Thursday, August 31, 2017

End of the Season

I knew a week without water would be the end of my gardening adventures this year. The larger self-watering containers that had full reservoirs did ok, but this planter with tiny tom tomatoes and green onions couldn't handle the drought. Not enough rain last week. Not a chance. But there appears to be more at work here than just lack of moisture. The spider mites were starting to nibble away at some of the lower leaves and the plants were in a weakened state to begin with.

The Brandywine tomato plant is still doing well but hasn't put out any tomatoes. I started it too late and it's in a spot on the balcony that has never been all that great for tomatoes. Also, the cape gooseberry plants have shed most of their leaves and, I would say, are officially done. They each managed to put out a few fruits but the plants will be dead before they ripen.

Sounds like a horrible end to the season but all was not lost. My cucumber plants are withering too but I managed to pull this last harvest of cucs from the vines. The largest was 10.5 inches. We got lots of basil leaves this year and the plants are still putting out, despite being picked clear last week. And I still have some green onions.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The perfect balcony cucumber

The Talladega cucumber plants I planted are doing great and putting out lots of cucumbers. The last couple I picked were less seedy than the first ones. The biggest so far was 9 inches and tasted great. The plants are resistant to several diseases so I haven't been plagued with powdery and downy mildew like I have in the past with similar plants. But the spider mites have found their way onto the plants and are slowly increasing their numbers. I'll have to start spraying the plants down but considering it's August and I've already harvested some really nice cucumbers from the plants, maybe I won't bother.

Friday, July 21, 2017

So much for the raspberries

My raspberries got off to a good start this spring with growth on last year's canes and lots of new canes poking up from the soil. But the spider mites came back too and they've pretty much destroyed most of the leaves. Newer growth appears to be ok for now but eventually the mites will move up there too. I tried to spray them into oblivion a few times with the last of my neem oil and that might have slowed their progress but the damage was done. I've considered some insecticidal soap but I think it's too late.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The basil is getting used

For some reason the basil plants on one side of this container aren't doing well. A few have even died. But on the other side, they look great. Or at least, as good as they can given that every other night around dinner time a handful of leaves get pulled off of them. Sunlight wasn't a problem, and moisture is always consistent across the box. The problem could be with the fertilizer I mixed into the container. I was a bit sloppy with mixing it and perhaps I put too much or too little in the side where the plants are struggling. I'm not really sure and it doesn't matter. We appear to have enough basil and for now, production is keeping up with consumption.

I picked this cucumber a few days ago. It was ok. Lots of big seeds and the skin is tough. But the flesh is crisp and juicy, like a fresh field cucumber. The plants are putting out lots of female flowers now and there are a couple more cucumbers forming.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Canada Day Cucumber

It's been a long time since I tried to grow cucumbers. This is a Talladega Cucumber. I tried these a few years ago and had no luck. I can't recall exactly what went wrong. Maybe I seeded the containers directly and nothing started, or I transplanted seedlings too early and they died off. This year I started inside a little late and put them out late as well. I planted four plants. One is dead, two aren't growing and one is doing really well. I'm getting lots of male and female flowers which I've been hand-pollinating but so far this is the only one to take.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


This was a few days ago. We get hail maybe once or twice a year. This time it felt a little heavier than usual but nothing damaging. I don't have much growing on the balcony this year. A few tomato plants, green onions, cucumbers, basil and cape gooseberries.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring has Sprung

Spring is finally here although it doesn't feel like we had much of a winter. The grass is green and the trees are budding. My raspberry plant survived the winter and has lots of new growth sprouting out along last year's canes. A few new ones coming up through the soil as well.

I haven't made any plans to grow on the balcony this year. I'd like to but maybe I'll dial it back a bit this summer. Maybe just some tomatoes and melons, or cucumbers. I might actually plant flowers instead of onions and beets. I'm not really sure yet. The clock is ticking though. If I'm going to grow anything I better get started on it.