Friday, July 6, 2012

Trial and Error

   As I've mentioned before, this is the first year we are trying the SFG method of gardening, and I am encountering new situations that got me puzzled.  Of the three tomato plants, the Black Krim was lagging behind, and yet, lately, it is the only one that is growing normally.  The other two tomato plants (Yellow Pear and Brandywine) have slowed down growing (I might even say stunted.), and looking somewhat paler than the Black Krim, and the lower leaves are beginning to yellow a little bit.  In my past experience, these symptoms indicate one of the two things: overwatering and subsequent root rot or nitrogen deficiency.  The two tomato plants that have slowed down the growth pace are the ones that were going crazy and really vigorous before the really hot weather (daily high consistently being in the 100s).

  Since some of the other plants showed signs of dryness (broccoli and bell pepper plants wilting), I was guessing they needed more water, but when I stick my index finger down the soil near the tomato plants, the soil is moist and just fine.  And since they are in a raised bed, I doubt that over-watering can be an issue.  Which leads me to the next possibility on the list, nitrogen deficiency.  It has been really hot and the plants have been growing so fast, it's not entirely unlikely that the soil might be low in available nitrogen.  I don't really want to use Miracle-Gro, but the compost I have in the backyard is not quite ready.  I guess I have the fish tank water that I can water the tomatoes with and it should have a bit of nitrate, ready for the plants to use right away.  At any rate, I'm going to have to somehow find the remedy for the situation.

   Here's a picture of the "Ichiban" eggplant growing in the same SFG box as the tomatoes.  It's looking really vigorous and starting to produce a lot of blooms.  I have a small fruit growing close to the ground level (not visible in this picture) that's about 4 inches.  The very first fruit of the season was snapped in half by one of my cats the other day and I never got to eat it. T_T

   The marigolds that were direct seeded into the SFG spring veggies box are blooming nicely.  Most of the plants turned out to be the bi-color variety with red on the top side and orange on the under side.  The red gradually fades to orange as the flower matures.

   The sunflowers in the back yard (directly in the ground) were getting stunted until I started drip irrigation.  Now the tall ones are growing a few inches a day.  This large one in the picture is now measuring 38 inches tall.  Just last week, it was only about 18 inches.

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