Organic Container Gardening in San Antonio

June 13, 2010

Weekend Update – Blackeyed Peas and Jalapenos

I went to Sun Harvest  on Friday  – they had Jalapenos on sale.  So I bought one that had two plants in it.

Jalapeno

Today I repotted it into a larger pot with a scoop of rock phosphate and some Growing Green.  I also planted some Black Eyed Pea seeds that I got from my brother.    I’ve also moved the ‘Blue Lake’ Green Beans into a larger pot.

The "new" Blue Lake Green Beans

I put blood meal,  a scoop of rock phosphate and some Growing Green in the Vortex potting soil since the other green beans got very yellow and took greensand and blood meal to get them green again.

The tomatoes are slowing down on production but they are blooming again. They do seem to be setting fruit but probably because I’m ‘cooling’ them during the heat of the day (cooling – meaning  I’m spraying water on the patio and the evaporation is cooling the plants off). I found a HUGE Tomato Horn Worm. If you click on the picture you may be able to see that the worm ATE half of a tomato!

'Patio' Tomato

'Celebrity' Tomato

Tomato Horn Worm

I’ve been getting a consistent stream of Okra.  Generally one a day from one or the other of the plants. Something has been eating on the leaves so I’ve dusted both Okra with DE.

Two Okra and a Sage

'Burgundy' Okra closeup

Since the Hibiscus died, I’ve pulled it out of the large pot it was in and  put the Key Lime into that pot.

Key Lime

The producing  alot of peppers.

'Jumbo Hidalgo' Serrano Pepper

Lima Beans and White Scallop Bush Squash

Squash Seedlings

Sweet Banana Pepper

Cucumber

I’ve put the Leeks in the container that the potatoes had been in. I watered them in with Super Thrive.

Leeks

The Eggplant has gotten pretty bushy but not a lot of eggplants on it… The Ichiban eggplant was a better producer.

Eggplant

Green Beans

Round Zucchini Squash

June 10, 2010

Filled up the rain barrels….

The rain filled the rain barrels and caused some serious flash floods in New Braunfels  and San Marcos.  Today I planted the Leeks I had growing in small pot into the container that the potatoes had been in. Before I planted the Leeks I added Blood meal and some Growin’ Green to the soil.  I harvested the potatoes several days ago.

Harvested Potatoes

I only got 4 smallish sized potatoes.      The potatoes should have been planted much earlier. I’ve been looking for sweet potato slips and Black eyed Pea seeds.  Fanick’s has already run out of the slips.   I need to call about the Black eyed peas.   I’ve also planted  some ‘Fordhook No. 242′ Lima Beans and some ‘Early White Bush Scallop’ Squash.    The ‘Yellow Bush Scallop’ squash isn’t dead, but it’s not looking good.   The squash vine borers have done a number on all the squash.   I’ve been using a knife and killing the borers when ever I find them.  I’ve been spraying with DE and Plant Wash.

June 6, 2010

Weekend Update – Tomato Cuttings and Vine Borer Aftermath

I’ve started some cuttings of the all the tomato varieties. I cut off what looked to be healthy branches put them in liquid seaweed and then placed them in potting soil. I’ve kept the potting soil damp. I’m not sure these are going to work. I realized later that the cuttings were supposed to be soaked over night in the liquid seaweed.

Tomato cuttings setup

The other 4 tomato cuttings

4 of the Tomato cuttings

The squash vine borers have been terrible. I have damage on ALL my squash. The Red Pumpkin has damage but is not dead. Many of the other squash are dead. Squash #3, on closer inspection and after taking the one fruit off of the plant, is not a Zucchini. It’s some kind of long squash/pumpkin but still not sure what. I’ve had to fall back and regroup with the squash. I’ve restarted all the varieties I had seeds for, even the Round Zucchini. In looking closely at the Round Zucchini – even they had Borers. So the Marigolds were not as successful as I first thought. Now I have grouped all the pots that will have Squash in one area.

The squashes

This time when I replant I’ll put the Nsulate over them. In the meantime though, I’ve put Revitalizer along with Garden Pep fertilizer, and some blood meal in the pots with no plants.

The Peaches have ripened on the ‘Pix Zee’. The peaches have been great – nothing like a fresh peach off the tree. I hope there are more peaches next year.

