iron. I broke a bit in the process of creating this hole and have since given up on trying to make holes in the other rust cast iron cooking pot that I bought that day. They were $10 each, which was a steal as I saw others going for $30.
Since the drainage isn’t great I chose a plant that I felt could handle it. I went with this ‘Grapefruit’ mint since I knew it would quickly drape over the sides and soften the look of the pot further.
And this is what it looks like today!
Here’s a shot of it before I drilled a hole and planted it up.
Kangaroo apple (Solanum laciniatum) is another in a line of marginally edible, strange solanums that I am growing this year. I say “marginally edible” because the fruit is edible when ripe and poisonous when green. Still, I’m not convinced it’s worth eating. Edible and worth eating are two different things entirely. Morelle de balbis fruit is edible, but is it worth growing if food is your priority? Not so much. Even still, I am growing that again this year, too.
The kangaroo apple is a subtropical plant that needs warm weather and a long season to produce fruit. I started my seeds very early — as early as January or February. Unfortunately, I can’t remember which and I lost my original tag.
TIP: I write the sow date on the tags when I sow seeds as a way to track each plant’s progress later on. This is especially helpful when growing long season plants like kangaroo apple. If they don’t set fruit in time then I can gauge how much earlier I need to start the following year in order to be successful.
If you’re interested in learning more about this plant, there’s some information on the Australian National Botanic Gardens website and through Tradewinds Fruit.
I purchased my seeds from Solana Seeds in Quebec.
I’ll update you on the progress of this plant as the season develops. I’m very curious about the fruit.