My small urban garden

Jenny

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Ok so I though I'd start a thread, documenting what I am growing, my trials & errors and so on....

I think its best to start off with what I grow and the varieties. Will eventually update the thread with pictures as I go along.

Veggies:
  1. Spinach - FordHook, my favorite variety. It grows all year round and currently letting 2 plants go to seed
  2. Spinach - Vi:ROFL:ay. Not a big favorite of mine, but I grow it anyway since I have lots of seed.
  3. Spinach - Warrigal Greens. It grows all year round.
  4. Spinach - Kangkong - I unfortunately killed my plants, so will be planting new seeds this coming week.
  5. Carrots - Regular and baby carrots.
  6. Onions - Texas Grano & Hojem varieties
  7. Spring Onions
  8. Leeks - Carentan
  9. Turnips - Purple Top
  10. Okra - Clemson Spineless
  11. Celery - Utah tall, it grows throughout the year, so always have lots of celery
  12. Beans - Runner as well as Bush Beans. Kentucky wonder, Lazy Housewife, Malelane, Golden Wax, Purple Runner Bean, Contender Bush Bean.
  13. Beets - Detroit Dark Red & Crimson Globe. Currently letting 3 plants go to seed.
  14. Kale - Russian Red Kale, Kale Chou Moellier, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Kale. It grows as a perennial in my garden.
  15. Cabbage - Couve Tronchuda, Cape Spitz, Copenhagen Market Cabbage, Michihili Chinese Cabbage, Baby Red Primero, Baby Green Pandion.
  16. Brocolli & Cauliflower - Waltham Brocolli, Green Sprouting calebrese, Zamboni heirloom Brocolli, snowball cauliflower
  17. Brussel Sprouts - Don't like brussel sprouts much, but have lots of seed, so I grow it.
  18. Green Globe artichoke. I killed a few plants last year, so trying again this year. One seedling has survived so far and looks like it is going to make it.
  19. Rhubarb - Victoria. The plant is still a small seedling at this stage
  20. Other Greens - Lettuces (saladin, blond de paris, butterhead attraction), Wild Rocket, Giant Rapini Raap, French Sorrel, Broad Leaf Garden Cress
  21. Mustard & Asian Greens - Mizuna, Broad Leaf mustard, Tatsoi, Pak Choi, Red Giant Mustard
  22. Kohlrabi - White & Purple
  23. Radicchio - Rossa di Treviso
  24. Amaranths - Green amaranth, Red Quinoa, White Quinoa
  25. Eggplants - Black Beauty, Long Purple
  26. Cucumbers - Pickling cucumber, Ashley cucumber
  27. Tomatoes - Wide Variety (black krim, white, roma, moneymaker, oxheart, beafsteak, nepal,buffalo,heinz, green tiger, yellow pear, gardeners delight, golden jubilee and a few other varieties.)
  28. Sweet Potato - shop bought - redish skin and yellow flesh.
  29. Potato - grown from shop bought potatoes
  30. Corn - Blue Hopi, golden bantam, kalahari early pearl.
  31. Pumpkins & Squash - Flat White Boer Pumpkin, Queensland Blue, Jack be Little, Nelson F1 Hybrid Grey, Zuchinni Caserta, Hubard Squash, Gem Squash Rolet, Waltham Butternut, Honeynut squash (mini butternut), patty pan scalloped.
  32. Radishes - Daikon, China Rose, Cherry Belle, Sparkler, White Globe,

Peppers and Chilli: (most in the list are seedlings at this stage )
  1. California Wonder
  2. Long slim Cayenne
  3. Paprika
  4. Tabasco
  5. Scotch Bonnet
  6. Orange Habanero
  7. Medusa
  8. Birds Eye
  9. Aji Lemon Drop
  10. Thai Dragon
  11. Thai Dragon F1
  12. Explosive Ember
  13. Serrano
  14. Yellow Scorpio
  15. Pinocchio's Nose
  16. Anaheim
  17. Jalapeno
  18. Ghost Chilli Red
  19. Ghost Chilli Orange
  20. Bulgarian Carrot
  21. Pickling Pepper
  22. Inchanga Chilli
  23. Rajah Chilli
  24. Uyababa Chilli
  25. Seranno
  26. Numex Big Jim
  27. Hungarian Black
  28. Ethiopian Brown
  29. Black Pearl
  30. Cherry Pepper
  31. Pickling Pepper
  32. Bishops Crown
  33. Hungarian Yellow Wax
  34. A few more varieties I can't remember now offhand, will add them to the list at a later stage.