'Pix Zee' Peach

The Okra (white stuff on them is DE) have been producing one or two okra a day. I put the DE on them because the leaves are being chewed on by what is probably a ‘flea beetle’. I’ve also been spraying the Okra with Plant wash.

Okra with DE

The Strawberry has been putting out more blooms and I got a good size berry off of it this morning.

New Strawberry crop

The Cucumber is looking better and is blooming again since I gave it some Blood meal. The Blood meal has done miracles for some of the plants. I didn’t take a picture but the greensand and bloodmeal have done wonders for the green beans.

cucumber

The Potato seems to be having some issues. I’m not sure what the problem is with it.

Potato

I finally pulled up the ‘Tango’ lettuce. I’m collecting the seeds for it.

'Tango' Lettuce going to seed

Close up of 'Tango' Lettuce going to seed

The Tomatillo has some beautiful yellow blooms on it but I was listening to one of the radio shows and they seem to say that a tomatillo needs a second plant around… that or I need to ‘help’ it.

Tomatillo

The Watermelon is flowering. As is the Cantaloupe.

Watermelon bloom

Cantaloupe blooming

The  has been producing wonderfully. Those little serranos make great pico de gallo.

'Jumbo Hidalgo' Serrano Pepper

There are several other plants that are blooming right now. The ‘Millie Walters’ mini rose and the Red climbing rose along with the double blooming peach Hibiscus.

'Mille Walters' Rose

Red Climbing Rose

Double Blooming peach Hibiscus

May 30, 2010

Weekend Update – Squash Vine Borer Damage Control

I’ve spent a lot of time this week looking carefully at the squashes. Many of them have been hit by the Squash Vine Borer. I’m afraid many of them are not going to make it. You can click on the images for a better look.

Red Pumpkin Squash

Squash #2

Buttercup Squash

I’ve picked Borer grubs out of the Red Pumpkin Squash, Squash #2 and the Buttercup Squash. I don’t think Squash #2 is going to make it, so I’ve started some more seeds. I’m not sure about the Red Pumpkin or the Buttercup so I’ve started more seeds of those also.

Scallop and Acorn Squashes

Spaghetti Squash

Squash #1 and Squash #3 (Zucchini)

The Spaghetti Squash is in really bad shape. It was kinda limping along to begin with – the vine borers didn’t help it at all. The Squash #3 may survive. I pulled the grubs out then put a Marigold in the pot with it. I think is Scallop won’t make it which is too bad – I don’t have any seeds for it. The Acorn squash – I don’t know if it’s going to make it or not. So I’ve restarted seeds for many of the squash.

New seedlings and plants

These are Squash #1, Squash #2, Squash #3 (Zucchini), Okra, Acorn Squash, Buttercup Squash, Spaghetti Squash (I threw in radish seeds with all six Squash), Blue Lake Green Beans,Mammoth Dill. The other plants there are a Sweet Marjoram, a Curly Parsley to replace the bolting one, a Flat Parsley, and a Holy Basil (Tulsi). In the back you can see the Dill, some Leeks and the Pineapple that has some Cinnamon Basil growing with it. The six pack is Nastruium and marigolds.

Assorted Herbs

The Assorted herbs are Winter Savory, Sorrel, Oregano, the bolting Curley Parsley, blooming Fennel, Thyme, and Cilantro that has gone to seed.

Cucumber

Round Zucchini Squash

You can see on the Cucumber and the Round Zucchini Squash (which hasn’t been bothered by Borers because of the Marigolds around it) are beginning to put on dark green foliage again. Because the plants are in containers and watered more than once a day they need more fertilizer and other amendments. I’ve been going around to the plants and adding blood meal, epsom salts, green sand and Ladybug Revitalizer compost. The Blood meal in particular has helped with getting the plants green and blooming again.

The tomatoes has been visited by some Leaf Footed Bugs.

Leaf footed Bug - (Leptoglossus phyllopus (Linnaeus))

I’d been knocking them off but that has not been effective. I bought some insecticidal soap and that seems to be very effective in killing them. After a couple of sprays they fall off.

