Unplanned Parenthood

I recently signed up to track visitor statistics on SiteMeter, so it shows who visits when, how they got here, how long they stay, all that fun stuff. When Google is involved, it shows the search terms used to reach whatever post someone clicked on. The top few posts are Marigold, Not Mary Jane, for those folks who search for ways to grow pot indoors; Tomato Towers, for the people who are looking for condos to buy or for information on growing tomatoes indoors; and Am I A Good Father?, for all those parents desperately searching for answers. I kind of feel bad for those guys who are looking for help but all they find is ramblings about humidity and soil pH. But I find it incredibly interesting to see how people phrase Google search terms. So it's a toss-up.

But, that's neither here nor there. I woke up late today, so I didn't get to the farmers' market until almost 1 PM. I didn't buy much, because I had received an e-mail last night about this shopping locally "block party" going on in Silver Spring from 1 to 4, and I wanted to save my money for potential purchases there. The e-mail that Kathy Jentz, editor of the Washington Gardener magazine, sent out said that there would be plants for sale. I said, "Done, I'm there!"

And by plants for sale, she apparently meant "plants for peanuts!" I bought a 4-inch pot of "rhizomatous begonias," another begonia ("Tiger Kitty," which looks exactly like my "Little Darling." I'm trying to redeem myself), a pregnant onion plant (Ornithogalum caudatum), and a prayer plant (Maranta sp. [M. leuconeura v. erythroneura?]) for a whopping total of $7. So, the only problem with that is that plants bought from nurseries often have hitchhikers... And they are what really lead to spending the big bucks.

To start, here's something I didn't pay for--I was weeding at the arboretum yesterday, and I came across this canna lily seedling. It wasn't an eggplant, so I had to remove it. This picture is from the walk back to the metro--it now has more soil and is looking not quite dead. I hope it will be amenable to growing in my apartment, as I have no room for it at Mr. Yogato!

These rhizomatous begonias didn't originally look like this. Anyway, they were $2--I basically have almost a dozen plants from that single purchase!

This is the reason the rhizomatous begonias are in a plastic drainage tray instead of in the pot I bought them in. I saw a slug dangling on a string from one of the leaves. Gah! I removed the begonias, dumped the soil, rinsed 'em thoroughly, and re-"potted" them (see above). This is only temporary--once they get over the initial shock (and once I buy a dozen little pots and more soil), they'll be going into more semipermanent homes. And gods, I hope I can find some people to take them off my hands, too.

This Tiger Kitty looks exactly like my Little Darling (except much healthier!). I am going to bring it to the office to see if it works out--I have hope that Little Darling will survive, but just in case, I want a backup.

I couldn't pass this up. I have done so well with my South African squill that I thought I should get this, too--while reading up on my squill, I came across posts by people who said they called their squills pregnant onion, so it sparked my interest in this plant. It came already with three little babies, which I stuck in some soil in a small seed-starting pot thing. It also came with some Kalanchoe daigremontiana, from the plant sitting next to it. Those I also potted (separately!), although we'll see how separate they stay.

I absolutely adore plants with red or purple in them. I have been checking out bigger versions of these at gardening centres for a few months, but I didn't want to pay $10 or $15 for 4-inch plants. This is actually three separate plants in the same pot--when potting on, I think I will try to separate them. I love the colours of these leaves; hopefully the plants will survive my care!

If nothing else, at least this plant had a beneficial tag-along. It's blurry, but that in the middle? It's a tiny spider! (Not a spider mite, clearly--those ended up taking out the arugula tray and are going crazy with the snap peas. Gah!) I'm going to let this guy stick around--he will have some wonderful meals in my apartment!

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5 Responses to Unplanned Parenthood

  1. Great buys!

    That is the downside of buying plants; those nasties like slugs or aphids. It is why I've really limited that practice and I quarantine the heck out of everything in special outdoor locations (which I know you're limited on). Now I'm enamoured of growing from seed or rooting from more easily cleaned cuttings.

  2. that's really funny about the "Am I a good father?" hits...I too just signed on to a tracker, but the only strange thing I have gotten so far is a bunch of hits from Kingston, Jamaica....could it be the same people hitting your blog for the Mary-Golds, lol....?

  3. Glad you could make the sale at the Buy Local SS event yesterday. Allthe Beltsville Garden Club plants there were raised in their green house by volunteers so should be pretty clean. My worst experiences have been cheap supermarket purchases that brought in spider mites and fungal gnats. Lesson learned there.

  4. You won't replant the begonia corm too deep, will you? Half out of the soil is usually recommended. Don't take my word for it, but check it out. And a clay pot possibly, with lots of watering to keep the sides damp.

    I am so sick of hitchhikers as you call them. I have to quarantine anything I buy for at least six months before they can go inside a greenhouse.

  5. I think the slug could have come from the ground--that's where the begonia was sitting before I bought it. But the spider had been there for a while, it had a nice web goin'.

    Christy, I generally like to start my own things from seed, too--it's more, mmm, personal that way. You get to watch your children grow from infant to toddler to RAGING REBELLIOUS TEENAGER. But sometimes I just want instant gratification.

    Erin, ha! I haven't had anyone from Jamaica... The mary jane hits that I get are all from continental U.S. I imagine high school kids trying to grow something in their closet at home. I figure people in Jamaica already know how to do it, and probably wouldn't need to do it indoors, eh?

    WashingtonGardener (Kathy?), I am exquisitely happy with my BGC purchases! You were right, they undercut market value. I'm not complaining. :-D I am just glad I noticed the tag-alongs before they spread (like the spider mites, aphids, and fungus gnats that I'm still battling). Although I hope the spider does well--I need as much help as I can get, and spiders are the only creep crawlies I will allow in my house.

    Auntie Jo, I promise, I'll take good care of my begonias (except for Little Darling). But I will never quarantine a plant for six months! Besides, the only place to do that is my bathroom, and I need that for bathrooming.



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