Saturday, August 26, 2006

Satisfying Day in the "Garden"

I was surprised to find this stamp of a Sanseivieria plant.
Yesterday I got four seed packets, and some plants for a total of 80 pesos (about $7.20US). It still pleases me to get inexpensive plants here. Although I know that the only reason they are so cheap is they are being grown by peasants in bad working conditions. Guys making 50 or 60 pesos a day for long days and working with machetes and sticks mostly.

Anyway. Aside from my little guilt trip. The seed packets are very expensive here, about 15 pesos for very very few seeds. Sometimes the packets are mislabelled and the plants are either too dried out to germinate, or they aren't what the packets says they will be. Oh real, another adventure in Mexico.

I got artichoke, cacti, coleus and Serrano chile pepper seeds. I was going to share. Usually I take out half the seeds in each packet for me, and then tape up the packet to give to the next person that asks for one. You can buy packets of seeds in Las Varas, but it's not really a common thing to do. People enjoy studying the packets and looking at the pictures on the front. And usually they aren't success with growing seeds, but sometimes they are.

So, I planted all the seeds myself this morning. We'll see how they germinate. Coleus usually germinate quickly here. I tried to grow artichokes in the Zone 5 greenhouse,years ago, back in the US. The greenhouse was attached to the south side of the house, so I could try to warm the greenhouse in the winter. In those years we often had 15-20 below zero weather for short periods every winter. It's warmer there now and they changed the area to Zone 6. Scary days.

Anyway, artichokes are biennial, at least the seeds I had in the US were biennial. I ended up with three large plants in mid-October and wintered them over in the greenhouse, which took some doing. And I had big hopes for an small artichoke harvest. My Mom loved artichokes and she passed the taste for them onto me.

Then, in early spring, the weirdest thing happened. We found a peacock in one of the empty railroad cars they move grain in. They used to park the empty cars next to the highway for the winter, and we would go sweep out all the extra grain to take home for our chickens and turkeys. This peacock was jumped out of one of the cars and was limping along the road next to the tracks. It was very cold out, maybe zero degrees, so we scooped him up and brought him home. Wrapped in some gunny sacks. He was a full-sized male (big peacock tail) and was he mean!

The next morning I went into the nearby town to ask around about who had peacocks in the area. Got a phone number and called. They agreed to come get the bird, and I hurried home. While I was gone the kids, or a neighbor, or someone put the peacock in the greenhouse, and he trashed my poor artichokes. Oh well. That's life in the country.

Anyway, in addition to the seed packets I got five containers of plants. One pots of Sanseivieria
which was actually four nice sized plants, one Bird of Paradise, which I divided into three pots, and some more portulacas. A bunch of them. Different colors.

Very satisfying. Nice sunny hot day, not too humid. At least I only have a little sweat dripping off my forearms where they are touching the oilcloth on my computer table. And only the back of my tee shirt is wet from sweat. Last night I though we were going to be rain-free for the night, but it ended up raining most of the night. No storming though.

1 comment:

Christine said...

Wow! You're pretty brave about that heat!