Herbs & Medicinal:
  1. Elderberry - European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) & American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis).
  2. Basil - Cinnamon Basil, Persian Basil, Siam Thai Basil, Purple Ruffles, Red Rubin, Lemon Basil, Sweet Large Leaved Basil, Genovese Basil, Dark Opal Basil
  3. Mint- Peppermint, Spearmint, Penny Royal, Apple mint, Basil Mint, Regular Catmint, Persian Catmint (Nepeta mussinii), Variegated Pineapple Mint, Lemon Balm, Korean Mint.
  4. Lemon Verbena
  5. Yarrow
  6. Cancerbush
  7. Echinacea
  8. Chamomile - German & Roman
  9. Fennel - Green & Bronze
  10. Dill
  11. Chives
  12. Lovage
  13. Rosemary - 3 varieties (regular rosemary -cant remember the exact name, ginger rosemary, wild african rosemary)
  14. Thyme - winter Thyme, English Thyme, Broadleaf creeping thyme, Lemon Thyme, Thyme de Province.
  15. Summer Savory
  16. Sweet Majoram
  17. Oregano
  18. Gota K0la (penny wort)
  19. Fenugreek
  20. Chia
  21. Tarragon
  22. Yellow Mustard
  23. Black Mustard
  24. Wormwood - Artemisia afra
  25. Tansy
  26. Chervil
  27. Caraway
  28. Anise
  29. Borage
  30. Sage - Regular Sage, Cotton Sage, Pineapple Sage
  31. Prunella
  32. Coriander
  33. Cumin
  34. Flatleaf Parsley
  35. Rue
  36. Nastursium - 3 Varieties
  37. Bay Leaf Tree - massive tree, a few stories high, 30 plus years old.
  38. Curry Bush
  39. Curry Leaf Trees
  40. Turmeric
  41. Ginger
  42. Evening Primrose - Golden Yellow
  43. St John's wort
  44. Lavender -French Royal Crown & Margaret Roberts
  45. Toothache Plant
  46. Vicks Plant
  47. Hyssop
  48. Tea Tree -Melaleuca alternifolia. About 3 or 4 years old, growing in a container.
  49. Stevia
  50. Garlic

Fruit:
  1. Tamarillo - About 3 years old. Finally Flowering now for the 1st time !
  2. Tomatillo - Green & Purple
  3. Passion Fruit - Yellow & Purple (the purple one is still small and not yet fruit bearing)
  4. Kiwi Vines - Grown from seed. About 1 year old, but still very small , as it keeps on dying back due to heat, but bounces back.
  5. Stawberry - ever-bearing type grown from seed.
  6. Watermelons & Melons - Congo watermelon, Galia melon, Hales Best Melon, Sugar Baby watermelon, All Sweet watermelon.
  7. Cape Gooseberry
  8. Raspberry
  9. Black Berry
  10. Satsuma Trees
  11. Calamondin Orange
  12. Lemon Trees
  13. Dragon Fruit - White & Red Variety (no fruit yet)
  14. Prickly Pear, regular variety, white & yellow variety (no fruit yet) - 1 grown from seed and 3 grown from pads.
  15. Goji Berry
  16. Gauva Trees - grown from seed, about 1 years old
  17. Avacado Trees - grown from seed, about 6 - 8 months old
  18. Pomegranate - grown from seed, about 1 years old
  19. Elderberry
  20. Mulberry - grown from seed, about 1 year old now
  21. Apricot - grown from seed, about 8 months old
  22. Mango - grown from seed, about 8 months old
  23. Pear - grown from seed, about 3 months old
  24. Plum - grown from seed, about 4 months old
  25. Apple - green, golden & red - grown from seed, about 5 months old
  26. Olive Tree - Mission. (about 4 years old but still no fruit)
  27. Fig Tree - Purple figs. Tree is at least 30 plus years old
  28. Grapes - Purple Grapes. Its an old grape vine that got cut down to ground level this winter and it is now growing again nicely.
  29. Pineapple - busy growing from a pineapple top, established roots, but no new growth yet. This is my second try, I killed the first one.
  30. Pepino - 2 plants, one a few years old and a new small one. Flower drop in previous year, so no fruit. Hope this summer will be different.
 
