Growing a Birdhouse

Birdhouse Seeds

Birdhouse Seeds

Though we were out of room in our planter boxes, we went ahead and tucked in a few of these Gourd hard-shelled birdhouse seeds. They were too cool to pass up.

Botanical Interests gourd heirloom seeds grow into the birdhouse shape on the left. When dried, they last indefinitely. Gourds can be carved, painted or drilled. I sure hope we can grow at least one. We have two viable plants, each about 18 inches long. The packet says the vines can grow an astonishing 15′ (5 meters) to 35′(11 meters) long.

The pumpkin vines are about a month ahead in the growing cycle, so as those vines give the last push towards ripening, the gourd vines will have lots of room to grow.

Here are a few pointers on birdhouses:

  • Drill the hole for the size of the intended bird and not a speck more. This prevents predatory birds from following the mama bird indoors. The entrance hole should be high enough that the mama bird can line her nest and still protect her young from view.
  • Likewise, the  perch often shown on commercially produced birdhouses is not only unnecessary, but again allows a predator a place to perch and peer in.
  • Drill a small hole in the bottom of the birdhouse to allow for drainage.

Fingers crossed!

Gourd Vines

Gourd Vines

Catnip: Intoxicating Perennial

Catnip Seeds

Not all cats like catnip. (Not everyone likes chocolate either, to my dismay). In my own personal experience, however the vast majority of  felines take some pleasure from this fragrant herb.  My cat Estare literally drooled the first time I introduced it.  He rubbed his little chin through the crushed leaves, over and over again.   His brother liked it okay, but for Estare it was an experience.  Our current passel of kitties also enjoy it.  We have a few handmade cat toys, sewn by our local vet and  I buy loose-leaf nip as well. It seems to relax, intoxicate or invigorate, depending on the mood.

I planted catnip several years ago and  enjoyed watching it grow into a magnificent plant.  I didn’t know it would produce such pretty little flowers or that it would grow so large.  It filled most of the space below the lemon tree, supplying us with fresh leaves for a year.  Unfortunately the lemon tree split in two during a storm.  When we removed the damaged tree, the catnip went along with it.  I never got around to planting it again.

Earlier this year Unleashed by Petco passed out a catnip-embedded card as a thank you for supporting one of their programs.  Perhaps one of the cats slipped them a fiver to remind me to get back on track.  Catnip here we come!

Freebie from Unleashed by Petco

Pumpkin Bounty: Last Call

True to their genetic roots, our pumpkin vines are coming to a natural end. The leaves, once vibrant, can now be crushed into a fine powder, dusting the garden floor. The vines snap like celery, hollow stems that spent the season bringing energy to the fruit. From seed to pumpkin in 90 days. It never gets old!

We harvested 25 pumpkins this season, with just a few young stragglers left on the vines. Nights are cooler; fall beckons. We gardeners, however, never give up hope. We’ll keep on tending the baby fruit until the end. Our crop produced several varieties this year, a few planned and at least one surprise: a blue-green Jarrahdale.

From Seed to Fruit

My son harvested the last great pumpkin, a hearty, healthy orange. We have a table in our entry way, now laden with fruit. As the season draws near, we’ll set them out along the stone wall in the front garden. My husband will then carve the larger ones with pride and they will finish the season as Jack O’ Lanterns, admired by the plethora of families that come calling on Halloween. We’ll collect and dry the seeds to plant the following year and the cycle begins anew.

Good Side/Bad Side: Hard to Decide

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

-Henry David Thoreau
“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”
– Linus by Charles M. Schulz

Orange, White and Blue