Once upon a time, Garden Science visited San Francisco’s Chinatown and found some message-inscribed magic beans. Readers were successful in translating the secret of the beans, but their fairy tale took a sad turn when they ultimately failed to grow. This was a pretty substantial disappointment.
Fortunately, there’s a magical place called THE INTERNET where time machines, unicorns, and other objects of myth are only a couple of clicks away. Searches on this “internet” thing helped me find some beans that were supposedly giant and drew comparisons to those from Jack in the Beanstalk. They sounded so remarkable that I just had to order them. After all, there’s nothing but truth on the internet. Right? I hope so, because I traded my only cow to get these.
Joking aside, both the vendor and the product got great reviews and the beans arrived speedily and just as described. By happy coincidence, they appear to be of the exact same variety as the original Chinatown beans.
Long time readers may know that I am a pretty big fan of Dollar Tree. My nearest one currently has respectably sized plastic pots (see the large capacity measuring cup for size comparison), and I thought I’d try planting a magic bean in there to see what happened. I’m optimistic that I’ll get a good germination rate out of these, so for now I’m only planting one. The rest may get planted in time.
Sweet dreams, bean.
Dollar Tree also has hanging pots right now. They aren’t super deluxe or anything, but a buck still seems like a pretty good bargain for this. It’s only a matter of time before something gets planted here…
I just realized something! Even though I intended to and even thought I did, I have not given a single Experiment 3 update since December 30th. Yikes, definitely time to change that.
The last time I reported on the Christmas tree in a can situation there was a second one that had only just begun to emerge. Much like its partner, it jumped to a stable height right away and then promptly stopped growing. While the first tree is tall, thin, and bright green, the second tree is shorter and stockier with a darker green coloration.
Despite their lack of growth, the condition of the trees remained pretty stable since planting… up until today. Upon looking at them this evening I realized their situation had deteriorated.
The granular pellets the trees are growing out of have seemingly no friction. As soon as they dry out between waterings, the grains shift with the slightest bump and the trees go with them. The poor smaller tree was at almost a 90 degree angle when I discovered it today. This was unacceptable.
The trees are still finger-crushingly small but I figured they weren’t going to get any bigger while they remained in a substance with the physical and nutritive properties of fish gravel. I was expecting a difficult extraction, but the grains were so loose I was able to gently pull each of the trees from the pellets with minimal resistance.
It’ll take time to be sure, but the trees seem happy to have left the can. Merry late Christmas, trees!
I am pleased to announce that Garden Science’s biggest and best experiment to date - the instant garden - will return this spring for its second season.
Wait… it gets better.
Garden Science gets THE WHOLE BOX this time! There is no lack of ideas (or seeds) to fill it with, either.
What’s in store this time around? There’s going to be a couple of second generation instant garden classics coming back for sure. I’ll also be planting the really old gourd seeds and crossing my fingers. Additionally, I’m looking into trading my cow in exchange for some more magic beans so that I can try a reboot of Experiment 11. That last part may or may not happen, but I’m hopeful.
A while back I wrote that the artichoke looked like it was going to overwinter. Things continued looking good over the next few weeks, and it even had a bunch of budding flowers on it.
I was fairly confident that the hardest part was over. It had made it to through the winter and survived several freezes/thaws… what could spring possibly throw at it that was worse than that?
Here’s some foreshadowing. As you can see in this photo that was intended to be solely of Quigley the garden gnome, the base of this plant looks bad. Really bad, actually. I noticed this, but since the artichoke seemed to be doing so well I barely thought anything of it.
…Fast forward a couple of weeks…
It didn’t happen on purpose and I wasn’t there to witness it, but recently the plant was hit lightly by a rogue gardening tool and the whole thing toppled over. The main stalk was completely rotted out. I have no idea how the thing was able to stand for so long, let alone how it was able to continue living and growing.
But all is not lost! New growth continues to spring up around the area where the main stalk fell and this indicates that the root system is alive and well. If we don’t have any more freezes this year, then we’re already off to a pretty good start for the season. This is about as big as the plant was when I bought it from the store last June.
Will the plant yield flowers this year?
Quigley is admirably optimistic.
im-just-a-person asked: I love hearing about your lemon experiment!! I just planted some seeds of my own yesterday, about how big will they be within 2 months?
I am glad! In a way, I think I can credit the lemon trees with being the whole reason for starting Garden Science in the first place.
As to your question - that’s a tough call. I live in a less-than-favorable climate for growing citrus trees, and it took mine about a month just to sprout. Check out this post to see what the lemon trees looked like about 2 and a half months after planting the seeds (approximate).
Best of luck with your own experiment!
din-n-uh asked: Hi, I was wondering what is the update with your forget-me-not.
Alas, it did not end well. The slugs got to them first, and I think there was a mini-incident last year while the patio room was being cleaned. Some pots fell off of the window sill and broke, and I think the forget-me-not pot was among those lost. They may have been toast before that, though.
I thought I had saved some seeds from their original planting, but I just checked the Garden Science file folder (because there actually is one of those) and did not see any. I will keep an eye out for more grow kits though, and I will try again if I can find any.
ohthisishowyouchangetheurl asked: Ack! I just spent waaay too much time reading most of your posts. I just wanted to say I'm in love. Also, have you ever tried growing a pomegranate plant? My mom ordered one from Burpee's last year and I've ended up with it here. She also has a pair of kiwi plants at her house. Glad to see there are other plant adventurers!
Thank you, I’m glad you like the blog and I’m happy to hear you’re having your own plant adventures!
No, I have never tried to grow a pomegranate plant but this sounds like a pretty fun idea. Next time I buy a pomegranate I will plant some of the seeds and see what happens. This climate has proven challenging for cultivating some types of fruit trees (i.e. lemons) but that won’t stop me from trying.
How big is the plant you have? Does it actually produce fruit?
wikingskull asked: Im growing a pineapple,,but doing it differently than you. I pealed of leaves from bottom up until to the soft centre, then just planted it in a pot. Be interested how your system and mine work out.
I hope your system is working out better than mine, because mine is dead:
I left it in its pot hoping it would miraculously spring back to life, but it’s been a while now and it’s looking like I’m out of luck.
Any update on yours? I’m definitely going to try this again and I’d be interested in a new technique.
sodom-hussein asked: What if that Christmas tree in a can is just a fake tree that is spring loaded to pop out when opened?
I am not quite sure when this question was asked, but I think it was right after I introduced the Christmas Tree in a Can experiment.
Answer: That would have been hilarious and I would not have been disappointed at all. I might have wished I payed a little less on shipping, though.