Under the grow lights

The top growth on the eggplant died, but some foliage is emerging from the root ball. Looks like I’ll be able to keep this eggplant come spring. Still planning on using the single fruit for seed stock–I can’t imagine it’s edible up till now. All of the potted plants are taking up counter space, limiting the amount of real estate I can use to grow from seed. We’ll see what happens when mid-month rolls around.

1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (1) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (2) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (3) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (4) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (5) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (6) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (7)

Warning: hot July days ahead

This week has been a string of 100+ temperature days. Even the early mornings (by early, I regard 6am-8am early) tend to be muggy. I haven’t gotten out to tend the garden, like weed, prune, or take pictures because of the heat. Earlier in the week I had pruned back one of the purple salvias in the purple bed–hard pruned by 50%. It had gotten so happy in its spot that I was afraid that it might choke the rose out, or seriously affect circulation. Of course, the rose contradicted me by putting out new buds, and one even bloomed yesterday. Pic forthcoming.

If I spend any time outdoors, it’s in 15-30 minute increments…doing little stuff like putting seedlings and starts into the planters for their own protection. A few days ago, I even put the tricolor sage into the ground–it had been sitting in a 4″ pot for long, and one of the clones died from the heat, so it was about time. The other sage clone seems to be doing fine. I added the golden oregano into the trough where I’ve sunk the Sea Breeze salvia, which incidentally are such slow growers right now. Like all salvias, they seem to prefer a lot of room to spread their roots and hate pots. With this in mind, I even got the rest of the Lady in Red salvia starts out in the tree ring.

I drench all the pots and planters before I go into work–when I remember. Yesterday, I noted that the salvia bed wasn’t looking hot, and it had gone 3-4 days without water. So, for at least an hour before work, I just let the sprinkler water the bed. This morning, the salvias greeted me with a mass of blooms. Sometimes they can be instant gratification shrubs. Again, pic forthcoming.

The bell pepper wilt hasn’t been resolved yet. I’ll probably try the peroxide-spray method next, and probably get a bag of cornmeal this weekend to amend the bed. But beyond that, next year’s pepper crop will have to be potted.

Oh, hey, I found a source online for bhut jolokia seeds. I still have time to start the fall pepper plantings.

Pepper wilt again

Yesterday, I kept the water on all morning to spray the courtyard gardens, including the pepper/herb garden. Today, I observed another bell pepper succumbing to wilt, and I’m now convinced that it’s a fungus that has infected both soil and plant. I’m not sure if it’s already too late but I’ve dumped a cup of water with some hydrogen peroxide on it to see if it can be rescued. I’ve also noticed that the Thai chili pepper is starting to display yellowing leaves on the lower extremities. I gave it a dose of peroxide water as well. Only time will tell if the treatment works. I’m considering spraying a peroxide solution too but given the heat, I’m afraid of burning the leaves.

Rise of the coral nymphs

5/31/2011 Coral Nymph Salvia seedlings in the purple bedThe coral nymph salvia began blooming this Sunday past. These are the bicolor pink and white salvia coccinea that I started from a single specimen a year ago. It’s not a perennial, but here in Texas, it is a crazy self-seeder, as evidenced by the dozens of seedlings I discovered in pots, planters and across the flower beds in our tiny courtyard. As soon as temperatures warmed into the 80s and 90s about mid-April, the seedlings began to appear. And flourish. And multiplied.

5/31/2011 Coral Nymph Salvia seedlings pottedI’ve plucked and transplanted what I can. These things are durable…as tiny rooted seedlings pulled from the beds, I just press them into the soil where I want them to grow. Add water, and they’re back to looking healthy…as if nothing ever happened to them. Easy to kill, but hard to eradicate…they come back with a vengeance. I am eying some particular specimens for removal even now and hope they don’t come back.

5/31/2011 White Nymph salvia planterMeanwhile, I increased my planter footprint nearly five-fold this weekend. I’ve created my miniature gardens with the leftover plastic planters and new bags of soil and compost. Everything from the sweet potato vine to the newly purchased vinca are in new homes. One oversight I made, however, is neglecting to drill holes in my ceramic pots, so some of my summer color might either drown or bake this season. Because they’re already filled, it’s most likely too late. I will have to keep careful watch on the plants and see how they fare in their new homes.

5/31/2011 Petunias and Dusty MillerPetunias, dusty millers, Lanai purple star verbena, red-eyed vincas and one Calico ornamental pepper are featured prominently in pots. I still have an Aztec red trailing verbena, a red-white vinca, and a dusty miller needing a new home. Luckily, friend Kathy gave me a spare ceramic pot from her collection.

5/31/2011 Petunias, Vinca, Ornamental Pepper and Dusty MillerWhat’s killing my peppers? I’ve added soil to see if it will stop the wilt. But I suspect poor soil drainage is the culprit, and adding more water may kill them. This morning, three were afflicted: a hot banana, a thai chili and a Jupiter bell. This afternoon, I came home to discover another ailing Jupiter bell. Oh the cruelty!

A friend that I gifted some pepper and basil seedlings to mentioned that when he stopped watering everyday, the seedlings took off. So I’m following his practice and going to alternate day irrigation to see if the peppers can bounce back.

5/31/2011 Hot Banana Pepper wilting 5/31/2011 Thai Chili Pepper wilting 5/31/2011 Jupiter Bell Pepper wilting

The same could be applied to the basil seedlings I transplanted to their new homes. I have 2 plastic pots planted with Thai, Genovese, Pesto, and Lime basils. I’m hoping they will grow and prosper fast…I’ve been craving fresh basil in my lunch and dinner recipes.