Your family's gardening plans (with pics)

Time for something really off-topic!

Most BLF members are men, and men don't generally garden as much as women, or at least that's the stereotype in the U.S.

If your family gardens, what are your upcoming plans?

I'll start.

We live in the middle of a desert, but we have tons of plants.

My sister bought most of them, but we all like plants in our family.

The best time for us to get new plants (for us) is when summer ends because the summers here are brutal.

My mom wants to get some Crepe Myrtles.

They're a pretty common small tree in California.

My sister wants an Ocotillo.

They're pretty common in the California desert.

I'm looking to get several plants, all of them succulents.

I want a False Ocotillo to see which is a better plant, the real Ocotillo or the False.

I've seen them at the store, and online, but I've never noticed one anywhere else.

I also want an Aloe Hercules.

They're extremely tough to find online for purchase, but can occasionally be found growing in Southern California.

I've only seen one at the local zoo, which has many interesting plants.

Finally, I want some Lemon Bean Bushes.

They're easy to buy online, but I haven't seen them in person.

Feel free to comment on these plants...

And if your family gardens, what are your upcoming plans?

I once wanted to have a watermelon in a pot … It didn’t grow :cry:

About half of the plants that I get live, the others don't.

I used to have a bunch of carnivorous plants, but they have special requirements that I got sick of, so I don't grow them any more.

I remember this :laughing:

I was a kid then, and I really liked watermelons, so I thought: “It would be great to grow watermelon in pot in my room. What could possibly go wrong”. So I got pot, soil and watermelon seed. After some time it grow at about 30 cm plant, but then I thought: “There is hot outside, I’ll bring my lovely watermelon on the balcony”. And then it was attacked by small white…I don’t know what that was, but it sticked to my lovely watermelon and it died… :cry:

It must have been so painful, because I remember it till now

I found an onion that actually started to sprout in the drawer where I keep onions, potatoes, etc. Finally planted it, figured, “ooh, fresh onions…”, and after staying alive for a few weeks, it just upped and died like someone flicked a switch.

Then again, when the company gave out an assortment of plants, each in a coffee-cup-sized pot, mine was/is a Spotted Croton. Started out as just 2 leaves sticking up outta the dirt, but after I replanted it (twice) into larger pots, it’s still growing and thriving. Got about 2 dozen leaves now and is about 1’ high and 1.5’ across.

So… it’s hit or miss. I’m lucky if I can keep potted plants alive. Killed an aloe vera plant with /too much/ tlc (and water). Roots must’ve rotted.

We have plenty of Aloe Vera on our property.

I think the leaves of Aloe Hercules are very similar to the leaves of Aloe Vera.

One nickname for A.H. is Dr. Seuss Tree because it's so weird.

We just want a plant that the cut ants won’t CUT/ KILL and haul off to make their fungus. Last week, they completely wiped out our aloe vera garden at entrance to house :rage: :rage: :rage: :exclamation:

So far, we can’t plant anything that they don’t eventually go for. Cactus maybe?

I'll ask my sister.

She might know.

Would it be possible to get rid of the ants?

We’ve battled cut ants for the past 35 years. At one time, there was a bait available put out by Dupont. It was called VOLCANO. It REALLY worked.

But then, there came the problem of getting an EPA label for it. Couple million dollars of govermental red tape and then Poof… VOLCANO was no more.

All you can do now is deter them. But, that has proven to be an arduous and frustrating task to say the least.

Cut ants are a machine. Without an effective control bait, they rule.

Side Note. I did a lot of reading on cut ants over the years. I recently found on a Mexican forum that they use shaving cream to deter. So I tested by taking a couple of produce containers, (strawberry carton, mushroom carton etc), cutting a slit in them and wrapping around trunk of some pepper plants, filled with shave cream and they did NOT want anything to do with it.

Effective on trunked/single stem plants, but difficult to maintain succulents and other shrubbery. Shave cream deters, but what a PITA to deal with application.

I have also found that scented baby powder spread upon their trails messes up the pheromone scent they use to navigate. Works for a few days. But….“They’ll Be Back”

We've had our own problems with ants on our property.

What we did was contact the entomology department at the closest university.

After sending them some sample ants through the mail, they knew exactly what to use to get rid of our troublesome ants.

I don't know what research you have done for your ant problem, but that was how we got to our solution.

Diatomaceous earth (DE).

It’s like broken glass to insects. They walk through it, it scratches their waxy coating, and they ooze out and dehydrate to death. That’ll learn ’em…

I feed a few outside cats here, right on the front stoop, and ants will find the food and make their way up and into it. Disgrossting. Dusting the edges of the stoop with DE, and sprinkling it in the “garden” next to the stoop, and they stop coming.

Looks like crap if you do it right, like a bakery exploded and dumped flour all over the place, but it works.

We plant about one acre garden every year. We have/had peppers, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, okra, onions, squash, and melons this year. The weather has killed just about everything but the okra so far. First months of spring it just about flooded us, so far this summer it’s been dry and super hot. What didn’t drown has burnt up.

learn something new EVERY day.

I wish I’d just taken pictures at the garden I just returned from. A friend is out of town for awhile and asked us to go by periodically and pick fruit. Peaches, apples, plums, tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, cherrie tomatoes, basil, citrus, flowers, and other stuff I’m not sure what it is. Its a bonanza over there, probably a 1/4 acre of just herbs and edibles.

This time the fruits mostly gone, so just basil, tomatoes, peppers and apples. Just . . . . :smiley:

We are planning on updating our landscaping, would love to have ocotillo, not sure it its hot enough in SB for that though?


I got a hold of my sister.

She will look up cut ants.

We have cottontail and jackrabbits here, and they eat some of our plants.

She thought they would leave cactus alone, but they do not.

Maybe ants would leave cactus alone, but I wouldn't bet on it.

The DE you’d buy in home’n’garden stores likely has additives (<1%) to make it more effective against bugs, but there’s actually food-grade DE which, yeah, people can (and do) eat.

It’s basically just shells of sea-critters (literally, diatoms) that sank to the bottom and fossilised over time. Gets scooped out with backhoes, purified, and sold.

According to this website...

...Ocotillo will grow in Oakland.

I think that if it'll grow in Oakland, it'll grow in Santa Barbara.

Ocotillo is very pokey, though, so you have to be careful where you plant it.


I looked up Ocotillo in my Western Garden Book, and it says it will not grow in Santa Barbara.

Thanks for the feedback RC, I suspected it would not grow well here, just not hot enough. But Oakland ! ! !

Here’s a picture of today’s harvest

Hungry… hungry… hungry…

I built my wife a new garden this year. Slightly raised, filled it in with about 8 tons of new topsoil.

We usually tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, carrots, radishes, sweet peas, gourds, etc. Also tried lettuce, cabbage, and strawberries this year. Also have raspberries, rhubarb, and apples.

Very nice! :+1: