A New Beginning

After the fish dying off, I took a break. It was nice in a way to not think about any plants or fish, especially after the less than successful spring/summer and fish catastrophe. However, I had a great system sitting there, doing nothing…

I was too late to start seeds for the fall season, but I was in Home Depot the other week and saw Romaine Lettuce and iceburg lettuce seedlings, and thought, “It’s now or never!” They also had broccoli and cauliflower, so I got some of those as well. I cleared out the remaining plants in the growbeds (okra was still alive and kicking!), and began anew.

Yesterday, I went to Danbury Fish Farms and got 25 new 6-8″ blue catfish, just as before – they seemed to stand the near freezing weather just fine, so are a decent choice, I’d say. Maybe this time next year I’ll get to cook some. Today, little Nat and I got some more lettuce and some swiss chard to replace where a squirrel or something ate one of the broccoli plant leaves. Here it is – hope we fare well this season!

Swiss chard and broccoli in the back, cauliflower in the front
Swiss chard and broccoli in the back, cauliflower in the front
Chives and garlic chives hold over from last season, having grown all year.  I like to munch on them.  Lettuces and brussel sprout seedlings sitting in netpots.  My mom always said she hated brussel sprouts, so I have never had them.  We'll see!
Chives and garlic chives hold over from last season, having grown all year. I like to munch on them. Lettuces and brussel sprout seedlings sitting in netpots. My mom always said she hated brussel sprouts, so I have never had them. We’ll see!
Broccoli in back, cauliflower in front
Broccoli in back, cauliflower in front
Broccoli in back, cauliflower in front
Broccoli in back, cauliflower in front

Genocide!

In mid-August, we went on a cruise, and I had my neighbor feed the fish while I was gone. When I got back I noticed that there were many branches in our front yard, and learned that there had been a big storm the day before, which was a day after I had my neighbor feed the fish for the last time. Alas, this rainstorm seemed to have shorted out the electrical source to the pump, and all the fish in the tank were dead, due to no oxygenation. 🙁

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Oh well, if it had to happen, it happened at the right time. I had given up on the current round of plants, anyway.

The Fate of the Spring Planting

It’s been waaaaay too long since I posted anything… I think because I got an iPhone, I could take pictures and not have to upload them immediately to see them again, as I would with the SD card in my real camera. So, now I’m trying to catch up on posts – I wonder how many pics fit in a post?

Little Nat shows where we put flower pots below the strawberry runners to encourage new plants
May 4 – Little Nat shows where we put flower pots below the strawberry runners to encourage new plants

 

May 10th - the cherry tomato plants are getting a little out of hand.  Strawberry plants good and healthy!
May 10th – the cherry tomato plants are getting a little out of hand. Strawberry plants good and healthy!
May 12 - the spaghetti squash is not doing so well - I had some hose issues with the NFT tubes which resulted in stagnant water in this growbed for a while
May 12 – the spaghetti squash is not doing so well – I had some hose issues with the NFT tubes which resulted in stagnant water in this growbed for a while
May 12 - cherry tomatoes
May 12 – cherry tomatoes
May 12 - strawberry plants - some getting a little less green
May 12 – strawberry plants – some getting a little less green
May 12 - cucumbers on the left starting to fade.  Marglobe tomatoes and basil growing up
May 12 – cucumbers on the left starting to fade. Marglobe tomatoes and basil growing up
May 12 - Roma tomatoes in the back, bell peppers on the right, and little Nat's sunflower from daycare thrown in the middle
May 12 – Roma tomatoes in the back, bell peppers on the right, and little Nat’s sunflower from daycare thrown in the middle

 

