, ,

Sowed some radishes today. I’ll have to rebuild that raised bed soon, but it should last long enough until the radishes are ready.

I also started some castor bean (Ricinus communis) ‘New Zealand Purple’ and some butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) seeds today. Neither of those is native, but they won’t survive a winter and therefore aren’t invasive in this area. I use the castor beans as a sort of seasonal privacy hedge because damn they grow fast. They’re a good filler until the hedge shrubs really get going. I kept ten seeds from last year, but I’ll probably only want about three plants, so whatever else sprouts I’ll donate to the Mississauga Master Gardener plant sale at the end of May.

Oh yes, and castor bean seeds are poisonous – the source of ricin. That’s not as bad as it may sound, because they’re only dangerous if you eat them, and frankly, I don’t see any temptation to do so. The generic name Ricinus means ‘tick’ in Latin, and the seeds do resemble blood-bloated female ticks. Yum.

As for the butterfly peas, I’ll probably grow those in containers. If you’re wondering about the generic name Clitoria, that’s because the entire genus has flowers that look remarkably like…lady parts. Attempts over the centuries (especially by the Victorians) to rename it failed because, well, the name is actually quite apt. But I got them for the colour, I swear. The flowers are used to make food colouring in tropical Asia (where they’re native), so I might experiment with that later in the year. Despite the fact that it’s a pea, I’m not sure if the seeds are eaten, but the plant has been shown to have some medicinal properties.

I also put one of the jasmine plants (Jasminum sambac) outside today. It might flop, but it should survive. If it does flop, I’ll just give it a damn good pruning and it’ll be back good as new. Plus, this plant is the only one that got much whitefly this winter, so it’ll be a good test to see if it’s safe to put the others out as well.

Today’s weather: 9C and rainy