Gardening indoors – because you can

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Archive for the category “Crafts”

All Sorts of Updates – Happy New Year!

This is me. Taking a picture in a mirror. Happy New Year! I hope it's an enjoyable one for all of us!

This is me. Taking a picture in a mirror. Happy New Year! I hope it’s an enjoyable one for all of us!

Welcome back, readers! I’ts been awhile since you’ve heard from me, so let me start this post by saying “Happy New Year” – I hope all is well for you so far!

There hasn’t been much to post lately as far as updates on my projects are concerned, and I haven’t started any “new” projects so to speak, but now there is some significant progress, and as promised I’m sharing this progress with you. This has definitely been a learning process, and learning is the best!

Remember that project with the water rooting of the avocado seeds? The one where I started two at the same time and covered one of them? Well if you do, you’ll be interested in knowing what happened with that…

So I’ll fill you in. You’re welcome.

Needless to say I was all sorts of disappointed when I noticed this.

Needless to say I was all sorts of disappointed when I noticed this.

I’ll just go ahead and state what my huge blunder was when I started the avocado pits – and believe me – it was a big mistake. Pay attention. Don’t do what I did. I’m surprised none of you noticed actually… Anyway, look at the picture. You see this shit? Of course you do. The seed completely separated and is halved (done deal – game over, man!). I’m about to toss this avocado pit, toothpicks and all – but I’m keeping the container. It’s my contribution to the environment, dammit. I’m sure I’ll use it again – as a matter of fact, I’m going to get a mango today so I can attempt germinating the mango seed in water as opposed to in potting mix like I did in a previous post. I’ll be updating you on that in this post as well. If any of you have experience with rooting avocado seeds/pits, and you know of a way that this project can be saved, please let me know – I’ll give it another day or so before it’s scrapped.

What I did wrong:

  • Was not careful with toothpick placement – If you look at the avocado pit carefully before you stick toothpicks in it, you’ll likely be able to predict exactly where the pit is going to split. I didn’t do this, and because of this oversight it isn’t very likely that this project will be a successful one.
  • Nothing else that I know of.

So along with that, I’ll also let you know that it’s counterpart is doing well – it’s the one that I covered with the top half of the soda bottle that I recycled last month. The avocado seed in that container hasn’t split yet – other than the small split at the base of the seed that is less than an inch long. The top of the avocado seed is still covering over with a dusty substance that could very well be mold. I’m not including a photo because it looks exactly the same as it did before. Go figure. It seems to me that covering the avocado seed to create a greenhouse-like environment wasn’t the better way to go about germinating it. Lesson learned. I hope you all benefit from that information.

This is a mango sprout. I started this one on December 9th - six weeks ago.

This is a mango sprout. I started this one on December 9th – six weeks ago.

Moving along… Do you remember the mango seeds that I started last month? I do. I started three of them, and at the time of writing this post (duh) only one of them is showing any sort of progress. About five days ago the one that I placed in the smallest pot sprouted! I should have taken pictures immediately, but guess what – I didn’t. Deal with it. As you can see by looking at the photo above (I took this one less than a half hour ago), the mango seed sprouted pretty nicely! I’m excited about this one – it’s been growing noticeably every day since exposing itself to the world. I immediately put this one in the window as soon as this happened, because now it needs light. My window of choice for now is a north-facing one, but that’s going to change soon. I’m going to redo my window blinds so it can rest comfortably in the west-facing window, which will provide more natural light to my mango sprout.

What I did wrong:

  • When I was twelve, I told my Sunday school teacher that there was no such thing as the holy ghost. Or Satan. Therefore I couldn’t possibly be the Satan spawn that she accused me of being.
  • A lot of other awesome stuff that I’ll never regret.
This. Nature is pretty amazing, isn't it? This stuff fascinates me.

This. Nature is pretty amazing, isn’t it? This stuff fascinates me.

A few of you are wondering what is going on with my original avocado seed – the one I started before I began blogging about my punk-ass houseplants. That avocado pit is doing pretty good! I had to change it out to a slightly taller container because of the prominence of it’s almost single root. The root of that avocado pit is just starting to sprout extensions, and it looks really promising so far. The sprout hasn’t reached  past the top of the avocado pit quite yet, but that will be happening soon. You can tell by looking at the picture. If you can’t, just take my word for it. Shit’s pretty asstastic at this point in the game. I expect this plant to be around for a long time. I can’t wait to update you guys more on this one – and believe me, I definitely will! Avocado pits are an easy project, fun for the whole family, and definitely a learning experience!

What I did wrong:

  • Went to school for fashion. That pretty much proved to be useless for me.

Since you last heard from me, I have also started a few new pineapple tops – all rooting in water, but for now, I’ll update you all as to the progress of the ones that I mentioned in the past. I know you’re dying to hear about that…(sarcasm).

These roots show a lot of promise for the future of the pineapple top!

These roots show a lot of promise for the future of the pineapple top!

The pineapple tops are doing very well, and they’re rooting faster than I imagined they would! There isn’t an abundance of updated information that I can offer to you other than this, but wow – the rooting so far is pretty impressive! Check out the photo – holy hell! I actually had to redo the top to the containers so the pineapple tops would be suspended as opposed to sitting on their “butts”. I intend on planting these in the next four weeks. I’ll be keeping you all updated on these as well, of course. Stay tuned for that.

This is it for now, folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed my post, which is nothing more than updates, but hopefully I’ll have something new for you in the days to come. Please remember to comment and/or subscribe to my blog – You’ll be hearing from me again very soon.

