Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Garden Update - November

Monday, December 1, 2008

Garden Update - November

So a lot has gone on in a month. I think, having a good month of shorter days of sunlight and some mighty cool temperatures that some things are going to work inside without too much trouble, others will work inside just fine - they just need a little more coddling, and others well, without a lot of effort, they don't do so well inside.

The greens and pepper plants that were started inside seem to be doing just fine. Looking back over the pictures from the last month, they have grown a lot, they still have a ways to go before they get to a size where they could produce, but they are still growing and looking strong. I think one of the jalapeno and one of the cayenne starts will need to be staked up pretty soon. Basil seems to do alright in our apartment as well. The initial basil starts are growing, albeit very slowly, but they are growing. We started a second container of basil and they too are doing quite well. I started a window box full of salad greens and stuck them in, well, the window, and so far, they are doing very well, they seem to handle the cold of the window just fine.

I tried to start a second container of catnip for the critters and it looks like I am going to have to try again there, a little start came up and just as quickly withered away. The older catnip is still growing quite well. The cooking greens have been giving me a little bit of trouble, as has the cilantro. After some research online, I decided to sow the seeds for the cooking greens (chard, kale, and spinach) into the containers I wanted to grow them in. I did the same with the cilantro seeds. They all sprouted and looked wonderful. But then they started to grow and could no longer support their own weight and fell over and died. I think I am going to start the cooking greens and cilantro in smaller containers and transplant them into the larger ones when they mature a little bit. I am a little tentative about doing this, as they seem quite frail, but I can't think of any other way to handle that problem.

Our tomatillo plant died, but I don't think it is impossible to think that we could grow tomatillos inside. The plant did quite well, after being staked up, with the amount of sunlight and temperatures it received, it even began to bloom. However, the plant had a spider mite problem. I didn't have many tomatillo seeds to begin with and have started most of the seeds I do have. We had one start going for awhile that died, and as of today, now have another couple of starts going. A note to all indoor gardeners out there: if you notice spider mites, take care of them immediately, they are hard to rid the plant of - but at least that is all they are interested in.

One Ball Squash will not survive in an apartment without some artificial supplementation in light and perhaps even temperature. Since they were transplanted, the starts essentially began to slowly die. We lost two starts pretty quick and the others just slowly withered away. I started some bushing cucumbers in the container the One Balls were in, I read that those can do fairly well, but I don't have very high hopes. I had the seed, and the soil was already there, so I figured it would be worth a try.

The outdoor pepper plants that were brought inside are not doing well at all. We had to get rid of our second-year serrano as it was about 80% dead and the remaining 20% had aphids, which we didn't want to spread to the other plants. This was pretty hard for us, as we both consider ourselves "brown thumbs" and novices at best, and we were able to get it to produce, keep it alive over a winter, and get it to produce again for a second year. We were hoping to be able to retire it as a houseplant, but that was not to be, I suppose. The other container plants from outdoors are hanging on, but not looking so hot. Over the weekend, I am going to have Brett prune the dead limbs off the plants, and I am going to try feeding them.

Here are this month's garden pictures. Some of them I was able to get pictures of, singly, each week, so I will show them in a progression.

Basil:















Week One















Week Two















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

Catnip:















Week One















Week Two















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

One of the two Cayenne plants (known from here on out as "cayenne in light container"):















Week One















Week Two















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

The second of the two cayenne plants (known from here on out as "cayenne in green container"):















Week One















Week Two















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

One of the two jalapeno plants (known from here on out as "the droopy jalapeno"):
















Week One















Week Two















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

The second of the two jalapeno plants (known from here on out as "jalapeno in green container"):















Week One















Week Two















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

Cherry bomb in green container:















Week Two















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

Cherry Bomb in light container:















Week Two















Week Four















Week Five

Newly started basil:















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

Window box salad greens:















Week Three















Week Four















Week Five

Cucumbers:















Week Four















Week Five

Cilantro:















Week Five

Kale - second try:















Week Four















Week Five - looking gnarly

Chard - take two:















Week Four















Week Five















I thought I'd end this post with the little bit of good news coming from the container garden plants we brought indoors for the winter - a cayenne pepper trying to ripen.

I apologize that this update is a little more lackluster than usual. My family sent Brett and I home with a flu that is going around down there. I stayed home from work today so I could shiver, sweat, and hack my lungs up. I am trying to get this post published so I can go to bed and hopefully go to work tomorrow. And to think, Brett feels just as bad as I do and is working on a term paper. Ick.

'Til next time.

10 comments:

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

I'm so sorry you both are under the weather. That sounds miserable!! Take care.

Heather @ SGF said...

We get sick every time we visit family too. Something about all those germs coming together from all over the country. I think it helps to have kids bringing home germs from school. You build up an immunity that we kid-less ones just don't have access to. Hope you get better real soon!!!!!

We lost some of our plants too. I should have brought the 2 basil plants in one night when it froze and it just didn't come to mind. I lost both of them, but have started a new sage and basil on the window sill. It's sad to lose a plant, but rewarding to see new seeds growing.

Courtney said...

Oh no--I am so sorry you are sick! I hope that you got a good nights sleep and are feeling a bit better this morning?

I love the progression of photos! It is really interesting to see the plants grow/change so much from week to week! And the last shot of your pepper--It is a "J" shape for Jennifer :o) Okay, I realize that was really dumb, but that was the first thing I thought when I saw the picture!

Hope you are feeling better!
Courtney

Alice (in Veganland) said...

