Erik's surprise harvest of kale following snowfall. (Erik Jacobsen photo)

Christmas cactus sets buds to get into spirit of season

Erik muses about his cactus’s intentions and finds a surprise harvest of kale

Each day, when I change the water for the canary, rather than just throwing the old water into the sink, I water the Christmas cactus. This is the trailing Cactus I wrote about recently.

It has now started setting flower buds again. This time the whole plant is covered with buds. My cactus is placed on a tall stand by the living room window, facing south. Perhaps it is attempting to get me, as we call it, “in the Christmas spirit.” whatever that is.

My uncle in Denmark used the comment, “some people get so miserable at Christmas.” Perhaps we should focus more on the “true Christmas spirit.”

I was just down in the basement to get some carrots for supper and walked by where the tuberous begonias had been sitting since I dug them up. I noticed that the tops had now completely withered. It will now be time to carefully remove the dirt from around the tubers and look for any multipliers to be stored in peat moss with the rest of the tubers until spring.

After we had that unexpected snow, it did not look like much was to be harvested from the vegetable garden. But after some of the snow had melted, I examined the kale, and it had some leaves left for the supper table.

On that topic, most of the kale I have harvested I processed with the dehydrator. I learned that it takes a lot less room for storing.

It was my first-time growing kale. I also have learned that my canary is crazy about it when I take a small handful and crunch it before leaving it in his cage.

The Mailbag

A reader wrote, “Moose-munching.”

I just wanted to let you know that we have successfully protected our young fruit trees from moose munching by laying LED lights on the outer branches.

We lost several trees before we figured out that the moose do not like the lights shining in their night-vision eyes. We leave the lights on, especially all winter. It has done the trick!

Once the trees are big enough to withstand the hungry moose, you do not need the lights anymore, but we have grown to like the glow throughout the winter.

I would like to thank you so much for your observation and for passing on this valuable information. Perhaps there are others who have had similar experiences. Would you like to share?

If you have questions or suggestions for gardening topics, please email me at


11/11/2019 08:51:44 +0000

11/11/2019 08:51:44 +0000

Eric’s Christmas cactus went from an erect plant to a trailing one after it got too big and broke in two. (Erik Jacobsen photo)

Eric’s Christmas cactus went from an erect plant to a trailing one after it got too big and broke in two. (Erik Jacobsen photo)