Bud Bud Buds

This week in the Flog:

  • Plants budding!
  • Spider mite problem and what do to about it

Saweeeet! I see buds! Alright you may have to look with a magnifying glass still but they are there! The jalapeno peppers and several of the tomato plants have buds!

Every gardener knows the feeling, when you see the first buds of the season show on your plants. It’s so exciting! You know the magic is about to happen – blossoms, followed by beautiful fresh fruit slowly ripening in the sun. All the work, but more so the impatient waiting, is going to pay off. In my little garden, they are starting to appear everywhere and I just love it!

Check out the jalapeno buds. It is overflowing with them! I hope they set though – it’s hot here and jalapeno’s drop blooms in high heat. Well if they don’t set then I just have to figure out how to toughen them up. I’ve read of several ways, not sure what will work though. Here they are up close.

Flower Bud - Part 1

Jalapeno peppers are bursting with buds, so happy to see this! Now hope they develop fruit.

And two of the tomato plants are showing buds too! They are even smaller than the pepper buds, but they’re there!

Flower Bud - Part 2

Tomato plants are budding away. I hope they produce!

These plants are all stretching since there is little light here, and yet they are showing buds. I couldn’t be more pleased with the progress.

And look what I found a few days later! The cucumbers are showing buds too! Good thing because they are going crazy growing all over the place. So now all the large plants are blooming (except egg plant)!

Flower Bud - Part 3

The cucumber plants are starting to show buds as well. Here is a bud up close, as well as the start of a “sucker”.

Now, if I wanted large plants I’d snip all the buds off so the plants devote more resources into growing. But I’m not really interested in large plants this season. I mean, I don’t have the space for it! My pathetic 2 foot high trellis for the tomatoes is going to be overgrown quickly enough as it is. So no snipping buds. BUT, if you have the space and want larger plants, snip the buds! Let the plant grow large before allowing fruiting to start – then stand back because there will be a lot more fruiting then.

One thing I noticed though – spider mites! These cursed insects are a curse here and so frustrating to deal with. You don’t really notice until you see spots on your plant leaves, then find tiny little red/brown dots on the underside. One cucumber and one eggplant are affected. Here is a damaged cucumber leaf:

Flower Bud - Part 4

Hard to see directly but the damage is clear enough – spider mites

And an egg plant leaf. I wasn’t sure about the egg plant, but I ran my finger along the underside of the leaf, and it came out stained red/brown with spider mite bits. You can see the leaf is looking pretty sad:

Flower Bud - Part 5

The egg plants are particularly plagued with mites, sadly

So this week I’m mixing up a batch of foliar spray to combat this threat. I’m combining Neem, BIM, and Immuboost. The Immuboost is a fermentation that helps the plants fight disease, the Neem is for the spider mites, and the BIM is just there because it is awesome. Let those microbes take up residence instead of the silly spider mites.

Flower Bud - Part 6

BIM, Immuboost, and Neem, a great insect battling combo

So we’ve reached a milestone with this little venture. The plants are budding! Not all of them, but some so far. If I get one piece of fruit off the balcony I will be ecstatic. It’s my first time having a real “garden” in the tropics, and my first time with a balcony garden so you know, I’ll be happy with any success.

I’m really happy with today’s milestone. As I said earlier, there is real satisfaction in seeing your plants grow up and then start budding. Knowing the fun part has just begun, I’ll retire happily for today.

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