Bonsai Sapling Update

Blue Wisteria Bonsai @ 15 days
It has been exactley 15 days since I decided To Bonsai or Not To Bonsai and put my two sets of bonsai seeds in a wet paper towel. The towel was in a plastic bag and so it did not require much watering. This morning I found that the Blue Japanese Wisteria Bonsai tree had made significant progress. All 5 of the seeds generated roots and two of them already had green stuff. This was a pleaseant surprise since the package said these seeds would take 2 - 3 months to germinate. Good stuff! Thank you Seeds and Things. I used apple sauce cups and put a couple of the saplings in soil. We'll see how they do!  I have read the best thing to do is to give the plant a teaspoon full of water every day. If anyone wants one of the other sprouting seeds, I am willing to trade!

Blue Wisteria Seeds @ 15 days
Unfortuntley, the other set of seeds I ordered (also from Seeds and Things) have not shown any signs of life. I will keep it in a paper towel for a while longer and hope the best for these Japanese Maple Seeds.

An Interloper amoung the Berries

In anticipation of today's thunderstorm I went outside to pick the alpine strawberries. I noticed that they are a bit bigger in size than the one's from Monday's harvest. I also noticed that in the middle of my bushes there was a mushroom! This is most unexpected. I am particularly surprised because I am gardening in a container on the second floor of a building. Where could it have come from?

Mushroom in the Strawberry patch

Aug 29 - 15 berry harvest

Flowers in Boston Common

I decided to take some pictures as I strolled though the Boston Common at lunch yesterday.

Small Alpine Strawberry Harvest

Renee's Garden Alpine Strawberries

To Bonsai or not to Bonsai

It is very rewarding to see  plants that were grown from seed  flowering and generating fruit. This also means that cold weather can not be too far behind. It saddens me to not be able to garden in the fall and winter. Thus, I decided that I needed a plant to grow indoors. Bonsai!! I bought some seeds for the Japanese Wisteria and Japanese Maple. These take years to develop and will be a nice long term project for me. Today, I wrapped the seeds in a wet paper towel and placed them in a plastic baggie to start off the germination process. Below are pictures of these odd-looking seeds and the beautiful trees they may someday become. Updates to come!

Japanese Maple

Wisteria Bonsai

Japanese Maple Seeds

Wisteria Seeds

More Cucumber Glory

I finally cut down my first Botanical Interests Marketmore cucumber. It was about 7 inches in length and absolutely delicious!!

First Marketmore Cucumber.

Marketmore Cucumber cut up. Yum!

Cucumber Progress

I have my first 5 inch cucumber though I hope it gets a bit fatter. The trellis I bought seems to  be working very well! I am excited that I am getting much farther with my cucumbers this year than I did last year.
First Botanical Interests Marketmore Cucumber

Tomato vs Tomato

The two types of tomato plants I grew from seed. The Botanical Interests Sweetie tomato is way ahead in this race.

Garden Update 7/9/11

Botanical Interests
Sugar Sweetie Flower
My little garden seems to be making progress overall.  The first flowers have appeared on the botanical interests Sugar Sweetie tomato plants. The Renee's Garden superbush plant has grown significantly but has not had any open flowers.  My blueberry bush has a few green blueberries. The raspberry bush has grown and become more green, but no fruit thus far.

Alpine Strawberries - first
Renee's Garden
 Alpine strawberries - I can now see many tiny little berries (still green) developing from the little white flowers. The planter from last year has also sprouted its first flowers.

Two weeks ago I planted some Zinnia Cut and Come Again flowers by Botanical Interests and these are growing at a surprisingly fast pace.

First Blueberries (very few)
 Today I also planted some Romaine Lettuce. I ordered the seeds from Amazon and while it was supposed to be by Botanical Interests, the package said Todd's Seeds. I thought this was odd and planted the seeds regardless.

Cucumber Trellis Solution

Cucumber Trellis
I've been searching for the perfect solution to keep my cucumber plants off of the ground (away from bugs) but also a solution that does not take up too much room. Most of the solutions I found either blocked sunlight for other plants or were too bulky or expensive. I tried to create a popsicle trellis but that quickly fell over as soon as the wind blew. At last, I was in Staples today and found these little devices. They were originally intended for student locker's but seem to work perfectly for my purposes.

Baby Cucumber

Garden Update

Left - last year's alpine plant Right -Renee's
Garden Alpine Plant
I think this weather must be confusing my garden as temparatures have varied from 60 degrees to as high as 85 degrees. Naturally, since we live at the ocean, the temperatures are lower here than in the city (Boston). Nonetheless, my cucumbers are doing okay. I spotted 2 baby cucumbers already. Using popsicle sticks, I created a verticle climb for them to keep them from the ground.

