Monday, April 27, 2009

My Purple King's Journey

My Purple King Bean plant is a survivor and I have been repeating that many times in the various entries. Firstly, it was one of the two which germinated well and grew. The other one did germinate but somehow did not grew on. Secondly, I have sown it when it was well into 1/3 of summer which was a little late. I got my seeds from my shepherd at that time. Good sowing time would be spring. Thirdly, it resurreted after certain death in the heat wave and continued to prosper.
7/2/09 The effect of the heat wave.
14/2/09 Signs of life after some time.
1/3/09 Flowering stage!
Early March to April - harvesting a few beans at a time.
End April, 30 over beans now on the plant.
Some of the older leaves are turning yellow and dropping off. The purple king will not survive the coming cold winter. It is going to be rather sad seeing it die eventually but I am very grateful to be able to see it grow these months.

Common Mint Update

I have been giving updates on my common mint in several entries. It is all getting quite complicated, so I have decided to dedicate an entry totally on it. Mint grows very quickly given the right conditions. Very much the same as vietnamese mint. However, vietnamese mint seems less prone to many problems that plague the common mint. Common mint is susceptible to many pests including caterpillars and aphids as well as plant diseases such as powdery mildew. This pot above was the original pot of common mint I bought from Kmart.
Since then, I have grown a large pot (above) from the original small black pot.
And another pot which was attacked by powdery mildew. See entry
I have got three nos of cuttings here but did not really care much about it. Oops! Yellowing so I had to feed some aquasol yesterday.
This one also came from the original small small pot but in the midst of propagation, it was attacked by powdery mildew. I have treated it with Manzecob Plus twice and planted it at the vege patch. Looks like it is growing.
Similar case to the above - powdery mildew amidst propagation but treated twice. It is still potted in this ice-cream pot but signs of growth too.
The bare stem of another type of mint planted end of December 08 is growing steadily at the vege patch.

Oregano, Lemon Verbena and Lawn Grass Experiment

It is mid-autumn and I am quite puzzled that weeds are growing a lot all over the garden including in the pots and vege patch. They sprang up everywhere, more intensely than in spring or summer it seems. I am using my mini hoe a great deal during this time. It is a valuable tool, my first acquired garden tool and has served me very well, especially with the little price tag that came with it. It was this hoe, besides my little stool, which I used in ridding all the weeds on the vege patch before my gardening journey began.
Weeds gone yesterday here today.
The tiny pot of oregano which I bought from Bunnings potted on and doing well. I have fed it seasol during potting on and a week later.
Lemon verbena also potted on same time. It is a beautiful herb especially the lovely lemony smell. I was inspired to get a pot of my own after seeing it at Heronswood garden.
My lawn grass experiment worked in the pot. I was just trying to see how the grass looked like before sowing in my new property. Well those sown here germinated and grew. Those sown at the property did not - soil was too hard and lack of moisture caused the failure. My neighbour who has recently sown some lawn seeds too told me that the seeds can lie on the ground for quite a while, so I am hoping that after the recent rain, those lying on the lawn of my new property will take off.

Buk Choy, Spinach, Snow Peas

On Saturday, I used skewer sticks to support the four snow pea seedlings. They seem to be taking the support well. When they have grown longer, I hope to bring them to the sunflower stalks behind them.
This new snow pea (above) was sown after those which germinated on 7 April and yet it is growing faster. Strange!
The spinach seedlings have emerged after a mere 7 to 10 days (instructions stated 14 days). I have sown them together with spring onion (which have not germinated) in a large new pot with premium potting mix, compost and cow manure.
The two buk choys left after thinning out the seedlings are not looking good. Somehow there are holes on the leaves and they looked bruised too. I credited that to the tiny black flies (which crawled around on the potting mix). I have sprayed with pyrethrum+white oil mix to curb the flies and hope the buk choy will develop. If not, time for new seeds!

Update on Cayenne Pepper, Calamondin, Kaffir Lime, thyme, rosemary and Curry Plant.

