This is part deux of my update. You know those wild roses that I dug up and tried to plant... most seem to be dying. Most as in, a few are healthy, yay! The one in the black pot looks to have thrown in the towel, as well as one or two of the cuttings in the small gray cells. One in the water should look better than the other, thats because it has started growing roots... as seen in the next photo.
I was shocked when I saw roots starting to grow! Should I plant it now, or keep it in the water for a few more weeks (there is rooting hormone in the water)?
I have to be honest, I wasn't to thrilled when the wife said she wanted to grow Swiss Chard this summer. Although I had never tasted it, I had a bad feeling about it... like brussel sprouts or rutabaga, you know, those foods your parents ate just to make your dinner smell miserable (and the house for a few days afterwards)! We've had a few harvests this year, and its okay. Sort of like beer, it seems to be an acquired taste. I have to say my favorite way is mixed in scrambled eggs, delicious! The tallest leaves are 15", I think this spacing is working out well.
I suppose I'll bring up one of the few disappointments this season... the other being my cucumber seeds were diseased and NONE survived to grow more than 2 real leaves! The dwarf iris that my wife got for her birthday last year... are not going to bloom this year :( I don't know what 'very late' means in iris lingo, but I'm sure that if a flower stalk hasn't started by now, there probably won't be any flowers. At least I think I know the culprit... bad soil! My in-laws used dirt from a flower bed, and it seems to be mostly sand, very hydro-phobic sand at that! In the fall, the plan is to divide them and put good soil, with lots of worm compost in it. The container is also a bit odd, adding to the overall performance issues with the iris (what is plural for iris, iri ?!) It sits on top of the railing, so the center is more shallow than the outside (they were planted in the middle, again probably not the best choice with the sandy soil). I'm thinking of planting 4 of the largest bulbs on the edges so it is deeper and they will be spaced further apart. This brings me to a very important question, one that could also explain why they are not flowering. Do iris grow parallel or perpendicular to the sun? You know how they grow in a "line" would it be north-south, or east-west. It would make since to plant them east-west so they get a lot of sun, but north-south would get more early morning, late afternoon sun... then I'd have to make sure they are over-wintered in the same direction as not to screw up their spring... see my predicament, or am I over-thinking this a little?
The strawberries are starting to flower! I really want to try and plant 3-4 in this container next year, that should be fine, right? I've never tried growing strawberries in containers before, but I can clearly remember when my parents had a patch and they spread like mad and were very close together, they also have small rootballs so they should be able to squeeze in right? (I know, I need something to cover the soil to keep in moisture, but I'm having a hard time finding sphagnum that doesn't cover 50sq feet!) Maybe I'll replace this with a longer container to fit more! I was disappointed to see that one of the gerbera daisy blooms didn't form right... aphids! I think it will be okay though, they're not your ordinary, everyday greenhouse aphids (look like the incredible hulk compared to these guys), they are smaller and darker, must be a wild variety. There aren't that many except for that flower bud which was over-run, so it was cut and tossed far, far away. I've noticed a few on the tomatoes, I pick off any that are near or on a flower stalk to prevent any nutrient loss to the growing fruit.
I thought I'd throw in a little change of pace for some different flavor... some indoor plants! I never seem to have enough window space for plants, especially with our cat (she'll have nothing to do with a plant that is taking up some of her prime bird/bug watching real estate!) There are some baby african violets, a spider plantlet, 2 pots of goldfish plant cuttings, and 2 rosemary cuttings. Yes, its a Culver's mixer cup, they work as excellent little greenhouses for cuttings, just need to add plastic wrap and poke a couple holes!
When is it okay to take cuttings away from a high moisture environment? I took the cuttings 1 or 2 weeks ago and haven't noticed much growth yet. When they start growing new leaves it should be okay right? I haven't touched them because I've never had luck with rosemary cuttings, but these have lasted the longest out of any of my tries, I've never tried the Culver's cup before with herbs so that might be what it needs. Whoa, what a long update... leave some comments!
Its been too long since I've updated, so I'll be posting a few times in the next couple of days to get caught up on the patio progress. Today I'll stick to the title of this entry (I've had songs from the Wizard of Oz stuck in my head the last few days).
The Jerusalem artichokes are still growing strong, haven't noticed any flower buds starting yet. I have no clue when they bloom so its a learning experience. Both tomatoes are growing great.
The cherry tomato is still climbing to the sky as fast as it can. I can't believe that I was right in guessing that the cherry tomato would be taller than the mystery tomato! There are some flower stalks, one of which has some teeny-tiny tomatoes started.
The mystery tomato seems to have slowed its growth skyward and is filling out. I can only assume that its starting to produce massive amounts of blooms, already at least 6, and there are many shoots still starting.
As for what the mystery plant actually is... here's a shot of the oldest flower stalk. The largest tomato is about 1/2 inch long... and there will be 13 on that stalk alone if all flowers produce! It looks like a roma to me, but I'm not very familiar with grape tomatoes, so I'm still unsure. I'm anxious to spray the tiny tomatoes with compost tea to ward off any diseases, since everyone and their mother have had issues with tomatoes around here the last few years. Any guesses as to what type it is? I'll probably ask this on the forums, but I'll ask here also. What should I do as far as fertilizing tomatoes? Like I said, I will be making compost tea to spray on the plants which gives fertilizer directly through the leaves and gives them a good coating of beneficial bacteria to fight of disease. I also have organic fertilizer in the form of pasteurized chicken poop. When they were planted I put some chicken poop in the soil, should I add more before they start going crazy with tomato production?