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Jenny

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Prickly Pears & Dragon Fruit

Prickly Pear is my favorite fruit. Although it grows wild in rural areas, here in the city it is very rare to find the fruit in the shops, so I decided to grow my own.

I bought some seeds about 4 years ago (could actually be like 5 years ago even, I have lost track of time) and it took more than 3 months before the seeds germinated. I was about to give up, when the little seedlings popped up. Only 3 seeds germinated and after transplanting the seedlings, only 1 survived. He is now all grown up, but no fruit yet.

Last year I found an online store that sells prickly pear pads. I bought 3 varieties, red, white, yellow and they rooted nicely. I also bought a peruvian cactus apple cutting from them, and although it rooted nicely, it has yet to show any new growth - also, it got hit with some disease, so I chopped off the diseased top from the cactus and I am now waiting to see what happens. So for now I have not included the peruvian cactus apple in the attached pic below nor in my list of fruits above, because not much going on with it yet.

I also bought dragon fruit cuttings from the same shop last year - I received 2 cuttings of each. I have never grown or eaten dragon fruit before and I have never seen it for sale in the shops here, so thought I might as well try my hand at growing some. I bought the white variety and the red variety. I planted both in the same pot (don't know if that will cause an issue further down the line) and they are growing very well so far, as can be seen in the pics. Now patiently waiting for the day I eventually see some flowers..
 

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ClissAT

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Wow Jenny, what an incredible line up!!!!
How much land do you have at your house to contain all those plants?
I'm not a fan of growing from seed due to most fruit and veg being F1hybrids or grafts these days so you never know what parent gave which genes to the seed. So all those years waiting for first fruit could be a total waste. Or the plant might not have suitable disease and insect resistance for your area.
Anyway, good on you for giving it a go.
 

Jenny

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Wow Jenny, what an incredible line up!!!!
How much land do you have at your house to contain all those plants?
I'm not a fan of growing from seed due to most fruit and veg being F1hybrids or grafts these days so you never know what parent gave which genes to the seed. So all those years waiting for first fruit could be a total waste. Or the plant might not have suitable disease and insect resistance for your area.
Anyway, good on you for giving it a go.
Agreed, its always best to buy grafted plants, especially when it comes to fruit trees. I plan to gradually add more grafted trees to my collection, but I will continue growing stuff from seed as well, as it is so much fun. I do also save seeds from almost everything that I grow, so I find I'm buying less and less seeds for regular herbs and edibles and instead buying seeds for new types of plants and edibles, that I do not already have.

I have a standard size urban property, measuring 446m2 in total. The back yard is very small, probably less than 2.5 m across, concreted over and I am not currently using it as a garden.

Half of the front yard is a normal yard with trees, some flower beds, a pathway and 1 horizontal car parking space. The other half (width across) of the front yard space, consists of a double garage with 2 vertical parking spaces in front of that. On top of the double garage I have a big concrete patio in a L-Shape. The main section of the L shape, is of a size (width and length) that will easily fit 4 cars (with 2 cars parked side by side) and the shorter part of the L shape is narrow, less than 2m across. Apart from that, I also have a long alley way on the garage side of the house which stretches almost the whole length of the property and I also have a shorter alley way on the other side of the house, the latter not currently used for gardening.

Due to the fact that I have massive bayleaf trees and the big fig tree, the front yard is very shaded, so currently I can only grow shade loving perennials there, mostly ornamentals, also the garden is on a slope. I plan to cut the trees down in the coming year to allow sunshine into the yard and plan to then convert the front yard sloped space into a growing space for edibles. Cutting the trees down will be a major undertaking though, as the bayleaf trees are many stories high.

