Saturday, July 25, 2009

Issues edition

Some less serious updates on flickr.

Blossom end rot on tomatoes. There is much information on this around the internet, but of interest to urban gardeners is that on the EarthBox forum there have been comments about this being somewhat prevalent in first-year EBs. While precise explanations weren't offered, it seems that it has something to do with needing a year for the box to shake itself in terms of calcium distribution from the added lime. We'll see what happens next year; while many of the fruits on the tomato have succumbed, we do have a number remaining and waiting for warm weather to boost ripening.

Not entirely positive on what this is, but it affected many of the tomato plant's branches. Tomato spotted wilt virus? I pruned the most affected branches and am now playing the waiting game.

Powdery mildew. I had noticed this on a few leaves early on in the growth of the two ronde de nice plants and ignored it. After a few days, it had spread to the entire plant. There has been new leaf growth on the plant and even these young leaves have been affected. Next year I will be more vigilant about treating with natural fungicide in the early stages. Also noted that the adjacent vegetable marrow squash is not affected, so perhaps the ronde de nice is a susceptible variety.

Healthy and since-harvested ronde de nice on the left, starved, failed squash on the right. Happened on all three squash plants. Not sure what causes this, but since the squash fruited so heavily, and I've read that squash are heavy feeders, I imagine that the EarthBox, which is supporting three squash plants and a cucumber, simply couldn't support all that fruit at once. We had our initial harvest of squash and I was concerned that was it, as there was no apparent additional fruit. In the past week though, the squash has advanced, and a second fruit set is well into development.

Delicious set of aphids. Again, I was a little too enamored with all the jalapeno peppers on these plants and I slacked on my aphid vigilance. They received a dose of neem oil-based spray and will be dust in a few days.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

balcony update in pictures

Calyx of forming rosa bianca eggplant.

Wind-blown rosa bianca eggplant.

Forming tomato on adopted tomato (unsure of variety).

This pic of the tomato has a very jack and the beanstalk feel to it. Will be researching tomato pruning this winter.

roof update in pictures

ronde de nice summer squashvegetable marrow summer squash
competition for a squash blossom
the four earthboxes, two bucket SIPs


Below are all from Hudson Valley Seed Library seed.

Black valentine bush beans have been providing us with amazing amounts of beans, and judging by the flowers they are just getting warmed up. Put some rainbow chard and dino kale seedlings in the front row for fall harvest.

Catskills brussels sprouts in a bucket SIP. Hoping for some good sprouts this fall, though I don't know how I did with the transplant timing on this one.

Dino kale and rainbow chard. The chard ended up all yellow and has provided us with great yield. The dino kale is obviously doing's perhaps our favorite green so to have it grow so well upstairs is wonderful.

Double-yield cucumber, looking for sun. Next year I'll be more prepared with support!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Roof Garden Overview

There was some shuffling around last weekend - regular readers will note that the EB "trench" that was built based on the "tyrus" design is now being used simply to create windbreak using some leftover landscaping fabric we had on hand. Definitely not the most aesthetically pleasing solution, but the wind on the roof was really doing a number on everything. I was hoping once summer rolled around the wind would diminish, but it doesn't seem as though that will ever happen. We don't remember it being so windy in the summer but perhaps we're more in tune with it due to gardening concerns. I'm already thinking about a semi-permanent windbreak design for next year.

The back row is all bush beans, black valentines on the right and pencil pod & royal burgundy on the left. I pulled another aesthetically pleasing solution out of my hat to support the plants, which were wind-whipped and leaning over the side of the box. Cut-up old t-shirts tied to a string!

In front of the black vals remain carrots, though I will probably not attempt carrots in the future. Some of them did not survive the removal of the radishes, and that's left me with about four carrots. I may even just pull them up and put in some lacinato kale and chard seedlings I have languishing in cowpots.

You can seen our chard, kale and collards are doing well...these are real winners and we may double our EB dedication since we love them so much and they seem to grow decently well on the roof.

In front of the pencil pods & royal burgundies are golden beets. I love golden beets and their tops, but the harvest will tell me if I need to grow them again. The bonus of eating both tops and roots is a big one, but we're still only talking eight plants...and I don't think it's possible to harvest the tops while the roots are still forming.

In the bucket SIP is a Catskills brussels sprout. It will soon be joined by another bucket SIP containing Waltham broccoli.

Last but not least is the MONSTER box in the foreground, on the right. The box contains direct-sown ronde de nice and marrow squashes, with a transplanted HVSL double-yield cuke (which I just realized is not in the frame). We haven't harvested anything from these yet but judging by all the forming squashes this is a slam-dunk for a repeat effort in 2010. I'm generally not a huge fan of cucumbers and the only reason I planted them is that it was one of the early seed packs I had on hand, but maybe my opinion will change if I have fresh cucumbers at hand throughout the growing season - and ms. mapleton-bklyn loves her some half-sour pickles.

So, that was a long-winded way of saying things are growing mostly well on the roof for now. Our harvest is a bit later than what I imagine is standard for this area due to our later start on things, but it's shaping up to be a pretty good first year.