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Surprising cucumber update, cucurbitacine natural poison & my “challenge plants” ;)

3.9.2015 surprise massive cucumber!-a--1-

I was so proud of a success never matched before in my home grown projects, the cucumbers came out relatively huge… that is until I got this very important information, which was like my balloon being pricked, nevertheless I am going on having a load of fun seeing it grow!
I have included a one mn video showing how to get rid of the poison. Personally, I’d rather not touch it. I rarely eat cucumber as I follow the guidelines of macrobiotic eating & it’s a nightshade(*see correction in comment) vegetable which means a big no-no. ­čÖé
I call my other plants a challenge as they are warm climate ones which I have to keep indoors all year round for the first two yrs then for many winter months.
A very gratifying experience. I always get a kick out of a good (positive obviously!) challenge.
Not many survive. I start off with a whole load then, left with one or two. Keep scrolling down to see my “exotic” plants ­čÖé
Out of precaution I kept my plants in a protected part of the balcony which is partially closed.
I wasn’t going to take any chances ­čśë

Have a great weekend!

Here’s the news I received…

“A 79-year-old German died after eating a home-grown zucchini. In the vegetable (probably one created by the plant itself) was poison. That poison can cause death in very rare cases.
The man and his wife were seriously ill after their meal. They were taken to hospital. The woman recovered, but the man continued to deteriorate and eventually died. The culprit is the substance cucurbitacine. Which was formerly naturally in courgettes and cucumbers to prevent animals from eating the vegetable. Growers have the past centuries with breeding programs managed to take away the poison. If people grow vegetables, it can still crop up. The advice is therefore (to home-grown courgettes) first to eat a raw piece. If the vegetables taste much more bitter than usual, then this are indicative of cucurbitacine. This also applies to pumpkins.”

Published on 27 Nov 2012
Cucumbers naturally can produce chemicals called cucurbitacins which causes the cucumber to be bitter. In large quantities, this chemical can make a person sick.

Did you know that?

And here I thought a cucumber was just a harmless vegetable.
I learned this method of reducing the bitterness from my mom.
The kids found this exercise rather amusing :).
Science & Technology
Standard YouTube Licence

ÔÇťCopyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for ÔÇťfair useÔÇŁ for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favour of fair use.ÔÇŁ

See all those cucumber sprouting everywhere?

See all those cucumber sprouting everywhere?

My beautiful Litchi plant! That's a very difficult one...

My beautiful Litchi plant! That’s a very difficult one…

Two pomegranate trees left :)

Two pomegranate trees left ­čÖé

So proud of my Kiwi tree which nearly died winter, had it wrapped up in a huge plastic bottle indoors as a greenhouse!

So proud of my Kiwi tree which nearly died winter, had it wrapped up in a huge plastic bottle indoors as a greenhouse!

A close up... See the huge leaves?

A close up… See the huge leaves?

My accidental date baby tree. I had thrown a pit in the earth & totally forgot about it... A beautiful summer surprise!

My accidental date baby tree. I had thrown a pit in the earth & totally forgot about it… A beautiful summer surprise!

A citrus tree. Out of all of them this is the only one truly picking up :)

A citrus tree. Out of all of them this is the only one truly picking up ­čÖé


And with all the painting, there’ll always be some room for gardening!



Yes, I stop painting in order to treat myself to some gardening ­čÖé
I try to plant every year different vegetables so as not to find it monotonous. I enjoy wondering if I’ll be up for the challenge & like to see the difference stages between one plant & the other.
The garlic survived the winter (in a pot!) but came out tiny. The carrots were very small & the cucumbers are growing but die off before they are fully grown.
As it’s all on our balcony growing in pots with natural fertilizers as eggshells… I do it as a hobby I truly enjoy aware that the end result is not the goal.
Happy weekend to all of you!







Weird beauty ┬ęcopyright2015owpp

Weird beauty



My tiny garlic! ┬ęcopyright2015owpp

My tiny garlic!

