I am working on a way to make the set up of my indoor garden look nice. We do not have a basement or spare bedroom to put the garden in, so it is in the downstair room that is right next to the front door. It has big french doors that are easier to just leave open than close them. Small room and a tight fit with the furniture! It is also my painting studio, so it can get cluttered with paints and canvases! Such a hard room to keep looking organized!
I have taken over a corner of the room for the plants. Since, this is something people can see, I want it to look nice and interesting. I have not yet truly achieved this. I have been putting the garden together piece-meal as I did not want to sink a ton of money into this project unless I thought it would eventually pay off. I do find myself wanting to buy a lot of fun stuff for this! So-trying-to-hold-back!
I have some string lining part of the wall for the plants to grow up. I think I will change this out later for fishing line. I think it would be really pretty but also a useful to design this like a living wall. I could then, hide some of the plants behind the couch, and they could grow up the walls. I think that is more of a future plan than one to tackle right now. Currently, I am just going to do a living wall in the corner. The cucumbers and winter squash are currently growing up the strings. The winter squash is doing great and is getting some height. The cucumber is getting bigger, but it is taking its sweet time getting any height on it. Had I known the peas would get so tall, I would have planted those differently. The tomato cage looks ugly, but the plants out grew their support. I have taken note for the future!
I am stacking the plants, so they stay close to the lights. That also allows some over lap in the lighting. I had them a bit more spread out, and I don’t think they did as well. In addition, I have lined the wall behind the plants with tinfoil. Oh yes, classy! But, it serves its purpose of reflecting the light back to the plants! I hope the plants grow up enough to hide this! All of this limits the design of the garden a bit!
I can’t wait to get my seed starts and propagated plants transplanted into nicer looking pots. I think that will help a lot. I also have some nasturtium seeds in the ugly plastic bin. I am hoping they will over flow the side and cover but the unsightly look.
Soil gnats and Springtail (small little gray bugs that seem to jump when disturbed) have been a bit of a problem. I have tried to soil gnats are bad for your plants, so I have worried about controlling them more. Springtails, apparently, are not bad for your plants but are a nascence. I have little yellow sticky traps on the tinfoil. Those catch a good number of pests. Letting the soil dry out a bit does too, but you have to be careful to not kill your plants in the process. I try to water super close to the roots to concentrate the water. I also notice that the gnats fly up to a lamp I have on in the room at night. The light seems to zap them! Gross but glad they are killed! I have also thought about adding a soil powered bug zapper that looks like a cute lantern to the garden to help control the pest without having to spray! I have not pulled the trigger but that might be a future purchase if this goes well! Things like apple cider vinegar traps did not work well for me.
To see the first part of this story, go to this link: https://centralfloridavegetablegardening.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/propagating-gypsy-pepper-plants.
8/3 Out of the 6 pepper cuttings I tried to propagate, only 2 are still alive. They are starting to put out new shoots and leaves. I heard it was hard to get the plants to take, and I agree! My success rate was not great, but I am happy that I did not lose all the cuttings. One of them I had second thoughts on trying. Since I had the soil and space, I figured it could not hurt!
Over the last few weeks, I kept the cups damp. I had read about someone using plastic bags over their Hydrangea cuttings to keep the moisture levels up, so I tried that with the peppers. I was a little concerned about taking the bag on and off to mist the soil, so I cut a little hole in the plastic so I could drip water in. About every week and a half I would take the bags off to really check the progress. Some of them were dampening off. A few had white mold or something like that. I sprayed them but I am not sure which ones did or did not have that problem. For the last few days, I have had the bags off. I am going to leave them off.
I am going to wait until the plants look like they are really stable before I transplant them. Maybe 2 to 3 more weeks! I will have to find some space for them in my indoor garden!
I was starting to notice a problem with some of the leaves on my black beans. They were getting a bit yellow but still had green veins. This, of course, can be a few things. I had recently fertilized the plants, so I did not think that was the problem. I started to think it was actually the closeness of the plants to the grow light. A little bit of research revealed this was probably my issue. I raised the light, and it seems to have worked!
Have noticed over the past few weeks a strange problem with my tomatillos. They would look fine and then the next day they would have this strange white or yellow bumps all over the leaves. At first, I thought it was a grow light problem, so I moved the grow light farther away from the plant. Seemed to help but it was not a consistent solution. I also did a bit of online research when I saw this on my tomato plants, but I was using the wrong search terms. Once I saw it again on the plants, I search images for the same problem. It seems like it is Edema or oedema which is caused by too much water! So glad it is not a worst problem!
I am going to cut back on the watering. I also need to move this plant to a bigger pot, so there is more room for the water to spread and move away from the plant.
I noticed yesterday (7/31) my peas are finally blooming, and there are some small peas already forming! Yay! I am so excited! I am also surprised by how large the peas plants are! They have grown to the top of the tomato cage I put around them after they out grew the wooden supports I had in the pot.