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From the “I’ll show you later if it works” collection: Planting kiwi indoors

Always thinking... I have no idea what I was thinking at the exact moment...

Always thinking… I have no idea what I was thinking at the exact moment…

I know… I need to be stopped before it’s too late. I’m actually taking a break from playing Saint’s Row the third to bring you this post… It’s been a long time since I’ve played a console game! Also, I’d like to apologize to any of you who happened to try to view my blog in the last 24 hours… my account got suspended temporarily – but that’s over now. Let’s go!

There are mango seeds in these tiny containers... Let's see how this goes!

There are kiwi seeds in these tiny containers… Let’s see how this goes!

Last night, while I was unable to post, I ate a friggin’ kiwi. It was pretty good – thanks for asking… before I ate it, I actually went through the painstaking process of saving and cleaning the ultra-tiny seeds for planting, and although it’s my first time doing this, I’m definitely taking this project seriously… except this time I have no variables/experimentation.

I’m going to update this post and show you what’s what as soon as I start to see some progress from this project. I would walk you through the steps I’ve taken, but I don’t want to make an ass of myself if this project fails… so wish me the best! I’ll be posting again very soon. more than likely on another plant. Once again — my bad the blog disappeared for the last day or so… Completely my bad… Won’t happen again! Be sure to comment/follow – I’m at ten followers so far, and that’s asstastic, but it could be a lot better. Stay tuned! I’ll be starting a YouTube channel as soon as I feel it’s necessary (and I get a charger for my cam)… and a new twitter. Any other suggestions?

Later!

Thinking outside the box – new planters!

Say hello to my new pots!

Say hello to my new pots!

Today’s post will be a short one – just for the sake of posting… A lot of us are looking to save money at this time of year. A lot of us are looking to save money all year round! I just came from the store a few minutes ago, and while there, the clerk was gathering trash to take out back. In the corner of the store was a stack of Laffy-Taffy containers, and immediately I thought to myself “Why the fuck would you throw out perfectly good flower pots?” and then I remembered a thought from earlier this week – “Shit. I’m gonna need more flower pots!”

Problem solved.

These are near perfect! I don’t even want to take the stickers off, so I won’t… But I definitely have to poke some holes in the bottoms for proper drainage, and clean them out thoroughly. Bringing these home saved me at least the  twenty bucks that I was going to spend on potting the three pineapple tops and the avocado seed that I have rooting. I know some of you are thinking this isn’t very decorative, but fuck you – they’re not tacky if you’re creative. Do something with your brain. In my case, Laffy-Taffy was a favorite of mine during childhood, and I’m going to leave these the way they are for nostalgic purposes. You’ll be seeing these in future posts~!

While I’m on the subject of saving money… If you happen to have some free time on your hands, take a look at the site below! I’ve been using it for awhile, and I’ve ordered a lot of things from amazon – for completely free! Definitely worth a look!

A few updates. That is all.

4a54057529c0cfda4ef9191b23af5a72-d3h0c3pHello, all – it’s been a few days since my last post, and it’s been a busy few days… Hence, no posts. In this post I’m going to offer up a few updates on projects already in the works that I have showed you so far since I started this blog. Enjoy.

This one shit the bed kind of early, but like stated in a previous post - the pineapple it came from looked kind of suspect in the first place.

This one shit the bed kind of early, but like stated in a previous post – the pineapple it came from looked kind of suspect in the first place.

I’d like to add that since my last post, I’ve started a new mango plant, and have thrown away one of the pineapple plants that I had rooting in water. The reason behind the tossing of the “potential” pineapple was that all of the leaves had dried out completely and were a shitty shade of brown, and there was mold forming in the middle of the leaves (where new leaves should have eventually grown from). If you look carefully at the picture, you’ll see the mold that I’m talking about – this prompted me to toss it in order to keep the others out of the way of any sort of risk. I didn’t want to chance it.

Avocado seed with first weeks worth of rootage! More sure to come!

Avocado seed with first weeks worth of rootage! More sure to come!

As for the avocado seeds, all seems to be great so far with those. The roots haven’t started growing out of either of the two that I showed you before,  but the very first one that I started that had already started sprouting it’s first root is well on it’s way to having a decent root system. I can tell from the little “buds” that are coming off either side of the root… I can see them when I look inside the exposed part of the seed carefully. Asstastic. Once the root system develops a bit, I’ll update you more on this little guy – and definitely on the other two mentioned before in my avocado post that you all loved so damn much. Seriously. Thank yous and such to the few that have liked, commented and followed so far. If it wasn’t for the few of you, I would have probably just bothered my Facebook friends with this particular brand of shit. But I can’t stand most of them anyway. And now I realize that the “publicize” feature dumps it on ’em anyway. Full of win. Okay – moving on…

These just might be white flies. If they are... Well fuck.

These just might be white flies. If they are… Well fuck.

The mango plants, however, have me a little concerned. As of yet, the choice to cover the newly potted seeds in plastic wrap hasn’t proven to be beneficial or detrimental  to the project so to speak, but when I looked at the plastic carefully today, I noticed tiny parasites of some sort stuck to the underside of the plastic… The tighter the plastic is wrapped, the more parasites. I’m thinking it may be a good idea to go ahead and let these seeds breathe while I go do some research…

Hopefully it's not serious.

Hopefully it’s not serious.

