26 October 2013

celery

I cut some of my Celery, hoping to use it. It looked pretty enough
although not much left after the foliage cut off. The stalks were small still.
And the flavor awful. My kid said it tasted salty, I thought it had a rather soapy flavor, but very strong either way so we tossed it all.  There's something about growing celery I've never seemed to get quite right. Blah. I've left the plant still growing in the pot outside. It looks relatively pretty and doesn't seem to mind the cold so far.

25 October 2013

pinkie's move

It has been getting colder, but I'm not ready to turn the heat on yet- we warm up with socks, sweaters and extra blankets for now. But it's too cold for my betta, where he was on the kitchen counter. I could tell because he slowed down; would just hover unmoving in the water for long periods of time. I remembered that sometimes people put bread dough on top of the fridge to rise, and I thought if the heat released from a working fridge keeps yeast going, will it be warm enough for my betta?
This will just show that a bowl is not really suitable for a betta, but that's what I have so that's what I'm working with. (I know you can buy little flat heating pads to go under the fishbowl, but I've read really mixed reviews on how well those work). So I have simply moved my betta bowl to the top of the fridge.
I think it will be a good spot for him, during winter. I was concerned he might be stressed by the frequent bumps of the fridge/freezer doors being open/closed, but so far he looks okay. He's swimming around actively again and seems to look at me when I walk by.
The thermostat in my apartment has read just above sixty lately; this morning it was fifty-eight and still the fish looks okay. When I do turn the heat on he'll be even warmer, as the heat rises...

The first photo is best because I had the overhead light on, but I don't like the bar of its reflection. Tried again without it but the results are dim. Next time I'll stand on a chair perhaps.

24 October 2013

chill

It's been getting cold. There's a freeze warning for tonight. So it became a little impromptu harvest day for my small balcony garden. I trimmed the Sage, cut the Chives, Green Onions and Swiss Chard to the ground.
I brought my Ginger inside, probably should have done this sooner.
I grouped most of the plants away from the balcony edge and close to the apartment wall, where they might hold some warmth. This side has some Ferns, the Hibiscus, Echinacea, Celery and Geraniums.
The other side has more Ferns, Rosemary, Sage, Chard, Green Onions and pot of Chives.
here pictured after the cutback:
As a last thought, I gathered a bit of mulch from shredded leaves (dead fern foliage, trimmings from hibiscus) and some cut-up coir fiber that used to house my boston fern, and tucked it around the base of my Sage, Rosemary, and miniature Rose.
The rest of the plants will just have to fend for themselves, and see how they survive. I did move the Nasturtium planter off the railing and onto a low shelf against the brick endwall
but left the Petunia planter where it was. It's heavily infested with aphids and I think whitefly, and I don't want that to spread to the other plants.
So that's it. I wasn't expecting it to get so cold so soon.

23 October 2013

peppers

I brought home the two little Pepper plants that have been living on my friend's balcony all summer. They've been pretty much ignored, only receiving what sun and rain nature bestowed. No feedings. Got a late start, too, so never grew enough to fruit this season. (There were a few tiny flowers, just this week). I have never succeeding with this in the past, yet once again put them in my kitchen to see if I can keep them going overwinter. So far, they don't seem to be harboring any pests, which was always my difficulty before.

petunia cuttings

All failed but one. I forgot to put them in the plastic greenhouse. O well.

22 October 2013

more schefflera!

A friend let me take some cuttings off her mini-Schefflera that had grown four feet high with all kinds of bending stems, naked below. I brought the pieces home and removed the lower leaves
also cut off the very tops, to encourage new growth
and dutifully did it the right way this time; let them soak a bit and rolled the cut ends in rooting hormone powder before inserting into damp potting soil.
There are two larger pieces in a single six-inch clay pot
and two smaller pieces each in a tall three-inch plastic pot
and I remembered to seal them all under plastic, to hold in humidity while they do the work of growing new roots.
My older plant I've continued to let grow upwards without any trimming that would branch it out. It keeps going up but the leaves always droop, which makes me think I've got something wrong with its cultivation. Too much water, or not enough...?

