The 100th post!

I blinked and now, I’m writing my 100th post for this blog.

I don’t have many readers. Most of you are friends and family. I was expecting that, of course. Since I’m such a novice gardener, and since I don’t even really have a proper space or equipment for gardening (as a temporary nomad due to residency/fellowship training), it is hard to imagine that anyone would find what I post to be particularly interesting, but maybe some people out there can relate to my situation or can learn something along with me. Rather than waiting until I have a “real” garden to start documenting it, I’ve chosen to start documenting now.

In the past (almost) 6 months, since my first post on March 17th, my life has changed quite a bit. I went from containers in an apartment and a Community Garden and Orchard in Seattle’s Zone 8b to a room in a house with a small backyard and a small space for an in-ground garden in Palo Alto’s Zone 9b. The world shut down (COVID), I finished residency, moved to a new state, and started a fellowship. In the midst of all of that, I’ve managed to document a few small projects, including….

composting on an apartment balcony with Nate, …

… growing Meyer lemon and avocado plants from seed, ….

… redesigning a raspberry bed

… planting hazelnut trees, ….

…. planting a small fall garden, with mixed success, …

… propagating succulents

….and learning more about the plants I see around me.

I’m surprised that I have been able to stick to a regular posting schedule with work being so busy, but what I’m most surprised by is how much I’ve enjoyed creating this blog. I’m currently studying for pathology boards, which I will take in early/mid November. After that is over (fingers crossed I pass), I’ll have a bit more free time, and I’m planning to spend that time on this site. Many more posts are to come!

Summer Camp for The Avocado

Staring in May, I put my avocado plant outside, so it can get more sunlight during the day. Everything I’ve read about avocados says they like being in full sun; the more sun the better.

The spot outside my door gets shade in morning until about noon and then gets bright full sun for the rest of the afternoon until 4 or 4:30pm.

At the beginning of the day, the avocado looks like this:

10 AM

But by 2pm, when the sun is the brightest, it looks like this:

2 PM. So droopy.

It’s drooping! Watering more doesn’t seem to help. I take it inside and it perks back up pretty quickly.

I’m confused. Is this normal for an avocado? Am I giving it too much sunlight? Is there such a thing as too much sun for an avocado? At first I thought it just needed time to acclimate, but it’s been several weeks now, and it still droops in full sun. Perhaps it just needs a few more years of growth; the older leaves don’t droop nearly as much as the newer ones. If anyone as any advice for summering potted avocados outside, let me know.

Despite the drooping, the avocado is growing really nicely. It has nearly doubled in size since March!



Welcome to my Garden

A garden without a gardener is a jungle waiting to happen. But a gardener without a plot to till is likewise a very sorry sight.

Margaret Roach

The last frost date for my city, according to Farmer’s Almanac, is Mar 17th. So I thought it was only fitting to start this blog on March 17. We also happen to be in the midst of a coronarovirus outbreak (COVID-19), which is completely unrelated and occurred after the mental conception of this blog, but is information worth noting for posterity’s sake.

My current garden — or lack thereof — looks a little like this:

Wandering jew (Tradescantia zebrina), avocado grown from pit, pothos, snake plant (Dracena trifasciata)
Ctenanthe (tee-NANTH-ee) aka Prayer plant (Ctenanthe burle-marxii)
Bad lighting. Same window as –>
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) flanking lemon trees
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
Kumquats grown from seed (probably dead, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of them), a pothos cutting, two pomegrantes grown from seed, and the mother pothos

I live in a walk-out basement apartment and four of my five window sills house plants. Two of windows face south, and one faces west, so the lighting is pretty good for being in a basement.

The majority of my plants were cuttings from various other plants or plants grown from seed/pit. #frugalgardener The only plant I paid for is the croton. I think it was $5 at Swanson’s Nursery in Seattle. When I first bought it, it was about a third of the size it is now. That was maybe 3 years ago? I’m happy with how it’s done so far, but I’m worried it might be at the end of its lifespan. When I first got it, I transplanted it into the black plastic pot that you see it in now. I paired it with a colorful yellow saucer to match its colorful leaves. Aside from water and a bit of fertilizer, that’s all I’ve done for it.

The spider plants are from my dad, as is the ctenanthe. I got the ctenanthe when my dad’s ctenanthe was getting too big for it’s pot, and was split. Spider plants are super easy to grow and propagate from spider babies. I used to have five of them, but have been paring down recently. My dad cuts all his spider babies off – he says it’s bad for the plant. I like the look of them draping over the side of the window sill, and the plants seem to be doing just fine, so I’m leaving them. 

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) flanking lemon trees planted from seed

The avocado, lemons, kumquats, and pomegranates are grown from seed.  The kumquats are pretty much dead.

Definitely dead.

Lastly, there are two pothos (cuttings taken from a friend’s roommate’s plant and from a plant at work), a wandering jew (cutting taken from my boyfriend’s coworker’s plants), and a snake plant (stolen from a plant at work, shhh!).

Pothos #1
Pothos #2

Well, that’s all I have to share today. I think it’s time to get rid of the kumquats and plant something else in that pot — I have some Meyer lemon and blood orange seeds that I’d like to try. Stay tuned if you’re interested in seeing how that project turns out, and subscribe below to get notified when I post more.