It’s hard to keep up with individual posts about everything I have growing, so I thought I’d do a little update post to cover a lot of them, even if I haven’t done an individual post for all of the plants.

So, here we go…

First, my saffron is growing wild. I never knew crocus would grow so large! (Sharpie for reference)

bushy crocus leaves twice the length of a Sharpie pen

The saffron isn’t showing any sign of blooming yet, but the growth doesn’t appear to be the sort of legginess caused by a lack of light. The leaves are dark green and seem healthy. It may just be the wrong season for them and I may not see flowers until next year. I’m fine with that as the leaves will feed the bulbs and I’ll get even more flowers when they come. I am anxious to try home-grown saffron, though. So hard to wait on all these plants.

I have a new green cardamom shoot! The main plant shipped to me in a small 2″ pot back in late December and it took a little bit of frost…well, not damage, really, but it was yellowing in places and decidedly unhappy with the temperature during shipping. After potting, it greened up some, but never really appeared to thrive to the point where it was growing new or larger leaves. Now I guess I know why!

three inch cardamom shoot next to larger plant

The cardamom was concentrating on a whole new shoot, not just new leaves. Tricky beast! I can’t wait for these to fruit. I haven’t found a place to buy green cardamom pods around here at all — even in my local International market, so having access to the spice will be very satisfying.

I also have new growth on both the star anise and the black sapote with brand new leaves poking out from the tops of the small trees.

Star anise plant with a dozen new tiny leaves

While the anise is still showing the yellow dapples from the cold shipping, it has a whole cluster of new leaves, so I can only assume the damage is permanent but not life-threatening. The damaged leaves will eventually fall off as the new leaves take over. In the meantime, the dappling is actually rather pretty, even if it isn’t good for the plant.

The black sapote (chocolate pudding fruit!) isn’t showing such vigorous growth, but it’s still showing a new shoot.

Black sapote sapling with a single inch long rolled-up leaf

And the miracle berry tree has blooms!

miracle berry tree with small white flower buds along the trunk

I’m excited to try the miracle berry fruits when they ripen — assuming I can get them there. I actually repotted the miracle berry this weekend because a lot of the leaves were turning yellow and dying. Not most of the leaves, by any means — and it might just be due to natural dying off during winter — but it was enough to make me concerned that the peat-perlite-vermiculite mix I had the tree in didn’t have enough nutrients. Because the miracle berry doesn’t tolerate fertilizing well and burns easily, I hadn’t fertilized it like I have some of the other plants. And peat doesn’t have a lot of nutrition in it. So I repotted, reusing the same mix, but adding in some compost, worm castings, and a bit of ‘raised bed’ potting mix. Nothing too strong, but hopefully, the tree will be happier with better access to nutrients.

In addition, I got in a nice bulk order of felt grow bags and have several of them already in use. Two have edible hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa), also known as sorrel or rosella. It grows into a floppy-sort of open bush, so I planted some sorghum in the middle also. Hopefully the two will play nicely together and I can eventually make some hibiscus tea sweetened with some sorghum syrup. The hibiscus is growing well and you can just see the red sorghum seeds scattered around them.

hibiscus seedlings just starting first true leaves in a grow bag with tiny red sorghum seeds sprinkled around them

And last, but definitely not least, the wasabi is still growing marvelously. There are new leaves shooting out and they’re all still a healthy dark green. We might be able to harvest a leaf or two soon to try in a stir-fry.

three wasabi plants showing new growth. A large leaf from a black pepper vine on the right and an empty water bottle on the left.

I want at least three leaves left on any plant I harvest from, so it will take a while longer, but they really are growing well. As is the black pepper plant you can just see to the right.

One other note because the bottle on the left reminded me: Because the miracle berry plant is so sensitive to chemicals, I’ve been watering it with distilled water. While it’s not terribly expensive to do this — distilled water is only 99¢ per gallon at my local grocery — I don’t like the constant parade of plastic bottles. I will reuse them when I can and recycle what I can’t, but it’s not ideal. Then I remembered something I got for my hydroponics setup to improve the water quality: A Boogie Blue water filter. The hydroponics loved it, so I bought another to use inside. While it’s made to attach to a garden hose, I can use a couple of funnels to send my tap water through it and make chemical-free water for the picky miracle berry and other plants. I’ll just refill all those plastic water bottles I’ve already collected with filtered water instead of distilled. Surely the miracle berry won’t be so picky it will mind the change, right?

Wish me luck! And happy homesteading!