ME, Myself and I: Gardening, Sort Of

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I’ve always loved gardening, when I was little I used to spend hours in the greenhouse helping my dad to plant the seeds and even now on good days when it’s time to plant these seedlings out into the garden I help a bit, mainly with the beans and tying the poles but it still feels like helping. The only thing is that most of the time gardening seems to involve a lot of bending and, although it doesn’t seem like it should, it seems to be quite energy intensive when it comes to growing things from scratch. In the future I want to be able to grow vegetables and fruit, I’m tempted to try strawberries as they’re something that’s never succeeded for us and I’d love to eat home grown strawberries. At the moment I’m sticking with the low maintenance ones as I don’t want to be part way through looking after a plant and then have a bad patch and end up killing it by mistake as I don’t have the energy to water it or plant it out when I’m meant to.

I don’t know what it is about cactuses (apparently that’s a word and feels better to say than cacti for me) but I really like them and they seem to like it here as I haven’t had one die on me yet. I also love that they’re very low maintenance, or at least the ones I’ve had are, I just have them on my windowsill, water them every couple of months and they seem to thrive. I end up with a nice looking plant and something that decorates my room and it’s something I can do even on my bad days if it’s time for watering. I guess calling a couple of the ones I have cactuses isn’t right, there’s one that’s definitely a succulent and one that I’m unsure of as it seems to be a bit of a half and half, I’ll explain that one later.

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Before the planting, on a day when it was actually sunny in the UK

 

For the past year or so I’ve been meaning to try and sort out the plants I have, one of them was looking worse for wear as it got too tall and gangly and didn’t even do that well with the supports we made. The others I picked were the little spiky branch that grew off the side of my half and half so I wanted to see what it would turn out like and little plants that had grown themselves from a succulent mum was given as a gift. We also tried one from another succulent my grandparents had that was dying and seemed to decide it liked it here as it’s now two very big, tall plants in pots with lots of little ones that have started to grow within its spiky leaves where they join the middle.

I did end up buying specific cactus compost as I wanted to give these the best chance at survival and it seemed like this was the best option. I also lined the bottom of each of the pots with some gravel from the garden, with the exception of the Oddish one simply because I forgot so we’ll see how well that works out compared to those with the pebbles. I did a post about the Oddish and Bulbasaur plant pots a while ago, you can find it here, though I’m not using the Bublasaur yet, I’m planning on using the Echeveria in that so it’ll be a case of waiting and seeing how well that works out. One thing I did notice about the Oddish that I couldn’t comment on before was the small holes that go down the legs didn’t leak even when I made sure the plant was well watered and damp to start with.

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I’ve had to look these plants up online, apart from one which still has the Ikea label on it, so I’m not 100% sure on the names, I’m going by a best guess. The first one I got was the purple succulent, I think it’s an Echeveria so I’m going to guess it’s a Purple Pearl (these are some search results for what it’s meant to look like). This one was the gangly one that got moved to the porch because it suddenly wasn’t happy in my room and then it seemed to get even less happy there and the leaf area shrunk so I looked online with how you can get new plants from this and tried a few methods. The first was to cut off parts of the ‘trunk’ area, lay them on the soil and keep them moist for roots to grow, there already were roots in parts so I picked a nice alive looking part and took three sections of this. I then tried a similar thing with just the head and that’s getting sprayed, the third I just planted the end like a flower because it worked in the past for other similar plants for my parents so I thought I’d give it a go. I was going to try the method where you pick individual leaves off and spray the ends of them but they were so small and not that solid feeling so I didn’t think it would work. I’m probably going to be told I’m wrong by someone now, I don’t know that much about these plants. I am crossing my fingers for these but in the past week there are roots growing on the little parts of cut stem so I’m optimistic for them.

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The second plant is one I bought from Ikea and, conveniently, it’s still got the price sticker on it. It’s called Euphorbia Lactea, I’m pretty sure it’s a Cristata looking at the Google pitures. This one is, apparently, two different plants. The bottom part is unknown though it looks like a standard cactus and there’s an obvious cut near the top where the Euphorbia lacteal is inserted, at least that’s how I understand it. I think the base is also a form or Euphorbia Lactea but I have no idea which. This one is a pure experiment but I removed the little arm that was growing and planted it in a pot with cactus compost. I have no idea what this one will look like but it’s working as there are two tiny shoots of roots coming out of it now.

 

Trying to decide which of these looks best for my Oddish plant pot #pokemon #plants

A photo posted by Rhiannon (@thoughtfulpigeon) on Feb 26, 2016 at 1:16pm PST

 

The last ones I did were the unknown succulents, though I’m going to guess they’re both from the same family as they seem to be very similar. I did spend a while on Google trying to work these ones out but I don’t really know, does anyone else know what these might be?succulents5 I have a photo on Instagram of these two next to each other, the full sized version, as I mainly chose to do this one for my little Oddish plant pot. I decided on the one that hasn’t grown upwards and seems to have many smaller plants rather than the huge ones from the other variation but we did give one of them a go in the plant pot. These I just carefully pulled out some of the smaller plants from the edges of the pot they were in and planted in the flower pots individually. We’ve had a lot of success with the one kind doing this before, the one we only planted one of this time, but have never tried with the other so I’m crossing my fingers for this one too.

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I’m going to also include my little cactus garden my parents bought me when I graduated as I really like it and it shows that you can get some that are already arranged in a way that makes it look like a mini garden with gravel. These are available in most garden centres I’ve been to and probably other gift shop type stores but garden centres are a safe bet for having a range of cactuses and succulents at a stage where they just need watering every so often. This one has been watered twice in the past four months and seems to be doing OK, I might have to change that slightly in the summer and I’ll see what it grows like but it shows that you really don’t want to water them too much, I’ve tended to find that over watering can cause more damage than under watering and a lot of them will recover pretty well if they dry out and you just add water to them. This may just have been luck or the specific types of plant I have, I’m not recommending it, you’ll probably be able to tell if you’re watering yours too much or too little if you keep an eye on it.

I’m possibly going to do something like this mini garden with the Echeveria if it doesn’t get back its original size leaf wise and include the Euphorbia and a succulent, just keep an eye on them. We also have a couple of really nice Money Trees I’m possibly going to get a cutting from and try and see if I can grow one of them but keep it small, at the moment ours are pretty big and we seem to have gained another as we have a small Money Tree that somehow started to grow in a small area of soil outside where a climbing plant used to live.

This year we are also growing vegetables and I’m helping a bit again, at the moment it’s mainly spraying the seedlings to help them to grow when they’re in the conservatory and sometimes carrying them to the greenhouse in the day to help them become more hardy. I do miss properly gardening, even the more boring parts like weeding seem like they’d be fun to me now. I think next year I might get a small box for my windowsill and see if I can grow something in there, even herbs or something small, probably something edible as there’s something satisfying about being able to eat something you’ve grown. If not then flowers are good too and will help brighten up my room when I have my curtains open.

Do you guys grow anything? Is there anything fairly low maintenance that you could recommend? Now I’ve started to do these things with the succulents I’m actually considering growing something small myself though it seems like I may be a bit late. We already have quite a few fruit and veg, I might try radish as I think I remember them being easy and always so tasty, or maybe carrots though they were harder, though I don’t know if they’d do well indoors but if they do then they would be free from pests which always seemed to get to them before we did!

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