Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It all started with the jicama harvest

It all began with harvesting my jicama, I had popped a few seeds in the ground alongside the fence before the wet season.  The plant insisted on climbing through the fence and flowering on the other side.... and in order to grow bigger tubers these flowers and pods have to continually be pruned off.  So on Sunday I decided to harvest the jicama and remove the vines. The jicama are pretty puny, and I found out were quite hard to harvest behind the other plants so I wont be planting there again.  Not sure if they will shoot up again from remaining roots.

This has left the fence very bare.
I had an old wire wastepaper basket (useless in the office, as everything falls out the side) and I put a crucifix orchid in there and hung it under my thermometer.  That helps to make the wall a little less bare in that area.

I realise that I have been just adding plants in this area without much of a plan.  The only plan being to hide the fence and have some greenery. I tend to put plants here that like a bit more sunlight, and the persian shield has been doing really well.  The thing is that between the jicama on one side and the persian shield on the other my little madevilla vine has been smothered.  The base of the plant is very brown and woody...

I cut back the persian shield to allow a little more light in and watered with some seaweed foliar feed.  Further up the branches there are little patches of greenery, so hopefully this fills out.

The stephanotis was also engulfed in the jicama vine and hopefully that too will have  a new lease on life.  Right now it is just one long leggy stalk.  And that is the whole reason I got impatient and planted the jicama there, maybe at the expense of these two vines.  
Maybe I just need to be a little patient with these vines, not sure if I should prune them more to have them branch out and become more bushy.  Does the base of the plant really need much light?  I do have the fan palms  and the curry leaf tree which will eventually grow quite big and tower over the fence.  I imagined the fence covered with the stephanotis which has lovely white sweet smelling flowers, and the mandevilla which has bright red flowers.  I just hope that opening it all up, tying the vines back and giving them some love will give them a new lease on life.


  1. I really like those licuala palms along the fence! They have one of the more fanciful shaped leaves in the palm world.

  2. There you go, you got me to look up a latin name again :) We call them fluted fan palms or just fan palm, I have one of the fluted ones and two of the spiny ones. They are definitly slower growing than the tree fern! I love the look of sunlight filtering through their leaves, check out the photo on my other blog http://explorethetropics.blogspot.com/search/label/fan%20palm%20walk

  3. i'm surprised by your small harvest from what you mentioned was a large plant....oh well, i've never tried growing this...it seems so cheap here that i don't bother with some plants to grow for food...anyway more things to put in...weeeee!

  4. I do not think your fence looks bare at all! Lovely decorations are adorning it! Trust me, you are lucky to have a privacy fence. We have a huge old oak tree on the west lot line and a huge old magnolia on the north lot line, which makes it impossible to fence our garden. I've been trying to grow in privacy hedges for five years now, but they have only filled in a few sections, as I've chosen different plants, and some are faster growing.

  5. The Mandevilla that I have here responds best in full sun and not a lot of water. Perhaps all the rain you have been having there has waterlogged it's roots.I cut mine back almost to the ground each winter and it grows back stronger than ever.Opening it up to the sun should help a lot from my experience.Hope it comes back for you.

  6. Noel,
    well we cant get them here, they grow better on the tablelands and sometimes the farmers market has them. I think I might have planted them too early, because they just sat there for months before they really started to grow..they are a bit woody.
    Floridagirl, yes we are very lucky as the neighbours are very close, but dont seem so because of the fences. Sounds like that will be nice in the end, a mix of trees and hedges.
    Funny that my other mandevilla takes off in the wet season, it doesnt even seem like the same type of plant. I had two of these red ones and the other one died - I think from too much moisture. Oh gosh, I dont want to cut it back that much, but I probably should. You are right, Ok I will get out the cutters this weekend. It is probably stressing the plant to take nutrients all the way up those branches to the top.

  7. Africanaussie: Thanks for stopping by my garden and leaving nice comments! Your fence doesn't look bare for me, especially with those hanging basket and the decorations! I like the way you used the wastepaper basket for your crucifix orchid. I just happened to write a post about this orchid (aka epidendrum orchid) two posts before. What color of the flower do you have? Wonder what is the blooming period of this orchid for you?

    BTW, I just added you to my side bar blog list, so I won't miss any of your new post :)

  8. Hope your vines take off now. I've never heard of jicama, does it have another name?

  9. Ami,
    Thanks, I am following yours too, isnt it marvelous how we can see the same plants growing all over the world,and learn from each other? My flowers look exactly like yours, I am not quite sure when they flower, but now that I have a blog I should be able to keep better track of that!
    Diane, yes hopefully soon I will have some flowers on those vines. Another name for jicama is yam bean. I first tried it in Mexico and have been hooked ever since. I have been enjoying following your blog, and LOVE the name!

  10. Do you eat jicama? I have never heard of it!! Good luck with the amaranth.

  11. Hi Kate,
    Welcome to my blog! Yes jicama is wonderfully crunchy and juicy, mild flavour, a bit in texture like water chestnut. Thanks for the seeds, I am so looking forward to growing it!


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