My succulents arrived last week and as soon as I got them, I stuck them in my prepared succulent containers.

They came in a box packed in shredded paper.
Succulent cuttings
I dumped them out on a big sheet of newspaper and started sifting out the cuttings.

Here they are. So far, still looking the same.

I keep them on the windowsill.

What I think about all the time lately

Begonia – It took about a week after potting when the twig sprouted a baby leaf.
And up until this morning the leaf was there looking beautiful, but when I got home today, no leaf.
As you can see the leaf is gone. I don’t know why it fell off but it fell off. I hope this plant is still okay.

Spiderette – This was a random baby spiderplant hanging off the main plant I cut and planted. It still looks kind of droopy and sad but I just checked it and there are roots hanging onto the soil now so it should be fine. These grow so easily, I just love them. They build up my planting confidence.

Ginger – So far, nothing. I stuck a big chunk of ginger on top of some soil. 2 weeks. Nothing. I took it out and cooked it and ate it. I got more ginger, this time finding a piece with lots of growth nubbins. Then I left it. Still nothing. Then I chopped it up and put the pieces in dishes with some shallow water by the window. I got one piece with mold. I took it out and I haven’t added any more water since. I think I see something maybe starting to happen. Ginger is sooo slow when you want it to grow and when you just leave it in the kitchen for cooking, it grows! What gives?!

And look Gina! New seeds! Sage, nasturtium, and sensitive plants.

So while the ginger is busy not doing anything I have this gimongo pot of dirt growing nothing, and that just can’t be. I just sprinkled some sage seeds in there. I’ll grow them as indoor plants and see how they do. I’m going to guess that since sage loves sun they’ll probably look leggy and pathetic. But I’m still going to give it a go. I can always dig up the seedlings and take them out to the balcony in April or May.

For the nasturtium and sensitive plant seeds, I soaked them in hot water (then kept the water bath warm in the yogurt maker – Boy this thing is handy for many things besides making yogurt!) and then planted it after 24 hours. I hope they grow since I’ve read mixed reviews on germination success. The sensitive plant is a weed I used to play with as a kid and I’m growing it because I’ve wanted one for a long time. They are fun to play with. When you touch their leaves, they close up.

And nasturtiums are for my outdoor garden. I’m germinating them now but I’ll move them outside mid to late April. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted their edible leaves and flowers before and I’ve been curious. They’re pretty too.

So that’s it on the update so far. I’ll have more soon on succulents, zz-plant and the sansevieria I hope.

Nut allergy begone!

I was probably in middle school when I first tried pistachios and they were so good. I ate cupfuls in one sitting. For some reason, I didn’t eat them again for about a year and when I had some the next time, my mouth itched, my lips swelled a little and my throat itched. So I ate a few more because they were good, and then stopped because itchy mouth. Every so often I would try them again just to see and it would still itch. Nothing terrible, just not pleasant. Somebody told me I’d better stop eating them or I’ll get a bad reaction. So I did. And all this time I thought I could never have pistachios. Sad face. Well, I’m happy to report, I just ate a bunch of pistachios now and I’m fine. Go fig. Nut allergies are supposed to be serious but in my case, it came and went.

Happy Vernal Equinox!

It’s Spring!  Toss the coats and hats! The longer days are exactly what the garden needs. Which brings me to my annual balcony garden update. Like that segue? I have gardens and plants on the brain. Anything I talk about will lead to that topic. Anyway, as crappy as the balcony is with generally insufficient sunlight, I just can’t not put something in my piles of dirt. They call out to me every Spring.

Up until this crazy sub-freezing winter, the oregano had survived winters. The mint, kicked it again too. The chives survived, surprisingly. They’re growing very well. I got some Thai Basil from the market which I hope to root and grow from the stems. I know they like sun, but eh, worth a try. They’ll do well until the Summer Solstice at least. I’m not sure if I’ll grow oregano again this year.

One new plant I’m trying to grow is the nasturtium. They have edible flowers. I’m starting it indoors.
This is a paper bag with dirt and 2 halves of toilet paper rolls with dirt. There are nasturtium seeds in there but I’m not sure if they’ll germinate because they’re a few years old.