Insecticidal Soap

'Celebrity' Tomato

'Celebrity' Tomato

'Juliet' Tomato

'BHN 444' Tomato

'Patio' Tomato

The Early Blight doesn’t seem to be getting worse on the Tomatoes, but all the same I’ll be cutting off some limbs and rooting them just in case. All the tomatoes have gotten some green sand, corn meal and blood meal.

The heat on the patio has been intense. On Saturday it was 91 degrees (F) officially, but the patio was over 100 degrees.
One of the things I do to combat the heat is to spray the plants and ground around them – using the evaporation to cool the plants.
I’ve put two of the citrus trees on top of pots.

Key Lime sitting on another pot

It’s getting so hot I’ll have to put more on top of things. The other thing I have been doing is spraying off the patio and letting the evaporation cool the plants.

Curry Leaf

This is the new Curry Leaf (murraya koenigii) to replace the one that was killed by the cold. I got this one from an Indian friend. This one can’t be left in the garage during the winter it needs to come in the house.

'Pix Zee' Peach

The Peach dropped a small peach which is now sitting the window to see if it will ripen. The other peaches on the tree are getting larger but are still hard as rocks.

Bell Pepper

This is a Bell Pepper although when I bought it I thought it was a Sweet Banana Pepper. The Bell Pepper it had on it was used in kabobs today.

'Jumbo Hidalgo' Serrano Pepper

These have been great in Salsa and Pico de Gallo. I roasted the one tomatillo I’ve gotten from the plant, cut some tomatoes, chopped up a couple serranos, chopped up a couple of the Texas 1015 onions grown by my brother put it in a food processor and made great Salsa.

Strawberry

The ‘Sequoia’ Strawberry is blooming like crazy, but I’m not sure anything will come of it because it has gotten SO hot recently.

'Clemson Spineless' Okra in Bloom

Both Okras and the Sage

'Burgundy' Okra in Bloom

The Okras are blooming and I’ve already harvested several okras.

Bay Leaf

The Bay Leaf is looking pretty happy. I have trimmed it back since some of the branches were leaning over.

Sweet Banana Peppers

Can’t wait for some pepper of these.

'Twinkle' Eggplant

There are two eggplants on the ‘Twinkle’ Eggplant, but you can’t really see them in this picture. They are supposed to get 3″-5″ in size before harvesting.

'Blue Lake' Green Beans

The Green beans had been looking pretty shabby, but some green sand and blood meal and they are back to green and blooming.

Sweet Basil

It’s almost time to make pesto from this Sweet Basil.

Big Curry Leaf

The big Curry Leaf is looking pretty happy.

Potato

I’ve put more compost and cornmeal on this, hoping to keep it healthy

Tomatillo bloom

Watermelon in bloom

This is a bloom off the Tomatillo. I hadn’t realized that Tomatillos are VERY leggy plants.

Cantaloupe close up

Cantaloupe

The Cantaloupe has little cantaloupes on it. Now I have to watch out for the squirrel and the birds since it’s out in the yard on a stump.

Bouganvilla

Bouganvilla closeup

Finally – the Bouganvilla is blooming. The Hibiscus that survived is blooming. I haven’t take the dead one out of it’s pot yet. I’m thinking I’ll put the Key Lime or the Tangerine in the pot.

Plant wash

Fish Emulsion

Organicide

Blood Meal

These are my latest purchases.

May 25, 2010

Rain!

We got some rain today!  It’s just about refilled the trash cans.   I went to Shades of Green this morning and got some blood meal (for nitrogen), corn meal (for early blight),  fish emulsion (for nitrogen also) and some Sweet Banana peppers.    I’ve put the blood meal on all the plants that were looking kinda yellow and droopy.  Which means several of the squash, all the tomatoes, the green beans, the eggplant and the cucumber.  I also put more corn meal on the tomatoes and on the potato.   Then watered them in with some of the rain water.  We’ll see if this make any difference before the next set of pictures on the weekend.  I did find  a very large caterpillar on one of the tomatoes -   it’s a Tomato Hornworm.

Tomato Hornworm

He’s as big around as my thumb! I took the branch he was on and broke it off and put him in a tree.

About 1 a.m. this morning I was looking out the window and saw a Raccoon! He was wandering around on the patio. I don’t think he was after any of the veggies… probably just after some water.

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