Almost all of my edibles, including fruit trees, I have always grown in containers on the patio (I guess you can call it rooftop gardening - you can grow a lot on a big sized patio), but I recently started growing edibles in the long alley way next to the garage and house as well. Took me forever to dig up soil from the front yard and carry it up the stairs and dump it over the high wall onto the sloped concrete base of the alley, in order to create garden beds - I have created 5 big terraced beds there so far, still have to fill up the rest of the alley this month, so another 5 beds at least. Anyway the alley does not get full sun the whole day, but so far the plants are doing great there and it is the perfect space for my vining crops to go crazy and will also be a good spot for my cooler weather plants, due to the more shade at the one end of the alley. I will upload some pics of the alley project in the very near future.

At the front end of the alley way is a big funnel shaped area that currently contains massive agave plants. The one is now in flower, with the flower stalk reaching a few meters into the air. Pic of that is attached.
I am waiting for it to enjoy its flowers for a little while longer and then afterwards I am planning to remove all the agave plants and in its place I'm going to plant my fruit trees, my prickly pears, my tea tree and my olive tree. So that corner is going to become my miniature orchid. To be honest I have been putting off taking out the agave plants for a few years now, because I hate killing plants (yip I'm one of those who talks to her plants) and also because the agave is a great crime deterrent, people think twice before scaling the fence. But it has to go in the very near future and hopefully my prickly pears will act as a great criminal deterrent as well.
 

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Jenny

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With all your challenges of shade and yard size, you sure pack a lot of food plants into your property - that is truly inspirational!
Thank you Mark, I try to do the most with what I have. I got inspired, by watching your videos and also videos on rooftop gardening in India, amazing how much food they grow there in small spaces!

I also try to grow vertical where possible and also grow in containers on the walls of my patio as well. Imo you do not need a massive garden nor a lot of money, to grow enough food for your family, provided you plant close to each other and do succession planting.

I am also a great believer in recycling and re-purposing, so I grow in an assortment of containers, including tyres, dog food/ potting soil bags, plastic & wooden crates, buckets, wooden pallets, laundry baskets etc. I use refuse bags to line my containers & I do my composting inside dog food & potting soil bags. A few years ago one of my laundry baskets broke, so I turned it into a vertical planter, you can grow lots of food in a single laundry basket.

I have attached a pic here of how I did it (I didn't have a pvc pipe to put in the center of the basket for watering and fertilizing, so I improvised and created a "pipe" in the center, by using stacked inverted soda bottles with the bottoms cut off, small holes pierced in the sides and a single big hole in the bottle caps). The plants grew very lush in the basket.
 

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Jenny

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Container Garden 2017

Here is a compilation of screenshot pics I took from short videos I took of some of my plants in 2017. Please excuse the picture quality, I took the videos with my cellphone.

I will post pics of 2018 in due course, haven't taken much pics yet.
 

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Jenny

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Pics of my alley project that I started last month - pics taken from a height so not that great. I am so excited to have this extra space now to grow more edibles and plan to make use of the no dig gardening method in the space henceforth.

As you can see it is a very long alley way. I dumped soil, added some of my home made compost and leave mulch. I then planted the following seeds: Marigolds, Zinnias, Cosmos,Kale, parsley, spinach, celery, turnips, corn, pumpkin, squash, okra, dill, basil, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, sunflowers, nasturtiums, watermelon, melon, tansy, chia, quinoa, mustards (yellow, black, broadleaf), chillis, eggplants and a few other odds and ends. Seeds are starting to germinate nicely now. Will be planting sweet potatoes there soon as well, once my slips are big enough. I planted some blackberry transplants next to the grape vine and also planted some elderberry cuttings and pomegranate seedlings, as well as a few yarrow plants. Quite a few volunteer tomatoes popped up, going to leave it to grow.

Pumkins are growing nicely, despite not full sun and starting to form flowers already. Can't wait to get the whole alley way planted and to see everything green and lush.
 

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Jenny

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Wow that's an awesome list :) Well done
Thank you. Funny enough, for instance I personally don't eat hot chillis at all, but my family eats it, so I grow it, plus I have a bit of an obsession with trying my hand at growing different varieties of edibles.:secret:
 

Jenny

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Tamarillo Tree

My Tamarillo tree is finally flowering, can't wait to see some fruits! I bought it a few years ago from a nursery, as a seedling. It is about 3 years old now I think. Anyway, the flowers are beautiful, but I see that there is a lot of flower drop happening as well. I searched online and discovered that apparently it is common for Tamarillo trees to drop quite a few flowers, so that has set my mind at ease a bit. I hope that at least a few flowers remain and that I get at least 1 or 2 fruits, as I have never seen the fruit in local shops here, nor have I eaten a Tamarillo before.

