Saturday, March 7, 2009
This morning is a cloudy and still one. All the pots are still wet with a good amount of rain from the past few days. Hubby saw a portable mini greenhouse in bunnings and bought one for me. It was really affordable and useful to have. So, after morning chores in the house, I got to work in the garden. Hubby set the house up and I just had to place some of my plants in especially those that are still establishing themselves - three pots of mint cuttings recently potted, the original pot of mint, a new pot of aloe vera, a new pot of geranium citronella (mosquito plant), two pots of rosemary cuttings and two pots of vietnamese mints (one salvaged & potted on and one almost died in the green planter but re-potted) I also moved some of the pots of herbs/plants which I have placed on the empty part of the vege patch (space where melons were rooted). I am clearing space to start raking soil, putting cow manure, weeding a little to prepare for growing chinese radishes. I have also stripped the leaves of the three tall sunflower stems so that they will not be photosynthesizing or taking any nutrients from the soil. Well with the roots and stems still around, I reckon some water and nutrients would be used by them but should be neglible. I intend to grow some autumn/winter peas/beans so they can use the stems as supports to climb. Recently I read that sunflower seeds hulls can emit a chemical similar to juglone from black walnuts which can inhibit growth of beans. So I made sure I cleared the hulls which the birds left over.
Lining up the pots outside the patch (above). It is important to ensure the plants are free of pests before placing them so close together, as pests can spread from plant to plant. Also important to make sure they are strong and healthy. Whiteflies are especially expert at locating stressed/weakened/sick plants. I read that plants which are sick/stressed actually emit chemicals that attract pests. Regular fertilising and adding plant conditioners such as seaweed solution, especially for pot plants, help strengthen them.
Part of vegetable patch being prepared for autumn/winter planting. And the stripped sunflower stems.
Three horrors this morning : finding caterpillar chewing on my lavendar and rosemary and the same green caterpillars on my buk choy. It is annoying to find them there. I do not use any pesticide on them and so I have to be very vigilant with regular inspection. My thyme also did not look very healthy and are getting woody. I fed the lavendar and thyme some aquasol.
The three pots of mint cuttings are doing well. Using premium potting mix is a good idea to help establish the young cuttings. The two in the black pot are putting on new shoots. I somehow am not very successful at growing mint in pots but I am determined to try and improve :
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Day temperature was about 24 degrees celsius with mild sunshine. This is the pot of Common mint (below on the left) I have bought recently. I am taking it out into the sunshine daily but shielding it with a box which I have modified into a 'greenhouse' - providing protection against the cold as well as keeping potential pests away. The mint cuttings in the black pot (below on the right) are taken from the main pot. Both rooted in water and potted in premium potting mix + some coir fibre + 1 g slow-release fertiliser and watered in Seasol. I also used a plastic cloche over these mint cuttings :
Left : Common mint (main pot) Right : Mint cuttings taken from main pot.The two vietnamese cuttings which were grown in the green planter did not do well. (http://organic-is-better.blogspot.com/2009/02/smoky-day.html) Their leaves became yellowish and limp after two weeks. I had to pull them out of the planter and investigate. I repotted one of them, hoping it will recover. The potting mix in the green planter was rather waterlogged. The planter only has two small holes on two ends of it and I think drainage was very bad. I cannot reuse it until I drill more holes in the middle of it. The roots of the vietnamese mint cuttings could not breathe and were rotting in the wetness, and thanks to my generous watering, which worsened the situation. Fortunately, the one repotted in premium potting mix slowly regained its health and its yellowish limpy leaves are gradually turning green and turgid again. The vietnamese cutting which I salvaged on another day (it was broken from the main stem and wilting in the pot) has been potted. Also http://organic-is-better.blogspot.com/2009/02/smoky-day.html . I used premium potting mix + some coir fibre + some composted cow manure for this cutting. I also covered the cutting in the few days after potting with a made-shift mini green house fashioned out of a cut plastic bottle. I made two holes on the side of the cut bottle so that there is some air circulation. This two weeks have been rather cool and vietnamese mint likes warmer temperatures, so the cut bottle provides some protection from the cold. It is also good to keep potential pests out while the cuttings are establishing themselves :
Left : Vietnamese mint found broken from parent plant, salvaged and potted. Right : Vietnamese mint uprooted from green planter and potted again. Note right's leaves are not as healthy as left's. Salvaged Vietnamese mint protected by mini cloche made out of cut plastic bottle.Using a cardbox, I made it into a 'mini-greenhouse'. It is not waterproof but rain over here is predictable anyway.Two rooted cuttings of Rosemary were also potted in Premium potting mix + coarse sand and watered in with Seasol. Seasol is a plant conditioner and helps transplanting shock
- ► 2011 (46)
- ► 2010 (50)
- ► 2009 (125)