Saturday, March 16, 2013

A visit to Busch Gardens

It was a cold, rainy day when I finally made it to Busch Gardens in Tampa. However, all the shows I got to see were a lot of fun, and soon it stopped sprinkling and warmed up enough  for me to enjoy the Sky Ride, the Treetop Trails and Serengeti Railway.

Due to the weather one would expect less visitors but the park was quickly filling up throughout the morning and non-existing long lines to get to all the attractions do not bother me at all. I wish I took a few more videos because some of the African animals put up quite a show. But I took enough photos to put together a nice 2.5 minute video above. It will give you a taste of the place, well worth visiting.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recycled sweet onion

I've been growing plants all of my life, from seeds and seedlings, by layering, dividing, from cuttings and pits. I've witnessed grafting and I've always been interested in testing a new growing method myself. Yet, growing vegetables from scraps is new to me. For years I've been composting all the kitchen scraps, even my grandmother did that, but never thought of growing a new plant from a leftover that usually gets discarded.

But, being a curious cookie that I am, I decided to test if a scrap can grow into a food, as soon as possible. Most every source on the topic suggests to put scraps in water. I guess I haven't really read the description carefully enough because when I first used a sweet onion for dinner, I went out and pressed the cut bottom straight into the soil of the nearest planter.

Can you imagine my disappointment when the next day I found out that the root bottom of my onion was supposed to be submerged in the water - in order to regrow?

Luckily I don't give up very easily so I kept carefully watering my misplaced scrap of onion with watering can every day. The surface of the scrap was leveled with the soil and it looked fresh for a week - until one morning, I discovered the first signs of growth!

That was very exciting - especially since it happened pretty much by mistake. I'm pretty sure that keeping the growing media moist all the time was a big part of my unexpected success which encouraged me to plant another onion scrap in the same large planter. 

Two days after I took the first photo (above), the growth of new sweet onion greens is now obvious and very encouraging. I have no idea if a new onion will grow from these scraps - or all I can expect are some onion greens, delicious in salads.

What I do know is that I am about to find out how far scraping for food can go and that I'll probably plant every vegetable leftover from now on.

By the way, in the meantime I submerged another onion scrap in water with no success. There were no roots on the bottom and no growth on the top of the leftover.

Photo above: my recycled sweet onion scrap 12 days after it was planted. My first vegetable scrap, growing into a food... yay!! :)

Sur La Table Onion Holder (Google Affiliate Ad)

I promise to update this post later on - with the progress and final result of this growing experiment. Bear with me, please.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to kill bugs without poison

LavenderImage via Wikipedia
How to kill bugs - or how to keep them at bay - has probably been an important question since the dawn of the humankind.

It still is and as going green is becoming more and more powerful trend by the day, no-poison methods are consequently sought after, used and appreciated more than ever.

Video below provides quite a few ways to kill bugs without using any kind of chemical poison.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

You can grow African violets

The rights to distribute newly discovered African violet plant (Saintpaulia ionantha) were first sold to the German company, Ernst Benary, in 1893. A year later, this Seed company provided seeds to the Harris Seed Company in Philadelphia.

The real popularity of African violets in this county began after 1927 when the Armacost and Royston Nursery in Los Angeles released a number of hybrids including ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Sailor Boy.’ Through the first chain-store venture in plant selling, Woolworth & Co. distributed these new hybrids throughout the U.S., making African violet famous nationwide.

crocheted african violet

Photo Crocheted African violet - courtesy of planetjune

Now, let's take a look at how to make your African violets grow large and bloom profusely. There are a few rules to follow:

  • grow them in highly organic potting mix
  • keep the potting mix uniformly moist
  • during the active growth period plants must be fertilized regularly with a balanced African Violet Plant Food
  • since they are tropical plants, African violets should not be exposed to the temperatures below 55 degrees F

  • the most important requirement is light: an African violet should not be exposed to the full sun. In winter, they would most likely do best on the east window of your home and in summer, north window should do.

For watering, some growers use various wick watering systems. I just water my African violets when the soil really dries out. When all the conditions above are manged correctly, your plants are very likely to produce 3 flushes of blooms in a year.

African Violet
Photo African Violet - courtesy of sallysue007

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Growing African Violets Under the Full-Spectrum Fluorescent Light Bulb Light

African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) was discovered by Baron Walter Von Saint Paul in 1892. He found that precious little plant about an hour from Tanga on the nowadays border of Tanzania and Kenya.


Photo African Violet courtesy of Betsy J...

The baron soon took in that the plant was different. So he decided to send some specimens to his father in Germany. He revealed son's find with a botanist at Royal Botanic Garden in Hanover.

Botanist's name was Herman Wendland, and he realized that the plant was new to science. He named the genus after the Saint Paul family "Saintpolia" and coined the species name "ionantha" which in Latin means "violet like."