Since the last paragraph, I’ve done a tiny bit of research on the issue, and I’ve found that what we’re most likely looking at is White Flies. Shit… I hope this doesn’t ruin anything… I’m going to go crazy cleaning and disinfecting the apartment tonight. I’m going to also go ahead and keep the plastic off of these pots.

All three of them pretty much look like this in the middle.

All three of them pretty much look like this in the middle.

The rest of the pineapple tops that I’m rooting in water are doing great so far, but since my memory sucks, I have to take a lot of pictures to keep up with the progress on these. The leaves aren’t rapidly drying out, which is a great sign, and the roots look like they’re doing great. The very centers of the leaves are still sharp and pointy, and appear to be showing promise! I’m not going to bore you to stitches with photos of the other two, but I assure you – they all look pretty much like what you see here… healthy as I’d like ’em to be.. More on that sometime soon hopefully!

That’s it for the updates for now, I’ll be posting again very soon, and hopefully the word is all positive… I’m just remembering something as I’m going through some of my photos from last summer when I was all into photography and my allergies were awesome for me for whatever reason. I have a lot of photos of plant life from the outdoors. And like it or not, I’m going to share some of it with you from time to time. Like the one up top. Be sure to comment, like, follow… whatever – just show me some support, and I’ll show you my plants… That’s how it goes, right? See you soon.

The reasons I prefer to grow plants indoors – and a few updates.

Current projects.. Seeds and whatnot

Current projects.. Seeds and whatnot

There are a few valid reasons that I have personally that make indoor gardening a preference of mine. Three of the biggest reasons involve my overall health. For some odd reason, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to live an unbearably long time, so I feel that my time spent here should be as comfortable as possible. We all need to understand that the health benefits offered by houseplants are AWESOME to begin with, but aside from that huge fact, my reasoning behind my preference to grow indoor includes, and is definitely not limited to:

  1. I’m susceptible to heat stroke – it’s happened to me twice before.
  2. I have shitty allergies, and it’s not fair.
  3. The outdoors are beautiful and full of fresh oxygen already. My abode needs assistance in that area. If you didn’t already know, plants transform carbon dioxide (that we as humans/animals give them when exhaling) into oxygen (which we in turn, breathe right the hell back in). I need that oxygen.
  4. Kiss my ass. I already told you there were three reasons. Keep up.
I do love to grow things, though!

I do love to grow things, though!

With those reasons aside, there’s also the fact that I don’t have an outdoor gardening area accessible to me other than community projects in the city that I live in that were awesome at one time, but is currently being invaded by hipsters. I really hate hipsters… Their smug faces, vegan diet, tiny feet and hay bedding… no. Wait – hamsters. I really hate hamsters. I’m really just kidding. I don’t hate anybody – I hate everybody. Really. Due to this slight lack of resource (which really isn’t a lack of resource at all) I lean way towards indoor more than I do outdoor. I’m also in love with the fact that I have an outstanding amount of control over what happens with my green buddies. The company of plants also tends to be a lot more pleasant than the company of most people… I try not to be completely antisocial though.

It doesn't look to good for my buddy here. We'll see.

It doesn’t look too good for my buddy here. We’ll see.

Speaking of control, Here’s a little update on what’s going on with my pineapple tops mentioned in my first post… The one that I started first (the day before I started this blog) that I showed you in pictures doesn’t look like it’s going to do so well from what I’m seeing here. All of the leaves have completely dried out, and it’s showing me nothing as far as hope goes. The leaves are supposed to dry out, true – but it seems to be a lot too early for that. I’ll give it three more days at most to see if anything changes. The pineapple that it came from had been sitting in the walk-in at my job for at least five days – I got it the day before a produce order came in. The ones that I started the very next day  are from that produce order, and they’re doing good so far – hopefully they won’t look like this one in five to seven days. We’ll see!

Started the same day, the only obvious difference is color changes.

Started the same day, the only obvious difference is color changes.

The avocado seeds that I started the other day seem to be doing well. The only thing that I have noticed so far is the one that i covered remains a constant light brown all the way around, and the other one is starting to develop a ring around the area that I stuck the toothpicks in, and is getting lighter in the area exposed to air.

Lots of color change.

Lots of color change.

If you look at the picture to the left, you’ll see an avocado seed that I started five to six weeks ago. I kept this one in my north facing window for the first four weeks, which I’m recently learning wasn’t really the best of ideas. I’ve since kept it on my kitchen counter or range top, and it’s been progressing rapidly! The color change is a lot more evident when you look at this avocado seed. it has a ring in the area where the toothpicks went in (as usual) and another toward the very top that is a lot darker than the other two color layers. I’m going to pay close attention to this to see if it happens with my newer uncovered avocado seed. The first root sprouted from the bottom of this one a few days ago, and seems to be growing at a rate of about 1/4 of an inch daily. There will be more roots to come, of course, and the entire seed will eventually split apart almost completely around the time the stalk of the plant pops out of the top… I wonder how long that will take.

So that’s it for this post – once again, it’s getting late and I need to turn in for the night. I’ll post something else tomorrow… most likely a new pineapple plant, but this time since I have extra potting mix, I’m going to start it off in soil – this should still work as a good comparison to the others, seeing as how I just started those within the last few days. Be sure to leave feedback, and follow me if you wish to stay updated. So yeah. Tomorrow. Until then…

pe♫ce.

How to grow a mango tree from a seed

This is a matured mango tree. It's not mine, though - I found this one using Google Images. It's on sale for $459... I'd rather grow my own than trust a nursery, plus it's more satisfying seeing it all the way through.