I must say that growing the Tamarillo tree has been challenging, because it does not like too much water and also does not like to be too dry. It gets regularly attacked by green aphids and windy conditions also affects it, so I grow it in a container next to a pillar on my patio and I have to battle the aphids on almost a weekly basis, despite spraying it with my bug spray concoction regularly.

I almost killed the tree last year with over watering during the hot summer - the tree started getting black mold at the base of the 2 stems and it looked very sickly. I took undiluted white vinegar and applied it to the black mold/rot on the stems and thankfully it saved the tree. Since then no more black mold and the tree grew nicely this year. Aphids are still a problem, and even attacking the flower buds, as can be seen in the attached photo, but I spray them off the tree daily with water.
 

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ClissAT

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Hi Jenny, just re your aphid issue, its ants that farm the aphids.
So controlling the ants will solve your problem.
Obviously they have set up house in the potting mix or under the pot or very close by.
The idea is to put ant sand for them to cart to their nest which will kill the queen first, then all the workers if you keep onto them before they can create a new queen.
If you can find the nest it will be easier, however applying the ant sand to the top of the potting mix might work too to attract them to it. It needs to be right on their tracks.
If wanting an organic solution, try borax in honey in a jam jar cap sitting near the nest or on the potting mix.
However it wont work as well and may not kill the queen or future queens fast enough to kill the nest but it will put a big dent in their population.
 
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Jenny

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Indeed, I've used borax and sugar, mixed with a bit of water in the past to control ants and it it worked very well, I think I will mix up a batch again.

Since the beginning of spring, the weather has been flip flopping, ranging from repeated heatwaves, a few very cold days and a few days of heavy rain and hail storms. Currently experiencing another heatwave. The pests are out in full force *think it has to do with the weather) and currently battling mealy bugs & scale insects attacking just about everything. I am using surgical spirits on the mealy bugs and scale and so far it seems to work great.

I bought 6 Egyptian Walking onion plants a few weeks ago, planted them in one of the alley garden beds and there is already new growth. First time I am growing Egyptian walking onions. Will take some pics in a few weeks once they are a bit bigger. Since my regular onion harvests are normally dismal, I think Egyptian Onions will be a better onion option for me to grow (even though onions are smaller than regular onions), plus I like the fact that it is a perennial plant. I will still continue to grow regular onions for now, but if the Egyptian onions do very well in terms of harvest volume, then from next year I will stop growing regular onions.

I also planted pigeon pea seeds in the alley way beds, planted about 15 seeds I think, so I'm look forward to growing this for the first time. Pics to follow once seedlings are big enough.

The alley way beds is starting to fill with green, as the various seeds are germinating. The squashes and pumpkins are growing nicely, despite being hit by hail a week or so ago. Updated Pics taken last week, attached.

The Peruvian Cactus apple that I chopped off because of disease, still has no growth on top, but I noticed this week what looks like "pups", growing at the base of the cactus, so looks like there is hope after all for the peruvian cactus apple - pic attached here...

I grow borage just about everywhere in the garden and in my containers as well. It's flowering nicely now, ditto for catnip mussinii & hyssop - the bees love the flowers! Pics attached.
 

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ClissAT

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We are getting similar weather here also, although not the hail. I think we must be on similar latitudes anyway.
Your little alleyway garden is certainly an ingenious use of space.
How will you walk in there once the plants grow up?
The cactus thingy is an interesting critter. What part do you eat?
Re your onoin situation, I wonder if what I do might help you too.
I grow what I call purpetual shallots (spring onions). Many years ago I purchased one bunch from the shop, cut off the bottom 3inches and planted them.
I let them grow up then use scissors to harvest as needed, but always leave the roots plus 2inches in the ground to regrow.
They regularly divide so there are always more and more. I leave the oldest ones to get big thick long white stems that look like leeks but with hollow leaves. The white stems taste like small white onions but are much easier to cook with as they dont need skinning and are long, therefore easier to cut up. The older ones sure have a good oniony bite!

