Posts from the ‘Roof gardening’ Category

Flowers blooming all over on this San Jose Roof Garden

Aloinopsis luckhoffii Flower

Echeveria Halbingeri Flower

Kalanchoe Humilis Flower

Echinofossulocactus Multicostatus Flower

Dudleya Saxosa Flower

Armeria Maritima White Flowers

Reusing plastic food containers to grow plants

I’ve been trying out using the clear plastic veggie containers (specifically the grape tomato box from Trader Joes and the tomatoes on the vine box from Costco) to start my seedlings.  They are shallow, and have holes at the bottoms already.  They have been working perfectly.  I’ve started seeds of the California Poppy, Cilantro, and Purslane so far.  CA Poppy is taking the lead!

California Poppy and Cilantro in reused plastic containers

Two TJ's and one Costco veggie container

The benefits of Beneficial Instects are visually apparent

I have been promoting planting flowers to attract beneficial insects since I attended the Master Gardener’s class .  Since moving to my apartment in August of 2011, I got involved with California Native Garden Foundation and learned the endless benefits planting Natives.  I purchased a Dudleya from CNGF that is a succulent with beautiful yellow flowers.  I split the plant into its two clusters.  I kept one cluster for myself and gave the other cluster to my boyfriend Henrik as part of a beautiful succulent arrangement.  He still gets lots of compliments from his friends over the arrangement.  I should state at this point that Henrik only has one other plant on his patio and that is the African Daisy.  And his plant’ is in a winter slumber at the moment with no flowers.  So basically he has no plants on his patio to attract Beneficial’s on his patio in the Fall/Winter period.  Well it’s been 2 months since we’ve had our Dudleyas and here are the results:

Bottom line: I haven’t had to use any pest control sprays of any kind on my patio this year!  The Neem Oil pesticide I had bought a year ago was promptly gifted to Henrik to control his Aphid infestation on the Dudleya.

New Years Even Resolutions for the Garden

  1. Continue to spread awareness through California Native Garden Foundation as Board Member and Treasurer. (continuously drop it in my conversations when I meet new people)
  2. Start composting.    (started as of Jan 1st)
  3. Start growing vegetables on the roof.  More specifically tomatoes and cucumbers.
  4. Expand my California native plant collection so as to attract “native” beneficial insects.  One specific flower I plan to have is the California Poppy.  (purchased the CA Poppy seeds on January 10th)
  5. Fertilize my vanda orchid (weekly weakly).  I’ve been slacking off on this and haven’t been able to get my vanda to bloom since I purchased it in mid 2011.

*Updates in Green

Collecting Succulents – More is more

Here is my current collection of succulents I’ve amassed in the last few weeks. I’m not sure about the names of a few of them.  When I was carrying my latest additions up to my apartment, my neighbor joked, “You got more plants?  Haven’t you run out of room to put these?”   I backfired, “Well hey Rich, don’t you have enough records?”  I’ve caught glimpses a few times into his apartment and he has boxes upon boxes stacked on each other.  I guess my new collection is similar to ladies’s ridiculous porcelain doll collections…

I am continuing to add to my collection and seek seek out the more exotic varieties.  My rules are that they must have an unusual appearance and they must be small.  I’m trying to learn  to propagate my succulent plants and will write a post on this.

Go native or go home!

Wow, I am so thrilled I was able to snap some pictures of these great beneficial insects on my roof/patio!  Here is an update to the labeling.  Three months after the original post, I have been able to identify the weird “native bee” as actually a Hover Fly.

The Garden of Good and Beetles

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Magical Purslane; a prolific and delicious green

I love this delicious salad green that has weed like properties because it is so hardy and easy to grow.

Where do I start?  I grew up eating purslane in Turkey where it would be served as a “mezze” appetizer before dinner.  Well, let me explain.  Mezze actually pertains to munchies to go along with raki (Turkish ouzo).  I’ve provided the recipe on the recipes page for you to try out.

Purslane tastes a little tangy.  It is apparently very nutritious.

High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate

Here’s a brief description from Wikipedia

Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane, also known as VerdolagaPigweedLittle Hogweed, or Pusley), is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae, which can reach 40 cm in height. About 40 varieties are currently cultivated.[1] It has an extensive old-world distribution extending from North Africa through the Middle East (called الرجلة or البقلة) and the Indian Subcontinent to Malesia and Australasia. The species status in the New World is uncertain: In general, it is considered an exotic weed; however, there is evidence that the species was in Crawford Lakedeposits (Ontario) in 1430-89 AD, suggesting that it reached North America in the pre-Columbian era.[2] It is naturalised elsewhere and in some regions is considered an invasive weed. It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 mm wide. The flowers appear depending upon rainfall and may occur year-round. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are ready. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor, compacted soils and drought.

If you’re into gourmet salads that you can’t even find at the fanciest of luxury organic superstores…try out purslane!  This is certainly exactly the ideal Urban – Horticulture plant.  Easty to grow, grows pretty quickly, reseeds, disease resistant….what more could an urban apartment dweller with limited gardening space ask for?

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