Friday, November 21, 2008


With winter hitting early and with us still awaiting more of the seed catalogs to arrive, we turned our attention to the house plants that dominate my classroom... and their needs for new homes.

The jades came first for it had been two years and some had finally out grown their pots. Most of the other plants in our space will get potted each time winter comes around to Pennsylvania.

In the midst of the jade plants are a handful of cuttings we took off a dieing plant given to me to save last year. The owner, who works with me at Pathway, told me the sentimental story of the jade. Now, I have brought some plants back from near death states, but this plant had roots which had too much rot, so we did what we could do...

2 inch long shoots, which appeared to be healthy, were cut and placed in sand till roots came to be. All survived and one will soon be delivered back to the one who first gave us the plant.

Here is some advice on growing Crassula ovata.

I go heavy on sand (1 part peat, 1 part compost, 3 parts sand) because with my life filled with students who love to water, I want to avoid having Jades with rotting roots.

The info you may need to hear the most is this: I asked a student to tell me a fascinating fact about jades. He says, "They are beautiful."

Their beauty can fascinate.

Jades can live for years and at a young age will begin to resemble a miniature tree. This shape may be what draws us to Jades. It will resemble a bonsai and with pruning you can maintain it at a small size. Give it time and sunshine and they will get taller than you stand. Given plenty of sun and a pleasant red will appear on the leaves.

and the next time you pluck off a jade leaf, give a whiff. A student did today and discovered a pleasant scent reminiscent of a banana. If you stick it in some sand... it just may sprout some roots. A desire to live can be strong.

A month early

Winter has arrived a month early here in southeast Pennsylvania. Nights dipping down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, wind chills, and now a covering of snow this morning. The broccoli raab just looked plain sad this morning when I pulled my car into a parking spot at Pathway. I have not glanced under the floating row cover which hid the one remaining bed of lettuce. The two other beds were harvested at the beginning of this week and has found its way to the homes of my colleagues.

And that may be one of the saddest aspects of this seasonal change here in zone 6. My students love to go about the campus of Pathway and sell our veggies. One day I asked a student why he wanted to be part of the selling team. He answered, "People smile at me when I walk into the room."

We may or we may not have some lettuce to sell. Here is how our spring crop looked as I sit hoping for one more harvest before springtime, 2009. Who doesn't need some more smiles?

morning after deluge 2-- leaf lettuce


Driving home late Saturday night, I saw temperature signs that ranged from 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Can't say I had a bunch of hope as I walked down to the garden with a student, but I had some. Lettuce is hardyy and it was covered. So I am glad to report that we had one last harvest, but as of now the garden is done producing for 2008.