Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rain and Cool Weather

Only a few weeks after suffering through the hottest day in the history of Los Angeles it is finally starting to feel like fall. Except for a couple of hot days, for the most part the temperatures have held steady in 60's and 70's; we have even had a few days of rain. My plants are really enjoying this change in weather. In particular the swiss chard thrives in this climate and has yet again started to recover from the brink of death. Although the extreme heat destroyed almost the entire crop, the few remaining leaves have started to heal. Shortly after the heat wave, I planted a few more swiss chard seeds to make up for what was destroyed. This time, the seedlings sprouted much quicker and also seem much sturdier.

The wooden box of flowers also had many casualties during the extreme heat, but I also planted additional seeds and they have quickly been sprouting and growing in the past couple weeks.

The snow peas were not as lucky. Prior to the heat wave the snow peas were already struggling, but after the thermometer hit 113 I knew it was time to put them out of their misery. It pained me to rip them out of the soil but it was time to start fresh. I was going to plant additional snow pea seeds but I couldn't find the packet of seeds...I have a feeling a sneaky shiba inu is to blame for its disappearance. That pot will remain empty until I make another trip to the nursery to purchase additional seeds.

Although the squash plants were also affected by the hot weather. I was able to trim off the damaged and diseased leaves to make the plants look much better. The older of the two squash plants is now reaching the stage where I believe they will start producing actual squash. I'm not completely sure what the actual squash embryos (probably not the right term, but just got with it) look like, but there are a couple of buds that haven't sprouted into leaves as they normally have been doing, which lead me to believe they might be actual squash.

Among the herbs, the Thyme seemed to be the most affected by the heat. A sizable portion of the stems were heavily damaged, however, after a few weeks of cooler temperatures it has bounced back quite nicely. I expect that the plant is close to blooming, which would signal that it's time to harvest the thyme for use.

The Italian basil was less affected by the heat and has continued to grow nicely. I'm actually not sure when the plant is ready for harvesting but I imagine it's soon. If anyone reading this can tell me please email me and let me know if you think the leaves are ready for harvest. The larger leaves are currently about 1-2 inches.

In my last post I introduced a new plant into the mix. At Ryan's request I planted some yellow banana peppers to replace the failed spinach. Unlike the other plants, peppers LOVE hot weather, so during the heat wave the seedlings really thrived and grew quickly. Once the temperatures cooled a bit so did their rate of growth. Nevertheless the seedlings look very healthy and as long as we don't have an unusually cold fall/winter they should do fine.

I'm adding yet another plant to my garden. This time it will be red onions. The seedlings sprouted after only a week of being sowed and seem to be doing fine. My only concern is that I've been noticing a lot of fungus growing in that planter. Not really sure what is causing this but so far it does not appear to be affecting the seedlings so I'll just continue to remove the unwanted fungi as they pop up.