This was the weather today by the way.
Vernal Equinox
It snowed for a good part of the morning. And it’s freezing cold at night. Brrr… March came in like a lion. Did a little lamb. Then went full on lion again.

The Beans

Adzuki died first, about month ago. I used to joke when we fed them that he was so slow at getting the food, that we had a failure to thrive situation going on with him. Pinto on the other hand seemed to eat pretty heartily. Until Adzuki died. Then he seemed sort of despondent. Hid away often. Ate less. And then he too died about a month later. Sort of like Where the Red Fern Grows.

Our tank is empty again, except for the industrious hermit crabs. We miss the Beans.

Obsession #325: Houseplants

Lately I’ve been hanging around Pinterest too much and suddenly I’m no longer satisfied with having just a pothos here and a spider plant there. Now it’s succulents! And ginger! And moarrr!!

My pineapple top rotted so I chucked it. That’s why I’m now onto trying to grow ginger. I wanted a houseplant from the kitchen. It was the avocado, ginger, or pineapple.

I’m going from 7 plants to a jungle.  Here’s what I’m adding:

    • Sansevieria – This is a plant that produces oxygen at night so is suitable for putting in the bedroom. That’s what Pinterest says anyway.
      I ended up cutting this leaf in half and sticking both into the dirt. I figure it’ll double my chances of success.
    • Succulents – I have 15 coming from Amazon.
      These are just the containers I’ve prepared for my future succulent gardens.
    • Begonia – I love the spotted leaves and little pink flowers. This goes in a sunny spot in the living room.
    • Aloe – I already have a pot of aloe but I separated a second plant, sort of as a backup in case I kill the original, though I’m not sure that’s possible. It keeps growing and dividing. I would like to double all my plants but I don’t have the space. Aloe is easy to separate. That’s the only reason why I chose this one.
    • Spiderplant – Again, I have one and it’s easy to separate – they self-propagate spiderettes, mini versions of themselves. I found another empty pot lying around and filled it with a spiderette.
    • Philodendron – Got this from a coworker friend. So far, it’s been easy to grow. She killed hers with overwatering though so I’m only watering this thing once every other week.
    • Ginger – I bought a huge pot from the hardware store and filled it with dirt.  There’s so much dirt in there I sprinkled my old sage and thyme seeds in there, alongside the piece of ginger rhizome.  If the seeds germinate, great.  I intend to keep them indoors as decorative plants.  If they don’t, that’s fine too, hopefully the ginger will sprout and take over. IMG_9018
      Although it’s not looking very promising right now.



Ultimate Pi Day

I’m going to confess right now that I’m writing this post March, 3rd, 2014 in anticipation of the most ultimate Pi day we’re ever going to experience in our lifetimes.  It’s so momentous that I did this a year ahead.  Plus 3.3.14 was a big snow day.  I didn’t have a lot going on.

Today is 3.14.15 and the time is 9:26AM.


Natto is Japanese fermented soybeans and is traditionally eaten at meals with rice. I’d never really had it much before but have heard that it’s pretty healthy and I’m always looking for new things to try or better yet ferment. It’s a science experiment in the kitchen basically. Anyway, I quickly realized it’s not that easy to find, after searching through a handful of Asian markets we finally found one that carried it. So when I finally got some, of course that became my starter fungus/bacteria to make my own fermented soybeans.

Add some of the natto goop to a little bit of water and mix that into steaming hot cooked soybeans. Then put it in a yogurt maker to grow the bacteria.

It only takes a day to get tasty fresh natto. I refrigerate it before eating. It’s good to mix in any food. Like last night I had some with my noodles. Or I mixed it with my rice and Thai food. The packaged natto comes with a packet of Japanese mustard and soy sauce. That’s good too.

I’ve read a lot of sites that describe natto as something super strong and pungent. I haven’t found that to be the case. It’s soft with a mild nutty soybean taste. The only slightly annoying thing about eating it is the stringiness of slime that seems to coat the beans. I find that it gets all over my mouth. There’s no neat way to eat it. Just have a napkin handy. Yum yum. I’m glad I finally found something to give my yogurt maker a second life. It’s been sitting in storage for 7 or 8 years I think.