Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July Garden Update

It's already July. I haven't done a garden update since waaaaaay long ago, so let me get you the skinny.
First of all, let me say that my particular location in "Urban Polk county" doesn't quite get the sunshine it needs to grow plants from seed I think. Every great looking tomato plant I sprouted when last I blogged about gardens damped off when the plants got about 6-9 inches tall.
There's probably a way to get around all that business, but I haven't figured it out yet.
My eggplants and cayennes all damped off too.
I did manage to get my heirloom Brandywine tomato vine to gimp along during the winter though, it didn't die till June, and probably could have gone longer, but it was growing in the compost heap, and it was time to work some compost, so it was sacrificed. The compost heap also produced an EXECELLENT! crop of cherry tomatoes from some volunteers. I couldn't believe it! There they were growing in the compost heap...
Anyway, interesting things are happening in the ol' heap. Mainly, it's getting me some GREAT compost. Every where I spread the stuff, good things start to happen. I let it get real hot mid May/June, making sure I turned it over nice and often. I had a plan for using it.
Because I can't seem to start tomatoes from seed in this location, I decided to go ahead an Grab a couple of plants at the beginning of June to plant and see what happens. I went to the local Blue themed hardware store, got some heirloom "Red Beefsteak" tomatoes, a couple of cages, and some high test dirt to make my own custom blend.
Earlier this year, I split a white barrell I saved for making a pair of potato containers, and I decided that Tomato sounded enough like potato to be grown inside them instead. I filled the bottom half with some compost from the heap, and mixed my magic dirt up, and put it on top. My idea is that the compost would provide some micronutrients, organic matter, and a moisture sponge for the growing soil to rest on. Think of it as a firm bedrock. I sunk the plants into the top of the containers and they barely reached the top of the second wire of the tomato cage. The bottom wire was at or near the soil level.
Here's how they look now:
Number 1
Number 2
We'll see if they make it out of the summer alive!

I gave them some Epsom salt this morning because the bottom looked like it was starting to yellow. Usually, this has something to do with a magnesium deficiency and Epsom salt gives the plant magnesium.

Blossoming hope for the future!
That isn't the big news though, on Sunday past, I received three plants that could change my chili perception forever!

Three Little Birds

They are Bhut Jolokias, volunteers from a FOAF, so they are in a sense, Living Urban Legends! heh!

Somehow, that seems appropriate for a plant with a name like "Ghost Chili"
 I separated the plants today, and gave them a magnesium drink too. They seemed to like it. They'll be ready to go into a container in about a week. They've just been dug up, and I want the roots to show some vigor before I try to transplant them again.
Sittin' by my Doorstep
I hope they make!
I'm going to try and find some more info on the parent plants.
Tew Be Continued.
I have further compost volunteer adventure stories to tell, complete with SCIENCE!