Friday, June 24, 2011

Opalka Tomato Plant

Lots of rain this week and all of it accompanied by a good west wind that soaked the balcony. Probably one of the few times when my plants actually get wet. All of the tomatoes are growing big and fast except this opalka tomato. It's filling out nicely and has a couple of flowers coming out but it doesn't appear to be growing up as fast as the others. There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with it and even though it looks a little droopy in this picture that's because we had just come through a heavy downpour. I read that these plants were suppose to get big and bushy. Looks like this one has a ways to go yet.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tomato Growth

My black cherry tomatoes are growing fast. I probably shouldn't have planted a pair of them as I hear they can grow quite large and bushy. Perhaps too large for this single tote to support them. Fortunately this is a self watering container with a fairly large reservoir so keeping them watered shouldn't be a problem. I just need to remember to keep them fertilized. The trellis built up around this container is only 6 feet tall and I suspect I'll eventually need to build it up a little higher.

Some of my other tomato plants are growing quite well also, like this Zapotec. I temporarily stuck a stick in the pot to keep it upright but I really need to build a proper stake and support system. I find that with large tomatoes in containers a single large stake is not enough to keep the plant upright no matter how big the stake is. You can only push it so far into the soil.

None of my plants, except the black cherry tomatoes, have reached a height where they desperately need support. Still, I need to start planning.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bad Beans

I planted some bush beans in some free space that I had and some came up mangled starter leaves. And it was all of one specific variety I planted. The others came up fine. For some reason, the Borlotti Beans were trashed when they broke the soil surface. One poor plant had no starter leave to speak of.

I did a bit of research and have concluded that it was not a bird problem, nor was it an insect. It must be one of two things: I planted them too deep or the soil was too moist. Or maybe both. Interesting that the other plants were not affected though. There are some Yellow Beans growing next to these and they had no problems.

I'm going to guess I planted these too deep. Only three came up and I'm certain I seeded more than that. But all is not lost. Despite the initial lack of leaves, the first true leaves are emerging and they look fine. Now they just have to survive the inevitable wave of aphids and spider mites.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Too Windy

We've had a couple of very windy days recently and my newly planted cucumbers and tomatoes have taken a beating. Most of the tomato plants came through it alright actually. The single Opalka I planted got beaten up pretty bad but the Gold Medals and German Greens look great. I planted a single Cape Gooseberry plant and it too took a thrashing. Fortunately I have a few more spare plants still in their starter pots. I think I'll start again with this one and plant out as many more as I can find space for.

I have a few cucumber plants trying to grow on the balcony this year too but I waited to long to bring them indoors and after a day of constant wind gusts they are not looking too well. I like to bring sensitive plants indoors for the first month whenever it gets overly windy or chilly, until the plants establish themselves. I think my hesitation time will mean the end of my cucumber plants this season.

Another mistake I keep making is to use tomato cages to support them so they can grow vertically and I don't know why I continue to do this. Even the slightest breeze causes the plants to brush up against the tomato cage and the plants become damaged very quickly. I think there was a time when I had a successful season with cucumbers and tomato cages on the balcony but that was a long time ago.