Since, African Violets quickly made their way to become the most popular blooming houseplant in the world. They are easy to grow by following a few simple rules.

Photo above: African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) grown from leafs

These are the African violets I grew from four leaves (for the first time ever) with no special care except watering when the soil looked dried out (as on the photo). I'm assuming that full spectrum light would enable anyone to grow plants indoors year-round even though your home has no place with ideal natural light conditions.

The full spectrum light bulbs are no longer very expensive (one of the best prices you find at the website below - click on the link and find out for yourself!), they save energy and have several more benefits which I'll be writing about in my next post.

You Can Grow African Violets: The Official Guide Authorized by the African Violet Society of America, Inc.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

My birthday flower bouquet

I got up this morning (on my birthday) and walked around the house with my camera. Then I took a photo of every bloom that I was able to find, to capture beauties for my very own birthday flower bouquet - that will last for ever.

Here's a quick tour of the April blossoms from my yard... :)

Photo above: Red Dianthus (smells beautiful!) and blue Petunias. Stunning combination and it took me quite a few shots to get the colors right. As the petunias produce more and more blooms, the contrast will become even more eye-catching.

Photo above: Blue wildflowers that sprouted this spring in our front yard without an invitation. I plan on pulling  them out as soon as they stop blooming but at the moment they look very nice, I like seeing them every day and taking photos of them was fun. Have no idea what they are called, though.

Photo above: Blue/purple petunias used as a companion plant to orange/peach tea rose. The combination of flower colors and foliage is striking.

Photo above: White-edged petunias blooms look like they are floating in the air and have no stems. They make me smile every time I see them... :)

An important update: Last night we had quite a storm with high winds and pouring rain - and it lasted for hours. While some of my petunias' blooms look battered, this white-edged petunia looks as cheerful and beautiful as always!

Photo above: Blue/purple petunias open up in really dark, royal blue color and then slowly fade to almost lavender tone. When sunlit, red hues are noticeable and every flower looks like unique piece of art.

Photo above: Peace lily can be an indoor or outdoor plant in Florida. As houseplants, they have an admiring reputation as one of the best indoor air cleaning plants.

Photo above: Blooming onion chives, an herb I never run out of. This past winter when we had record low temperatures, chives didn't mind them one bit. It stayed green and cheerful and kept growing throughout the cold season. My chives do best in the large planter next to the tea rose.

Photo above: One of the plants I most care about - red rose Barbra Streisand, birthday gift from my mom a few years back. It doesn't bloom too much so every bud brings happy expectation and I keep checking every day to when the bloom will open. At the moment it has three buds and that has not happened ever before... :)

Photo above: My red Amaryllis started blooming on my birthday and I very much enjoy these large, graceful, colorful blooms and every year take quite a few pictures since they don't last very long in our Florida heat.

So this is my birthday bouquet. There are actually more blooming plants around my house but not all of the photos were good enough for publishing. Certain colors just don't come out right when the sun is too bright and since I am not a professional photographer, I depend on some luck with my shots... :)


Friday, April 16, 2010

Farmer cheese recipe

I bought some farmer cheese and nobody wanted to eat it. I wouldn't be me if I didn't have an idea how to use it, though.

Here's what I made with it.

  • about 2 tbs of farmers cheese
  • about 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • some powdered paprika
  • some fresh thyme
  • some fresh parsley
  • some fresh chives
Then I mixed all the ingredients up and ate this deliciously tasting spread with home baked bread. Yummy!!! :)

This is what my masterpiece looked like:

Photo above: Farmer cheese recipe

I am not the kind of person to follow the recipes. I prefer to invent my own, and they are always different because I like to use things that I grow around the house.

Therefore, thyme, chives and parsley could be replaced with finely chopped onions or scallions and any kind of fresh herb or edible flowers you happen to have at home. Add more of the one you like best and keep playing with colors, textures and tastes.

One last thing. Chew long and well - to get the most benefits out of all of those fresh herbs. You'll feel like you're in heaven... :)


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vegetable Gardening With Children

Here's a video of a fun vegetable gardening project with children. They sure look like they enjoyed preparing garden beds and planting very much... :)


Friday, March 26, 2010

Non toxic cleaners vs. toxic cleaners

  • when you place food on the countertop, cleaned with surface cleaner that claims to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria, those "killing chemicals" can be absorbed in your food
  • ammonia from the glass cleaners lingers in the air for a long time after it's been used, irritates the respiratory system and pollutes the air we breathe
  • moth balls contain registered carcinogen - naphthalene
  • according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers chlorine bleach is on the very top of the list of chemicals that cause poisonings

House Hold Cleaners

Daria's World - blog about people and things that matter the most

Daria's World - blog about people and things that matter the most