First Baby Cucumber
The alpine strawberries that I started from seed have grown and produced many quaint little flowers at this point - but no fruit! The alpine strawberries from last year (which wintered on my balcony) have caught up to the ones I have been growing indoors.

World Association of Flower Arrangers' World Flower Show

Flower arrangements usually fall outside my general interests; however, I decided to attend this one as the advertisements screamed how lucky Boston was to have this show here. There were many beautiful arrangements, but - overall I was not impressed. In part, I was hoping for more earthy and less modern exhibits. The worst part; however, was the lack of variety in flower types - there were maybe 6 different flowers in hundres of exhibits. I was further disappointed when I saw rows of nearly identical displays. The UK, Italy, Japan, and the United States were well represented, but there was not much from other countries. Check out my slideshow below.

First Flowering Fruit & Vege

First Male Cucumber Flower

The weather is finally warmer in my part of the world. Today temperatures actually reached 72! I am excited to plant all of my seedlings this weekend and hopefully the weather will keep.

First Open Alpine Strawberry Flower
Most of my seedlings are still under lights and so I was very surprised to see my first cucumber flower and lots of alpine strawberry flowers. I have read quite a bit about pinching/cutting off the male flowers. Is this a do or a don't?

Day 44

Alpine Strawberries Day 44
My life at work has been hectic these past couple weeks and as a result my garden (and blog) have suffered. I admit that there were days that I did not water my seedlings when I should have. I also discovered that my herb box garden flew right off of my balcony with this crazy wind we have been having. Now, I am back at it! My Alpine strawberries have made significant progress since my last post and are probably twice the height. I fed them fertilizer for acid loving plants (MiracleGro) which is commonly used for azalea's and they have been thriving since.

Cucumber roots along stem

I have found that my cucumber have white dots along their stems. I surmise that my cucumbers are trying to grow roots along their stem. Has anyone seen this before?

The blueberry tree that I bought as a bare bone twig has since developed lots of leaves and I am seeing the begging of flowers and later fruit. I am getting very excited for warm days and summer. Hopefully it will be here in no time!!

Moving Day

Alpine Strawberries Day 37
Today marks the day that ALL of my seedlings have been moved from 1" x 1" egg crates to 4" x 4" slightly bigger homes. I watered the soil well and used a fork to lift up and move the plant. Moving the alpine strawberries was particularly tricky as the soil kept breaking apart. I was very disappointed at by the root system that these strawberries had, which was quite weak. These seedlings are 37 days old and I would have thought the plants would be much stronger by now. Nonetheless, everyone seems to have made it through the move.

Sweetie Romaine
One of the more impressive vegetables has been the Renee's Garden Sweetie Romaine lettuce. The germination rate was high and fast. Unfortunantley quite a few of the seedlings outgrew their egg crate home a bit too fast and perished before I had the chance to replant. This plant is kind of funny as the stem cannot support the leaves too well. To prevent the leaves from falling to the ground, I created a little "popsicle stick fence" to keep the leaves upright. I've looked into this problem online and have not heard of anyone else seeing this.

Growing Up

Cucumber Roots
All of my plants seem to be making progress. I spent today moving plants into large containers. The blueberry and raspberry plants were moved from 1 gallon containers to 7 gallon containers. The grape plant was finally planted in a 1 gallon container (for now). I moved many of the cucumber and tomato plants from their tiny 1 square inch egg carton cubby into more roomy 4 inch pots. I was very pleasentley surprised to see the complex root systems that my cucumbers had already set up. My sweet romaine seems to be growing but looks quite odd.

I will be needing to transplant my strawberry seedlings within the next couple of days, but I am glad to see that true leaves (although tiny) have developed. While outdoors today, I cleaned up the dried up remains from last last years harvest. I pulled the tomato plants out by the root and will plant tomatos in the same pots this year. I've read that tomatos do like to be planted in the same spot year after year. I cut back the dried up grass-like foliage from last year's alpine strawberry plant and found that new strawberry seedlings were growing in there. It is kind of incredible that the new seedlings are growing outside in the cold weather when my Renee's Garden Alpine Strawberries have been so fussy.
Alpine Strawberries

I also decided to dable with flowers a bit. I bough some bleeding heart bare root in the store. Though, I am not sure if I planted these correctley. Keeping my fingers crossed for now.

Garden Center and More


I went to Mahoney' Garden Center in Winchester, MA yesterday and it's the most wonderful place. I was very impressed by their huge green house and the happy seedlings and plants inside. Everything looked so healthy, especially compared to the Home Depot's and Lowe's stores. They even stocked botanical interest seeds, which right now is my favorite brand. They had a big selection of happy pansy's and I gladly bought some orange & purple ones. I think these are just sooo pretty!

