Garden Update

This week in the Flog:

  • Cucumbers in steady decline due to pests
  • Tomatoes growing like crazy
  • Jalapeno fruits ripening

Mixed results on the garden front. My garden is overrun with pests. I’m not too worried about this. It will give me a great opportunity to test my Mitey Spray. The pests have had the opportunity since Ive been busy with family trips (taking our 4 month old son on his first adventure!) and other priorities. Also, the advantage of the tropics is the year-round growing season. I’m contemplating chopping the whole garden down and letting it regrow – all the root systems are well established meaning it will come back that much stronger next round.

Anyway, this happens with gardens and that’s a fact of life. I got a lot of lettuce and spinach out of the garden so far, as well as many pounds of cucumbers. For a garden that gets 0 direct sunlight, I’m pleased with those results. Of course I could be super upset about the pests, but better just to calmly figure out how to do better next round. Garden wisdom you can apply in your everyday life: 90% of what happens in the garden (in life) is beyond your control. But the 10% you have control of (your response), will make a bigger difference in how your garden(life) turns out.

So lets take a look at the garden! Look at these cucumbers covered in white flies. They have bigger problems than that however. The spider mites are taking over! The neem spray has done little to stop the advance – it is better as a preventative measure than eliminating them once well established. We will see if my spray has any effect – it is still fermenting so unfortunately ill just have to wait. Meanwhile the cucumbers:

Balcony Garden - Cucumbers

The cucumbers are under attack from several pests and are in decline, after yielding my lots of tasty fruit!

The tomatoes, while partly infested with broad mites, are still growing like crazy, have long since outgrown the short trellis I built for them, and continue to flower madly. However very little fruit has come of them. Maybe I need direct sunlight? Some more fruiting promoter? I have not used any kind of natural fertilizer on these to speak of, since they don’t look like they need anything. They’re growing like crazy! The flower clusters have 12 blooms per cluster…Possibly this is the reason the fruits aren’t growing much – too much energy, in this limited light environment, used to grow new leaves and flowers, not enough left over to fruit. I will cut these back next week and see.

Balcony Garden - Tomatoes

These tomato plants have grown like crazy and are a little outta control. That’s ok as long as I get some fruit off them!

Speaking of cutting back, I did a bunch of trimming today. I trimmed a whole branch off the tomatoes and they are still overgrown. Man, I wouldn’t have thought indirect sun would be enough for plants to grow this fast. Next week I have more trimming to do!

Balcony Garden - Trimmings

Lots of trimmings today including some main branches from the tomato plants

And lastly, the jalapeños. The broad mites halted their new growth which is just as well since they were above the trellis already. The peppers that set are a little crooked and some a bit pale but they are there and ripening away so we will be eating jalapeños! I want to make jalapeño poppers. Yum!

Balcony Garden - Jalapenos

These peppers are looking pretty nice. The plants have halted their new growth and are producing lots of jalapenos.

I get to try out the Mitey Spray this week! Not sure there will be immediate results but it’ll be fun to use pesticide that I made from plants. Keep on gardening and keep in touch…

  • Szarka

    When I lived in Florida, I was also perplexed by happy tomato plants, but no fruit. One thing I learned at an organic farm’s tomato-growing workshop was that temperature ranges are important beyond minimum temps. Tomatoes won’t set fruit if the nighttime temps are over 75. So, for tomatoes in North Florida (8b), I planted super early (starts in the ground on Valentine’s Day), and was done getting fruit by June. If I was very careful with providing shade and water, I could nurse the plants through the summer, and they’d come back to life in the fall.

    • Patrick

      You know you’re probably right about that. We don’t get cold nights here at all so it’s a bit of a problem. I had a few small fruits set but nothing developed.. Our cold season here is just around the corner so hopefully I’ll get some this winter!

  • Phil Bradshaw

    Hi Patrick.
    As far as I know, we don’t get broad mites in Ireland, but I’ve had big problems in the past with two spot spider mite, & I think broad mites must have a similar life-cycle.
    I quickly discovered that chemical sprays are useless, as the mites rapidly build up a resistance. The only stuff that worked for me was horticultural soap, at 20/1. But it requires dedication & patience…. NOTHING kills the eggs!
    The two spot mites, after hatching, go through 3 nymph stages, before they become adults capable of laying eggs. This is their “Achilles Heel”. And where the dedication comes in.
    You have to spray with soap at least every three days, possibly more at high temperatures, as their life-cycle is very much governed by temperature. You must kill the mites, BEFORE they reach adult-hood,& before they can lay the eggs of the next generation. & be VERY thorough, as the soap only kills on contact. I think you would be well advised to spray early morning, or in the evening, to avoid possibly burning the plants The good news is, it works, every time.
    As for your tomato’s, my peers always told me to pinch out the tops of the plants, after the fourth truss has formed. & also the side branches. This ensures the plant has enough energy, to form good sized fruit. Things could be different in your climate, but it could be worth a try?
    Good luck! Phil B.

    • Patrick

      Phew! I think you’re right also Phil, those mites are not going away! I’ve been spraying now a bit but not getting great results, the plants are still suffering mites. So I think I’ll try hort soap and more rigorous sprays and see if I can get ’em. Regular spraying makes sense for those resilient little pests…

      I’ll try cutting the tomatoes back a bunch and then seeing how they go this winter. Hopefully I’ll get some fruit in the cooler weather..

      Thanks for contributing!

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