Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lettuce has Bolted, Peas are Drying Up, Pansies Dying But All is Not Lost!

I think it hit 38ÂșC today. It was one of the hottest days I have experienced here in Toronto yet. Some of the plants are hanging in, some not. A few days ago the aphids kicked up again and I had to totally pull up a basket of pansies as they were completely infested. Pansies just can't take this intense heat and couple that with the wind, I can't blame them. The Gerber daisy is a bit burnt as is the orange carnation but it really just happened today under this intense heat. I have confidence they will rebound.

But I can tell you who are the hardy ones. Coleus laughs at all this. The snap dragons, though not putting out new flowers are holding their own. Petunias haven't even noticed the heat. The swiss chard is doing very well as is the growing heirloom lettuce (even though I completely over planted the basket).

I will try to get some shots tomorrow and post them. It was really just too hot to be outside at all. I have been double watering the plants to make sure they don't dry out in this humid heat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Profusion of Snapdragons!

This grouping of snapdragons inhabit one box. They have grown both
in size and have quadrupled their blossoms. 
 A few weeks earlier
Honestly, I even though I love snapdragons, I usually pass them by as once I plant them they bloom a bit and then die. But, I decided to try again this year. I planted these, each a single plant (one pink, one white and one fuchsia) and my God they've not only survived but thrived! This is what they looked like after about 3 weeks worth of feedings of Better World. I did find some aphids in the white one and pruned the most heavily infested portion and then sprayed with insecticidal soap (non-toxic). Luckily, it looks like they're gone but you have to be vigilant.

I am so happy with how the all the flowers are looking in their railing baskets. I could not be happier.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cucumber Conundrum

My cucumber plant was doing so well, and then...
Okay so my one solo cucumber I replanted several weeks ago was doing great and then, it started. The leaf by the base of the vine started to spot, turn yellow then dry up.
Leaf dried up by base of plant. Notice the next leaf one up starting
to do the same.

And here is the second leaf, doing the same thing.

See the light spots on the cucumber leaf. Notice
how well the basil plant is doing in comparison.

The end of the vine is doing quite well and the little cucumber fruits
are looking good. However, closer to the base of the plant, the cucumber
fruits are dying and drying up.

Cucumber plants from organic seeds. I am noticing those little spots showing
up on these new plants too. 
I have been researching online to see what this can be. I haven't fed my plants with any Better World plant fertilizer for about 3 weeks as I had run out and just been too busy to get down to the garden center to pick more up. However today I just got some more so have made a tea and will let it steep for a few hours then water them before sunset today. One thing is that they could be nitrogen depleted and that can show up as these symptoms. I sure hope that some proper feeding might save the first cucumber plant and keep these from getting worse. Also, cucumbers don't like to be splashed from the top with water? Who knew? It is suggested to water them close to the base.

Last year I had one cucumber plant and got several cucumbers from it. Well, that's the challenge - to see what works, what doesn't and find solutions to problems that might arise.
Here's hoping the food works and gentler more direct watering!

Better World Plant Food Official Website!

The official Better World Plant Food website is up and running!
Okay, gotta go and check it all out!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hand-made Bamboo Trellis Still Holding!

Even after a few mighty wind storms the trellis holds!
I just wanted to show you an update of the snap peas. They have climbed up and above the trellis! I could have added another foot onto the trellis but it seems to be sufficing. The sugar snaps are finally producing and they are delicious! So yes, one can grow sugar snaps in a balcony container on the west side even with the winds. Hardy little beggar, that one.

Fresh Lettuce Omelet for Breakfast!

Delicious lettuce omelet with a side order of snap peas!
Just wanted to share one of the small pleasures of a balcony garden. I had run out of swiss chard and spinach for my omelet that morning and thought, hey, why not lettuce? So I raided my lettuce basket and came up with enough for an omelet. Also my sugar snap peas were finally bearing some fruit so I added them to the side. They tasted sweet, fresh, incredible.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Muse is My Balcony Garden

The Balcony Gerber in oils!
I am loving my balcony garden and all the reference shots and drawing and painting from life opportunities it gives me. I thought I'd share one of the "A Painting a Day"one hour paintings I have done inspired by the surprising resilient Gerber Daisy. Maybe it's the Better World plant food and consistent care (like watering) but I have never been able to keep a gerber alive very long. Amazing!

If you'd like to see more of my "A Painting a Day" oil paintings check out my blog at There's a new one everyday so come back each day to see what is new, if you'd like.

And by the way, I found some aphids the other day. Was Johny-on-the-spot with the insecticidal soap and pruned the most heavily infested portions of two plants. I think I have held them in check but you never know with these little white imps. Checking daily and so far, all is well.