Garden Rebirth

This week in the Flog:

  • Successes and failures in the balcony garden
  • Trimming everything back, in a big way

I’m not sure whether this would be better titled “Garden Death”. Ha. Most of the cucumber plants are withering away, the garden is infested with mites and now looks like some leaf mold. It’s time to clean house.

But first, a look at the successes. I got to harvest some weeks worth of cucumber and lettuce, which was great! We ate cucumber in everything and by itself. Not that that’s a big deal to most people but I’m not a huge vegetable guy, it was kind of a novelty. I got a picture of one our salads harvested from the garden (excluding walnuts):

Garden Trimming - Salad

Beautiful fresh salad from the garden, what an awesome treat in the city

Not only that, the tomatoes grew so much that they took over the rest of that planter and started crossing the balcony, almost blocking our path. Considering these were grown in complete absence of direct sunlight, they are awesome! This week, before cutting I finally picked them up and stretched them to see the total length. Over 7 feet tall!

Garden Trimming - Big Tomatoes

This tomato plant grew outta control since I stopped trimming it

That is just ONE plant! Now when you consider the fact that this is

  1. Grown in a planter
  2. Grown in indirect sunlight only, and overcast most days
  3. Grown WITHOUT ANY fertilizer

I think it is pretty sweet. No fertilizer, no direct sunlight, not even indirect unfiltered sunlight most of the time – this time of year in Manila is pretty cloudy most days.

All it takes is starting with good soil, and managing the microbial life of the soil. A nice healthy balanced soil works wonders.

The one issue with my tomatoes – very little fruit. That entire 7 foot plant and only a half dozen fruits or so. Maybe it was spending too much energy growing, or it was too hot out this time of year, or a nutrient deficiency as Graeme suggested. I’ll see if I can fix that next round. For now I couldn’t be happier with the plant’s growth, and now it needs to be cut back – a lot.

So let’s look at the garden overall. The cucumbers are on the way out, and the other planters need managing in the worst way. I’m not the best gardener, hahaha.

Garden Trimming - Big Garden

Look at that nice big garden. Time to trim it way back, especially the dying cucumber plants.

In any case, I’m happy with how the garden has come along. As I mentioned at the start of this Flog, I haven’t cultivated a garden in a long time. Over the last few years I’ve played around with Gil’s recipes a lot, killed a lot of house plants and grown some to great heights, but I haven’t kept a real outdoor garden. So this was a great adventure back into the world of vegetable gardening.

So, time to clean house! I’m chopping everything back. All the plants are getting trimmed to the trunk. Some might not survive the trimming, particularly the cucumbers, but I don’t mind. I’m excited to continue the adventure with new plants if ever.

When trimming like this, if you want to have regrowth, at the very least you need to trim so that a few nodes are left. Regrowth will start from those nodes. Check out one of the tomato plants after the trim. I drew arrows pointing to the nodes, where new growth can come from:

Garden Trimming - Trimmed Tomatoes

Phew, that’s a big difference! From 7′ to 7″ almost. It should grow back from the nodes (arrows).

Now take a look at the whole garden! Wow that is a difference! What a rebirth (death?)! I hope some of the plants survive! I think the cucumbers are too far gone – even the main stems look to be in poor shape. The rest of the garden, well, fingers crossed. If it all goes, I have more seeds!

Garden Trimming - Trimmed Garden

Much more tidy garden after the trimming!

In the garden just like in life, it just comes down to how you look at it. If you see it as a disaster then it’s a disaster. If you see it as an opportunity, then you have an opportunity! I guess I make this comparison because the garden is a place for philosophy. There is so much outside your control, you have to take a philosophical view sometimes so you’re not just driving in circles. You know what I mean?

Happy gardening.

  • Jose Kristensen

    That is certainly a very large, healthy tomato plant. Could the reason for it only producing such few tomatoes be because of the lack of direct sunlight? Did it have a lot of flowers that didn’t set fruit or weren’t there many flowers produced?

    • Patrick

      Yeah right? It looks so good but no fruit. TONS of flowers – I mean, the expected amount on a plant that size.. but very few of them set fruit. I was thinking the continuous high temps are the biggest problem (it doesnt drop below 26 celsius at night) but we’ll see. We’re just getting into the cold(er) season here now so maybe that will help. Also, the balcony is starting to get direct sun! For a few hours anyway, but that should help a lot.

      Thanks for the feedback Jose. Praying for more fruit this round!

      • Jose Kristensen

        Yes, optimum temperatures for tomatoes are between 20°C and 30°C and I guess your day time temperatures hit well over the 30s. I look forward to seeing how they will do with the coming cooler weather and the direct sun. Good luck with the regrowth and good production! Jose.

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