Blueberry & Raspberry
I had been considering growing raspberries, but did not want to mail order a plant in fear of getting a weak one. So I decided to purchase one at the garden center and also got a blueberry bush. These both look very healthy and should bear fruit this summer. I was tempted to buy alpine strawberry seedlings because I have not seen much growth on my own. Meanwhile the strawberry seedlings at Mahoney's already had little berries. I decided to hold off on these and give my own a chance.

Since my last post, I figured out that my seedlings were not getting enough light so I put them under a strong white light source. Sure enough, I am now starting to see the beggining of my true-leaves. Though, I am still worried about them getting enough light. Hopefully they will make it until they can be transplanted onto my patio.

Chilling with the Cotyledons

Cucumber Seedlings
I was very worried about my little seedlings as none of them have developed any "true leaves," which I have read should have arrived shortly after the cotyledons. My mind began running away from me ... Did I overwater?  Is the fertilizer wrong? Not enough light? heat? Then, I looked through past pictures in my blog and realized that it was only four days ago that the cotyledons began to appear. Phew, thank goodness for blogging. My cucumber seedlings look okay besides the lack of true leaves. They are turning a nice dark green color (see picture at left) and are getting larger every day. So for now, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that I will see true leaves in the next 7-10 day.

Alpine Strawberries Growing at Last!!

Alpine Strawberry Seedlings
 I was thrilled to find that after a month of germination the Renee's Garden Alpine strawberries began to show some green. I can now see tiny green plants the size of pins. This is very encouraging and leaves me questioning whether the berries growth is simply slowed due to our cold weather in Boston. Regardless, I am still a long way from this plant bearing fruit.

Plastic Bag Greenhouse

My Botanical Interests Marketmore cucumbers have been doing well. I've been steadily transplating them from the germination tray into 4 inch pots. I found that the 4 inch pots dried up verry quickly so I've been putting a plastic bag over the small pots to keep moisture & heat in.

First Sign of Life

First Seedlings

Botanicle Interests Org. Cucumbers

I was very excited this morning to see some green popping up from my egg-carton tray. Since my last post, I have planted some lettuce, the Renee's Garden Superbush tomatos, and cucumbers. I had germinated the cucumbers in a paper towel for two days while the lettuce seeds were too tiny to germinate. I am pretty disappointed with the items I bought from Renee's Garden thus far. The tomato seeds barely grew in the paper towel and less than 10% grew roots. The roots were 1/10th of an inch at best on the ones that did grow. Hopefully these guys will do better in the soil.

I continue to be impressed by the seeds I purchased on amazon by Botanicle Interests. The cucumber seeds grew roots in under two days and then once transplated into soil, popped up as little seedling overnight. Out of the 30 or so cucumber seeds I already have 7 seedlings. I'm impressed!

There's Root!

Organic Sugar Sweetie Tomatoes
 after 7 days.
Super Bush Seeds
I was very excited to see that my little organic sugar sweetie tomatoes, after spending 7 days in a moist warm paper towel, had roots! Without counting to get a more exact number, I would say that nearly 90% of these seeds were growing a good size root. The root length varies from 3/4's  to 5/4's of an inch. I was very impressed with this turnout, especially considering that I have another 30 seeds in a baggie that I have not taken out yet. This is particularly impressive compared to the new bag of Renee's Garden Super Bush seeds that I just received, which only contained about 40 seeds. Nonetheless, I have layed out the Super Bush tomato seeds on a different paper towel and put it in a plastic bag in a warm spot. 

I also set some cat grass out to germinate. My little ones should be happy to get this nice combination of rye, oats, barley, and wheat. They seem to just love eating plants. Just this week they did a number on my fresh cut daffodils!


I am getting very excited for this year's adventure in gardening as the weather gets warmer here in Boston. I try to hold back in fear of growing plants indoors too soon. My Alpine strawberries are underway in a egg-carton container.

Next, I started my Sugar Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes by placing the seeds on some toilet paper, moistening it and putting it in a warm spot (on top of the cable box). I also wrapped the paper in aluminum to block out light. I will be keeping the paper moist over the next couple of days before moving into egg carton containers.

Sugar Sweetie Tomato seeds layed out to germinate on toilet paper.

The Seeds

Last year I had the fortune of buying a wild strawberry plant at Christmas Tree Shop plant store in late July and to my surprise this little plant produced super sweet 1/2 inch berries through all of August and September. The taste of wild strawberries really is unlike any other berry. The best way to describe it is a cross between a very sweet strawberry and raspberry.

This year I have decided to try growing this delicious fruit from seed. I purchased Alpine Mignonette Heirloom seeds from Renee's Garden on Amazon. I've read that these berries take some time to germinate so I planted them in seed starter (composed of 40% Composted Bark and 60% Peat Moss by Miracle Gro) well in early March (about a week ago). I am hoping that these guys pop up and I can transplant them into larger pots in late April. However, there is about a 50% chance of a frost after April 7th.