And last but not least... ┬ęcopyright2015owpp

And last but not least…

hugelkultur – the ultimate raised garden beds

I received a post in my mailbox from an absolutely amazing blogger I follow from my beginnings in WordPress.
I love getting them. I am always in for a surprise (Oh by the way her “Good news Monday” is sheer delight too ­čÖé ) wondering what I’m going top learn next… this time was no exception, a treat was awaiting.
I got this link
A fascinating one, rich with information for those interested in organic gardening or farming with a video I posted here.
I hope this will be a source of enjoyment & use for everyone ­čÖé

ÔÇťCopyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for ÔÇťfair useÔÇŁ for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favour of fair use.ÔÇŁ

Published on 7 Nov 2012
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Hugelkultur is raised garden beds that reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation and fertilizer.

This video shows the why and how of this type of raised garden bed. Hugelkultur can be built by hand or with machinery; urban lots or large acreage farms;

The focal point of this video is a project in Dayton, Montana where Sepp Holzer installed nearly a kilometer of hugelkultur beds in early May of 2012. Then the video shows the results in mid September.

Michael Billington is currently the land manager there. He explains how the beds have not been irrigated and goes into some detail of the qualities of the food from the different aspects of the hugelkultur: the north side tends to be sweeter and the south side tends to have more bite (lettuces tend to be more bitter and mustards tend to be hotter).

Special appearances by Christy Nieto from Bellingham, Washington (see her smaller berm / raised garden bed in the background – she reduced, but did not eliminate irrigation); Melanie and Brad Knight from Sage Mountain Homestead in Corvallis, Montana (building hugelkultur with a bobcat); Sepp Holzer adding branch mulch plus throwing seed; Jessica “Jessi” Peterson showing the mulching technique.

The recipie is: wood and brush covered with soil; immediately plant seeds; a bit of mulch helps.

Because the sides of the raised garden beds are usually steep, adding mulch is done by pinning the mulch to the sides with branches shaped like pegs (referred to as nails in the video) that hold on branches that hold on the mulch.

Once the hugelkultur beds get to be about three years old, the plant growth will be about five times greater. This is just the first year and the wood has not yet rotted much.

Hugelkultur also extends the growing season. Areas that have 90 frost free days can now have 150 frost free days!

Notice how ALL of these feature polyculture. Polyculture is one of many ingredients which help to reduce the need
for irrigation.

The end of the video features the attendees of the 14 day intensive permacultur design course offered in Dayton, Montana in April of 2012.


music by Jimmy Pardo
Science & Technology
Standard YouTube Licence

Our harvest & preparing for winter…

Our harvest! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Our harvest!

Today it started to freeze… I had to quickly bring in the last green tomatoes to go on riping indoors & try to protect the plants by wrapping them up with thin plastic sheets.
Without knowing if I was doing the right thing I cut the leaves & put them around the root to keep the heat assuming the plants needed all their energy to stay alive.
As we have many gardeners out there I’d like to ask if I did the right thing or did I weaken them by taking it off & is plastic enough to stop them from freezing as I have no place for the portable greenhouses suggested by other bloggers?
Here are photos of our “garden” & of our seeds drying system ­čśë

Our "garden" ready (?) for winter ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Our “garden” ready (?) for winter

Our leek seeds drying system ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Our leek seeds drying system

Oregano leaves drying too ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Oregano leaves drying too

And onion seeds...set for next year! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

And onion seeds…set for next year!

Wriggling vegetable worm?

Vegetable worm? ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Vegetable worm?

As we were taking a stroll in a park on a wonderfully peaceful rainy day where scent, mist & hue mingle, I came across this weird looking leaf which appeared to be on the move ­čśë
I took a few with different shapes, colors & composed a setting nearby to try & bring out to the eyes of my viewers, its tones & curves.
Anyone out there with a name for this vegetable-worm?