I'm sorry you weren't able to grow the one ball squash inside. I was so curious about it! I honestly thought it would be a success.
Get well soon!

jessy said...

i hope you're feeling better, Jennifer! that stinks that you both have the flu! eek! hugs and happy get-well-fast thoughts are coming your way!

spider mites = sadface! sorry they were a problem! and aphids = sadface, too! argh! i am keeping my fingers crossed for the cucumbers - and everything else is looking great! that's interesting (and good to know) about the greens being very weak - i can see that though - as they're just greens and not really stalks or very sturdy plants at all - i think your idea to start them in smaller pots may work out well! :) glad to see your cayenne pepper is doing so well! yay! the one we had outside and brought in died rather quickly on us, i'm glad you & Brett are having more success. i imagine that indoor gardening has got to be a bit difficult - and pretty time consuming as well. so hang in there, Jennifer! and get well fast!

SusanB said...

Get better! I've dodged my yearly fall onset lung issues so far this year, but come the end of the year, we travel to the midwest where if the weather or family doesn't get me, my mother's cat no doubt will. And if my partner gets sick . . . well, by definition, that is always my fault. :-)

Re your indoor basil seedlings -- if they aren't getting enough light, they get leggy and collapse. When they are small, the lip of pot can be enough to block light so smaller pots are a good idea. Another recommedation I have seen (for tomato seedlings) and intend to try is to expose them to a gentle fan breeze for a few hours every now and then to help strengthen the stem. But not when they are really small.

My outdoor peppers never made it in, but they weren't happy producers so maybe no great loss. I potted up oregano, chives and thyme that I had used as filler in tomato containers and they seem to be thriving. Plus I found a lettuce volunteer. I don't think my outdoor basil is going to make it inside this year; but the thai basil looks great -- I just have to decide what to do with 6 pots (consolidate? triage?). I'm still
harvesting much pampered sage and tarragon from outside, a few last onion greens from a perenial onion, and attempting to winter over an in-ground rosemary tree (very marginal here). We'll probably finish the last of our homegrown ripened inside tomatoes by next week.
Do you use supplemental lights?

ilex said...

Ugh, flu. That blows.

I'm so jealous that you can grow green babies indoors. We don't get nearly enough light. It's a Detroit winter: We don't see the sun for months. I tried it with my seedling lights, but the plants did not thrive. I'll be lucky to keep my two rosemary plants alive this year. They are going under grow lights.

Your peppers and basil look particularly amazing- not leggy at all. Way to go!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Lisa - It's alright, we are starting to feel better now, and I was finally able to go back to work today. I will be taking it easy tonight, for sure, but we are both starting to feel quite a bit better.

Heather - I never thought about that, but it makes sense that with people coming in from all over, that someone is bound to have something. Then you throw kids into the mix, and boom - illness abounds! Yes, and not having kids doesn't help our immunities does it?

I'm sorry to hear about your basil! I saw your garden update today and was impressed to see how well everything in your square foot garden is coming along!

Courtney - Oh, it's alright. I think I got a few good nights sleeps over the past few days, I've been sleeping like a cat! I am finally feeling a little bit better and was able to go back to work today (after over a week gone due to the holiday as well).

I liked it too, I was really able to see how much the pepper plants have grown. Hahaha, you know I didn't even notice that about the pepper, it's a J-style cayenne no doubt!

Alice - Me too, perhaps if I had some artificial lighting, but alas, I do not want to have to go that route. I think we may try growing them in our community garden plot next year.

Jessy - I finally am. It did stink, it was pretty pathetic around our place for a few days, two sick curmudgeons bitching about how we felt like crap to each other. :-)

Yeah, I didn't think about the indoor pests that often afflict houseplants, but spider mites are one of them. And yes, the aphids. Even inside we can't get rid of them. I think the mistake was bringing the outdoor ones in. Now we cannot get completely rid of them.

I'm not sure if I'm not planting the seeds for the greens deep enough or what exactly the problem is. That is why I thought the transplanting efforts might help.

Oh no, I'm sorry your pepper plants died! Surprisingly, it doesn't require too much time, just a lot more thought and creativity!

Thanks Jessy!

Susan B - Thankfully I am finally starting too! Lucky to have dodged the bug so far! Hahaha, yes, when people come in from all over, it is really easy to spread things around.

Thanks for the information about the seedlings, I would have never thought that the lip of the plant might block some of the light from it. The fan idea is also an excellent one, it seems like a way of "hardening them off" a little bit.

Wahoo about your herbs and the volunteer lettuce - that is funny!

6 pots of Thai basil? That is a LOT of basil! I have been wanting to grow some too, I've had my eye on a few Thai dishes and cannot find Thai basil regularly.

It sounds like you had a great gardening year. We too are finishing off our indoor ripened tomatoes soon, I'm bummed, but it has been nice having homegrown tomatoes in December!

We don't use supplemental light - well, except when we are in the room and have the light on :-). We have southern facing windows and we have put them in the sunniest spots of the room - they will, of course, have to be moved around as the sun moves, but so far it seems to be working for most of the plants we are growing.

Ilex - I couldn't agree more.

I would caveat that by saying I am trying to grow green babies indoors. ;-) Yeah, I think we barely get enough light, and into the dark days of winter, I'm not so sure what we get will be enough, but we'll see.

I hope your rosemary plants survive with the grow light. Fresh rosemary would be wonderful, I might have to consider growing some.

Thank you - I'm surprised they didn't get leggy myself, now if I can just get the greens to cooperate...

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Indian Pharmacy said...

wow amazing photos, I really love the progression of photos! It is really interesting to see the plants grow/change so much from week to week! this progression is for every plant..