Friday, July 30, 2010

On the road again

So where was I? Oh yes, I was about as far as you can get from Tokyo in 8 and a half hours. That's right, the lovely, rainy city of Seattle. Nothing like going from the brutal heat of Tokyo to the cool fog of Seattle, I'll tell you.

What about my garden? Well, if this were any old trip I'd just let someone else handle the watering and care until I got back, but this time around I'm going to be gone until mid-December. I don't think anyone is going to take care of it that long.

Since there aren't any new plants or seeds planted, I've decided to let the garden go for now. There just isn't any way to adequately care for it while I am over here. Also, that means that I won't be writing blogs about it.

So what to do until December? That's the question, isn't it?

How about do some short-term gardening here? Seattle has a different set of gardening challenges than Tokyo. It is cooler, the days are significantly longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, the amount of rain can cause root damage and rot. But what the heck. I'll give it a shot.

This Sunday I will head on over to the Home Depot near my house and pick up some gardening supplies. I need to figure out what I need and what I can grow effectively.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Avocado: An interesting surprise

What really gets me about avocados is how fast they grow once they start. You can plant them or stick them in water and they do nothing for a long time. Sometimes they even start getting moldy and you consider throwing them out. Then one day it sprouts. And the next day it's grown an inch. In a week, you've got yourself a little tree.

That's what happened this morning in the veranda garden with a seed that I had all but forgotten.

Last January or so I took my son out to the garden to plant an avocado. It would be his own little seed and, eventually, tree. Sure we watered it, because it was planted with the bougainvillea so it got whatever water was left over. But for months nothing happened.

Then while I was moving some plants around to protect them from the wind this morning, I noticed a little stem sticking up from the soil. It's a new avocado tree!

If I don't transplant it, I'm sure it will kill the other plant and the shallow pot may not be the right thing for it.

I'm busy this weekend, but maybe next weekend I'll pick out a nice pot for it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tomato: Leaf malady

I'm not sure whether to water the tomato or if I'm watering it too much. The leaves are all droopy and it is looking listless. The outside temperature is 25°C and humidity is through the roof. Tomatoes like warm, dry temperatures, so this humidity may be pretty uncomfortable for it.

But the problem I'm most worried about is a white powder on the leaves. It looks like a fungus, but I can't find anything relevant online about it.

If anyone has any idea what the problem is and what the solution should be, please leave a comment.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Green peppers: First pepper of the year

The green pepper plant has finally produced its first pepper. Unfortunately it looks a bit misshapen and probably will be the last pepper this plant ever makes.

This plant has been around more than a year now. It has survived the last winter. It has survived multiple aphid and fruit fly infestations. It probably won't survive much longer, though.

After this season, I'm planning on pulling it out and using the planter for something else. I haven't decide what yet, but the lack of production with this pepper has been disappointing.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tomato: Replacing the stake

The tomato plant has gone through extensive growth in the last few weeks. The original stake it was tied to has become just a bit too short for it.

To remedy this, I went to the home center and bought a brand new stake. It's taller than I am, so I don't expect any problems with size for the time being.

By the way, this is what I look like at 6:30 in the morning.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the tomato has branched, so replacing the stake is a two-pronged approach (I'm killing me with these puns). Here is the tomato before the stake replacement.

Here, you can see how the tomato branches to the left. There is a second stake to hold up the branch on the left. Actually, the branch on the left is the main branch! The branch that grows straight upwards grew out of a bud (わき芽). As I mentioned before, this is bad for the fruits because it draws nutrients away from the fruits and towards leaf growth.

At this point, though, removing the branch would cause a lot more trouble for the plant because it has given almost half of its energy growing that side. It is very large and has a couple sets of flowers. However, it is a subordinate branch, so I don't want to treat it like the primary branch.

I made two changes to the staking. The first is the primary stake. As you can see in the picture, it is much thicker and taller. This should help with strong winds as well as for future upwards growth.

The other change was to move the primary branch to the main stake. This is a bit difficult because the original staking had trained the primary branch to grow sideways. However, a bit of creative tying coaxed it into place. I also posted the smaller stake diagonally to support the branch.

Some leaves were removed in the process and mulched. The overall look is a bit cleaner and the tomatoes are now visible along the main branch. I'll be watching the side branch to make sure it has enough support since it is no longer held straight up and is only supported by one small stake.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Veranda: An overview

Yesterday an old friend asked what the whole garden looks like. I've been sharing pictures of individual plants, but not pictures of the garden in its entirety. The reason for that, mainly, is that the garden is terribly small and cluttered. It shares its space with the clotheslines, air conditioners, fire escape, and storage bin. On any typical day, it is a complete mess.

But I'll oblige! Standing in front of the storage box, here is a sweep from left to right.

This gets us to about the middle of the veranda. You can see the old potato planter with a watermelon growing, the peppers, tomatoes, a jade plant, the mulching pit with a circular support post falling over, and a few bags of recyclables that need to be thrown out next Wednesday.

Continuing on...

On this side of the veranda, you can see a small bougainvillea, an old (5 years?) gerbera plant, the strawberry planter, and the broccoli. There's also a bunch of clutter and clotheslines all over the place. My wife will probably be a little upset that these pictures are being posted...

One thing I don't want to neglect to mention is the fake grass on the floor. It was originally just a plain patio, but by using the fake grass the temperature is reduced and there is a slightly raised space between the plants and the floor. Water can flow out of the bottom of the pots to the floor underneath. Its job is to keep the veranda clean and dry, even after watering.

Behind the air conditioners on each side are avocados. Last year they looked really sick, but they have rebounded and now look really great. I think moving them to this small area has given them a bit more access to sunlight and the wind is subdued by the close walls.
The oldest.

The younger two.

That's what the veranda garden looks like. It isn't much, but I am making due with the small area I have.