Sunday, May 30, 2010

Aphids On My Eggplant

I potted a pair of bambino eggplants last week and already there are aphids sucking on them. These were plants I started indoors back in April or maybe even late March and never saw an aphid during their time indoors. I used new potting soil in the container they went into. I can't recall using that container last year but I'm sure at one time something in that container had aphids but I don't recall what it was or when.

It wasn't a complete infestation of aphids though. Just a few that were easily eradicated. I found them when I noticed a few spots of honeydew on the lower leaves - a dead give away that there are aphids feeding on the upper leaves. The plants are looking healthy so if I can keep them that way and get rid of any aphids I see whenever I see them, everything should be fine. Of course, I say that now. I might not be as attentive come late July.

I've also discovered spider mites on a small container of Golden Hops that I picked up at a nursery last weekend. I bought it on a whim, picturing a container with huge hops vines stretching up over a trellis. The plant sat for a while before I finally had a really good look at it. A couple of the lower leaves were dried up and curled and I could see the fine webs that the mites leave on the undersides of the leaves.

Spider mites are incredibly small but if you stare at a leaf that has them long enough you'll notice them moving around. They are also an absolute pain to get rid of for balcony gardeners. So I have to decide what to do with this little plant. Hop vines can reach lengths of 20 feet so you can imagine the trouble I'll have if this plant were allowed to grow up and became infested. The mites would quickly spread to my other plants. Not good.

I'm still in the process of potting my started plants. It's a never ending process. Was looking at some Klari "Baby Cheese" Pepper plants I have yet to pot and noticed the lower leaves are yellowing and falling off. I should have re-potted these a long time ago. I have been applying a mild dilution of fertilizer but it's just not enough. Time for a more permanent home.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Busy on the Balcony

In the past week I've been planting everything I had started indoors into containers on the balcony. Even reusing potting soil from last year still requires bags and bags of new soil. Nothing special this year, just potting soil. Tomatoes are planted as well as 4 different pepper varieties, sugar pumpkins and some bambino eggplant. Still more to go and I'm a little behind in getting some seed started out there also.

I didn't have plans to grow any herbs this year other than a few basil plants but some oregano, thyme, rosemary and mint found their way here from a local nursery. And my mother brought over a big pot of chives.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chilly Night Ahead

It's going to be a cold Mothers Day here. The daytime high is suppose to be around 5C and there is talk of frost tonight or tomorrow night. But by next weekend we should be free from any more frost threats. I might have to cover up my snap peas tonight.

container snap peas

I'm a little behind in my balcony gardening activities. Normally by this time of year I've got the balcony cleaned up and a few containers going. Not the case this year but usually when I get started too early a frost knocks out a few early starters or the cold containers just don't produce. For most of what I grow there's no rush and I can afford to wait a few weeks before putting everything out.

In my window sill I have a number of pepper plant, some bambino eggplants, some brandywine tomatoes and just up a couple of days ago, some sugar and jarrahdale pumpkins. The peppers and eggplant are getting too big for the window: tall and spindly as they usually do when started there but not too bad actually. I'm quickly running out of space and I still have some herbs and cucumbers to get started.