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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Wolves Changed The Yellowstone National Park

Let's have a break from our usual gardening blogs, and marvel at just how much nature can adapt to the presence of a wonderful and much maligned predator: the wolf.

Wolves have been gone from the Yellowstone National Park for more than 70 years. Because of this, the number of herbivores, specifically deer, have increased so much that vegetation became almost non-existent in the valley. But when the wolves came back to Yellowstone, a dramatic change is seen, starting from the food chain down to the geography of the park.

Wolves, though few in numbers, are effective hunters. With just a small pack, the wolves were able to control the number of deer in the park, giving the valley better opportunities for vegetation to grow. Since vegetation has started growing and trees have developed, beavers, birds, mice, rabbits, foxes and more have started to gather inside the park.

And remarkably, the diversified ecosystem has also changed the geography of the land. Rivers run in fixed courses, with several water spots suitable for animals to take their fill of much needed water.

It's amazing how nature can have wonderful changes with just the presence of one mighty predator. Watch the video and see just how dramatically the majestic wolf has changed the beautiful Yellowstone National Park.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Video Update: My Jalapeño Fruits

I now have several buds that will give me a satisfactory harvest. One bud (if I do this right) will be enough to make my salsa heat the room up with some flavor. I haven't watered the plant yet as it got quite a drenching yesterday. Now, the sun is shining brightly and I am patiently waiting for the fruits to mature. The big first one started from a flower that wilted August 11 (I think), so I am hoping a week more will be enough for a harvest.... but since the tip is still pointed, I guess I will just have to wait for 2 weeks more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Protection Against Monsoon

Aside from the anxiety over our house in Pasig, I am also fretting over the effects of the monsoon over my jalapeño. I have been planning on placing a tarp of some sort to help control the amount of water that is pouring in to the flower box, so I used some of the leftover plastic cover from my daughter's school supplies. I tied it up on top of the stake for the tomato plant, and sweeped it over the marigolds. I made sure that there is ample space for air to circulate through the plants, as I do not want pests and fungus to waste all my efforts on keeping my jalapeño flourishing. I already have 11 jalapeños to count, and I am greedy enough to want more.

Needless to say, this cover is only good against heavy rains. I need to figure out something to protect my jalapeño against heavy winds.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bokashi Composting

All Seasons Bokashi System
with bokashi bran
Bokashi composting takes home composting to a new level. A Japanese term meaning “fermented
organic matter” or “shading off,” bokashi uses live microorganisms to ferment food waste including meat and dairy into organic material that full of nutrients and microbes that are beneficial to organic gardens. Unlike regular kitchen composting, bokashi is an anaerobic method that will safely and effectively process kitchen wastes such as:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells
  • Prepared foods with no oil
  • *Meat
  • *Fish
  • *Bones
  • *Plant clippings
  • *Bread
  • *Eggs

*composted sparingly

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Food On Demand

Nothing is more satisfying visually than to see a garden flourishing with crops that will soon bring food at your table. The picture above shows a healthy and prolific bitter gourd (ampalaya in tagalog) overpowering the ornamentals that have been in the yard for a year. This crop is not mine, but planted by my in-law through her helper. If you look closely,  you will see just right off the center a moringa (malunggay) plant. If you walk through this jungle and jumble of plants,  you will be greeted by the most amazing fresh scent of bitter gourd.

Oregano vs Nematode

I am waging war against nematodes, and the best solution that I have unknowingly experienced is the Philippine oregano. With the flower boxes ignored for seveal years, the herb has made the soil unfit for nematode reproduction because it is resistant to the parasite like a rock.

The Philippine oregano grow like weeds in our area. Just stick it into the soil, drench it with water,  and it will grow like mad. And drenching the soil can also be a good thing for nematode control because the parasite cannot stand too much moisture

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Nematode Challenge

I have a huge, huge pot of soil that is severely infected with root knot nematode. I have seen my tomatoes and basil suffer through it, and even though they are both still alive and doing their best for me, I have to do the tough part: kill them off. It's mercy for them as they have been suffering for so long.

