gabriola garden

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sunshine is the Norm, Roses Make a Comeback

Finally, the weather seems to have stabilized and the sun has decided to stick around, more often than not. In my vegetable garden, the Snow Peas are thriving and flowering as they climb the plastic mesh against the back fence, while we can’t seem to eat the heads of Lettuce fast enough before they bolt.

The Roses are slowly making a comeback. Even the generic Pink Rose plant, which had been troubled by Black Spot, is blooming forth again with the most fragrant, tender flowers. The Gentle Giant Hybrid Tea Rose is gracing us once again with large, crimson blooms with a very subtle yellow tinge.

The climbing Rose All Ablaze is once more opening its deep red buds and greeting the sun with its petals. The Sun Flare Rose is sporting a cluster of yellow flowers that appear almost white in the blazing sun. The Sweetheart Rose, Cecile Brunner, is gently opening its delicate buds, betraying its Chinese roots with its graceful demeanor.

Stainless Steel has yet to recover from all the rain, but Blue Girl has eight buds on it that I’ve just noticed, so we’re looking forward to its lavender beauty pretty soon. Purple Passion and Black Magic are taking a hiatus, but Sara is sure they’ll flower again before the season is over.

Here it is, August, and Sara is already making preparations for Heegehog’s birthday in early September. We’re going to surprise her with an inflatable water scooter, on the condition that she only use it on lakes and in friend’s pools. Our nerves couldn’t take her scooting in the ocean.

Of course, we’ll probably have to buy one for Jim, as well, even though his birthday is much later. It gets to be expensive, this gift giving, what with life jackets, extra battery packs, and new swimsuits, naturally.

We planted our lettuce too close to the Snow Peas and Tomatoes, so when we use Iguana Juice Bloom on the latter vegetables, we have to be careful to keep it as far away from the Lettuce as possible. Many heads have already bolted in the heat of the sun, we don’t need a bloom fertilizer to force them to go to seed, as well.

I’m spraying the Roses each week with Scorpion Juice, in order to boost their resistance to Black Spot and Rust, and alternately with a mixture of horticultural oil and baking soda, to keep insects at bay. Thank goodness the Leafminer infestation has been resolved, but with all the rain, we’re very much worried about Mold and Mildew.

Up to the second week of bloom, we sprayed each week with Protector, but now we just mix in the suggested amount of Barricade each week into our nutrient solution. This potassium silicate product thickens the walls of plant cells, enabling them to resist invasions by microorganisms, as well as insects.

Another weapon against Molds and Mildew is using Piranha as a foliar spray. The beneficial fungi in this product fight off harmful fungal infestations of leaves and flowers, such as those caused by Gray Mold (Botrytis cinerea), Pythium, Fusarium, Sclerotinia homoeccarpa, Rhizoctania solani, and Sclerotium rolfsii.

I read up on Piranha on the Advancedpedia, which is located on the Advanced Nutrients website. The mycorrhizal fungi in this great product excrete powerful natural chemicals that not only enhance root growth and help food absorption, but also act as a bio-fungicide when used as a foliar spray.

Tarantula and Voodoo Juice both have Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) in them, the difference being that Tarantula has many varieties as spores and is a powder, while Voodoo Juice has five select PGPR which are super effective in combating harmful bacteria and aiding nutrient absorption by the roots.

I mentioned last week that my Tomato plants don’t seem to have enough flowers on them, so I sprayed them with Colossal Bud Blast, which contains both amino acids and carbohydrates in order to nourish flower production. Its nutrients are absorbed through the leaves of my plants.

I’m also pruning some of the vegetation off the Tomatoes, which have grown to my height, and I’m nearly six feet tall. I’ve discovered some green fruit close to the main stem of the plants, so by taking off the surrounding leaves, I am allowing air and sun to get to the already forming Tomatoes.

I suspect my Tomato plants are indeterminate, which means that they grow taller and take a longer time to mature than determinate plants. The varieties that I planted this year are Supersteak and Beefmaster, which are both beefsteak Tomatoes, and take around 80 days to mature.

But judging from the succulent, giant fruit that these plants produced last year, Sara and I and the kids have something to look forward to, when our Tomatoes finally ripen on the vine and are ready to be sliced into a cucumber salad, for instance.

posted by Tim at 12:24 PM


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