Making Vanilla Planifolia Right at Home

Once our cacao trees give fruit we're going to need some flavoring to add to our chocolate mix and Vanilla planifolia will make the perfect pairing. The Vanilla plant is a vine and part of the orchid family, one of the two largest flowering plant families. Vanilla is also the only orchid that has been known to be used for economic purposes on a commercial scale. When its greenish-yellow flowers are pollinated this orchid produces a greenish pod much like typical pole or bush beans. These beans are then used as flavoring for many drinks and dishes. These flowers open and are fertile early in the morning and if not pollinated they will just fall off. Vanilla plants in the wild will rarely be pollinated and produce beans for this reason hand pollination is usually administered under controlled situations.
From the information we have garnered so far we know that most Vanilla plants will not produce beans until they have reached an approximate length of at least 10 feet. One other important factor needed for this orchid to grow strong and well is support as it grows. Our vine has produced almost 6 inch long roots as it searches for something to hold on to, so today we finally made it right. Here are some pictures of the homemade support we created for our Vanilla planifolia vine and our Tillandsia usneoides better known as its common name Spanish moss, but it is not from Spain and not a moss. That's why we use its binomial: Tillandsia usneoides. Enjoy.
Original setup of 4 foot Vanilla vine with Tillandsia sprinkled in for company

Tools used: Scissors, plastic bottle, tubing, coco coir and organic green moss

Wrapped coconut coir around plastic bottle with rubber bands

Added organic green moss underneath vine

Wrapped around nice and tight

Oh yeah, and topped it off with the original Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show 2012 Visit

My daughter and I were blessed enough to visit the 2012 San Francisco Flower and Garden show in San Mateo. I was excited, I don't know if my daughter knew what she was getting into, but it was awesome as it was almost four years ago the last time I attended. I remember the lady I purchased our Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) from as well as our Dischidium pectinoides (Ant plant/Kangaroo Pocket plant) from. She was still there in the same booth space and it was a pleasure chatting with her about my experiences since I purchased those plants form her. Great energy, Great time!
This is a great event to visit for those interested in nature, gardening etc at all levels. From the children's area, to expert seminars, talks, and of course the Marketplace where you can buy everything from seeds and tools to trees and trainings. The only negative marks come from the price of parking ($12), which is over half the cost of a regular adult all day entrance ($20), but the learning experience, people you'll meet and great bargains if you've done your research are worth it in my opinion. If it wasn't raining as heavily I would have taken public transportation, which I do recommend. Enjoy the pictures.

Awesome succulent display by Succulent Gardens.

Best price for biggest, healthiest plants for the price. Thanks Sweetwater Nursery!

Some of the most beautifully pleasing displays simply made up of sexy succulents!

Here is a little succulent display action from Succulent Gardens.

Children's area - 'Sproutopia'

California natives displayed in their natural background with California graffiti.