Saturday, April 30, 2011

Early Nutrient Deficiency

While inspecting my tender tomato seedlings I happened to notice that some of the leaves are developing a slight purple tinge and curled leaves: a sure sign of a nutrient deficiency. Perhaps phosphorous. And it's no surprise really. I'm a lazy gardener and should have applied a mild dose of general purpose ferts when the first true leaves appeared. So off I went to shop around for something, preferably with a higher P and K concentration to promote early growth.

But it occurred to me that I must have something kicking around at home. I don't need much and it doesn't have to be perfect. And sure enough I had a few options available. At first I considered using a very mild application of orchid fertilizer. It had a higher level of phosphorous but also a few micro nutrients. Probably things orchids need I suppose. Then I discovered the tail end of a bottle of an organic fertilizer solutions; 1-5-5 with a touch of Magnesium. Perfect. Hopefully it does the trick.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Life Returning to the Balcony

A very nice day today. I thought I might get out and clean up the balcony but the wind was keeping me from getting anything done. Every time I touched an old pot a cloud of potting soil would get blown around. Even opening a garbage bag was a challenge with updrafts trying to pull the bags out of my hand and over my head.

As junky and lifeless as it looks out there, I did find a few surprises. Some of lettuce seeds I planted late last fall that didn't come up are coming up now. Maybe a dozen. I would guess Black Seeded Simpson and another dozen Arugula. And the hops vine that I trimmed down last fall is showing signs of life also. Buds around the base of the plant are soft and slightly green.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Snow today. Sort of. A few flurries and a bitter wind. But the grass is getting green. In another month I'd like to have some veggies started outside. I had to reseed most of my tomatoes though. They came up really fast and I was too busy to notice. They were on a shelf in the kitchen and I was suppose to get them under some lights as soon as they broke the soil. Within a couple of days they were all very tall and desperately reaching for the sunlight. So I thinned them out and started again. I usually get things started to early anyways. No harm in delaying another week or two.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Seed Starting

I thought I'd try a couple of these self watering seed starter trays available from Lee Valley. Water in the bottom tray is wicked up by a capillary mat that sits under the upper tray that holds the seedlings. This tray is essentially bottomless so the soil in the cells is in contact with the capillary mat which stays wet as long as there is water in the reservoir below. Although they look solid, the trays are made of polystyrene foam (styrofoam) making them unbelievably light and kind of flimsy. And they weren't cheap either. But I needed something and I felt like splurging a little. Maybe I'll switch back to recycled drink boxes next year.

The two trays I have started contain Gold Medal, Black Cherry, Opalka, German Green and Zapotec Tomatoes as well as Ground Cherries and Cape Gooseberries. And I've got a small container of Green Tomatillos started too but I believe those seeds are too old and won't germinate. Maybe I'll start some other old seeds I have, just to see if they're still viable.