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Tatay Ya-o at 75

Thank you for attending the 75th birthday celebration of Tatay Ya-o on April 22, 2018.  I hope you had a fun time!

Tatay Ya-o has a daughter, Joy, and she was my classmate in high school at the La Consolacion College-Bacolod. The seeds are party favors from Joy.

Joy told me that her Tatay loves planting and growing things, and his fruit trees are quite popular in their neighborhood.  True to form, Joy thinks that seeds are fitting gifts to their guests to remember their Tatay by.  You see, these Lemon-Lime Vine flowers are great attractants to bees, and when bees are present, great pollinators that they are, there is more bountiful harvest of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  That will surely bring great joy to Tatay Ya-o and to his loved ones!

What is the plant?

The plant is “Lemon-Lime Vine” or its scientific name, “Pereskia aculeata”.  It originated in the Caribbean and South America, and escaped to Central America to Florida.  They are propagated via seeds or cuttings.  It belongs to the Cactus family.

It is recommended to plant it by the perimeter wall to deter intruders.  The vine has spikes!

The plant started blooming once in 2015, and the seeds came thereafter.  It bloomed again once in 2016.  By August 2017, it started blooming once a month.

Here are the pictures of the Lemon-Lime Vine.

Seed – The seeds are black and are 1/8 inch diameter.  The seeds that you have now were harvested in March 2018 to ensure a high germination rate.

 Lemon Lime Vine Seeds1

Seedling – This 5-inch tall seedling is around 2 months old from germination.

Lemon Lime Vine Seedling

Stem – These young stems (green) are around 6 months old, while the bigger (brown) stem is around 1 year old.

 Lemon Vine Stem

These stems are 5 years old, and all the vines originate from these.

Lemon Vine Trunk

Flower – Last August 1, 2017, the Lemon-Lime Vine flowers bloomed profusely.  It attracted many bees!

This bee has blue wings and yellow front legs. Around 20-30 bees of this kind came.

Carpenter bee

This bee has a brown upper body. Around 10-20 bees of this kind came.

Carpenter bee2

This is a very small bee, about 1/4 of n inch. There must be hundreds of them that came.

Kiwot bee

This bee is smaller than the Apis cerana, and it has shiny behind. Around 5 of these bees came.

Unidentified bee

This bee had brown wings and upper body, and striped B&W lower body.  It looks very lovely. Around 10 came.

Wild Honeybee

To give you an idea of the bee magic:  My squash gave me 8 times more fruits because the bees pollinated them!

Bee magic

Fruit – I’ve tried eating the fruits, and neighbor kids also ate a lot of these, and we’re all OK.  (LOL)  The write-up says that these can be eaten fresh or preserved.

Lemon Lime Vine Seeds

How did we prepare the seeds?

    1. The fruits were picked from the vine (each fruit contains 1-3 seeds);
    2. The seeds were taken out from the fruit.  One. By. One.;
    3. The seeds were air dried for 2 days;
    4. The seeds were packed in kraft paper or wax paper (no plastic!) (each packet contains at least 20 seeds); and
  1. The seeds were sealed and packaged in burlap with custom-designed tags.  (Thank you, Joy, for collaborating with me on this!)

Preparation

How to plant and care for the Lemon Lime Vine?

Happily, the seeds/plants are very easy to grow.  I call it “plant-and-forget”.

    1.  Soil – Best soil is equal parts top soil, carbonized rice hull, and organic fertilizer (like vermicast or dried chicken/cow dung).  If you don’t have any of those, top soil will do.  Just sieve it so you only use the soft soil.  Click here for more info on conditioning your soil.
    1. Planting – Make dents on the soil 1/2 to 1 inch deep using your forefinger.  Place 1 seed, and cover it with soil.  Lightly water it, and place in shaded area with half day sunlight.
    1. Water – Water only when needed, or around every after 2 days.  Seeds might rot if over-watered.  Also, remember that the Lemon Lime Vine belongs to the Cactus family, so please plant it in soil with good drainage (don’t plant it in water-logged areas).
    1. Container – You may plant this directly in the ground or in container.  Pots which are 9-inch tall 12 inch diameter will do.
    1. Sunlight – Once the seeds have germinated, you may move the plant in full sun.  It’s  from the cactus family, and it definitely likes the sun.
  1. Care – The seeds will germinate in around 1 week.  After this, it will practically grow with zero or very little care needed.  This is a very low-maintenance plant.  Only, the plant has spikes when it matures, so please plant it in areas by the wall or in areas where not many people pass.  Also, since it is  vine, please prepare a vertical support, like a wall or trellis.

Benefits of the Lemon-Lime Vine

    1. Lemon-Lime Vine is very easy to plant and grow, which makes it ideal for busy people to grow and to add greens in their home.
    1. The vine has spikes, hence, you can use it as a hedge in your garden.  The spikes will definitely deter unwanted visitors, animals and humans alike.  That’s 24/7 free guard for your home!
    1. The flowers are unbelievably fragrant!  It will attract many bees in your garden.  Once you have the bees, you will get lots of help pollinating your flowers, and in turn, the flowers will bear many fruits!
    2. The fruits can be eaten fresh or preserved.  (I’ve eaten some, but I’ve not preserved them yet.)
  1. The leaves can be eaten, as reported.  I’ve not tried this yet, though.

May the love of Tatay Ya-o for plants, and for the wonderful things he’s done for the past 75 years, be celebrated in the seeds that you will plant.

Let love grow!

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