Monday, August 20, 2012

Stinky Succulent Flower

I've had this Stapelia gigantea succulent for I think at least five years.  I grew it from a small pinched off cutting and it has, very slowly, grown into this still not super giant plant.  I have been hoping it would flower at some point because they are supposed to have really gorgeous starfish-like flowers.  Last year it produced a small flower bud, but it ended up shriveling up and falling off.  Earlier this summer, I was pleasantly surprised by this huge bud. 

 Little did I know it would turn into a really really huge bud.

After a lot of waiting, this weekend it finally started to open.

And yesterday it opened completely.  The plant is sometimes called carrion flower and is rumored to smell like dog poop.  I believe it's primary pollinators are flies (you can see one on the picture below) who seem to enjoy the smell of those kinds of things.  This one definitely smells a little off, but not in a disgusting way.  I think it smells a little like bonito flakes or maybe kimchi.

Anyway, I wanted to document the flower, since it is already starting to wilt and I don't know how many years it will be before the plant produces another one.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hops Harvest

This year we grew four different kinds of hops, Cascade, Nugget, Magnum and Centennial.  We ordered the rhizomes from the thyme garden in Alsea, OR in November and got them shipped to us in March.  They all started out doing about the same, and the Magnum even started climbing up its twine first, but the Cascade and Nugget ended up being the only ones that really took off.  

Supposedly, in the first year, you shouldn't expect to get any cones.  So I was pleasantly surprised when the Nugget bine started to produce burrs.

Which eventually turned into really big cones.

It was hard to figure out when exactly I should harvest them, so I ended up just harvesting a few of the drier and more hoppy smelling ones and leaving on some of the wetter greener ones to harvest later.  

It isn't too big of a harvest, but there are at least this many still left on the plant for a later harvest.  The Cascade bine also has a few cones on it, but literally only 4 or 5 of them, so I'm not sure they will be worth harvesting. 


I'm drying them in the garage on top of an old screen door with mesh fabric covering them so they don't fly away.  Once they are dry I'll put them in the freezer.  Nate should be able to use them for at least one batch of home brew.  And next year, we should hopefully get a bunch more cones and maybe the other varieties will start to do a little better.