My boy has gone to kinder to this morning and the sunshine was out in the garden. I spent an hour inspecting my plants. A few of the older lower leaves of the kaffir lime is turning yellow as per above. I am puzzled why, not being sure if it is iron deficiency (as I do not know how to assess that) or if it is its reaction to the cold weather setting in. I read that iron deficiency shows first in young leaves and the veins remain green though the rest of the leaves yellow. But these leaves are older leaves. Moreover, I did feed the plant citrus fertilizer before and after potting on. Lime-induced chlorosis happens commonly in citrus. Even though there may be iron in the potting mix, it may be locked up by an excess of other elements (Antagonism). I needed to research more so that I will not lose this plant.
This is a young leaf of the calamondin plant and it does look a little like what's called iron deficiency - green vein, yellowing young leaves. I have bought a bottle of iron sulphate but has been hesitant to use till the customer service of Richgro replies me on whether is it a natural mineral or chemically synthesized. Peter Bennett's book talks about using alum to rectify the iron deficiency but gosh, I wonder where I can get that from.
The new chillies of the cayenne pepper seem to be shrivelling and dropping instead of developing. I wonder if it is the cold or if it is iron again. The whole plant does look a little lighter green compared to before. I think something seems lacking especially with putting on so many chillies recently!
The young leaves of the cayenne pepper yellowing and falling.
Some of the older leaves of the thyme are yellowing too but I have a feeling it is due to the cold.
It is happening to some leaves of the rosemary as well. More research to be done.
My curry plant has been pruned this morning. I read that curry plants do not take continuous rain well and can grow moldy or get pests due to the wetness. I remove as much leaves as I could to allow air flow between the stems.
The center of the plant is not congested now. I also placed the pot in the mini greenhouse so that it wont get rain this afternoon.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cases of Powdery Mildew Attack!

Recent weather has been warm and then cold and then warm and then cold with scatter rains. Some mornings were wet and cold and followed by warm afternoons. I had to do a bit of work moving pots of more delicate herbs/plants into the mini green house and out into the sun and vice versa.
The curry plant has been growing quite well but I was surprised that it has invited unwanted guests such as tiny caterpillars. There were also clusters of webby tiny black eggs mainly towards the ends of stems where the shoots are. Most of the stems which are strong and healthy but exposed to air did not have these webby eggs. The eggs were found in areas where the stems were very congested and hidden. I had to snip off several stems as a result. Guess I learnt a lesson : prune the plant on a regular basis to allow better air flow between the stems.
My pot of mint which was potted on last Friday has got powdery mildew. I think placing it in the green house with all the condensation has caused this. I removed several leaves and sprayed a few infected areas with Mancozeb Plus. And quarantined the pot in another area of the garden. Will have to do a re-spray after 10 days. I have successfully gotten rid of powdery mildew on two other pots of mint but not the vine which was growing under the shelther. The condition was so bad that the vine is already succumbing to its invader. The common mint which was potted on last Friday.
White powdery mildew on its stem.
White powdery mildew patches on one of the mint leaves.
The grape vine is almost dead due to powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew patches on one of its leaves.
The oriental radishes are looking stronger and bigger. Hoping to harvest some crunchy yummy roots soon.
The purple king bean plant has leaves that are turning yellow. I am assuming that it is due to the colder weather coming as it does not survive winter. This bean plant is really running behind time due to the heat wave in summer. It has put out a lot of beans and I am going to let some of them stay on the vine to mature for seed collection.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Swelling Capsicums, Glossy-leafed Avocado Plant.

I have had a really busy and tiring week. I had a back-breaking 5.5 hours hoeing up dandelions and lamb's tongue at the new property over two days. My heart practically broke at the sight of the weed patch on the front and left side of the house. Dandelions and lamb's tongue were everywhere!!!
Armed with a low stool, a mini hoe, a pair of gardening gloves and unyielding determination (well, there were moments of 'despair'), I finally cleared about 200m2 of weeds. Just before the rain came. Yes, I hope that the rain will drench the dry hard earth and soften it enough for me to sow lawn seeds successfully. If grass can grow and fill up the empty patches, then it would make it difficult for the weeds to grow. However for the time being, regular inspection and weeding are essential jobs!
The pots here on the rental property have been relocated to another area along the fence. As it is mid-autumn, the sun's position has changed and they no longer get enough sun. Hence, the relocation to receive maximum sunlight. The beautiful avocado plant at the vege patch. I hope that I would be able to pot it onto a large pot for ornamental purpose but I am really not sure if it will do well in potting mix, compared to the soil.
One of the two capsicum plants at the vege patch putting out three capsicums all at once.
Another plant giving a large capsicum here, after I prematurely harvested a smaller one some weeks back.
The capsicum in the pot has fruits or irregular shape and developing at a slower pace.
"All that mankind needs for good health and healing is provided by God in nature...the challenge of Science is to find it." - Paracelcus, the father of Pharmcology, 1493 - 1541