Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!

Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!
Deep in the Lair of the Perpetually Curious Fox

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The rise of the Ents ....

Decided that it is the right time to start some seeds for the summer vegetables and herbs.

But first, lets have a look at how some of the indoor, overwintered plants survived.

Dioscorea elephantipes (Hottentot's Bread; Elephant's Foot vine)

It overwintered just fine! Although the growth has slowed greatly over the winter. It still has the same two leaves it had in the summer, but the caudex has swollen appreciably! Hopefully it will vine out more this spring.

Notice the swollen caudex with slight indication of the unique "Elephant foot" scales on the top. Caudex has grown form just under 0.5mm to 0.7mm in the winter. Getting more sun now, hopefully it'll vine out more!
Cereus forbesii spiralis

For some reason, this strain grows faster than the other cacti I have. Starting to show the identifiable characteristic of "spiraling" of the thorn line. I wonder if it'll take anti-clockwise sense.

Crassula ovata (Jade plant) and mutant strain "Gollum"

Crassula ovata is growing happily, but slowly, in the cake container LOL
Gollum fares very well indoors. He has doubled in size since I first got him in July.
Lavandula officianalis/angustifolia (Lavender var English)

I haven't checked to see how his outdoors compatriots overwintered under all the snow ... but the indoor chap has gone to "hibernation" mode. Still alive, but no new growth whatsoever over the winter months.

Rosa chinensis (Miniature rose, angel wings)

I'm surprised at how well this plant over wintered indoors. There's been plenty new growth even under the rather pathetic, inadequate grow lighting. No flowers, but lots of new canes. Slight case of rust though. Need more sun. This particular plant is a weirdo just like me. Eventhough all the canes came from the same seed, each cane produces different coloured roses! Teeny weirdo.

Nepeta cataria (catnip)

Looking really leggy and weedy for now, but it survived the cool basement temperature and inadequate lighting. Hopefully it'll bloom and seed again! The cats love it, the bees bumbles around it, and I love making tea out of the fresh leaves. It's a mint relative, so it is useful ... if you can drink the tea without the cats fighting you for it!

Gymnocalycium mihanivichii spp var friedrichii (moon cactus)

Unfortunately his cousin, var hibotan (orange moon cactus), did not survive the winter. Friedrichii is doing well though. I hope I can induce flowering so I can get some mutant seeds.

Now for the newcomers ...

Mesclun salad mix

Seedlings poking their first sunleaves out of the soil. Mesclun is not a species name, rather, it is a combination of different species in a french style green leaves salad.

Ipomea batatas (sweet potato, ubi keledek, ube jalar)

This plant will always remind me of my grandmother, for she has an endless supply of high quality greens growing in her garden, and prominently the sweet potato bushes and vines. Contrary to local belief, Ipomea batatas is NOT a local of South East Asia but was brought from the South America by traders, and naturalised well in the hot and humid equatorial tropics of Asia.

As the name implies, it is a cousin of the morning glory, and indeed the sweet potato vines are usually sold as ornamental plants ... and the wonderful sweet tubers and nutritious leaves are often ignored by the modern gardener.

Rooting the tuber in a jam jar filled with water. Some new roots have come out!
Hopefully it'll produce some healthy slips to start a hanging vine garden for the swing!
Capsicum frutescens var Scotch Bonnet

I have a fondness for peppers of all sorts. Hopefully these seeds will germinate, flower and fruit before growing season ends.


  1. Your post reminded me how much I loved Dioscorea elephantipes and wanted to grow one. Actually, I'd settle for just seeing a nice, fat, mature caudex in person.

    I love this post because you have a little bit of everything I like growing in it.

    1. I'm going to start rubbing the seeds out of the dried amaranth sprays today and plant some. They are quite temperature sensitive though, will only germinate if ambient temp is higher than 15 deg C (above 60 F), however these seeds are from plants that actually survived cool mountain nights, so maybe there's some mutants amongst them!