Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Strawberries

The Albion Strawberry plants in my Strawberry Tower are doing very well.

I read that it takes a year for Strawberry plants to mature and start producing a lot of fruit. In the first year, the plants yield some fruit, but it is the second year that they really produce.

That is why some people recommend pinching off all of the flowers during the first year.

I did not pinch off all of the flowers that last year. I just pinched the flowers in the first couple of months (see this blog entry)

Still, I am amazed as to how much more productive the plants are this year. I have see more Strawberries and Flowers at this time than at any one time last year!

Strawberry plants produce well for around 3 years. So hopefully I will have another couple of years of this kind of yield before I need to replace the plants.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring (Cherry Tomato) Flowers

It is finally Spring. The terrible weather we had in January and February (see this blog entry) is gone!

Plus, I have flowers on the Sun Gold Cherry Tomato plant that I transplanted 3 weeks ago (see this blog entry)

I should have Cherry Tomatoes ready to eat by Memorial Day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Okinawan Sweet Potato cuttings take root

I finally have been able to get some Okinawan Sweet Potato cuttings to take root.

I planted the cuttings in the picture to the right about a month ago. Unlike my previous attempts (see this blog entry). These cuttings did not turn black and die.

I think there are two reasons for this. One, the weather has gotten noticeably warmer. Two, these cuttings were originally planted in small containers (see picture below) in late November.

I kept the containers indoors for most of the Winter. By the time I transplanted the plants into the large container, they had nice healthy roots.

Next year, I plan to do this for all my Okinawan Sweet Potato cuttings. Trying to get cuttings to survive on their own through winter just does not work.

Since the weather is warmer, I will try to get more cuttings to start new plants. But first, I need the one area in my garden where I had Okinawan Sweet Potato plants survive the winter (see picture below) to grow enough new foliage that I can cut off pieces for planting.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sun Gold Cherry Seedling Update

Despite the problems that I have been having with the weather (see this blog entry), my first Sun Gold Cherry Tomato seedling is doing very well.

I transplanted the seedling into the ground two weeks ago (see this blog entry). Since then, it has almost doubled in size.

I hope to have more Cherry Tomato seedlings ready to transplant in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

El Nino and Seedlings

We are not having a typical March in Southern California this year, or for that matter did we have a typical February.

This is an El Nino year, which occurs approximately every 5 years. This means that we get a lot of rain and temperatures are much cooler than normal.

This weather has wreck havoc on my seedlings. I have lost all of my Winter Melon and Charentais seedlings.

My Cherry Tomato seedlings have survived but have definitely not thrived. I had one Cherry Tomato seedling that was tall enough to transplant (see this blog entry). I transplanted that seedling two weekends ago and it has surprisingly done very well (see this blog entry)

Unfortunately, my other Cherry Tomato seedlings are much smaller (see the pictures at the top and below)

Because of a problem with my Grow Light setup, I only got one Cherry Tomato seedling during my first attempt at seed starting this year (see this blog entry). This was the Cherry Tomato seedling that I transplanted 2 weeks ago.

My other Cherry Tomato seedlings germinated 2 weeks later. We had decent weather in the last half of January and that enabled the first seedling to get a good headstart. The other seedlings suffered through the cold and wet February, which has stunted their growth.

See this blog entry and this blog entry for how my Cherry Tomato plants look a year ago at this time.

I probably made a mistake by turning off my Grow Lights right after the second batch of seedlings germinated (see this blog entry) But, I don't like to have my plants under the Grow Lights for too long. The light from the Grow Light is not the same as the natural light from the Sun. I find that if I leave Cherry Tomato plants under the Grow Light for an extended period, the plants grow long and spindly (i.e. "leggy").

I would rather take them outside and let them grow naturally. In the past this has worked well, but the El Nino weather pattern has messed this up.

Still, if you look at the Cherry Tomato seedlings in the pictures above, they look fine ("not leggy"). They have just not grown as well as you would expect 6 week old Cherry Tomato seedlings to look. I think they will be fine. If not, I can always clone new plants from my first Cherry Tomato seedling.

It was very windy today and I thought that the wind chill would lower the effective temperature that it might harm the Cherry Tomato seedlings, so I brought them all back inside tonight. Hopefully, the wind will die down tomorrow and I will be able to take them outside again.

My Dove Melon Hybrid seedlings are doing ok (see picture below). The seedlings are bigger than they were last week (see this blog entry). However, I am still waiting for them to grow their second set of leaves.

I started another batch of Winter Melon and Charentais seeds this past weekend. I am not using Grow Lights this time. Just leaving them outside like I did the Dove Melon seeds (see this blog entry)