This is a matured mango tree. It’s not mine, though – I found this one using Google Images. It’s on sale for $459… I’d rather grow my own than trust a business furniture supply store, plus it’s more satisfying seeing it all the way through from the beginning.

In this post, I’m going to discuss how to grow a mango tree indoors from a seed. I haven’t done this since high school (which was a while ago), and I did get a pretty decent one started – it never bore fruit, though. Hopefully this project will yield a delicious product!

Eight seconds after a small cut to the thumb... Annoying, but not painful. This was done while shaving the flesh off of the mango seed after eating the fruit.

Eight seconds after a small cut to the thumb… Annoying, but not painful. This was done while shaving the flesh off of the mango seed after eating the fruit.

Let me start by saying that you should definitely be careful when you’re doing anything with sharp objects. As I type these sentences, I’m trying to get the blood to stop pouring out of my thumb, and it seems as if I’m fresh out of bandages… Yes. That’s right – I managed to slightly injure myself during the making of this post, so be sure to follow my blog – I BLED REAL BLOOD TO BRING YOU PEOPLE THIS POST!! LITERALLY!! 

With that said, I’ll try to avoid stating the obvious for the rest of this post, but I can almost guarantee you – obvious will be stated! …it’s what I do.

As with all of my other projects, I went ahead beforehand and did some research. I’ve done this in the past, as mentioned before, but I wanted to see if there were other ways of going about growing a successful mango tree in the comfort of your own home. I found a few very useful videos and articles on the subject, and they all use slightly different methods. I decided that I’m going to use the method that I used before, which doesn’t involve germinating the mango seed in water prior to planting. I’m going to go over this method with you step by step right here in this post. It’s just going to take me a little longer to finish because this annoying cut is starting to bleed again… I actually had to take the mango seed and set it aside wrapped in a wet paper towel until I’m ready to finish up… ugh. The things I do to stay in tune with the rest of the world…

I'm gonna cut you. I'm gonna cut you, then eat you. When I'm done eating you, I'm gonna do science with your insides...

I’m gonna cut you. I’m gonna cut you, then eat you. When I’m done eating you, I’m gonna do science with your insides…

The first thing I did in preparation for this project was to clean my work area. After that step was completed, I grabbed my knife and mango (which came from the local Co-op), and informed the mango of my intentions. I don’t know why I like to talk to things that don’t answer, but I do – so deal with it. This mango is of the Tommy Atkins variety. It’s not the King Kong of mangoes, but I think they’re delicious. And they’re readily available in my area this time of year.

You can clearly see the PLU and other information right on this little sticker. It helps to keep track of where your plant actually originated if you need to do further research. Or provide information to an inquisitive admirer .

You can clearly see the PLU and other information right on this little sticker. It helps to keep track of where your plant actually originated if you need to do further research. Or provide information to an inquisitive admirer .

Oh – also, before I did any of this, I took the stickers off of the mango (which give the PLU code) and put them onto the pot that I’m using to grow it. Usually fruit will only come with one sticker, but sometimes you’ll see more than that. Use them to your advantage, people! I found a really informative Wikipedia article on PLU codes, by the way – you can see it here.

This is the date. Note it.

This is the date. Note it.

I also use a sharpie to etch the date “of creation” on the underside of the planter. I use the underside so as not to take away from the overall beauty of what I’m doing here. I don’t have the greatest memory, so being able to properly determine or deliver the age of my mango tree(s) years from now will be damn near impossible for me without this little step. I use it for me and my needs – you don’t have to do this at all… as a matter of fact, you don’t have to do any of this, but you’re still here – so bear with me.

Simple Miracle Gro® potting soil

Simple Miracle Gro® potting soil

A final distraction to the topic at hand – it may or may not make a difference to you, but I thought it would be a good idea to bring it up. The type of soil (growing medium) that I’m using for this project is simple miracle grow potting mix. It works great, and was purchased for pretty cheap at a local store. We’re in the winter months here in New England, so stores in my area tend to take this type of product off the shelves to make room for seasonal inventory. I bought two bags earlier today, and they only cost me $3.99 each. This product offers a great mixture of wonderfulness – perlite, fertilizer, sphagnum peat moss, compost, and a wetting agent of some sort.. This mixture is absolutely perfect for what I’m trying to do with my mango seed.

Decisions... Decisions. To eat or not to eat. Of course I'm gonna eat it!

Decisions… Decisions. To eat or not to eat? Of course I’m gonna eat it!

Now that all that nonsense is out of the way, lets get started! I think my thumb is up for the finish, seeing as how the bleeding has finally stopped and I can type with both hands. I really can’t stress enough how important safety is if you happen to be an individual that values your health and appearance. In other words, BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR KNIVES!!

I'm thinking that this is the type of behavior that got my thumb sliced open in the first place..

I’m thinking that this is the type of behavior that got my thumb sliced open in the first place..

Okay – now for the “work” part of my project. After remembering that I’ve already briefed this mango on events to come, I went right to work. I started by taking my knife and somewhat carefully cutting it the long way all the way around, rocking the blade against the seed inside. I didn’t have to worry about damaging the seed like I do with an avocado – the seed inside of a mango has a protective outer shell, and it’s going to have to be removed in a later stage anyway to get to the prize inside. Mangoes tend to be difficult to deal with at this point, mostly because of their fleshiness – the fruit is fused onto the outer shell of the seed itself. This particular mango didn’t want to give me access to it’s seed without a fight, so I ended up peeling it and eating the whole thing, making a huge fruit-flesh and juice mess of my work area. It was completely worth it, though. I love everything about mangoes, except for the fact that I have no choice but to immediately floss after eating one. I hate flossing.

