Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Garden Picture Show

The balcony garden is exceeding last year's version. The plants are much taller, greener, and in general happier than the year before. I think part of the reason for the success is that the plants started here in the Bay area climate rather than the plants I got last year that started in the hotter part of the outer Bay area and then summered in the cool area of the Bay. I think this has resulted in happier plants over all. The jasmine is now blooming again. I am happy to see that it is happy on the new trellis, topiary form that I got for my birthday in April. The flowers smell so great that I hope to get outside and read next to it sometime soon. It is all dependent on the costuming getting done in time for Chaos Wars!

The zucchini plants are mixed results. One plant seems to be very happy. It is blooming constantly, and while I have no male flowers for the female ones, the fruits seem to be doing fine. The other plant is in some sort of distress. It is developing blossom end rot, and I am not quite sure why. I was told that I was over watering them and that is why it was occurring, but now that I have cut back the watering there is still no improvement. I also read that it can be a problem with the plant's ability to take up calcium from the soil. I am not sure if my early flooding of the roots have caused this problem, but I am sad to see this happening again. The fruit look good and then they turn soft and black on the flower end and then fall off. I hope it is not something fungal or bacterial that will spread to the other happy plant.

The violets are starting to come along. I started them from seed, and I am glad to see that they seem to be taking off. I cannot wait to see what color the flowers are going to be for each plant! I am waiting with great anticipation as the package of seeds is a mixed variety. I hope to get some interesting color varieties. I love the purple and whites, but I also would love some golds or oranges. I would especially love a red velvet style like the ones my Dad got from a nursery when I was home visiting. They looked just like a red velvet cake! They were beautiful. For now, though, I am playing the waiting game. I hope to be able to press and sugar some of the flowers eventually for cake decoration.

The old lettuce seeds that my Dad sent me have been doing better than I thought they would. They were quite a few years old, so I did not expect any germination. It was a great surprise when quite a few came up. Only one of the original plants survived the week we were gone without water, so I planted a few more, and those have now poked their heads out of the soil. Hopefully they start to grow larger so I can harvest some leaves soon. I love their deep purple color at the tips and the bright green bottoms. I am not sure that the lettuce gets enough sun during the day to fully reach its potential. The white roof of the meat smoking building next to us is helping quite a bit with the reflection to add some light during the day, but there is very little direct light.

The beets seem to be happy in the box. The greens seem to have stopped growing, and I hope this is a good thing. I hope this means that the beets are forming and growing underground and not that something is wrong. I know that the boxes are quite small for beets, but I am going to pick them when they are young and small. This will keep them from being woody, but it is also convenient since the box will not accommodate large ones anyway.

The radishes from round one are almost all gone. I have replanted seeds in the holes of the old plants. There are still a few in the box that never developed radishes, so I need to pull them out and plant some new seeds there as well. It is fun having a crop like radishes as they grow quickly and are a tasty reward for little work. I also have some scarlet green onions that are in this box. They are slow growing! I am thinking about starting some more seeds right now so that I can get a second crop perhaps before the end of the growing season. These are still too small to be picked, and I think that they suffer from the lack of enough direct sunlight as well.

The Meyer lemon tree has suddenly gone into bloom all over the place. I am acting as a "bee" pollinating the flowers with a cotton swab as they open. I am slightly worried as the leaves are still quite sparse on the tree. Hopefully it gets more lush soon. I this flush of flowers as a sign that the feeding I am doing to the soil is helping the tree out. It was dropping leaves left and right, so I started the feeding as recommended in my gardening book. This resulted in the flush of flowers. I hope that once the initial flowering is over that this food helps the plant to grow more leaves. If anyone has any pointers about the leaf loss and how to get them back, let me know.

On a side note, I wanted to congratulate the USA world cup team. You game we quite the heart attack this morning, but I am glad to see that we are through to the next round! Now to beat England and advance on to the Quarter finals! Today I advance to day two of week five of the Couch to 5K. I am slightly intimidated by this day, but I felt the same way about Monday, and it went very smoothly. Here is to hoping the same for today. I also hope to finally, and I mean finally finish up my 25 yard black skirt. I need it for a Sunday performance, so I am running out of time. That is the focus today! Check back tomorrow for skirt progress notes.

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