Thursday, April 22, 2010

Garden Update

So my oft-neglected garden got an upgrade this year in the form of a promise to provide it water other than ambient rainfall and the judicious application of science, or a reasonable approximation thereof, in its care. I expounded on this in a previous post.

This is a quick update, then, on the progress of the balconygarden, about 5 weeks in.


Fruits and Vegetables -
The Tomatoes have gotten ridiculously large compared to previous years. The modified 5 gallon buckets not only provide better drainage and sturdier bases, but were actually cheaper than regular pots (2.25 each at Lowe's). There are baby tomatoes already appearing on the Patio varietal, and all the heirlooms have at the very least put forth blossoms. I fear a lack of pollinators may be at play in getting some fruit from them. Regardless, they're all about about 6' now. The Peppers are doing fairly well, though are a bit stunted due to an aphid infestation. So far only half the peppers are affected, and have been quarantined among the marigolds. The others are starting to produce fruit. The snap peas aren't growing wildly, but are starting to produce peas. The Zucchini is the star of the show, growing fantastically enough to warrant a larger container either this season or next, and already sending out a good sized zucchini, with others on the way. The Strawberries are doing poorly, no matter whether they're kept ultra moist or dry out a little. There is one in a separate pot that's doing ok, but not growing much.

Herbs -
The herbs are doing relatively well also. The mints grew enough to warrant cutting back a little, as did the cilantro , lemon balm and sweet basil. The Lavender is doing well also, sending up several stalks of blossoms, though not especially fragrant yet. The Rosemaries haven't had a lot of growth, but have sent out some new shoots, so they seem to be holding on. The Tarragon seeds have completely failed to sprout. At all. Next year I'll have to try to find some starter plants instead.

So far the only things to completely succomb have been an Ivy, which we just can't seem to grow at all, no matter what we do, and a couple Marigolds. This is pretty much a banner year for Not Killing Things here in the Bower garden. We'll see how the season progresses.

We had our first "harvest" this week, mostly due to cutting back the herbs to encourage new growth and to prevent them from getting too spread out/leggy. I have previously nipped off buds of basil, but this was the first serious going-through of all the garden denizens. It's a bit like being a feudal lord...I give them shelter and occasional sustenance, and they yield up a portion of their bounty.
We got several large handfulls of sweet basil, a couple handfulls of the various mints, and a handfull each of cilantro and lemon balm. I have no idea what to do with most of it, other than maybe some pesto from the basil and maybe a lemon-mint tea from the rest. We also got a good sized zucchini and a single snap pea.

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