I don't really eat like this... Nevermind. Don't judge me.

I don’t really eat like this… Nevermind. Don’t judge me.

After intimidating, cutting, wrestling with, eating, enjoying, and cleaning up the messiness of my mango, I was ready for the next few steps. These steps result in extracting the inner seed from it’s outer shell. There are a few ways that this can be done, but just for the sake of showing you what the outer shell looks like for future reference (if you ever should need it), I’m not going to attempt to just bumrush my way into the seed with the slippery mango flesh still attached to it. That’s too damn dangerous, and I happen to be truly accident prone. To make matters even worse, I’m frustrated beyond belief because I have mango fibers in between my teeth. One of the most uncomfortable things in life for me… Y’know… A pet peeve. Yeah we all have those.

I'm removing the fruity flesh from the outer portion of the seed. What you see pictured here isn't enough - I had to use that knife to shave it!

I’m removing the fruity flesh from the outer portion of the seed. What you see pictured here isn’t enough – I had to use that knife to shave it!

I’m using cool running water and a sharp paring knife to remove most of the flesh from the outer part of the seed. This is kind of risky because you’re dealing with a knife, so be sure to exercise what most refer to as caution! …and on that note, I’m bleeding again. Damn. This is exactly why you don’t want to be a careless nut while you’re doing this (if you are doing this) – You don’t want to bleed all over your seed like I did. Trust me. It’s messy.

Look at it, dammit. There's important information afoot!

Look at it, dammit. There’s important information afoot!

Once you have the outer shell clean (for the most part) you’ll have something that looks like what you see in the picture. Examine this mango seed for a minute – if you don’t heed this warning, you may set yourself up for failure if you’re trying to grow a mango tree yourself. Notice where my finger is pointing. This is the area that the root and stem will be coming from once the seed starts growing. This is the only plant that I’ve ever dealt with that has a root and stem coming from the same section of the seed. There are more out there, but I haven’t had that experience as of yet. You do not want to attempt to open the outer shell from where I’m pointing. Instead, start at about an inch or so above it… lot safer there.

Be careful here. I'm actually using  the paring knife to pierce the outer shell, but I finished the job with a butter knife. The butter knife alone will do the whole job with no problem!

Be careful here. I’m actually using the paring knife to pierce the outer shell, but I finished the job with a butter knife. The butter knife alone will do the whole job with no problem!

Don’t use a sharp knife for this step. I used a butter knife to pry it open, and I suggest you do too. The reason behind this is that you want to avoid damaging the seed that is inside of this shell. That seed is the whole reason you’ve bothered to read up to this point, am I right? Of course I am.

Prying open the protective outer shell of the mango seed by hand

Prying open the protective outer shell of the mango seed by hand

Carefully pry that outer shell open once you’ve penetrated it by twisting your butter knife back and forth. Once you have an opening sufficient enough, use your hands to finish opening the outer shell of the mango seed. This is done pretty easily, and will (almost) ensure that you don’t do any damage to the seed itself. It’s almost time to congratulate yourself on a job well done – you’re almost there!

This one isn't as attractive as the last one I planted, but it looks like it may have a chance at life. And making me a happy camper in the future.

This one isn’t as attractive as the last one I planted, but it looks like it may have a chance at life. And making me a happy camper in the future.

Once you manage to open the outer shell and remove the actual seed of the mango itself, you have a few options. This is the point in the process where growers will debate and disagree about what should be done next. Personally, I don’t have a true opinion, because I’ve only planted a mango tree from seed twice before this post. One yesterday, and one (like I stated earlier) back in high school. I’m going to use the method that worked for me before, and I’m hopeful that it will work for me this go-round. The method that I used in the past didn’t involve germinating (propagation) in water – It’s all dirt from this point for me!!

Wrapped in paper towel, and heavily moistened with water. I leave my water out in a pitcher overnight to let the chlorine evaporate. Out of habit

Wrapped in paper towel, and heavily moistened with water. I leave my water out in a pitcher overnight to let the chlorine evaporate. I do this out of habit. See the red in the outer shell? That’s my blood!

Of course, some of us won’t have the necessary resources available at the time of consuming a mango and having the thought to grow the seed, and that’s alright – you also have the option of either going ahead and germinating in water or doing the same thing that I did for this particular project. Since I cut my thumb, and was bleeding too badly to finish right away, I wrapped my seed in a paper towel and poured water over it – just enough to get it nice and wet but not overly saturated. The seed will stay fresh like this for a small amount of time, and in this case, enough time for me to stop bleeding and finish up, finally allowing me to get some sleep for the night.

As if you care.

This planter didn't come with a hole at the bottom for drainage, so I made one.

This planter didn’t come with a hole at the bottom for drainage, so I made one.

Now that we have the seed from our mango ready to go, it’s time to get dirty! Remember the photo of the underside of the planter from earlier in this post? Well if you were paying close attention, you would have noticed it was void of a drainage system of any sort. I had to fix this, and it was softened in the middle just for that purpose! And yes – I used the paring knife again to do it. Never scared. If you look at the photo above, you’ll see the size of the hole I made. That’s all that’s really necessary to make sure your tree isn’t destined for root rot.

lightly compress the dirt before you place your seed!

lightly compress the dirt before you place your seed!

