Monday, February 17, 2014

Cassia/Senna bicapsularis - Cassia Tree

This beautiful small tree is an excellent addition to the Central Florida landscape. It is a relatively fast growing Legume (so it fixes nitrogen) which has many benefits in any garden. This multi-purpose tree is great at attracting a variety of pollinators, and birds. It serves as a host plant for three different Florida butterflies: cloudless sulphur, sleepy orange, and orange-barred sulphur. (*) The tree blooms in fall when the landscape desperately needs life and color. Being leguminous it is excellent for the landscape fixing nitrogen and providing the ground with excellent organic matter to build the soil. These plants are easy to care for requiring little attention once established in the landscape as well as being reasonably drought tolerant. With the exception of watering when the tree was young, the tree in the picture, has only been pruned twice and mulched once in three years. All the while the tree is in the landscape doing its work; providing beauty and habitat for birds as they enjoy eating some of the different insects which come to visit or just enjoying the shade from its bushy canopy. Just look at the flowers on this tree! I really enjoy it during its blooming phase watching the wildlife sing and dance within its branches. You can prune this specimen into a small bush or a tree depending on what you need and how sturdy you want it. The branches are delicate and can break easily during storms and high winds. Luckily ours has tolerated extreme weather well so far.

I love these flowers!

The seed hangs from the branches for months after flowering is complete. The pods are left to dry on the bush as the seeds mature. Once the pods are dry the seed can then be harvested and processed. It is beneficial to pick the pods after several dry days, this way it will be easier to remove the gummy coating that surrounds all the seed. 

Our tree is in its third year and we finally have seeds now! I am so excited to be able to share them. I removed the pods and individually separated the seeds from the gummy coating that surrounds them in the pod. This is a time consuming process! I spent a considerable amount of my day focused on this task. It should be relatively easy to propagate these from seed. We will try 15 - 20 and save the rest of the seed.

Contact us if you would like to purchase seed.


Spring prep update.

I have been slacking on the blog! I must say its pretty difficult to create this habit of sitting down to write although its becoming more and more rewarding so I am doing my best to include this into the routine.

There is much activity over here in the Sanagaia garden space. We have our greenhouse! Its relevant parts have been moved and are ready to set up thanks to the men of the house. Once we get the footers done then we will be erecting it! Its going to be a great day! :) So much  more space for seedlings and the ability to get enough herbs to start doing a weekly market trip.

Spring planting and clearing is in full swing. We have beds for this and beds for that and we have the asparagus bed ready to plant our crowns in: lets see how they do in here in central Florida. From my research they need a dormant period that this climate does not offer. The way we see it we have the space so we might as well use it.

The most relevant thing that is going on is behind the scenes is organization. We now have a fridge just for the seeds. My mother has been collecting seeds for a while to share, trade or sell. We now have enough seed that we are starting to sell them. We will be adding items to the shopping cart as I catalog them and write about them.

I am very thankful to be able to pursue my passion for local food with my family. Its a gift that has no financial equivalent.

Please stay tuned as I begin adding our seeds to the catalog.

So much exciting news coming for the spring!