21 October 2013

potted coleus

These pink-centered cuttings in water have been growing, but looking a bit leggy and pale lately.
They do have plenty of roots.
So I potted them up.
I'm afraid the soil might be a bit too heavy for them, and I need to adjust the light levels too so I've put in on my desk where it is bright, filtered light. I'm tempted to pinch them back further but will wait until it recovers from the shock and shows signs of growing more.

Or it might fail.

larger geraniums

I felt like getting my hands in the dirt today, so potted up my two outside Geraniums. I hadn't realized how much larger they were (leaf size, if not total mass) than the indoor ones which constantly get pinched for bonsai styling.
The plants are now in six-inch pots, which fits their proportions nicely, and their leaves average three inches across! Whereas the windowsill plants, their largest leaves are only two or at best two-and-a-half inches.
I'm going to leave these to grow grow grow in their own fashion. Perhaps they will flower someday.

18 October 2013

shuffling ferns

I am delighted with my Boston Fern. Since the repotting and cutting back I gave it in may it has grown back stupendously. Looks absolutely wonderful now. I moved things around in the kitchen to be able to showcase it on this cupboard that usually turns into a clutter pile.
I've moved the fall Ferns with their bronze-edged leaves into the pedestal planters. These are supposed to retain their greenery all winter.

The rest of the Ferns are doing tolerably well. Most are still green and quite a few have new foliage.
They comprise a full third of the plant life on my balcony now. I've put several of the larger ones into bigger gallon pots as well.
These last two aren't doing so well, but if they're the only ones that die overwinter it will be no great loss.

16 October 2013

miniature rose

It's still alive. Seems to be growing better now that the bugs are killed off by overnight chill. At least, I think that why it's reviving.

edibles

I only have twenty-five plants on the balcony now. That sounds like a lot, but to me it looks sparse out there. A third of those are Ferns, and of the rest quite a few are still ones I can eat.
Of the herbs, I still have green onioins, Chives, Rosemary
and Sage.
There's also one remaining Swiss Chard
and a nice-looking Celery
I haven't eaten any celery so far, it doesn't have a stalk to cut yet. But I periodically make tea out of Rosemary (when I feel a cold coming on) or put it into biscuits, chop the Chives over potatoes or into quesadillas, add the Swiss Chard to lasagnas will some spinach to fill it out, stuff enchiladas with Green Onions. I need to find more use for Sage...

15 October 2013

petunias!

I was pleasantly surprised upon returning home to find pink flowers blooming in my kitchen windowsill! This is the Petunia cutting I started end of july. I wasn't expecting such good results.
The outdoor planter is still lush. Encouraged, I took a handful of cuttings
washed them thorougly to get rid of the bugs (I don't want to bring those indoors)
stripped off the lower leaves and potted them all up. Hoping for more!

mimosa blah

Well, it seems my little Mimosa tree has a chronic disease, I think fusarium wilt. The foliage is all fading gray and dropping faster than new growth appears, now. I took some drastic measures, but don't have much hope for this plant.
I emptied its pot and filled with new soil, but don't know if it's any cleaner than the soil I had in there before. Then I cut its head off. Probably killed the thing, but a bit encouraged by the fact that a few days ago I saw a mimosa sapling at the old property which I had tried to kill by cutting it down to the ground two years in a row (it grew too close to the house, right up against the foundation) and that one is bigger, fuller and healthier looking than the one I have in a pot.
So we shall see. I brought the pot indoors against colder weather. If it regrows, happy I am. If not, no loss it was dying anyways.

14 October 2013

more geraniums

I cut a lot of foliage out of the parent mini Geranium. Now to leave it alone again for a while!
I've forgotten to mention that two of the cuttings have been living outside. They have larger leaves and darker color than the windowsill plants, although suffer a bit from bugs.