Now that my planter is ready, I will grab my potting mix and fill it up about 3/4 of the way, taking into account that I’m only filling it (the planter) to about an inch and a half below the top with the mix once I’m all done. After this I feel it’s a good idea to lightly press on the soil to compact it so it doesn’t settle on itself in the final stages once you water it.

The last time you want to see this particular seed.

The last time you want to see this particular seed.

Place your seed off-center on top of the potting mix on it’s side. You don’t want to place it directly in the center, because you want the plant itself to break dirt as close to the center of the pot as possible. You just do – it will allow the root system to develop in an efficient manner. In other words, this is how I’m maximizing my effort. Stay with me!

I ended up adding just a little more of the potting mix right after taking this photo..

I ended up adding just a little more of the potting mix right after taking this photo.. Watering will cause it to settle anyway. I almost forgot about that. I miss science class…

Time for some more dirt! You want to cover the mango seed lightly with just under two inches of the potting mix. This layer is on top of the seed, so I wouldn’t suggest compressing at this stage – once you water it, it will settle anyway to about an inch over the mango seed. titty sprinkles.  Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. Anywho…

Last but definitely not least

Last but definitely not least

This potting mix holds moisture pretty well. It says it does on the package, and I happen to know that they’re not kidding. Thoroughly water the soil – I’m using water that I left out overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate. I can’t help but to do it… It’s like a nervous tick. As you can see, I used plastic wrap to cover the planter once I watered the “dirt” , and like YouTube user Praxxus55712  said “It’ll make an “ecosystem” of some sort”.. Excellent. There. We’re all done, and you can put this little sucker anywhere you want to around the house. I’ll update you when progress is made! Stay tuned!

Plants in my apartment… Too many? I don’t think so… Part II

This is a fairly young Dracaena deremensis that I rescued from Walmart about two weeks ago.

This is a fairly young Dracaena deremensis that I rescued from Walmart about two weeks ago.

In the first part of this post, I offered you a glimpse at some of the beautiful foliage around my apartment. There are a few more plants that I’d like to show you here in the second part!

In the image to the left is my dracaena deremensis – “Malaika” – She comes from a very reliable supplier known as Exotic Angel. If you check out the website, www.exoticangel.com – you’ll see everything that they have to offer, and I’m sure you’ll be impressed with their selection.

IMAG0448

I’m pretty sure I have a lifelong friend here… Awesome. ♫

The dracaena is what I like to call a “die hard” houseplant, seeing as how it’s almost impossible to kill these things unless it’s done maliciously. They are excellent air filters, and grow beautifully, but not very fast. There are many varieties of the dracaena to choose from as well. Care for these beauties is simple:

  • They don’t like too much water. Watering them thoroughly after the soil appears dry (every 7-12 days or so) is ideal. Do not over saturate!
  • Filtered or indirect lighting is sufficient for the dracaena. It doesn’t care too much for direct sunlight anyway.
  • These leaves are gorgeous... They make the sickly one in the back look a lot better!

    These leaves are gorgeous… They make the sickly one in the back look a lot better!

    Dracaenas like moderate indoor temperatures. 60 – 75°F (16 – 24°C), which is the average comfortable temperature inside a house at any time of the year.

  • Diseases aren’t really a problem for this houseplant. As far as pests go, mites would be the common suspect, and they’re easily driven away by spraying soapy water on the leaves.
  • The leaves love to collect dust, so wiping them off once in awhile with a damp cloth will keep them pretty attractive.

There are a lot of other tips and tricks involved with the care of these lovlies, and unfortunately I won’t be able to get into that completely in this post, but of course I intend to in the near future!

As I mentioned before, I strongly disagree with anyone who says that I have too many houseplants – I feel that I have nowhere near enough! The benefits offered to the air quality in my apartment alone are worth the sacrifice of space!

Please feel free to leave comments, as they are greatly appreciated, and be sure to follow my blog if you wish to be updated on the progress of any of my projects… Sorry this post is so short, but I had to finish up and get it out of the way so I can start on my next post, which will be discussing  growing mango trees indoors starting from seed. Stay tuned!

Plants in my apartment… Too many? I don’t think so… Part I

A lucky bamboo, A majesty palm, and a split-leaf philodendron.. To my right as I lounge on my couch.

A lucky bamboo, A majesty palm, and a split-leaf philodendron (aka Delicious Monster..) They’re located immediately to my right as I lounge on my couch.

My friends who visit my apartment tell me that my place looks like a jungle, and that’s exactly the look I’m going for. As of right now though, I beg to differ. I don’t have as many plants as I’d like, and I’m far from finished furnishing my home with my beloved greens.

As mentioned before, I’m fairly new to home gardening, or gardening in general, and I don’t want to lead you on to believe that I know a lot on the subject. I’m just a guy who loves houseplants and the benefits they offer! I’m also a fan of the fact that we, as humans, benefit them as well. It’s what I like to refer to as the perfect trade-off!

Currently, I’m still researching the proper care of all of my plants individually, and while it does seem like a lot to take in at one time, it’s my responsibility — I bought these greenies into my abode, so it’s up to me to properly take care of them. They all have different needs, and I’m going to make sure that they all mature beautifully. You heard it here first!

To my left when lounging on my couch

To my immediate left when lounging on my couch, a  Dracaena Deremensis on the end table, and behind it, a Dracaena Massangeana, or Corn Plant.

