Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Drip Irrigation & Garden Update

Over the last few weeks, I got very busy with work and work related evening events, such that I needed very much to depend on my drip irrigation system for properly watering my plants. I had no time to go up to the roof and check on them. For over a very hot week, I dutifully filled the bucket in my apartment and pumped water up to the reservoir, twice a day. When I finally made it up to the roof, I was dismayed to find that my reservoir had developed a small crack and was leaking the water everywhere. My plants were sadly wilted.

I decided I needed a more reliable system. Such a system would require some investment and some unsightly tubing within my apartment, but I couldn't let my plants die! So, a week ago on June 22nd, my father helped me install a commercially designed "Toro Blue-Stripe Drip Irrigation System". A bright blue tube runs from under my kitchen sink, around my apartment, out of my window and up to the roof. From there, the drip irrigation tubes and emitters were installed over each pot. A battery powered valve allows timed watering at whatever frequency and duration I want. It works! And I don't have to water too much about watering anymore. Yay!!!

As a result, my plants are looking nicely. My Bloody Butcher tomatoes are ripening. In fact, I got my first ripe tomato last Sunday, when I installed the irrigation. But that tomato was a bit demented so I didn't eat it. Still, ripe tomatoes a full week earlier than last year!! This is improvement! I think it has less to do with the variety and more to do with the fact that I planted out strong seedlings earlier, and watered them well for the most part.
Unfortunately, all of my plants and especially the HillBilly are suffering from Blossom Drop. I had never heard of this phenomenon before, but I looked it up on GardenWeb and found that sometimes, tomato flowers will just shrivel up and fall off without ever developing fruit. How frustrating!!!! My Hillbilly has no fruit at all, despite many many flowers. This Black Krim only has 3 fruit, large ones, but just 3.

Here's a closeup of the Black Krim tomatoes. Not black yet!

My Arapaho blackberries have developed flowers at the tips of the canes! Yum!!!!! I guess I didn't expect this to happen so soon.

The watermelons are just starting to drape over their bucket ledges.
Here's a tiny Yellow Squash seedling that just sprouted.

Here also are my beets. Just 3, that have been growing along and neglected for a couple months.

Real rainbow chard that is actually of edible size! I'd say this is a first.
And here are my white stargazer lilies in full bloom. Not a great picture, but you can see they are living happily in the dip in the roof where rain or my neighbors' air conditioning condensation collects to keep them watered.

Friday, June 6, 2008

We're back to today, June 6th! Phew!

Good thing we didn't get stuck in the past. We might have run into our May selves and caused a rift in the space time continuum.
Today, almost 2 weeks later, things are changing in the garden! I'm almost done rigging up my extended watering system, so I've brought all my buckets down from the pink air duct. I bought more carpet to put under the buckets and protect the roof from dents. And I also bought thin plastic saucers to keep valuable water and nutrients from washing away in the rain. The garden is looking bigger now!

My Bloody Butcher tomato plant has its first fruitlings. They've already grown quite a bit, nearly bigger than the Stupice from last year, but I think they'll be slower ripening because of it.
All of my tomato plants have grown quite large, and quickly.
My raspberries and blackberries have all leafed out and are growing like weeds! I can't wait for fruit! By then, I better have bird netting...

I moved my flowers, lettuce, arugula, and spinach to a spot in the middle of the roof, where they'll get plenty of sun and rain. They couldn't stay on the pink thing anymore because all of my plants near the pink thing are going to start growing tall, and I wouldn't be able to reach or see the flowers and leafy veggies. But, the garden is beginning to feel like a contained little green space. Kind of nice =) I put up willow expanding fences on my neighbor's windows too, so they can't come out and leave trash everywhere.

Back to May 25th!!!

We're time warping forward from May 22nd!!!

Birds have eaten my strawberries! GRRRRRRR! Bird netting shall ensue.

At least my tomato plants, just 3 days later, are slightly but noticeably growing.

Back to May 22nd!

Today, June 6th, I read a patent on "Time Warping" at work. So, I have decided to do some time warping of my own. Time travel happens on the blog when I am busy... Back to May 22nd in the garden!!!

Here's a tasty tasty strawberry! What a cute heart shape...
Here are lots of ripe peas that are also tasty tasty, even raw!

Here are my tomato plants, still growing steadily.
Here are my little containers of lettuce and arugula... I still haven't figured out why they turned purple...

And here is everything except the tomatoes in my harvest bowl! Yum!