Seed Swaps

Garden Status

07 Jul 2011
27°C / 81°F

This is the time of year when I get some of my greatest frustrations, as I learn which of my ambitious projects need more work.

The squashes of various types were doing pretty well, and showing promise, until white fly began taking their toll, and the Planet Natural shipping policy on whitefly predators takes so long that I am afraid the plants will be unable to recover once I get results from them. In the meantime mildew has been developing on the weakened plants, even the resistant strains, and the Safer soap I sprayed has caused the leaves to start turning brown. Some have recovered enough to send up some more flowers, but for the most part they seem pretty sick. The whitefly wasps arrive in a day or two.

The 12 “Mater Joe” tomato plants continue to yield a ripe tomato or two a day, while looking like death warmed over, half wilted and dead. When they stop producing I will pull them up to make room for the resistant seedlings I have growing on the side in pint-sized pots, now about 4 inches tall.

Sweet potatoes are growing trailing vines; it’s time to dig up the old potatoes and add bonemeal, and plant slips on the top o the wall garden. Pixie cabbage is stalled in the not quite making heads stage, but soon…. Malabar spinach is looking like I might attempt grazing it soon, and the rainbow chard is ready to yield up another meal. Basil is in flower, and the ginger is struggling, but putting up leaves.

The worm bin has been given a second level- soon they will be moving up and I can use that compost in my plantings.

But my current mania is the “Four-Barrel Fisherator”. The progress is incremental. That means mostly mental. My son and daughter in law, aquatic biologists, have reviewed and approved my design plans for a habitat and biofilter in four barrels. (Handy to have experts in the family.) Habitat barrel plumbing is 90% finished, control panel 50%; next steps plumbing test, lighting, insulation, and habitat transfer. (My current test setup is occupied by mosquito fish as a stand-in for the tilapia to come.) Also I need to work on biofilter plumbing, a permanent control panel with air pump housing setup, completing the solar enhancements, and installing instrumentation. I have identified a source for Oreochromis Mossambicus, the kind of fingerlings legal in this state. Maybe in another month I will be ready to make the switch.

Working in this chaos, I have not taken pictures yet. But at least I have journalled something to indicate the early summer state of affairs.
#1: a concept drawing of the 4BF.




The Fisherator is going to be interesting for us to see in its working state! Sorry to hear you are experiencing more veggie troubles though. I’m wondering what is causing the PM since you are bottom watering? I didn’t think it was that humid where you live. Glad to hear even in its downtrodden state that Mater Joe continues to produce!

Posted on 08 Jul 11 (about 8 years ago)

fw: It’s not that humid here, I agree, for mildew. I think the plants are weakened from the white fly. What else appears as grey slightly fuzzy spots that grow larger? But I am seeing it on many, but not all of my plants; on cabbages, it’s not so severe. But last Spring the pixie cabbage did fine without any spots, and it was more humid, though not as warm.
Sweet potatoes and Malabar spinach, and Chard, all seem OK, and who knows whether part of the tomato problem is mildew? I think not. Still waiting for whitefly parasitic wasp shipment, and waving away the occasional cloud of white flies. My crop will probably be lost, but I still have to get rid of the infestation regardless, so now I want to give the wasps every welcoming advantage, and I will not cut the plants just yet.
Overnight my new tomato seedlings, all green and innocent, seem to have grown an inch. We’ll see how tough they are, by and by. The Mater Joe plants seem to be moving their vigor to the growing ends of the stems, leaving the lower crown naked. It makes them ungainly, especially considering they are hanging up by their cages. I suspect the daytime temp is 10 degrees hotter near the plastic sheet roofing they are trying to push through. At the top many have stems twice the diameter of the same stem at the crown. Reminds me of Popeye’s forearms.
Today I might get a start on insulating the habitat barrels and converting a wall planter to a covered fisherator control panel. My sainted wife has not given me the grief she ought to have, littering the living room with tools and plumbing fittings, scraps of electric wire and packaging, even plastic shavings. Remind me to reform myself, to become more worthy of her forgiveness.

Posted on 08 Jul 11 (about 8 years ago)

Added drawing of 4BF.

Posted on 08 Jul 11 (about 8 years ago)

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