Wednesday, July 31, 2019

From balcony to mason jar

I pulled this little harvest from my balcony yesterday and pickled it. The lone bush bean plant gave me a good handful of beans and there we lots of cucumbers that needed to be picked. There's no way we can eat this many raw cucumbers before they would go bad in the fridge. And I can't leave them on the vine for too long. They get too big and hollow and weird tasting. So pickling is the best way to get the most out of them because I know that not a single pickle will go to waste.

The beans were more of a do-it-because-I-can sort of thing. It's not really practical to go through the effort (45 minutes to an hour) to prepare a single 125ml jar of mustard bean pickles. It's sweet, sour, spicy, tangy and sticky. My mom's recipe. If I had grown a full container of bush bean plants, lets say 5 plants, I would have ended up with 5 jars and then maybe 2 or 3 more during a second harvest. The one plant I do have will probably get uprooted soon. It's shading my Hungarian hot wax pepper that I plan to pickle later in the season.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Good growing season so far

I planted a number of Hungarian Hot Wax pepper plants this year. I have six on a table near the edge of the balcony and another five in my elevated cedar box. Maybe I should have only planted four in that container. Those also share space with a rogue wax bean plant. I seeded that container with beans in the spring but none sprouted.  The seed was kind of old so I didn't expect much. After I planted all the peppers one of the seeds decided to pop up. So I let it go. It has a handful of beans on it now that need to be picked. All of the peppers need more time to ripen.

The cedar box also has a contraption I created to water the plants. A bucket below the container has water in it and a small pump. Once a day the pump fills the jug mounted just above the right side of the container. Water leaves the bottom of the jug through a pair of 1/4" waterlines that feed several drippers that slow drip water onto the soil. The pump is controller by a little electronic controller box I made that sits under the container, along with a 12v battery to power the pump.

The cucumbers are forming a nice dense wall on the balcony. Three containers (totes) with a pair of plants in each. Probably could have kept it down to one in each container.  Lots of cucumbers to harvest now. But the vines have nowhere else to grow. I'll have to find some more sticks and things to extend my trellis.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

First Cucumbers

The first cucumbers of the summer. My family wants me to turn these into bread and butter pickles and I should be able to produce a couple of jars from these.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Hungry bugs

They look like aphids but they don't move like aphids. They don't eat like aphids. And they didn't last as long as aphids. I see these little red mite like things running around on my plants and containers every year. Not many though. And they never last long. And by this time of year they are usually gone. They never seem to cause any harm. But this is the first time I've seen them congregate like this. They really like the pepper flowers but that's about it. I don't see them lingering anywhere else for very long.

I put my cucumbers out early enough to get a few female flowers to set fruit. I've got a few cucumbers like this now. The plants are thriving in the heat as are the tomatoes and peppers. No spider mites, mildew or aphids yet.