One of my favorite sources for gardening/simple living inspiration is Not Dabbling in Normal.  Earlier this morning I read a post over there titled It’s Time to Think About the Fall/Winter Garden, and that post did indeed get me thinking.

If things go according to plan (fingers crossed!), within the next month we’ll be moving into our first real house with a real yard suitable for a real garden.  Our last apartment, where we were for two years, was great and had a decently-sized yard.  However, the gardener (who was hired and paid by the landlord) had a really bad habit of weed-whacking everything that wasn’t growing in a pot–even if it was in the flower bed with a plant marker next to it.  I lost sage, basil, dahlias, daylilies, and even a tomato plant to his lack of discernment.  Needless to say, I’m excited about having complete control over a (pretty sizable) front and back yard, and I’ve got big dreams for next spring–but I don’t want to wait that long! I’ve started doing a little research as to what I can include in a small fall/winter garden that won’t require too much maintenance, but will hopefully knock out a considerable portion of our grocery bill (not to mention the health and environmental benefits of growing your own food).

In the spring, I plan on taking advantage of the chain link fence in the backyard by planting climbing varieties of beans, cucumbers, melons, and tomatoes.  Until then, I’m thinking of going ahead and building some raised beds against the fence and trying my hand at fall and winter crops.  According to HumeSeeds.com’s Fall and Winter Vegetable Planting Guide, “the soil in a well made and maintained raised bed can be between 8 and 12 degrees F. warmer than the same soil in the surrounding garden areas.”  That should be really beneficial in fall and winter gardening.

I checked the Ira Nelson Horticulture Center’s website for zone-specific advice (we’re moving to South Louisiana), and of the plants they recommend I think we’d really enjoy broccoli, garlic, onions, spinach, lettuce, and radishes.  I’m going to get to work planning planting and harvest times, and hopefully by the time we’re moved in I’ll be ready to get started.

So, I was slightly wrong in my previous post about this mystery plant.  My Nana pointed out that Granny actually referred to this as a teardrop plant (and not a tear plant), and upon googling teardrop plant I quickly found the information I was looking for.

this looks just like my teardrop plant to me

In my online research, I’ve also seen it called the mother of millions (or thousands), Mexican hat plant, and chandelier plant.  The forums at gardenweb.com were especially helpful in pinpointing the exact plant that I have.  They directed me to bryophyllum.com (which has some very informative pictures!), where I learned that my plant is called bryophyllum crenatodaigremontianum.  It’s a cross between b.crenatum and b.daigremontianum.   I’ve discovered that the mother of millions (the name I prefer, naturally) is a particularly invasive succulent that’s been known to grow on almost any available surface (including bare bricks and pine straw).  Many people consider this plant a weed, and it should be kept out of reach of pets as it’s leaves and especially its flowers are toxic when eaten.  Apparently, this plant won’t think twice about choking out another plant it happens to share soil with.  Because of this, it’s wise to keep these away from other plants altogether.  The rosettes on the leaves are indeed the baby plants, and they can fall into neighboring pots and take them over if you aren’t careful.  Therefore, total isolation is recommended for the mother of millions.  A windowsill by itself or a big pot on the porch both seem like good places to me.  I have yet to see them, but according to both Granny and the internet, the mother of millions produces pretty lavender flowers.

Yesterday was not a good day. The night before last I went to bed nervous, and the when I woke up yesterday morning that nervousness had almost turned into panic.  I spent a large part of the morning chewing my fingernails and trying to distract myself with HGTV. Chowder and Maxine, however, were entirely unaffected.

the biggest feet in town

the biggest belly in town

Needless to say, this home buying thing has stopped being fun.  We thought we’d found the perfect house for the third time, and yet again it didn’t work out. I spent a large portion of yesterday sulking, eating fake hot dogs with a lot of Wickles relish (so fly, but that’s a post for another time), and watching David Bromstead’s Color Splash in my pajamas.  Yeah, I know, that’s a pretty lame thing to do.

But I’m feeling better today.  I have a few new beauty recipes I want to try out, and there are some baby tomatoes on my tomato plant (pictures coming soon), and we’ve put another offer on another house.  Still, we’d really appreciate it if you’d cross your fingers, send us some good vibes, or say a little prayer in our favor.