Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oh yes, veggies will be mine...

First things first: I would really like to know why I always have the best hair days on days when I couldn't care less how I look. Seriously, what exactly is the deal there? I purposefully set aside a day for myself just for puttering around my house, and my hair looks better than it has in weeks. Sigh.

Okay, on to the plants. First up is Clematis Asao, because folks, we've got us some blooms. That's right, the first flowers of summer 2009 have arrived. There's only four flowers, and they're all on one plant, but I'm sure the other plants will catch up eventually.

Here's the only bloom that was easy to take a picture of:
Clematis Asao #1

This guy needs another day or two before he really gets photo-worthy:
Clematis Asao #1

And these guys are 8 feet in the air, so there's no way I was going to be able to get a good shot of them! They look nice against that clear blue sky, though, don't they?
Clematis Asao #1

I tried leaning way out over my balcony railing and holding my camera up over my head, but the results of my efforts weren't much different than the lazy shot just above this one.
Clematis Asao #1

And now the veggies...

Little Fingers Carrots
This tiny little green squiggle is apparently going to be a carrot someday. This is what I'm told, anyway. Funny thing is, he almost met an untimely demise. Initially I thought he was just another one of the many pesky weeds I've been dealing with on a daily basis. Fortunately I decided not to pull him, because within an hour or two he had a buddy.
First carrots, 05-16-09

That's right - these little guys are actually growing so fast that you can literally watch them grow. In the couple of hours I spent outside today, three more popped out of the dirt (I'd already put my camera away and was too lazy and dirty by then to come back in and get it). And since they're all in a nice, neat row, exactly how I planted the seeds, I think it's safe to say they aren't weeds.
First carrots, 05-16-09

Oregon Sugar Pod Peas
Here is the box I planted peas in.
Peas 05-16-09

This is my first time growing veggies, and I don't know a thing about how peas grow. I didn't expect them to look so much like fully-formed pea pods right out of the ground like this, that's for sure. I think I expected them to be like other veggies, with a flower that develops into a fruit. I'm such a city girl. I'm also realizing that I haven't a clue how peas are harvested. Fortunately, my friend Kristi loves growing peas, and I'm fairly sure she won't laugh at me when I ask her what I'm supposed to do!
First peas, 05-16-09

For the sake of comparison, I want to re-post the picture of the strawberry pot that I posted on April 22:

Not terribly impressive compared to that same pot today:
Strawberry pot 05-16-09

I'm gonna have me a TON of berries! Yeah!
1st strawberry, 05-16-09

However, with the nicer weather it seems I've obtained some unwelcome guests. They wore out their welcome last year, doing a ton of damage to the nasturtium I'd planted. You can see a couple of them on the leaf above, and they're a clear presence in the photo below. That's right, folks... I'm talking about aphids.
Aphids on strawberries, 05-16-09

For those of you that don't know what aphids are, they're a common garden pest that slowly drink all the moisture out of a plant, leaving you with a wilted, then dry, then dead mess. Wasp and ladybug larvae will eat them, so people with bigger growing areas will often plant things that wasps and ladybugs are known to be attracted to (see this forum post for more info on this).

(This is the kind of stuff you pick up when you've dated an entomologist, by the way. My bug knowledge has far surpassed anything I ever imagined.)

I, however, don't have the space for strategic planting, although I'm definitely starting to reevaluate that stance after last year's loss. Losing the beauty of the nasturtium I'd carefully grown from seed was irritating, but losing berries and veggies I'd been looking forward to eating would break my heart. And what's a little more crowding on my already over-crowded balcony?

(Another side note: I've started seeing my balcony as the eyesore yard of the neighborhood. My crazy compilation of pots compared with my neighbors' nice, tidy, adorable little balconies reminds me of an overgrown front yard with a car on blocks smack in the middle. Yeah. I'm *that* neighbor.)

Anyway, for right now I'm attacking the aphids the old fashioned way - with a spray bottle full of soapy water. It keeps them in check so long as I get out there at least once every 2-3 days to give them another douse. I really don't want to spend my whole summer that way, though.

We'll have to see... sometimes the beneficial insects will show up on their own, without any encouragement. If I get irritated enough, I'll go buy some sweet alyssum or cilantro or something of the like.

That's all I have for pictures for now, I'm afraid. None of the melons have done a thing yet, and while there are some signs of life in the jiffy pots in my office I haven't taken any pics. My tomato starts that I have at home are still sad little things, and I'm not sure what's going to come of them. A new friend has offered me some hot pepper starts, which would be fun to grow with the tomatoes and tomatillos that I'm hoping to make salsa with.

One last thing, because my mother will appreciate that I'm thinking of her. My mom and stepfather will be out here to visit in about three weeks. I really wanted my mom to see my clematis in bloom. As of right now they haven't set buds yet, so I'm thinking it isn't going to happen... not unless we get three weeks of ridiculously nice weather, and odds are slim that Oregon's weather will cooperate that way! Oh well... hopefully the African Violets will look nice for her.


Kristi W. said...

Yay for peas!!
You will think it's nuts when the peas get bigger and start "grabbing" things. If you put a little trellis in there, they will grab on within hours. It's kinda creepy actually.
Also your strawberries are amazing! Those come back each year, right? I need to plant a big old pot of them like you did. I love berries.

Jordana said...

And it just so happens that I HAVE little trellises that are the perfect size to put in that box! I think I'll go put them out there right now, as soon as I finish typing this. :0)

Yes, my strawberry plants survived the winter outside in that pot just fine, even though we had a brutal winter here. I think strawberry plants are quite hardy. I'm pretty sure they do fine outside all winter in New England, so I imagine they'd be fine where you are.

So... harvesting the peas? Anything I should know?

Christmas Day

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