Along with the plants that I have purchased, I have a few projects that are started from seed, or cutting.. I have posted previously about the pineapple tops and the avocado seeds, which seem to be doing fine at the time of this posting. This particular post will break from the growing projects and briefly discuss the plants that I have beautifying my apartment already.

The Dracaena Massangeana, or corn plant pictured to the left is actually a plant that I was told to scrap by my employer, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was in pretty bad shape mostly because it sat by the door of the restaurant that I work in, and I’m determined to bring it to excellent health. The steps that I’ve taken so far only involve repotting the three stalks into a bigger pot with a simple every-day potting mix that I purchased from walmart, and pulling/clipping the brown leaves that were all over the plant to begin with when I bought it home with me.

I was told to toss this thing. Nope. Sorry.

I was told (by my boss) to toss this thing about two and a half weeks ago… Nope. Sorry.

If you look at the picture to the right, you’ll see what the corn plant looked like when I left the restaurant with it. Two of the three stalks were bare, and none of the stalks were standing upright. I did a little research, and got some enlightening information from a few reddit users. The advice given on /r/gardening was great, and heeding what seemed to be the most valid of it, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside afterwards… Correct me if I’m wrong, “readers”, but from what I’m to understand, the fact that I re-potted this plant due to the fact that it was obviously root-bound and starving will help it out immensely. It had been sitting in my workplace for three and a half years, and hadn’t been getting the proper care… I wish I would have gotten into this sooner.

Dracaena Massangeana or "Corn Plant"

Dracaena Massangeana or “Corn Plant”

This is what my corn plant looks like today, and hopefully in the near future, I’ll be able to update you with a success story. The two stalks are still naked, but we’ll soon see if there’s any growth. I’m not gonna expect anything til early spring though. The stalk that seems to be doing the best has been heavily cut back because of brown/dead leaves. These are very popular in the area that I live in, and I’ve also recently been gathering advice on how to care for them from individuals who have successful and gorgeous plants. I’m going to do everything I can for this one… Follow my blog and stay tuned!

Lucky Bamboo isn't really bamboo after all...

Lucky Bamboo isn’t really bamboo after all…

In the image to the right, you’ll see my lucky bamboo plant. It might surprise you to know that the lucky bamboo isn’t actually a bamboo at all – it’s actually a dracaena. It’s scientific name is Dracaena Sanderiana, and it’s also known by other names such as ribbon plant, ribbon dracaena, or Belgian Evergreen. These plants love water, and will even live and grow successfully using just water and nothing else! This particular plant was a Walmart rescue – it’s sitting in tiny rocks for support, and I keep it watered just below the rocks. Initially I did have to pull/clip some browning leaves, but as of now, it’s a beauty! Care for Lucky bamboo is that simple… Water. Enjoy.

Delicious Monster. Why? Because it will bear fruit after awhile.

Delicious Monster. Why? Because it will bear fruit after awhile.

Here’s a fascinating specimen of a houseplant – the split-leaf philodendron, or the Delicious Monster! This overbearing bastard of a plant has the ability to climb trees with it’s feeler roots and is absolutely stunning to look at. I had to have one, and luckily for me, there was a huge one growing at work. I took a few cuttings from it, and started my own right here at home.. since taking this photo, I’ve actually added a third cutting (what you see here is only two). It’s doing great right now! I only have to water it once every ten days or so.

It’s getting late, and I’m tired. I’m going to go ahead and publish this post, and continue when I wake with the second part. Stay tuned, comment, and follow!!

An experiment in propagating avocado seeds – Part II

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

We left off on my last post with the completion of our homemade greenhouse. In this post, as promised, we’re actually going to go ahead and get these two avacado seeds started! Now for the sake of being completely honest, I’ve actually gone ahead and started the first one, which is the one that will stay uncovered… Hello – it’s the one you see here in the picture! We’re going to completely go over rooting the other avocado seed right now step-by-step using the experimentation method mentioned in part I of this post.

Haas variety avacado. Pretty tasty!

Haas variety avacado. Pretty tasty!

So the first thing that I did was to grab my homemade setup crafted from a soda bottle, then my avocado. The avocado being used here is a Haas variety, and I purchased it, and the other one a little earlier today from the local food Co-op. They only cost me $0.79 each!

Be careful at this stage!

Be careful at this stage!

Once I got my avacado in position, I grabbed a huge knife and threatened the hell out of it. I told it that if it didn’t yield me a beautiful plant, I would kill all of his cousins come spring… I don’t think it was paying much attention, though. I used the knife to cut the avocado vertically, lightly pressing until I could feel the seed against the blade of the knife. You want to make sure that while this is being done, you don’t damage the seed inside of the avocado. Once you feel the seed under the knife blade, go ahead and rock it all the way around lightly.

Twist... Simple

Twist… Simple

Once you make a vertical cut around the outer edge of the seed, go ahead and twist the two parts of the avocado apart. On a ripe avocado, they should come apart fairly easily. I tried this about two months ago with a really tough-fleshed avocado, and the seed was a true pain in the ass to remove… That seed actually sprouted it’s first root about two days ago in water – finally.

Fleshy seed.

Fleshy seed.

After I got the two halves separated, I was able to easily remove the seed from the half it was stuck in using only my thumb. When first removed, the seed tends to have a lot of the avocado flesh still on it, and you definitely want to get rid of it, being careful not to damage or remove the outer layer of skin on the seed – it’s brown, and it takes a lot of rubbing to get it off, so once again, no worries.

Clean avocado seed. Ready for the world!

Clean avocado seed. Ready for the world!