I am going to have to move the grow light as I had it resting on the top of the tomato cage. This could be odd as moving it up will take it farther away from the rest of the plants below. Figuring out this indoor system will be interesting. I have a few spot lights I am using to fill in the lower areas of the garden.
😦 about a week and a half ago, I started to notice the leaves of my black beans were a bit off. They had tiny little spots on them. I thought it might be because of the grow lights. I also had not noticed any other problems with the plans and could not see any other problem. So I moved the light a bit farther away. I did not help.
What did finally point me to the problem was one of my outdoor plants got spider mites, and I notices the leaves looked the same as my indoor plant. BOO! I lost my outdoor plants as it is still raining and just washing the spray off.
When I got back inside, I turned over some of the worst looking leaves and low and behold there were the same types of mites! I cut the worst of the leaves off and put those in plastic bags. I then started to spray the beans with Neem Oil. This will be my plan for the next 2 weeks.
I hope this will kill the mites and my beans can get back to producing!
Well, I was sad to see a good size branch on my Gypsy Pepper plant snapped in a storm. I had even looked at in the morning and thought I needed to tie it to a support. Well, I did not get to it in time. 😦 I have had little luck in rooting pepper branches. I have been treating them like my tomato cuttings that I have had so much good luck with. I decided to try a different method. One closer to how I am propagating a hydrangea at the moment.
The process: I cut the stems down into 6 different sections. As far as I can tell, they all have nodes on a part of the stem. I have some OLD root hormone my dad gave me, so I dipped all the cut ends in that before planting them. I prepared 6 plastic solo cups with wet soil. I also added cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Cinnamon to help keep away any fungal problems and cayenne in hopes that would keep fungal gnats/bugs out of the plants. The solo cups have a cutout in the bottom and are sitting in another solo cup. I covered the pepper plants and cups with plastic bags. This was to help keep the moisture level high. I am a little worried it might keep it too wet. We will see!
I would be really excited if this experiment works! That would be 6 new plants!!! I will keep them inside under my grow lights until the crushing heat of FL summer is over. Currently, I do have my big Gypsy Pepper plant outside. I am watching it to see if it needs to be brought inside or if it can sustain the heat, which is in the 90s most of the time.
Well, over the past few weeks, I have learned some interesting things about gardening in Central FL. Things like tomatoes and other nightshade plants do not do really well in temperatures over 90. Not that the plants cannot take the heat (although that can happen too) but that their flowers will not set and might fall off. That was not fun to learn given that my plants were just starting to really produce.
SO PLAN B! I brought my tomatoes inside and put them under a grow light. About a week after bringing them inside, I picked some of my first ripe tomatoes. It felt good! Since they have been inside, I have had 4 more tomatoes develop, so I am happy about that. I have not seen any new ones in about a week, though. I did find some green caterpillars on the plants about the same time. Over the next 3 days, I checked my plants over and over to pick them off and rid the plants of the little buggers! I have also had some dry leaves and fungal gnats. The fungal gnats are my current battle I am determined to win.
Since bringing my tomatoes in, I decided to plant a few other vegetable plants inside. I also brought in a few of the olds that have been struggling with the weather. I will keep some notes to see how they progress inside.
Currently inside with big grow lights:
Tomatoes (Full plants and cuttings)
Zucchini (Full plant and seedlings)
Brussel Sprouts (seedlings)
Under a small grow light and kitchen window. About 3 weeks old.
Minor leaf lettuce
Beets (3 weeks old where inside until 2 days ago, although read they like cold so might be moving them back inside. FL is in the 90s now)
Turnips (3 weeks old where inside until 2 days ago, although read they like cold so might be moving them back inside. FL is in the 90s now)
Outside in parking spot
Peppers (has full-size peppers and still set fruit about 1 week ago)
Eggplant (setting fruit but 2 blossoms fell off in the past week. Might be getting too hot)
Winter Squash (just starting to produce flowers)
Tomato (small and has never flowered)
Sad day today as I walked out to get in my car and noticed the head of my new eggplant was looking a bit droopy… How? Why? Too much water still?
On further inspection, I notice there were holes in the stem in two places. I took a knife and cut into the stem to see if I could find out what was in there. I did see a small beetle moving fast. I squished him before he could get away, but also, before I got a good look at him. I do not think he was the problem, but he could have been a different problem. I did read these plants can get stem borers. 😦 So, sadly I lost the top of my eggplant to this problem. I am sad that it was not yet a big, strong plant yet, but my hope is that other branches will come out of the base.. While I really want lots of eggplants, I am interested to see what this plant does either way.
**Side note, cutworms were found in this pot a few days later, so it could have been a cutworm all along! No real way to tell.