Monday, August 31, 2015

The wall of green

It's impossible for me to take a picture that shows just how much is growing on the balcony now. In this image, all you can really see are the two big tomato plants. The beans growing behind them are  just as thick and behind that is the melon trellis. There is very little room to walk around these plants. From down on the street, it looks like a forest on my balcony. I've also got some smaller tomato plants growing along the balcony wall. And then there's the long container of basil on the floor of the balcony.

Lots of tomatoes still to ripen and I've been picking beans. But the plants are looking tired. Especially the big tomatoes. Leaves are curled and starting to turn yellow and purple. I need them to hang on for just a few more weeks... I get small harvests like this every few days now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ugly Tomato

Heirloom tomatoes are notorious for growing into cracked and misshapen blobs. This brandywine is a good example of that. It had some serious cracking around the stem and decided to grow one side into a pair of lobes. On the bottom is a "hole" where the tomato seems to fold into itself. They don't all turn out like this. This is the most extreme I've seen this year. Apparently it tasted great. I left it on the counter this morning and it was devoured before noon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tomato Progress

It's been a good year for tomatoes for me. The black cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen fast and so are the brandywine tomatoes. There are over a dozen brandywines and some are quite large. A couple were ripe enough to pick. I only planted one plant of each type so nice to be able to grow edibles. I've had years were plants produce next to nothing.

The small determine tomatoes I planted a while back are doing well also. The floragold basket tomatoes are spreading out. I tried planting some dill in the free space in the middle of the container but the tomatoes are spreading out and starting to shade that area. I've still got the watering spikes "plugged in". These are new spike that have an adjustable drip. Kept the plants happy while I was away last week.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

After the drought

I was away from the balcony for a week and when I got back I wasn't feeling too well. So the balcony went through some neglect, including a long hot week with very little water. I had some watering devices setup but they were barely adequate. But even so, the only real harm done was some dried out leaves on the beans.

I planted some Charentais melon seeds a while back but had low expectations for the one plant I let live. I started it late and in the past I've been plagued with melon troubles. After being away for a week I was surprised to come home and see the vines covered with male and female flowers. I hand-pollinated a few and I'll keep watching for new female flowers. Unfortunately mildew is becoming a problem. I'll have to do something about that.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The first black cherry tomatoes

Actually, the first was picked a few days before these. The clusters are slowly starting to ripen. And there are lots of them. These are each a good inch and a quarter in diameter. Perhaps not as dark as they appear in this image. A little more reddish green than this. Nice juicy flavour.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Basil and Tomatoes

I uprooted all the remaining lettuce and fino verde basil in my container on the edge of the balcony. In the free space I planted more bulls blood beats and some dill. I was at a grocery store yesterday and they had lots of fresh dill in the produce section. It smelled wonderful and made me want to grow some.

The Genovese basil is growing well, as it always does. It's growing tall and leaning towards the sun, trying to reach out around the shade cast by the nearby tomatoes and beans. But that's ok. No flowers and no aphids. Best time to start picking leaves.

My brandywine and black cherry tomato plants are starting to load up on fruit, with a few black cherry tomatoes starting to ripen. But I've run out of water soluble fertilizer. The plants are getting big and the lower leaves are starting to curl and turn yellow. They're sucking back lots of water every day. I'm going to have to splurge on some ferts.

We had a pretty big storm blow through yesterday. Lots of rain and wind. Nothing on the balcony was broken or blown over. But the pole beans are taking a real beating out there. Lots of leaves with damage. And like the tomatoes, the plants are nutrient starved. Lots of the older leaves on the lower parts of the vines have yellowed and died. But I am starting to see flowers so if I can get some nutrients into the soil, maybe the plants will live long enough to provide a small harvest.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Time for change in this container

This box has been doing really well on the balcony. Current contents are floragold basket and tiny tim tomatoes, freckles romaine (not very freckly), red oak leaf lettuce, some pathetic aphid infested fino verde basil and a single merigold my son brought home at the end of the school year.

The lettuce has served us well and now I think it's time for it to go. It keeps giving but you can tell it wants to go to seed. It's getting stalky. We just use it for sandwiches now. I go out and pick a handful of leaves every morning. But with the tomatoes getting bigger, things are getting crowded and I'd like to plant something else in the square foot of space this lettuce occupies.

I planted tomatoes on each side of the container and they are finally starting to set fruit. Only problem is I don't remember which is which. I'm pretty sure the plants on the right are floragold basket (yellow cherry) and the plants on the left must be tiny tim (red cherry). Both are small determinate plants and appear to be happy in the cramped bit of space I've given them. They'd likely be even happier if I uprooted the lettuce and basil.