Another week on the Flog! Hope you’re enjoying the updates from this balcony garden project. It has now been around 2 weeks since I planted the seeds, and the sprouts look great.
I was given a gift of 3 hot pepper plants this week so that was pretty cool – they are all hot varieties, including a Bhut hybrid. Can’t wait to see how they turn out. The seed tray got a little crowded, the cucumber was probably left too long but oh well. Check out the state of the seed tray:
Sadly still no sign of the broccoli or the parsley. I might have to try some more seeds of those. However the Labuyo seeds that were moldy have pretty much ALL sprung up, so I have way too many of those.
The cucumbers are stretching towards the window and have their first true leaves already:
The dill and basil are looking pretty good and they will go into the garden also:
Pulling the seedlings out, you can see the roots looking for more room. The cucumber have circled several times – a sign they were left in a little too long. The tomatoes have just reached the sides and started to curl around – that is about the right timing to go into the garden.
I transplanted most of the seedlings from the tray this week. I kinda wish I had more tray space so there wouldn’t be so many seedlings per slot. It’s a hassle separating them and it stresses the plants. I guess it’s “survival of the fittest” in Patrick’s Garden.
Here’s a big advantage to using a loose, homemade soilless seedling mixture. The loose medium washes off with almost no effort, minimizing damage to the roots.
Simply dip the roots in a bucket of water and the medium just sinks leaving only the roots. Makes getting bare root transplants super easy and a little less painful for the plants. Note, if you are using mycorrhizae this might be tougher – the soil might not fall off so easily and for sure the fungal hyphae will be damaged. That’s part of the reason I wait to inoculate with mycorrhizae until they are in the garden. I just gently separated the plants with soil (shown left) of some transplants, and bared the roots (shown right) of the others, as you can see in these two pictures:
To encourage more root growth and help keep the plants sturdy, I buried them a little deep when transplanting. Here is a bare-root cucumber transplant going in. The hole is much deeper than the stem so the roots can go down without bending. This is a great trick when you have spindly seedlings like mine, especially with plants that easily root like cucumbers – bury them a little up the stem, and roots will pop out in the covered areas. The plant will also be a little more sturdy. Like this:
I got Planter #1 planted as well as the cucumbers in Planter #2. Too bad the broccoli isn’t up yet!!
And finally. The reason for the title. I planted these beautiful seedlings yesterday, excited to see them flourish and enrich my diet with their bounty…only to discover this morning, devastation in the planter boxes! Seedlings chopped, their leaves lying on the ground beside them, like a bunch of beheaded combatants on a battlefield. Nothing eaten, only rampant devastation.
And amongst it all, tell-tale droppings from the winged beasts that wraught it. Those f#*%ing birds! I wanted to kill them all this morning, it’s so frustrating to find that! Not a Basil top left on. The stupid birds come and investigate and just top them and then bugger off. I wouldn’t even be so pissed if they ATE the things, but just to top them and leave……
Uff anyway I have a battlefield picture with an inset of the culprit but it didn’t quite capture the look so I drew it to make it clearer for those reading:
Damn eurasian tree sparrows.
I got a net today and spread it over the planter boxes so the remaining seedlings are ok. The basil got hit hardest, there are still some survivors of the other plants. I guess I’ll just direct sow the basil replacements.
R.I.P. mr purple basil and his brothers.
Pest problems anyone? Didn’t you just want to destroy them all?? I bet. Me too… How bad was it? I’m curious what other issues people have encountered on their farms. I bet you guys with “real” farms have had much worse than mine so I shouldn’t curse the little monsters too much I guess…
See you all next week when hopefully I’ll have the remaining planters planted. A full garden, woohoo!