Here are the things that I plan to do:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Sensations Of Gardening

I am a nature lover by heart, but I have never appreciated how sensational plants can be until I became a gardener. I used to think that gardening is all visual and all the other senses do not come into play.

Things began to change when I planted crops along with herbs, plus the added time that I have for taking care of my garden. I can officially say that I am having a love affair with my garden.


I love look0ing at my plants. The visual display of colors is mesmerizing, and seeing my crops grow is such a marvel. Peeking beneath the flowers to see tomatoes slowly develop is such a thrill, and observing wilted leaves of my jalapeño plump up after watering was spectacular.

Monday, August 18, 2014

To Pinch, Or Not To Pinch

pinched jalapeño tops
pinched jalapeño tops
My morning ritual always starts with a visit to my garden. No matter how many times I've looked at my plants, every visit is like a new one. And the thing that I admire the most is my jalapeño peppers, especially the oldest of the baby fruits. Compared to the other jalapeños, I could tell that the first one is going to be special. Why? Because the other peppers are not as large as that baby.

However, I of course want the others to reach that size, and one of the ways I can do so is by pinching back jalapeño plant. I haven't done so since planting because the flowers are always falling off. Now that I have 6-8 young jalapeño fruits, I dare to pinch.

There are two sides on this debate on whether or not to pinch back jalapeño peppers: one group says yes, you should pinch back, another group says don't bother. Let's take a look at both groups

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How To Grow Jalapeño Peppers In Containers

Jalapeño plant
Welcome back to My Garden Haven! As promised, here's the section for how to grow jalapeño peppers in containers. Jalapeños are relatively easy to take care of once you have the right requirements, but can be challenging to grow in places that have cold temperatures and wet climates. However, those conditions should not discourage you. If you have started with basil, oregano, and other easy-to-grow herbs, it’s time to step things up a notch and grow peppers in your garden.

I got my seeds from Canada, and I went ballistic when I saw them in the balikbayan box that my mom sent in. I did the crazy pepper dance (whatever that is, I leave it for you to imagine) and plans start blooming in my head, all of them starting from salsa, enchiladas, and sauces – and I haven’t even planted the seeds yet. Crazy I know, but these thoughts really spurred me to growing jalapeño peppers on my balcony.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Jalapeño Buds

After so many flower drop-offs, I was finally rewarded with jalapeño peppers. These will be my first harvest, and I am guessing it will take about a week or two to mature with the rate that they are going.

The first pepper is 3-4 days old, with the 5th one jus emerging from the flower yesterday. With the coming of the peppers, my jalapeño plant will be going dormant in terms of flower production. But, as the saying goes, patience is a virtue.

Here's to hot days ahead.
posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Jalapeño

flower box plotI have been intrigued by jalapeños when I watched this episode of the Guinness Book of World Records where a man ate as many of these peppers in a stipulated time. Second time I got interested in it was when I ate a spicy squid dish at my favorite Chinese restaurant Mr. Ho in Canada. This pepper, unfortunately, is not sold in the Philippines – in seed or produce. If there is one, I am not within the market circle because my best shopping haven is the humble SM Supermarket.

I was ecstatic when my mom sent me a packet of jalapeño pepper seeds from Canada. There are so many varieties of jalapeños, and they can be pretty overwhelming to try out which one if you do not know what you want. The variety that I got, however, is the mild one - the mucho nacho jalapeno. I now regret not having a good photo for the seed packet. I never thought that I would be blogging again after so long.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Basil Problems

The first comment that I had with my blog was from someone asking for me to continue writing about what
Poorly maintained basil
to do when one encounters a problem with growing basil. Unfortunately, I don't know who that person is as the comment was made anonymously. I wish the reader left some information so that I could email him or her personally back then. I was so busy with my writing jobs that I had no time to update this blog.

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