I keep any unused section of harvested top in a heavy vase with a little water in the bottom which I change every second day. I stand the vase at the kitchen window so the plant continues to grow. The vase needs to be tall and heavy because the plant is very tall and heavy!
They dont have the moisture issues that normal onions have either because shallots like extra water already.
Eventually the oldest plants flower but I let them so I get the seed which I scatter through the gardens.
So I have shallots everywhere in all sizes and strengths from salad to stewing, to frying for putting with sausages. I can use either the green or white part at any age of growth and only had to buy it once.
Now, can't beat that for efficiency .:thumbsup:

408419-01.jpeg

Heres a photo just incase theres any ambiguity regarding the name of the plant.
 
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Jenny

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Thank you the tips regarding Spring Onions. I do grow it as well, but on a very small scale and mostly use it in stir fries. At the moment I'm actually waiting for some seeds I planted, to germinate. Have to admit that I never though of growing it as a replacement crop for onions - definitely something worth considering though, since it will take a while before the Egyptian walking onions start producing enough onions on a regular basis.

Lol to be honest, at the moment I am literally tip toeing in the alley way garden beds, cause I over planted the space (I intend to continue doing so, making optimal use of the space) , but once all the seedlings are big enough, I think I will add some small paving slabs in between the plants, wherever there is a gap to do so. I put an old metal fence up against the one side of the wall at the bottom of the alleyway for the grapes and cucumbers to climb and some of the pumpkins are also climbing up the fence now, which helps optimize the small growing space at least. I still have another 2 old fence pieces laying around, so I plan to add them against the side of the wall of the 3rd and 4th beds as well, so that the squashes that I planted there can climb up them to maximize available space.

The Peruvian Cactus Apple forms a fruit, which is edible. I have never eaten the fruit before, but thought I'd try my hand at growing it. I bought a single cutting last year when I bought my prickly pear cuttings. Although it rooted nicely, it developed a bad fungus type of disease on the sides of the cactus shortly after rooting took place, so I cut the top of the cutting off and placed it in a small container. Now a year later, I have 2 pups (dont know what else to call them) growing from the base of the cactus, so I hope that they will grow nicely and will eventually bear me some fruit. The pups started peeking out of the soil last week. The Peruvian Cactus apple is self fertile, that is why I only bought 1 cutting of the plant.

Here is a video showing what a the plant looks like when a few years old and also what the fruit looks like.

We are getting similar weather here also, although not the hail. I think we must be on similar latitudes anyway.
Your little alleyway garden is certainly an ingenious use of space.
How will you walk in there once the plants grow up?
The cactus thingy is an interesting critter. What part do you eat?
Re your onoin situation, I wonder if what I do might help you too.
I grow what I call purpetual shallots (spring onions).
 
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ClissAT

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All these cactus fruits seem a bit similar don't they?
Yours looks a bit like a small dragonfruit.
 

Tony Baker

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Jenny I had a couple of Kobu cactus and the fruit was pretty plain. I much prefer my Dragon fruit. I dug up the Kobu and have replaced them with natives for my bee's.
 
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ClissAT

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Tony, thats very interesting and good to know info. No point having poor tasting fruit.
Food is hard enough to grow as it is without growing stuff that's unusable.
I have ordinary (well ordinary for us in Oz) cactus growing that produces an apricot sized red fruit with deep purple juicy flesh and quite a pleasant flavour.
Sometimes the crows and bats even leave one for me!

I'll think of its botanical name eventually and add it here so people know what I'm talking about.

My purple dragon fruit vines have started flowering so I'm hoping for nice sized fruits from them this year now we've had all this rain.
 

Tony Baker

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Yeah my red dragon fruit has flowered and set. My white one flowered but didn't set, but there are more buds on it.
 

Jenny

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Jenny I had a couple of Kobu cactus and the fruit was pretty plain. I much prefer my Dragon fruit. I dug up the Kobu and have replaced them with natives for my bee's.
Thank you for the info, a bit disappointing to hear that the fruit is not that great tasting, but since I only have the 1 plant, I will let it continue to grow as it is not taking up much space.