Archive for March, 2018

Repeat Blooming Orchids

I have a small collection of 5 orchid plants. They are growing in our indoor sun room where they receive some early morning sunlight and some late afternoon sunlight. One of them is about 10 years old. Three of the others are 3-5 years old. Each of them has bloomed many times, even though I haven’t fertilized them in several years. They typically generate 1 or 2 flower stems once a year, but the flowers last for months.

Orchid care has been pretty easy. I water them every 2-3 weeks by taking them outside and spraying them with a hose. Orchids hate standing water, so I make sure to let all of the water in the pots drain away before taking them back inside. I no longer soak them in a sink full of water. Other than watering, orchids don’t seem to need fertilizer or any other special care to generate repeat blooms.

Two of my orchids are in bloom now:

March 19 2018 | Orchids | No Comments »

Purple Cauliflower

I like to experiment with new vegetable varieties. Last year, I decided to grow cauliflower for the first time. White cauliflower is available in most grocery stores, so I thought it would be fun to grow purple cauliflower, which I have never seen in a grocery store.

Last March, I purchased and planted seeds of two purple cauliflower varieties, Purple Of Sicily Cauliflower and Mulberry Cauliflower. After thinning and transplanting the seedlings, I grew about 6 plants of each variety. Both varieties grew into very large plants and produced large crowns of cauliflower, much bigger than typical broccoli crowns. After more than 4 months of growth, I harvested the cauliflower crowns in mid-July. The crowns of the Mulberry cauliflowers were very large and were a beautiful, bright purple color. One of these is shown in the picture below.

Unfortunately, both varieties of cauliflower got attacked by aphids, even though I had most of them covered with mosquito netting. They managed to get under the netting, because it wasn’t tightly secure around the beds. The Purple of Sicily cauliflower crowns were nearly covered with aphids. Although still edible, most of the crowns were not appetizing to eat.

Some of the Mulberry cauliflower crowns were mostly aphid free. I roasted them in the oven, because I really enjoy the taste of roasted white cauliflower. However, even after 30 minutes of roasting at 375 degrees, the crowns were still tough, chewy, and not appetizing, even though they had browned at the tips. They were nothing like roasted white cauliflower, which I have cooked many times. I still don’t know what went wrong with the consistency of the purple cauliflower being so tough. One theory I have is that I harvested them too late. They might have been more tender a few weeks earlier when the crowns were smaller. Other possibilities are that the heat of summer or failing to cover the crowns with the leaves (blanching) made them tough. Many sources assert that cauliflower is best in the fall.

March 14 2018 | Cauliflower | No Comments »