Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heat Wave

Yesterday the temperature in West Hollywood hit 111 degrees and I did not take precautions to protect my plants form the scorching heat. The brutal weather finished off what was left of my snow peas.

The squash, thyme and the flower box were also hit hard. Some of the leaves on the squash plants look dry and wilted.

The thyme didn't fare so well either. It's difficult to see in this picture but some of the leaves were burned and up close they look as though I put a lighter right up to the leaves and singed them.

As for the seedlings in the flower box half them have gone completely limp and appear to be dead. Some of the swiss chard leaves were also affected, but as before, I think they will recover.

Today's weather forecast predicts a slight "cooling" off with temperatures in the mere 90s. Before leaving the house though I made sure to bring a few of the plants into my living room. I don't think they can take another day in the sweltering heat. I did leave the larger squash plant and the peppers outdoors.

It's really amazing (and not in a good way) that the growth and progress that took a few months to accomplish was nearly wiped out in just one day. As of this post the temperature is 94 degrees. By this time yesterday it was already well over 100 so hopefully it's a sign that the temperatures will in fact continue to drop the rest of the week.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Long overdue update

It's been a while since my last post so in order to cover the progress of each of my plants I'll get right to it.

Both the thyme and basil plants have gone through another growth spurt and appear to be maturing. As you can see in the picture below, the thyme is really filling out and becoming quite bushy.

Similarly, the basil plant is definitely past the seedling stage as the leaves and stems are starting to thicken. Generally, this plants looks very sturdy and healthy, so I am expecting a good amount of basil leaves once the plant reaches maturity.

Another plant that is making healthy progress is the Swiss chard. There was a point in time where my hopes for this plant were starting to diminish. However, in the past few weeks what appeared to be wilted seedlings are now growing into full healthy leaves. It's difficult to see from the picture but some of the leaves are starting to develop crinkles, which is typical of mature swiss chard plants. Also, the different colors (a characteristic of this variety of chard) are really starting to show through.

A few weeks ago, my squash plant reached a size where I considered staking the plant for support as it continued to grow. Staking, for those of you who may not be familiar with the term, is basically using a stick (or something similar) and staking it into the plant then securing the plant to the stick for use as support. This is usually done for large plants that grow tall and would otherwise fall to the ground. After some research and getting advice from some gardening forums, I decided against this. Instead, it was suggested that for squash I simply let the plant grow over the container and "run the ground" as some call it. I'm not quite at that stage, but as you can see from the pictures below, the plants are ready to spill over the edge of the container.

As for the additional squash plant I started only a few weeks ago, that one has been progressing quite rapidly. Filling to container with soil all the way to the top and not burying the seeds too deep really made a big difference. The second squash plant is already at a stage of development that took my initial plant much longer to reach.

She-ra definitely approves.

Moving on to the snow peas, this is another plant which I had completely ridden off. I am still not 100% sure the plant will yield any crops, but I am still not ready to give up on it completely. After a couple of brutally hot weeks the plant was withering quickly. I jumped into action and decided to give the dead leaves a trim. I ended up getting rid of quite a few of the individual plants and lots of leaves. This ended up helping a couple of the plants. If you notice, on some of the plants, the part closest to the soil is trimmed pretty bare, however, the tips continue to grow and thrive. I think that if I continue to thin out the plants and get rid of dead leaves that a few of them might just make it after all.

Finally, a quick update on the wooden box with flowers. These seedlings seem to be making good progress. Both the flower mix and oregano have sprouted many seedlings. The powderpuff asters however remain absent.

In case any of you are wondering what happened to the spinach, despite planting additional seeds I was thoroughly disappointed with the results so I completely got rid of it (at least for now). In its place I decided to plant some sweet banana peppers.

For these seeds I had to purchase additional potting soil. This particular mix of potting soil is very different from the previous two in its composition. It is not as refined and instead appears to have many pieces of bark and chunks of other stuff that I can not identify. Hopefully it works as well as the previous two types of soil i've used.