Friday, July 29, 2011

Jungle Balcony

Starting to get bushy on the balcony. There is barely enough sunlight to go around. My poor hops vine gets very little sun now. Need to give the tomatoes priority. In fact some are a little too shaded.

I've reached that point in the season where the growth seems to slow a little. Need to get some more fertilizer in the containers. Prune some of the wild growth from the tomatoes. I notice lots of suckers that have gone unpinched. I pulled up the yellow bush bean and fava bean plants that were done for the season and after mixing some ferts and compost back into the container, reseeded with peas. Hopefully I can get something more out of that container before the end of the season.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tiny Cape Gooseberry

The start of something tasty. Still got a long way to go though. My Cape Gooseberry plants are really starting to spread and block the tomatoes that sit behind them. Time to do a bit of rearranging on the balcony. And I need to provide some better support for these plants. Cape Gooseberry plants have very woody stems that can snap easily. I learned that the hard way once before and don't plan to repeat that lesson this season..

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blossom End Rot

I don't see this very often but on this particular tomato plant I've had a few of these now. And I believe the culprit is excess moisture. This plant grows in a self watering container made from a 5 gallon bucket but the fill hole is on a side I can no longer access. So I started watering it from the top and as a result it's probably not getting a consistent supply of water regularly.

There are more tomatoes on the plant that are not yet affected so maybe I should get out there and fix this watering problem. Another possibility is low calcium levels and I think I have some calcium suppliment I can use. But the soil mix and fertilizer isn't any different from the mix I used on my other plants, like my black cherry tomatoes. And I have lots of those with no end rot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Fava

I decided to pluck a fava bean off one of my little bean bushes and crack it open for a taste. It was a small pod, not quite 4 inches long with 3 beans inside. I'm glad I didn't wait too long to pick it because it tasted just right. No bitterness. Sweet. I tried growing this same variety last year and had no luck with them so this year I planted them in a sunnier spot and seem to be having a better time with them. Three plants with a couple of beans on each and still flowering but I don't expect much more.

Favas take a little work to get at the good stuff. The pods are thick and "furry" inside. Once open, you have to remove the beans and then peel off the thick membrane that surrounds each bean. What you're left with is what looks like a giant flattened pea. And they taste somewhat similar to peas also.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Way Too Hot

The yellow beans I planted were the first to produce. I've got a few fava beans going as well. Still nothing from the pole beans. Not a single flower. Mind you, they don't get as much sunlight.

Some extreme temperatures moving through the region. My air conditioning has been running full tilt and the temperatures are suppose to get hotter later in the week. I've been watering like mad to keep the plants hydrated. But the tomatoes aren't happy. Several are dropping their flowers. It's too hot and I'm over watering to compensate.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cape Gooseberry Flowering

My cape gooseberry plants are getting nice and tall. They're not in a particularly sunny spot and are growing tall to try and catch some sun. Each plant has its first single flower out now. Hopefully a sign of good things to come. I haven't had cape gooseberries in a while but I still have quite a while longer to wait.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The First Black Cherry Tomatoes

Well actually, they aren't the first and they've been on the vine for a while now. My black cherry tomato plants are growing well. Lots of flower clusters and a number of green tomatoes here and there. These plants appear to be growing faster than everything else on the balcony. One of the Opalka plants is doing fine also. Lots of flowers on the Gold Medal tomatoes but nothing on the Zapotec or German Green yet.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Still quite tame

I've had to shuffle plants around a few times now to maximize sun exposure. My hops vine used to enjoy a nice sunny spot but I've had to relegate it to a shady corner to make space for the veggies. It still looks manageable but it's only the first week of July and most of my plants are tomatoes which grow fast. I've been pinching off suckers constantly and have most of them pruned to a single main 'trunk'.

I've also got some bush beans that are flowering and some pole beans which are starting to climb. I never have much luck with beans so my expectations are low but, so far so good. And the cape gooseberries are doing fine despite a few spider mites that call them home.