Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fall Gold Raspberry

I've always wanted to grow raspberries. In May I bought this Fall Gold raspberry plant. It's a bit of an experiment as I haven't had much success overwintering plants on the balcony, and this is a project that will need a few seasons to really get going.

The berries are suppose to be an orange-ish yellow. I wasn't drawn to this plant for any particular reason other than it looked like the healthiest raspberry plant at the garden center that day. It seems to be thriving in its new home, although it could use a little more sunlight.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Spanish Onions

These are the Spanish onions I planned, started from seed in the kitchen window a few months ago. They are starting to form bulbs but they still have a long way to go. These have a 110 day maturity time. I put them up in the sunniest spot on the balcony and I made sure I started the seed early enough so they could take advantage of the summer heat to hopefully form decent sized bulbs. My fear is that after 110 days, all I will end up with are old wilted green tops.

I left space on the other end of this container for some kale. I want to start it sometime in late July or August so it matures as the weather starts cooling. If the timing works out right, maybe I can plant more kale after I pull these onions, and let it grow well into the fall through a frost or two.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Time to Eat

The first ripe strawberry of the season. To keep the bunch of them off the soil I put a little blanket of plastic under them. More are on the way. In the background you can see some of the onions I seeded that are starting to come up. But I suspect the strawberry plants will crowd them out before they reach maturity.

Friday, June 24, 2016

New Watering Spikes

I purchased these last year as part of my never-ending pursuit for a reliable way to water my plants while I'm not around.

The idea is simple. Cut the bottom off a plastic bottle and jam the uncapped end of the bottle over the top of the spike. Insert the spike into the soil and fill the bottle with water. These spikes have a flow control setting so in theory you can control the rate at which water flows through the spike and into the soil.

I've used similar less fancy products in the past. They're good for getting water down into the soil near the roots which avoids soil compaction. But they're not so good as a set-and-forget tool for watering. As with the cheaper and less advanced versions, the output holes on these get clogged. The opening at the top has a filter to prevent the spike from getting clogged but of course, the filter gets clogged over time and needs to be cleaned occasionally.

The seal with the plastic bottle was excellent. No leakage. It's just a press-on fit.

When I first set these up, I set the flow knobs to maximum and they would drain a 2 litre bottle in a few hours. Set on minimum it took about a day for one to empty down to half and the other to empty to a quarter. Then they stopped working. I could play with their placement in the soil and they'd starting working again but after a month, even set to maximum flow, they stopped working completely. I guess they got clogged up. I'm not really sure because at that point I stopped using them.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Scarlet Runner Beans

This is my first time growing scarlet runner beans. I seeded the container a couple of weeks ago and all but one seed came up. The other day I added some cord to the trellis to give them something to climb. I'm looking forward to the wall of green with red flowers that this will turn into.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Garden Update

Almost everything I wanted to grow on the balcony this year is planted and growing well. The strawberries are off to a good start and the celery that I thought wasn't going to do much is taking off.

I've also got Spanish Onions, leeks, Hungarian hot wax peppers, tiny tom tomatoes, scarlet runner beans and cantaloupes growing. The beans I seeded barely two weeks ago and they are already nearing that stage where they are ready to climb.