The sugar snap peas are still growing like they're on steroids (Bonds approved) and have there are a few peas that are over 2". I might as well talk about the basil since its in the photo. The basil pesto I made was amazing! Used some of it in an alfredo sauce with home-made fettuccine noodles... I'm starting to drool just thinking about it!
And last, but not least (for today anyways) is our cat Gaia. She was a rescue that someone found under their shed when she was only a few days old. We took her in when she was 2 months. I really didn't want to take a bottle fed cat, especially one that's part Russian Blue (very solitary, ask you for attention when they want, not to keen on cuddling all day) along with what I could only assume a few feral traits. She has come along well, the least cuddly cat I've ever had, but she has her moments, more of the play until she's dead tired type, or watching birds. This is what she does when she wants attention, she likes it when people talk to her, not so keen on the petting unless she: has just woke up, is eating food, watching birds, looking for bugs, or we've just come home. She seems to be adjusting very well to the spare bedroom makeover for the baby in October, hasn't tried to get in the crib once!
What is there to do on a rainy day... make pesto! The basil plants were getting huge, over 12", so it was trimming time.
The amount I harvested was insane! Now the plants look pathetic, hopefully it won't rain all week as predicted so they can start growing like weeds again in no time. The pea plants are starting to reach past the trellis.
I might be overrun with pesto by the time summer is over. The mound was about 6" high
The patio is starting to look great! The cascading petunias I got for my wife on "future mothers day" are getting huge. With every week that passes I get more worried that the iris aren't going to bloom, but then again I have no clue what a very late bloomer in iris terms means.
So today I was doing some cleaning, and I decided to shred a bunch of paper for my compost bin. What do I see when I open the lid... a potato sprout! It started growing from a tiny bit of end not more than 1/4 inch thick! That brings the plant count to 4: potato, tomato, lettuce, and celery! I wonder if I should just start all my seeds/plants in there next year? I'm surprised there is a lot of compost in there, about 3"! I had used a lot this year starting the seeds but they haven't slowed down at all. In fact, I'm surprised the bin has worked at all since I used fishing worms "leaf worms" that I bought at fleet farm! They seem to be doing the job well, and reproducing also. You can see an adult just under the shoots. Whenever I take out compost to be used, I have to sift through it to take out the babies that are less than 1/4". Later this week I think I'll make my first batch of worm casting tea for the plants... yum! I'm trying to spray them just before they start producing fruit this year.
This is becoming my favorite plant... its a goldfish plant. I took 3 cuttings a few weeks ago, they started roots so I planted them in a 3" pot. They will eventually replace the adult plant. I keep it outside during the summer, even if it gets in the low 40's at night, and still looks amazing, and blooms like crazy, considering I didn't know it had to be trimmed so its a little leggy. Another reason why I started the cuttings to make a more compact plant.
Here are our cat's, Gaia, best friends... two american goldfinches. If she isn't near the window when they get to the feeder, they call for her until she's watching! Maybe they think she'll protect them, or just tormenting her!
And last but not least, I dug up some wild roses this morning, but had some issues finding any roots. Can anyone help me out? Here's the link to the thread in the forums, http://my.gardenguides.com/fo rums/topic/86980
Too bad Its not going to reach 70 for a while. The tomatoes really took off this past week with all the record heat, both of them. Both plants have started to grow some blossoms, so I'll finally be able to tell what type of tomato the mystery plant is soon!!! Anyone have any guesses? The middle is the mystery tomato.
I tried to get a good picture of the blossoms starting on the mystery tomato, but it just wouldn't focus! It appears to be 9, maybe more flowers on a single stalk if that's a clue to anyone. With that many flowers it seems to me that it might be a grape, but I've never grown any so I have no clue.
What gives with the weather??? 20+ mph winds, and it's still over 90 with high humidity? At least it makes my bike ride interesting every morning, teasing death by nearly being blown off the overpass on the freeway! I've had some good growth in the past 2 weeks, and harvested some swiss chard already! We used some in omelets, delicious. The basil will probably need another trim in a week if this hot, humid weather continues... I haven't even finished using the last batch of pesto, I might have to give some away. The basil is over 10", but the wind the last few days has bent it over pretty severely. I don't think the mini Iris are going to bloom this year :( any ideas to encourage blooming next year? I was thinking of replacing the dirt and putting A LOT of fertilizer in the fall. Its not in this picture, but the goldfish plant has been attracting hummingbirds! There are at least 3 dozen flowers on it, so they stay and check out each one for quite a while... never would have thought they had any nectar.
The mystery tomato plant is starting to take off! The cherry tomato is just beginning to show signs of vigorous growth, now that the nights are staying above 50, they should be huge in no time! The sunchokes are still growing at the rate of about an inch a day! The wife can't wait until they bloom, but to her disappointment I'm going to pluck most of them off to encourage more tuber growth. I bought her flowers for mothers day... these are meant for food!
One thing I thought would never come out of my mouth... I miss weeding a garden!!! I know it sounds horrible to those of you that have gardens, but pulling a few germinated bird seeds from a few pots once a week just doesn't seem like gardening! I want to get down and dirty! I'm sure once I have my own real garden, I'll be eating my words, but its true!