Gail of Green Living


Spring Garden: Final Exam

I know you must have been wondering what happened to my garden; it’s been doing pretty well, thank you!  I decided to give the Spring Garden a Final Exam, because the high temps these days are close to, if not at 90.  I’d say anything past 90 degrees constitutes summer weather and summer garden.

Green Bell Peppers

This bell pepper plant is really doing well.  You can see on the left, a red/green one, and tucked behind a leaf at about 3:00, is a nice-sized green one.  They have thin skins, few seeds, and I find them to be a great snack.  Because the leaves are not uniform in color, I’ll give this a B+.

Cucumbers: Straight 8

Cucumbers are producing well, and I have extras to give away all the time.  They grow so quickly, so you have to watch the vine daily to keep track.  The leaves toward the patio are yellow, and I’m sure that’s because of the heat it generates.  Another B+ here.

Blueberry Bushes

Blueberry bushes are doing great!  I planted them in “Blueberry Mix” potting soil, and I’ve only watered them, for fear of messing up the ph.  Last week at the Eastside Farmers’ Market, I asked a man selling gorgeous blueberries what I should do about fertilizing, because they are in containers.  He said to just treat them and feed them like azaleas.  So I need to pick up some azalea food.  The foliage is a gorgeous color and they are both growing well.  I’m giving them an A, but it’s not because of anything I did, except start them in the correct soil.

Organic Basil

The basil is beautiful with good color, large leaves.   The maintenance issue is pinching off the beginnings of flowers, because I don’t want them going to seed so quickly.  Anybody need basil for pesto?  A+

Sweet Millions

The squirrels are winning when it comes to tomatoes.  In the last two weeks, they have stripped almost all my green tomatoes off the bushes.  I have bought netting in hopes that at least it will slow them down.  The Sweet Million tomatoes are absolutely delicious, and the early ones were large, but now, they are more the size I’m used to having.  A+, despite the annoying squirrels!

Bush Tomatoes

All of the tomatoes here are Better Bush except the one in the left Dragon pot.  It is an Early Girl Bush.  The Early Girls were really producing, and then, the Better Bush started catching up.  The Better Bush have a better homegrown taste.  The smaller ones were planted about a month later than the large one.  Early Girl Bush, B+, Better Bush, A.

Onions

There are no more than half-dozen onions left after the pill bugs had their early spring feast, but these are looking really good.  I’m going to give them a B+, and it’s on quality and not quantity, for sure.

Purple Hull Peas and Yard Long Beans

The cucumber vine was working so well attached to the eave of the house, I decided to use another trellis, this one for Purple Hull Peas on the left and Yard Long Beans on the right.  These are both summer plants and I have a feeling that the beans will be more suited to the container than the peas.  I can’t remember how many plants it takes to generate a “mess” of peas, but I’m sure I will know soon!  These are both beautiful plants, planted in rose mix with expanded shale (See post from March 10), and I do need to water less. I’ll give these an A+, because they are such healthy plants at the moment.

Pumpkins

I wanted to plant pumpkins, just for fun, not expecting any great result.  I used a galvanized tub, mixed compost with rose mix, planted seeds from last year’s pumpkins, and they really came up and grew.  There is one tiny pumpkin, but I doubt it will mature, because the stem is not green anymore, so I think the nutrients are not getting to the pumpkin.  I elevated the tub, and put newspapers on the ground for the vines, because the ground in that spot is quite hard, full of weeds and tree roots (despite the tree, it gets lots of sun), and I didn’t want the vines to get mixed up with the weeds.  Newspaper makes a good mulch.  Because it does yearn for water at times, some of the leave have turned yellow.  I’m giving this plant a B.

I imagine that remaining garden posts will deal with summer heat and hopefully, not another drought like last year!  How is your garden growing?



Organic Container Gardening: Class Notes #2

Diane Norman discussed soil, soil amendments and organic fertilizers for container gardening.  I wish I had her class years ago when I started putting my vegetables and herbs in containers, because she could have saved me a lot of water and time, I think.  The BIG AH-HAH in my class last week was …

Expanded Shale

Expanded Shale.  It has porous pockets that allow it to trap moisture and release it when the soil becomes dry.  It also aerates the clay soil we have in Houston.  This year, I had used the correct brand of soil to put in my pots, just not the correct blend that included expanded shale.  You can be sure that from now on, I will use it!

She mentioned some organic fertilizers that were new to me.  Crab meal, shrimp meal, lava sand, and dry or liquid molasses.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I had issues with my compost pile not getting hot enough, and therefore, my plants have weeds sprouting.  Dry molasses added to my compost seems to be the solution.  As soon as I can, I will add that and let everyone know how well it works for me.

Fertilizers I have used with great success are fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal and Epsom Salts.  Diane says that Epsom Salts minimize yellowing of leaves and the increase blooming and setting blooms on vegetables.  I never had pinpointed that as the reason for my plants having dark, green leaves and lots of blooms.

Sweet Million

It’s hard to see these tiny cherry tomatoes, but there are three of them.  This variety is Sweet Million, and I’ve grown them before with great success.  I would like to expect 999,997 more on this vine, but I think someone is exaggerating!  They are the first to bloom and have the blooms set.  I fed them Epsom Salts about two weeks ago, and then again a few days ago.  It works!!

What organic fertilizers work best for you?