Saturday, June 30, 2018

Unbearable heat

A long weekend here with temperatures sitting in the mid 30's. A high of 36C today (96F) with high humidity making it feel more like 45C (113F). For Toronto, it's hot. And it's not balcony garden friendly either. It's also windy today which means late this afternoon the wind will be thrashing all my plants around causing lots of damage to delicate wilting leaves.

I keep everything well watered during hot weather but there is a danger of over-watering too. The containers are generally shaded, being on the balcony floor and out of the sun for most of the day. It's the plants themselves that get over-heated. So the roots will be cooler and have lots of moisture available, but the plant will not be able to suck moisture fast enough to stay cool and crisp. That's what causes the wilting. But seeing the plants wilt tricks nervous gardeners like me into watering them because it looks like they're thirsty. So I end up over-watering my plants which damages the roots and leads to all sorts of problems, including the plants looking like they need more water which just leads to even more over-watering.

Things are growing ok. Everything is pretty much on auto-pilot right now. Nothing big enough to need new support structures and I don't need to carry gallons of water out to the balcony every day. No major pests that I can see. One of the two radicchio plants is growing nicely but it's being crowded by the other one that isn't turning red or forming a tight head. I might need to pull the under-performer a little early to make space for the better one.

My tomatillo plants are putting out lots of flowers but no fruit yet. Too hot maybe, or too cold. Or something. Doesn't matter. Lots of time left for these plants. The box of dill and coriander I planted is coming along. It doesn't get much sun though. I need a new plant stand for this one. And my cucumbers are thriving. Lots of male flowers but I see some females getting ready to open. This heat might be too much for them though. I also agreed to let some of the basil leaves be picked. The plants will get much much bigger but we might as well enjoy some of it now before the spidermites get to it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Progressing quickly

This little radicchio plant is growing up the way I want it to. Inner leaves are curling and slightly red. I would like to see this one turn into a tight ball of red leaves like the radicchio I see in the grocery stores, but I just can't see it happening. Red leafed plants never grow that red for me. Lack of sun maybe, or something missing in the soil. Time will tell.

Never any trouble from my tomatoes but the one has a long way to grow. This brandywine is growing in the north corner of my balcony so it's still getting lots of shade throughout the day. Plants need to get tall in this spot to really see the sunlight. Cherry tomato plants in this part of the balcony grow well but I seem to remember not getting a lot of tomatoes from that last brandywine plant that grew here, although there might have been other reasons for that.

The tomatillos are doing well. No spidermites yet but I know they're coming. I have two plants like this in buckets and both have flowers open on them. Too early and cold to set fruit though. My night time temps for the past few nights have been around 10C and daytime under 20C.

And the cucumbers I transplanted last week are doing alright in their new homes. I tried two vines in each container last year but only one in each survived past the first month. I figured I would just go with what worked last year, although these are different cucumbers. With luck, these will be as tolerant to mildew as the Talladegas I grew last year. I find that anytime I try to grow a melon or cucumber that isn't marketed as mildew-resistant, I fail miserably. I've read that these Eureka cucumbers are the most disease resistant cucumbers you can grow so I don't expect any problems.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Off to a good start

I finally got my basil planted. I like to start it late, well past the risk of frost or a cool windy rainy night. Still lots of time for the plants in this container to get tall and bushy. I also got my cucumbers planted. That's another one I like to hold off on until the weather warms up.

I've grown celery in the past so for something different I'm growing celeriac this year. Those are the two scrawny plants in the left side of the container below. They don't look like much but they're actually growing fast. The two plants on the right are radicchio which is something I've never been able to grow right. This variety should form a small red head.

I also started a large container of dill and coriander. I'm not too sure how that will go. Hard to keep the spidermites and aphids off those. And of course, I have my tomato and tomatillos planted. I don't have much space to plant more but I have free containers and lots of potting soil so I'll likely have something else planted by the end of next week. Hard to resist that urge to plant in the spring once the weather gets nice.