I removed the avocado flesh by running cool water over the seed and rubbing lightly – it comes off pretty easily. I made sure not to damage or remove the outer skin of the seed, which is light brown… You won’t have much success if you damage that outer skin, so be careful! I’m not sure what others do at this exact moment, but I let my seed dry out for a few minutes – it seems like it’s been through a lot, and I need to dry my hands and take some pictures anyway.

Three toothpicks will do the job.

Three toothpicks will do the job.

Now for the toothpicks. I make sure to keep the toothpicks that I’m using for this clean, as to not encourage the invasion of parasites. I try to be as clean as possible when dealing with anything that has to do with plants… It’s just a good idea. If you didn’t already know, I’ll inform you now – the roots will grow out of the bottom of the seed, which is the broad side – the flatter part of the seed. The plant itself will begin to stem from the top, or the pointy side of the seed, therefore you want to put the bottom of the seed in water, leaving the top of the avocado seed exposed to air.

Fill it just enough to cover the bottom half of the seed!

Fill it just enough to cover the bottom half of the seed!

Once you have the toothpicks in place in the seed, all that’s left to do is prop it up over the soda bottle greenhouse that we made earlier, fill it with water (enough to cover the bottom half of the seed), and cover it up with the top of the soda bottle. When you’re all done, your new project should look something like what I have pictured below.

Both avocado seeds... We'll see which grows better soon!

Both avocado seeds… We’ll see which grows better soon!

I’m going to keep these out of direct light. An ideal location for me would be in the kitchen, so that’s where they’ll be for now. As mentioned before, all feedback and comments are appreciated, and will keep me going as far as this blog is concerned. Subscribe if you’re benefiting in any way, and be sure to stay tuned – my next blog will be about propagating mango plants from seeds!

An experiment in propagating avocado seeds – Part I

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

Not too long ago, a neighbor of mine started an avocado plant using the traditional method of starting the seed out in water by hovering it over a glass using toothpicks.  It came up in discussion whether or not it would be a good idea to germinate the seed inside of a makeshift greenhouse, while still using the same method. I decided to do some research on the subject, and came up with absolutely nothing in regard to propagating avocado seeds and covering them in a greenhouse-like environment. I decided that I should try it on my own – propagating two avocado seeds at the same time, one covered, and one not. Only time will tell as far as results go, so I’ll keep you updated as often as possible. I do not yet have my own mature avocado plant, so you’ll be here with me along the way to see all of the development.

Doing my part.

Doing my part.

I realized that I would have to make a little greenhouse of my own out of something laying around thehouse, and I decided that since I have a lot of recyclables under my sink in the cabinet, I would use plastic soda bottles – one for each seed – although I would only be covering one of them. The bottle you see in the picture to the right is a 20-ounce orange soda bottle that happens to be perfect for what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m going to show you step-by-step how to make one of these just in case you wanted to try this on your own. Remember – I have no idea how this will turn out, so forgive me in advance if it’s a total failure. I’m still learning a lot about plants and how they grow, and I suppose you’re here to learn something as well.

Make sure the knife is sharp enough.. you don't want it to slip and slice your fingers off!

Make sure the knife is sharp enough.. you don’t want it to slip and slice your fingers off!

The first thing I did was to cut the bottle, pretty much in half using a small paring knife (not the safest option, but I don’t have a decent pair of scissors available at the moment). I made the cut just below where the bottle starts to mushroom toward the top. The cut was far from perfect, so I used some crappy scissors to even it out after I was done.

Jagged edge

Jagged edge

The top portion of the bottle is what you’ll really want to focus on, seeing as how you’re going to need it to fit over the top of the bottom part of the bottle. This is what the top of your soda bottle should look like at this point, and you’re going to need to remove about a half inch off of the bottom with scissors. It is necessary to complete this step, because you’ll need the top to fit snugly over the bottom portion of the bottle.

"Fine tuned" with crap scissors...

“Fine tuned” with crap scissors…

After you’ve removed the bubbly bottom from the top portion of your bottle, it should look similar to the one in the picture to the left. At this point, go ahead and see how it fits over the bottom portion of the bottle. Does it? If the answer is “yes” then you’re still on track. There are still a few more steps, but we’re more than halfway there.

Rinse, repeat.

Rinse, repeat.

Clean thoroughly!

Clean thoroughly!

 

 

This is the point where you’ll want to thoroughly clean your bottle, paying special attention to the cap, getting rid of any hint of the fact that there was soda in there. I used running hot water and it seemed to do a pretty good job.

This is where your toothpicks will slip into. Lots of options!

This is where your toothpicks will slip into. Lots of options!

After I got the bottle and cap all clean, I let it dry a little so it would be easier to handle. I used the crappy scissors available to me to cut consummate “v’s” along the top of the bottom portion of the bottle. This is where your toothpicks will slip into when you put it all together. I do it this way to leave lots of options open, and so I don’t end up having to make more later on… I also figure it would be a bad idea to poke extra holes in avocado seeds just for the sake of making the toothpicks fit the bottle if it didn’t fit perfectly the first time.

Finished product.

Finished product.

After finishing these steps, you should have your new homemade greenhouse ready to go – especially suited for the experiment at hand. Here’s what mine looks like finished.

In part II of this blog, I’m going to use the two soda bottles to get the actual avocado seeds started. Subscribe to my blog, and stay tuned… Comments, of course, are appreciated, and will give me motivation to keep going with this blog! Feedback is a plus as well. See you on my next post – which is coming right away!

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