garden trivia

Another little piece of garden trivia. You probably already know that if you plant a whole potato or cut it up into pieces that include an eye, you will grow a potato plant. I did that with great success last year and have thought about spreading my wings into sweet potatoes one of these days. But when I looked at sweet potatoes in the market, I didn’t see any with “eyes”. So on the same library trip that educated me on grape tomatoes, I found out how to propagate sweet potatoes. Basically you place a whole or half potato into a water glass or jar where it will sprout and extend roots. Here’s the interesting part – when the sprouts get a few leaves, you remove them from the potato and place them in a separate water glass or jar. The sprouts will themselves root and it’s that rooted sprout that you plant in the garden. This isn’t the right season to grow sweet potatoes but I’m going to try to grow and harvest some sprouts and then plant one or two in the garden as an experiment. It could be all for naught though since in reading up on sweet potatoes, I learned that they are plagued by nematodes so planting my sprouts would be like throwing a lamb into the lion’s cage. There’s supposedly one nematode resistant variety but there’s little likelihood that particular variety is what I’d find at Publix. I’m still going to proceed with the experiment but also try to find a source for sprouts from the Excel variety.

Little surprise out on the porch today. A storm was moving in so I went out to move some seedlings to keep them from flooding. When I got close to the seedlings I saw a black snake trying to get out through the screen. He wasn’t happy seeing me and wanted out in the worst way. He was about 2′ long and about as big around as my index finger. I opened the closest screen door and told him to get on out. He didn’t speak English and kept trying to bang through the screen and was clearly upset about his predicament. I picked up a 3′ long plastic flotation noodle to try to steer him toward the open door. He wasn’t happy with that either and kept trying to bite it. I did finally manage to steer and push him to the door and he scooted away. Nancy was out playing bridge but I know she would have jumped out of her skin if she had been the first to see it up close and personal.

Did a burst of planting a couple of weeks earlier than planned because the weather changed for the better. We’re finally getting the afternoon rain pattern which keeps it from getting so oppressively hot. It works out good because the seeds I had started a couple of weeks back has sprouted much faster than I anticipated so it would have been difficult to keep them contained for a month per the plan. When I put the plants in now, I cut off a couple of palmetto fronds and stick them in the ground adjacent to the plant to provide a sun and wind shade. It looks a little weird but then I’m the only one seeing it.
and it makes a noticeable difference in how well the new plants adjust to the garden and cuts way down on the losses I’ve experienced in the past. I always start a couple of spares to make up for the ones that don’t transition well into the garden but this season I’m batting 100% on the transplants. When the plants are fully acclimated to the sun, I just lay the fronds flat around the plant as a layer of mulch to keep the weeds at bay and cool the soil. Wonder what the folks who don’t have palmettos do??

I knew it was too good to last. Virgin Mobile just announced they were doing away with the wireless plan I’ve been using for the past couple of months for internet access. We use the internet very lightly so we simply don’t need giga bytes of data service. We have never used all the bytes we were buying for $20/month. Now it will be unlimited service for $40/month. For many people that would be a great deal but for us it’s like tossing away $20/month. I liken it to Publix offering us unlimited tomatoes for $40 per month. Sure we use a few tomatoes every week but how many tomatoes can you eat?? I also know that with nothing but unlimited plans, people will dramatically increase their internet time causing the whole system to slow down. It’s not blindingly fast now and we already run into times where access slows to a crawl. Similar to how people respond to “all you can eat for one price” restaurants. They gorge themselves to get their money’s worth. Personally I’d be quite comfortable with an occasional hit from a local wi-fi source but my bride………………………..

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