It was time to pick the cucumbers. They were a good size and by the time I got around to making pickles there were a couple more ready to pick. I should get a few more batches before the end of the summer.
Friday, July 14, 2023
Sunday, July 2, 2023
It actually wasn't much of a storm but for a few minutes the wind gusts were strong enough that I was convinced I was going to loose something. I quickly ran out and tied up some of the black cherry tomato vines which is something I should have done a while ago. There are two plants in this tub and it's starting to get a little wild. Several suckers have been left to grow too long. There are a few tomatoes in there too.
Friday, June 23, 2023
Eureka cucumbers have never let me down. My plants have been flowering like mad and now some of the first female flowers are fruiting. And without any help from me. The plants do appear to be struggling in the afternoon sun a little more than I'm used to seeing. Maybe over-watered. I tend to do that a lot early on in the season.
Monday, June 19, 2023
I planted three kinds of micro dwarf tomato plants this year: Rosy Finch, Fat Frog and Laura #5. As usual, I planted too many and did not want to part with those I did not have space for. So I kept some in smaller containers inside under a growlight. And I followed my age old tradition of forgetting to label them so I will have no way of knowing which is which until they set fruit. So far the first plant to set fruit is this one that has been growing outside and I think it's a Rosy Finch.
Friday, June 9, 2023
Everything is doing well on the balcony so far. The cucumbers survived the transplant and some hot sunny weather and are starting to climb. I had to shade them for the first week but they're fine now, especially with the return to seasonal temperatures. The tomatoes look great, as always.
I was at a garden center a couple weeks ago and noticed a sale on potted raspberry and blueberry plants. But they also had a few of these "red lake" red currant bushes. So I found a nice one and brought it home. My expectations are low and I'm not expecting to harvest any currants this year, or next, or whenever. And if I did, I wouldn't know what to do with them. I just wanted a (cheap) bushy plant on the balcony. I potted it into a 5 gallon bucket and we'll see how it does.
Monday, May 29, 2023
I built a tub to hold water in the bottom of the planter using old coroplast election signs and half a tube of sealant. I wasn't sure about having the paint from the signs in contact with the water so I lined that with a few layers of plastic (garbage bags). And I installed an overflow port at one end using a bulkhead I had lying around from a previous project.
Above the top of this tub I placed a couple of unused lids from some storage boxes. I drilled a few small holes for drainage and made larger holes for small plastic containers that can extend down below the deck and into the water. I drilled several holes into the sides of those little containers. Now when the planter is filled with potting soil and the reservoir is filled with water, moisture will be wicked up into the potting soil and the plants will send their roots down to find it.
Saturday, May 27, 2023
Friday, May 5, 2023
Monday, May 1, 2023
I built this cedar planter over 20 years ago and I must have done something right because it hasn't rotted out or fallen apart yet. I over-built it, using 2x4s to hold it all up. And I coated it generously with an outdoor grade clear-coat. At some point I made it deeper and I can tell I didn't put the same care into the extension because it's breaking down much faster than the original wood.
My plan is to add a water reservoir to the bottom and turn it into a wicking box: a self-watering container. And while I'm at it I want to scrape and sand down the outside of it and apply a few more layers of wood finish.
I was surprised by how much potting soil this thing holds. I filled two large garbage bags, which I plan to put back into the container when it's finished. The bottom of the box was lined with a yellow garbage bag and that must have helped protect the coated 1/2 inch plywood bottom of the box. Even the ends of the 2x4s that poke up into the growing area were still solid. Lots of clear coating and silicon sealed joints kept if protected over the years.
When I attached the second layer of cedar boards to the original container I used some 2x2 blocks and nails to hold it together. Those were not treated in any way and years of being under the potting soil have rotted them. I'll have to fix that up.
Something I found interesting was the moisture distribution in the box. The potting soil on the side that sits along the outside of the balcony, where it is more likely to be kept moist by rain, was nice and damp all the way to the bottom of the box. But the potting soil in the side of the box away from the edge of the balcony that doesn't receive as much rain was bone dry, all the way down. I would have thought the moisture in one side of the box would be pulled into the side that was drier but I guess not.
Monday, April 24, 2023
At the end of August last year we went away for a week. Before leaving I watered everything really well and filled all the self-watering containers to overflowing. And when I came back everything was fine. In fact the tomatoes appears to be thriving even better than before we left. But around that time things got busy around here and I didn't have any time to deal with plants on the balcony. I just... lost interest I guess.