I have not written for a while because I was having some trouble with my outdoor and indoor gardens. Things that only time will teach you for sure. I read a good deal about FL gardening online, but nothing really teaches you like experience.
Pretty much all of June was rain. So the plants grew well, but they did not produce much. My theory, the rains would come during the day when the pollinators should be out. The rainy conditions also made conditions too difficult for proper fertilization and production.
Once the rains finally let up, I had great growth for a little bit. But, the temperatures also began to climb. I had read that the plants have a hard time with fertility and fruiting when the temperatures get into the 90s. This seemed to have proven true for this garden.
By the end of July, my eggplant and tomatoes outside got spider mites and those have proven difficult to control. My squash and cucumbers were taken over and demolished by Melon Moths.
Take a ways:
– Too much rain is terrible and leads to low production
– Too hot and a lot of plants will not produce
– It is unbelievably hard to control Melon Moth in the hot part of summer (starting to cool down and they are not as big of a problem).
– While your pepper plants will not produce during the hot month, if they can make it through the hot months, they will start to produce again in the fall when temps go down. Mine did get infested with whitefly though during the hot months. My peppers had a really really tough time with sun scorch. Almost 100% of the peppers that I got had some sun scorch damage
– I cut back my eggplant to get ride of the spider mite damage, the plants have come back as the temps drop. Seems like the mites are coming back though.
My indoor garden has been fun, and I have learned a lot. I have rearranged it many times, and finally, think I have a pretty good setup going.
– I have a few pepper plants that look great, but they are VERY small for their age.
– Also, I think it takes longer for the peppers to ripen inside. Currently taking notes on that.
– My tomatillo has grown well, but its companion plant died while I was on a trip. I have read I need two plants so they can cross-pollinate. Since my tomatillo is blooming, I am a little bummed.
– Beans and peas do excellent inside, but the beans are susceptible to spider mites (They have proven to be hard to get rid of but are easier to control inside)
– Basil, kale, and cilantro do well inside.
– Cucumbers will also grow inside, but you need to have them in a really easy to access location to hand pollinate the plant.
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.
My indoor pea plants are getting huge! They are over a foot and a half tall. I am really interested in seeing how tall they get. I would have thought they were reaching their max by now. They have not started to produce flowers yet, but I think it has to be soon. They grew inches in a day! They must be over 6 weeks old by now. I have on my calendar that they will need about another month before harvest.
This is the most successful I have ever been with peas. Generally, I have done them outside. They seem like such delicate plants!
😦 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!
Sometime around the first of June, I planted about 8 to 10 black beans seeds. I was not expecting much from them. Originally, I had them on my porch. After a few weeks, maybe 3, I did not think they were getting enough sun. So I brought them inside to put them under the grow lamps. Still, not expecting much. I switched up the amount of light a few times. Currently, they have one small lamp on them with red and blue light. It is a 24W LED light I got on Amazon. They started to flower last week! I have a few bean pods growing now! From what I have read, they are self-pollinating, but generally, self-pollinating plants still need a bit of help. So I need to remember to shake the plants a few times a week to make sure I get good production. I am pretty excited to get some production on my indoor plants! I added some fertilizer yesterday since I had not added any for a few weeks. Hopefully, the beans will continue to do well!