Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > November 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--What I'm Thankful for this Year...

BONNIE'S GARDEN--What I'm Thankful for this Year...

With the wettest May on record, followed by the hottest July on record and the third driest August on record, I’m grateful we didn’t set any MORE weather records….

I’m grateful that my citrus trees seemed to love this summer—all four of them easily doubled in size.  Of course, my windows did not so it’s getting a bit crowded upstairs.

I’m grateful that my pineapple plant actually produced a pineapple this year!  Surprised the heck out of me!  This was one I’d grown from the top of a pineapple plant we had at work.  The pineapple stem broke off so I cut the top tuft of leaves from the fruit, rooted it in water, then potted it up.

 It grew into a huge plant—easily three feet tall and at least that big around.  I can’t say I did anything special to it—remembered to add a few tablespoons of water to the vase of the plant when I watered the soil and put it outside for the summer.  Inside for the winter, it shared space with the citrus in front of a southeast window. 

This past January, I noticed a little pineapple forming in the center of the vase.  It grew all spring and all summer (took seven months to ripen!), then the first of August, I cut off the fruit, ate it with dinner that night and saved the top  off the pineapple to start it all over again—the mother plant will not bloom again.  By the way, fun project to do with your kids—eat a pineapple, then grow your own.

I’m grateful that, even though my tomatoes hardly produced anything in July and the first of August, they spent the rest of the summer (up until last week even) making up for lost time.  Tomatoes don’t like heat—a lot of days over 90 and/or night temperatures over 75 and the plant will produce flowers, but they will often not set fruit. 

High humidity too can make the pollen “clump” and not be able to pollinate the flowers.  But if you hang in there and wait until the heatwave breaks, the plants will resume fruiting.

I’m also grateful that even though peppers are related to tomatoes, they don’t seem to have any problems with heat and I got a bumper crop of pretty little banana peppers this year.  Pickled some, ate lots, gave away bagsful and froze, froze, froze even more.  I guess my chili and spaghetti sauce this winter will be made with banana peppers.

I’m especially grateful that my dill and parsley plants got eaten down to the stems late summer by little striped black swallowtail caterpillars.  Last summer, I was worried when I didn’t see any.  I even plant extra dill and parsley just for them. I had a customer come in in August wanting to know what to treat her parsley with because caterpillars were eating it.

 When I explained what those caterpillars were, she was glad to know.  She decided that in the future, rather than indiscriminately spraying every time she saw a caterpillar, she was going to see if she could figure out what it was.  That’s what I try to remember—if you want butterflies, you need to let the babies eat.

More than anything else, I’m glad I have a garden.  And, while I can’t help but worry and fret over it, it’s also my haven when I need to de-stress.  It keeps me connected to Mother Nature and the cycles of the seasons.  Sometimes, it keeps me sane.  When I sit on my deck at dusk and smell the fragrance of the honeysuckle that insists on climbing the Rose of Sharon in the back and watch the fireflies blink, for that moment, I’m at peace.
Posted: 11/21/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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