Sunday, July 26, 2015

Beans at the top

The beans are looking better now. Maybe it was the fertilizer I added to the water. The leaves are thicker and darker and don't seem to be as affected by the hot sun as they were a week ago. I'm pouring a good gallon and a half of water into the container (self watering) every day. Still no flowers yet = no beans. But still lots of time.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Unexpected beets

When I planted lettuce in the spring I also planted what I thought were bulls blood beets. I like to use the baby beet greens in salads. But they didn't grow with red leaves like bulls blood should. Eventually I thinned them down to a couple of plants and just let them grow. One got to a decent size and dominated the container, until yesterday. They definitely were not bulls blood, or so I thought. When cut open I saw the concentric white rings and I figured I must have mixed up the bulls blood with the chioggia. But after a quick internet search, I now know that bulls blood also have concentric white rings too. Not sure why the tops were not red. They got enough sunlight. Must have been some mineral missing from the potting soil. Roasted them in the oven and they tasted great. Wish I had grown more.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The aphids are back

I was moving stuff around on the balcony and I put the basil up one a small bench to get it more sunlight. Once up there I had a better look at it from a different angle and there they were. Aphids. Just one plant. So I pinched off the top and tossed it. I didn't find any more on plants in that same container but in another container I found more on some fino verde basil. I don't think there is anything else in that container they like or can harm so maybe that 's where they'll stay. But I've been through this so many times in the past and I know how it ends: a complete aphid infestation. They can have the fino verde, but I won't be happy if they take over the Genovese.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Basil on the balcony

I finally got around to potting out the Genovese basil. It was starting to get a little tall and lanky in the starter tray in the kitchen. A couple more weeks and I should be able to start picking leaves.  I also planted out some small determine tomato plants and some fino verde basil. The fino verde bothers me a bit because I inspected a leave that had spots that reminded me of spider mite damage. I'll have to keep an eye on it. I have more planted outside already so not a great lose if I have to toss it.

My pole beans have reached the top of the trellis and now I just have to wait for them to fill out. It will make a nice wall of green. But the leaves seem kind of weak and some are not as green as they should be. We've had a few days of really hot weather and the leaves seem to wilt more than I think they should. They always have plenty of water so maybe I'm watering them too much. Or they aren't getting enough nutrients. Most likely both are a problem so I'll back off on the water and use some inorganic ferts and see what happens.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Beans are climbing

The lettuce I planted in the spring is still providing. I keep threatening to pull it all up and make one last salad but it never happens. Lately we've been plucking a few leaves at a time for sandwiches, and tonight it was burgers. The lone beet at the back of the container provides a bit of cooling shade. Also starting to grow in there is some some fino verde basil and tiny tim and floragold tomato plants.

Using a couple of long bamboo poles I had on the balcony, I constructed something for the beans to climb. Each bean has its own cord to climb. I guess it's about 6 feet from the soil level to the top of the trellis. A bit higher would have been nice but I only had so much cord and didn't feel like buying more. Once the beans start twisting around their pole (or cord in my case) they shoot up fast and I figure a couple of these will reach the top by the end of next week. Some of the plants are a little late to the game and will take a little longer. But even with all the fast growth, it's going to be a while before I'm picking beans.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer at last

My pole beans are coming up fast now. I need to get some kind of structure above them so they have something to crawl onto. I can't be bothered to build anything so bamboo poles and plastic cable ties will have to do. I like to get them to grow up about 7 feet. Beyond that I find it gets harder to manage. And there isn't as much sunlight up high, close to the overhang over my balcony.

The wheat I planted must be stressed out because it's going to seed already. We've been getting a lot of rain so I haven't bothered to water it. And with all the mold on the leaves I figure it's nearly done anyways. It was a nice way to add a touch of green to the balcony, but now it's starting to turn into a touch of brown.

My tomatoes are growing well and the lettuce I keep mowing down is coming up again. It's the gift that keeps on giving. I still have lots of basil growing in the kitchen window I'll need to transplant to a larger container on the balcony soon. And I planted several small "micro" variety tomato plants that I've never grown before.