Sunday, January 1, 2012

What a bizarre winter- weather, marine tank, and orders for Spring.

Here it is January 1, 2012 and its 42 degrees out at noon.   We got a little snow for Christmas and snow showers all day, so it was pretty.  A few days later we got a lot of rain which washed the snow away.  Friday night into Saturday brought us some freezing rain and sleet making the roads a bit slippery.

One of my hubby's fraternity brothers was planning on coming over to pick up the salt water aquarium stuff i'm giving him.  After my heater malfunctioned last fall and i had to evacuate the tank i just haven't had the desire to rebuild.  So, i'm giving it all away. Tanks, stands, overflow box, return pump, refractometor, skimmers, metal halide light, about 50# of base rock....  Anyway, it will likely be next week before he can pick it up.  Maybe i'll get back into it some day,  but i sort of doubt it.   Though i loved having one, it takes a lot of time and commitment, and unless you are lucky enough to be given lots of good equipment, it can be a real money pit.
I just want to complete this chapter of my hobby life and move on.

Zoanthids, my favorite variety of coral

I don't remember if i recorded it yet,  but late summer i made an order with Raintree Nursery. My order consisted of :

Phoenix Tears Goji berry- 2
Male Seabucktthorn- 1
Female Titan Seabuckthorn- 1
Goldbeere Elderberry- 1
Caerulea Blue Elderberry- 1
Native Beach Plum- 4

My order is slated to be shipped the week of 4-29-2012

I have seeds for most of these plants, but the majority of them need to be stratified for as much as 6 months.  I have tried some of them without success and really kind of wasted those 6 months  of time.  Then it would be as long as 3 years before harvest begins.  Also, most of these seeds don't come with a cultivar name- likely are the wild sort with unpredictable production and quality.  So i decided to bite the bullet and order these named  plants from a seller with a decent reputation.
Not sure what i will do with my seeds... maybe trade them or just give them away.

 I'm building up quite an elderberry collection.  When my order arrives i will have 5 types. Elderberries can be used to make Elderberry Syrup, which is a well loved cold remedy known for a very long time in Europe.
I could also make jelly and wine if the harvests begin to get large.

Gojiberry (also called Wolfberry) As well as being darn tasty, this is another fruit with health benefits. It has quite a history in Chinese medicine.

Seabuckthorn has a long list of beneficial properties.  From immune system support, anti-inflammitory effects to anti cancer possibilities.  There are a lot of sites out there that will proclaim this superberry as a cure-all. Using multi colored 10 point font all caps and will charge you indecent sums for their product...  while not exactly a magic bullet, it does have valuable benefits.
They are said to be a bit of a challenge to harvest since they have large thorns.  Commercially, whole branches are removed to be stripped by machine.  According to what i have read, the berries will hold well on the plant so picking a modest amount at a time over days will be possible.  The berries can be frozen to hold until enough are gathered.  The juice is a vibrant orange and separates into three layers, cream, oil and juice.  The leaves also make a nice tea.  Apparently Junebugs like them so i'll have to be vigilant.

The native beach plums were purchased to replace the ones i got from Oikos.  Those plants did well in pots for almost 3 years, but got dried out late last summer and didn't make it through the winter.   As i am planning to plant these in the side of the front yard box, i need a fruiting plant that can handle road salt. Hopefully they will be a good size when they arrive and put on some good growth before next winter so they can withstand piled snow from the plow.  This winter would have been perfect because there is no snow and no snowbanks to worry about.  The price was decent so i bought 4 in case i have winter casualties due to snowbanks.  The  2 spares will be planted out back for safekeeping.  The native beach plum has no touted health benefits, but has a reputation for making a fine jelly and should be edible right off the tree.

If i have success with these plants, i plan to share cuttings with anyone who asks- as long as i have enough to work with.  Assuming anyone is interested, lol

So, basically i've been spending some time perusing my newly arrived seed catalogs.  I don't plan to do much experimenting this summer.  I'm sticking to the standard veggies.  Tomatoes, beans, squashes etc.  I did get some seeds from Sheryl at Providence Acres.  I bought:
Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries
San Marzano Paste Tomatoes  - i do already have seeds for some from Pinetree, but i thought i'd like to try and compare two varieties and, of course the photos of her tomatoes make them look absolutely delicious.
I also got a bonus packet of Morning Glory seeds,  thanks Cheryl!

I doubt i'll bother starting peppers from seed this year. I have yet to get a usable fruit.  They simply don't seem to have enough time to grow.  I think i will buy seedlings from Garden Spot this year.  If it does not work this year, i'll give up on it.  Peppers are not very cheap around here, so it is worth another shot.

Well, that's all for now.  My toddler is having a tantrum. :)

Happy New Year all!