May 26 - First ripe cherry tomato
May 26 – First ripe cherry tomato
May 26 - Okra flower - these opened for just about a day only, before dropping off and leaving the vegetable part in its place
May 26 – Okra flower – these opened for just about a day only, before dropping off and leaving the vegetable part in its place
May 26 - pretty row of cherry tomtoes
May 26 – pretty row of cherry tomtoes
May 26 - roma tomatoes, Nat's sunflower, and peppers
May 26 – roma tomatoes, Nat’s sunflower, and peppers
May 26 - Cucumbers continue their decline, though tomatoes shooting up
May 26 – Cucumbers continue their decline, though tomatoes shooting up
May 26 - by this time I had pulled out the dying spaghetti squash (I got one good melon).  The okra is growing up, and the cherry tomatoes are definitely outgrowing their space!
May 26 – by this time I had pulled out the dying spaghetti squash (I got one good melon). The okra is growing up, and the cherry tomatoes are definitely outgrowing their space!
June 7 - the roots to the roma tomatoes are growing out of the gravel and up towards the water source!
June 7 – the roots to the roma tomatoes are growing out of the gravel and up towards the water source!
June 24 - Little Nat being photobombed by his sunflower
June 24 – Little Nat being photobombed by his sunflower
June 29 - jungle #2 - romas.  Also picked apart by squirrels and birds
June 29 – jungle #2 – romas. Also picked apart by squirrels and birds
June 29 - Cucumbers pretty much gone.  Tomato jungle in its place.  The squirrels and birds keep getting the tomatoes though!
June 29 – Cucumbers pretty much gone. Tomato jungle in its place. The squirrels and birds keep getting the tomatoes though!
June 29 - Okra, basil, and grapevine
June 29 – Okra, basil, and grapevine
June 29th - It looks like Houston heat is just a little too much for my Chandler Strawberries.   Oh well, it was worth a try.
June 29th – It looks like Houston heat is just a little too much for my Chandler Strawberries. Oh well, it was worth a try.
June 29 - OK, enough was enough.  The cherry tomato roots were clogging the 4" PVC pipes, causing water overflows and stagnant water to other plants... so out they came.  The remains are on the fence rail.
June 29 – OK, enough was enough. The cherry tomato roots were clogging the 4″ PVC pipes, causing water overflows and stagnant water to other plants… so out they came. The remains are on the fence rail.
July 5 - just basil in the tubes now.
July 5 – just basil in the tubes now.
Stink bugs (?) get the tomatoes before squirrels carry them off.  I think marigolds will help this next spring.
July 16 – Stink bugs (?) get the tomatoes before squirrels carry them off. I think marigolds will help this next spring.

So basically, the spring planting was not as successful as winter… I’ve got to learn some of the gardening basics regarding dealing with pests, and also adjust growing tactics with 4″ PVC tubes – just short-lived plants there from now on. Even the basil started clogging the tubes in mid-August.

Morning Visit

Here’s the general state of the AP garden on a morning before leaving for work.

Little Nat likes to feed the catfish with me and look at his sunflower that we transplanted in there from daycare. By him are jalapeno and bell peppers, as well as roma tomatoes and basil.

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Watermelon seeds (4) were planted where the carrots came out…  Cucumber flowers are aplenty climbing up the wooden dowels.   Basil and Marglobe(?) tomatoes also doing well…

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The spaghetti squash vines are reaching along.  A small gourd is forming above the front cinder block – there’s a much bigger one on the backside.   I expected more by this time, though.

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The strawberry tubes… along with the now-troublesome cherry tomatoes, some held up by string and paint cans…

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Here is a morning visitor on the tomato vines!  He blended in pretty nicely.

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Root Emergency

Sure enough, as I was posting the last post about my monster tomato plant, its roots started clogging up the 4″ PVC pipe, resulting in water backing up in the growbed so that there was a half inch of standing water above the rocks!   Ugh, I had no idea tomatoes would throw out so many roots…  Shows that I am still a gardening newbie!

I took some string and cloth straps (OK, cut up strips of an old sock that had holes in it – got that from http://growingyourgreens.com)and used partially-full paint cans to counter balance and lift up the tomato plant limbs, so that I as one person could pull the roots out easily.  Whoa!  That was a lot more than I expected – they had latched on to the chive planter 10 inches further down.   I may need to vacate those second holes after the tomato plants in the short run.

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The roots looked bigger in person, trust me.   At any rate, I ended up taking some scissors and trimming them down a bit.   I figure I’ll have to keep doing this.   I don’t know if I can easily do that on the others, since they are enmeshed with the trellis.   Hmm, I’ll just have to think about that one a bit.