Thursday, September 26, 2013

And now for something completely different

This post is not about gardening so if that's what you care about, you might want to skip this one. I'm about to complain about work.
Okay, complaining about work. Actually, I want to complain about my stupid DNA and that it won't do what I want. I have three different cloning projects going on right now and all three of them are being stupid. I seriously wish I could beat this DNA into submission. It's pissing me off, and I'm on a deadline so it feels like wasting time, but I can't make bacteria grow any faster. It's very frustrating. At least I have one thing that's sort of working but it's not really a big thing, so I really need these cloning things to get their shit together and work properly. URGH. It's just so annoying and frustrating.
On a non-complaining side, I have done an awesome job at not overeating this week! It doesn't sound like much but it's a big deal to me, because I struggle with emotional overeating so much. I'm going to keep working hard at this and string a bunch of good days and weeks together now. I've lost 4 pounds, which isn't a lot but it's a good start and I feel good about it. I think the hardest thing now is not overeating at restaurants and things like that, because it's so tempting to! At least I know I can control my food intake, even when I'm stressed out and anxious.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Officially Autumn

Yesterday was the Fall Equinox, and it's starting to feel like autumn. It's still getting into the 70s during the day but it's dipping into the 40s at night. That fall smell is in the air too. I love the cooler weather and the leaves changing colors, and apple cider. The only thing I dislike about fall is the shorter daylight hours, and the end of my outdoor gardening. My tomatoes were essentially done, so I cut them down today. I grabbed the last of the tomatoes left on the vine and picked them. They should ripen off the vine. I had a really good harvest. Altogether, I probably had a 1/2 bushel of tomatoes, which is cool from three determinate tomato plants living on my patio, and my first time growing them from seed. I have 1/2 peck frozen so that I can eat them in soups all winter. I've used several for seed saving, both so I can plant them again next year and to use for seed swaps. Then there's still a few just hanging out in a bowl for salads and sandwiches. Overall I'd say the Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes were a great success!
This week I'll also be harvesting all of the catnip and drying it. I'll probably plant less next year because I have way too much! I'm definitely bringing some home over Christmas for my parents' cats. So the catnip was also successful.
I will also harvest my Thai basil this week as it's quite large and won't take the cooler temperatures soon. I'll finish off the sweet basil as well, although I'm trying to get it to hang on a little longer so I can save seed. One of them is starting to flower so hopefully I can get seeds. The worst case scenario is that I buy new seed, but I'd love to get some of my own.
The chives and parsley will manage on their own until the first frost, so they'll stay outside. I should get another harvest or two out of them. My conundrum now is what to do about my sempervivums and my passiflora for winter. Should I leave them outside to fend for their own in the snow? Should I bring them inside? I would overwinter them in a garage but mine doesn't have any light source so that wouldn't work. I'll probably prune the passiflora back hard and bring it in, and I'll try to keep the semps alive inside too. My caladium will be stored as bulbs over the winter, and the Persian shield is an annual, although I'll try to root some cuttings. So even though outdoor gardening will be done, I'll still have a lot to do inside!

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Christmas cactus has come out of dormancy!

I'm very excited because over the past couple of weeks I noticed new leaves growing on my Christmas cactus! It's been quite a while since I've seen new growth on it. Now if only I could get it to flower someday...that's very complicated so I don't know if it will happen.

Isn't it cute? I'm so happy to see that it's still content and growing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Free plants are the best plants

Yesterday I was doing work as usual, and took some DNA downstairs to our sequencing facility to drop it off. While I was there, they had some amaryllis seedlings available for free! So I took one, of course. It's a little baby but I'm looking forward to it growing. Amaryllis usually flower during the winter so it will be a very nice bloom to look at while it's cold and dreary out. I have no idea what color the bloom will be so it will be an excellent surprise too!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I can't stop buying plants!

Everytime I get another plant I tell myself that I have enough, but I always get more. Luckily I have plenty of room still and could get another grow light if I wanted, so I'm safe for now. I just like getting interesting plants and trying to grow a bunch of them. I want to eventually start a business so the more experience I have with a variety of plants, the better. 
 I got this adorable little guy at the Des Moines Farmer's Market for one dollar! It's a Mimosa pudica, also called the Sensitive Plant. When you touch the leaves they curl up as a defense mechanism. It can eventually get pretty big so I might have a mimosa tree some day!
 This is a Cylindropuntia imbricata. It's a funky looking cactus that I just got. I hope it will flower next year because the flowers are supposed to be pretty.
 This is an Adenia glauca. It's kind of similar to Adenium obesum, which are the seedlings in the background of the photo. It has the big caudex at the bottom that stores. water.
 Here's a brand new Adenia glauca leaf! The top snapped off this plant when it was shipped to me, but it's already growing from the top again.
 Another new cactus-this one is a Mammillaria sempervivi. It has small spines but they hurt! I accidentally poked myself when I was transplanting it. The fuzz on top is pretty cool too.
 This is my first Agave. It's an Agave victoriae reginae, named after Queen Victoria. These only flower every 20-30 years so if I can keep it alive for that long I will be rewarded with some nice flowers!
Finally I got a Haworthia truncata! I've wanted one of these for months, since the first time I saw a picture of one. They are so weird looking so I immediately was hooked. I got it at Arid Lands Nursery which sells a lot of interesting cacti and succulents. I'll probably get more plants from them because they ship incredibly fast and their prices are really good, and there's lots of plants available there that I haven't found anywhere else.