Wriggling its way through... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Wriggling its way through…

Curves & colors ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Curves & colors

New flower collection…

Light & shadow ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Light & shadow

I have been taking flower shots for quite a while now, but only understood yesterday while having fun at it once again, the influence the blogging world has on my results which I think has definitely improved since the beginning of my blog.
This time I decided to play it sometimes sophisticated with black background and others preserved its pure lines in the classical settings of daylight.
I hope you’ll enjoy this collection ­čÖé

Burst of pattern & light ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Burst of pattern & light

Mysterious & abstract ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Mysterious & abstract

Flashy orange symmetry ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Flashy orange symmetry

Summer classical ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Summer classical

Zooming in beauty ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Zooming in beauty

Flash surprise! Turning my yellow flower to orange :) ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Flash surprise! Turning my yellow flower to orange ­čÖé

Green flowery forest ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Green flowery forest

Small beauty among giant shiny foliage ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Small beauty among giant shiny foliage

Preserving the clear pure lines ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Preserving the clear pure lines

...and colored abstract ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

…and colored abstract

Last but not least... Sophisticated yet genuine ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Last but not least… Sophisticated yet genuine

Continuation of “our chick pea experience”

Chick pea flower ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Chick pea flower

Now that I have my brand new gardening section I have the incentive to share my previous attempts at it.
This is the continuation of our chick pea experience which you can check here… we managed to grow one chick pea out of the whole plant which is a far cry from proper gardening (let’s put it this way, it won’t feed the family!) but that one was just as exciting as the pepper we discovered two days ago ­čÖé
If anybody had a successful try at it, I’d be more than happy to take the advice!
I took photos of the maturation process, just scroll down…
Have a relaxing weekend ­čÖé

Our chick pea is out!! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Our chick pea is out!!

Letting it mature... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Letting it mature…

Cracking it open ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Cracking it open

Dangling by a thread ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Dangling by a thread

Trying out indoor-veg-art :) ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Trying out indoor-veg-art ­čÖé

I am inaugurating my new Gardening category with my pepper success story!

MY paprika! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

MY paprika!

Today I had a huge surprise in store…
I went to water the pepper plant I grew from a seed and saw a tiny all organic pepper growing! (the photo makes it look bigger ;))
I had taken the seed from a fresh pepper.
Well, we all got so excited I quickly took photos and planned to post it but then realized I was having more posts on gardening without having a category for it so, I got down to work. (I tend to forget from one category to another how to show it on my Menu…I still don’t know how I succeeded today that’s how good I’m at technology ;))
I went on You tube and tried a few videos that didn’t help (go figure!) then managed it on my own.
There’s a lot of patience involved in the blogging field!
The first shoots came out around October 2013 it produced a lot of flowers which I thought would come to fruition but didn’t… and just when I had given up on gardening for “real” it popped out!
With such a boost I decided it was high time to take my passion and hobby a step further.
I then placed my other “planting experiences” on the new category.
Forgive my inexperience as I’m a complete novice at serious gardening.
Last October I took any seed I had in the kitchen, put it in a plastic box on a wet tissue and waited…
A lot of mishaps have made me a lot smarter.
I hope you’ll enjoy this journey as much as I do!
I’m including bellow the photos of our pepper’s growth process ­čÖé

Tiny shoots! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Tiny shoots!

First flowers popping... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

First flowers popping…

Without much result... ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Without much result…

Then, oh happy miracle! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Then, oh happy miracle!

And another! ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

And another!

Our fruitful small plant ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Our fruitful small plant

Nameless mountain flower

Temporary namelessness :) ┬ęcopyright2014owpp

Temporary namelessness ­čÖé

Many years ago I found this flower on a stroll in the surrounding mountains of Celerina-Switzerland which fascinated me by its unique chiffon appearance.
Having searched on the internet & thinking it was a Drosanthemum floribundum – Pale Dewplant I realized the leaves did not match… it remains nameless until one of you recognizes it ­čÖé