Yeah I haven’t been able to keep a week by week so here I am now playing catch up. The days have flown by in such an allergy antihistamine high blur. So many could be productive days lost because all I wanted to do is sleep off the drowsiness! Bleh! Worst year ever! I have been making sure that I do visit my greenhouse each afternoon before I venture off to work. So many things seem to be very happy whilst growing in their beds. The herbs and leafy greens are the only things that just don’t want to grow. My assumption is that it is still too hot in the green house and I need to bump up my 20% white shade cloth to a 40% aluminet shade cloth. My sugar cane and bananas probably LOVE IT! Like YEEEAHHH BABY! bring the heat! I don’t think they’ll mind if I cut back the sun just a bit more. If anything this is a good sign that come winter the house will definitely keep a nice temperature. I will say though that I recently stumbled across the fact that I planted my sugar cane wrong. I only planted straight up because the small rooted one I got looked to be rooted in such a manner. Come to find out the canes are laid horizontal in furrows then buried. I only found this because I was researching if it was possible to actually grow sugar cane up her in zone 8a. IT IS!! This meaning outside a green house. I thought of finding a good spot on the property to dedicate a cane cutting. The practice is that before the first frost the cane is chopped to the ground and the roots are insulated by the leaves that were cut. I thought I’d do a trial run this year and come winter Ill straw bale off the ground where the roots are to better insulate it. I mean why not right? It is always worth trying once.
I will say I got a little impatient 2 weeks ago and went ahead and bought two small tomato plants and a pepper plant. I had already been behind in the growing season and figured whats the harm. I mean they were only like three bucks. It turned out a good choice because while I was perusing the plants I saw Sweet Potatoes! I had purchased some slips through Burpee and they had failed to send me what I purchased in a timely manner. A day before canceling my order and two days after I bought some from Bonnie at a local feed store my other slips showed up. I really wasn’t planning to attempt two potato barrels this year being I have never done one, but I guess they left me with no choice. So I have both Vardaman and Beauregard sweet potatoes going now. You know I really dont care WHAT type they are! As long as they grow happily and produce some nice tubers to make my efforts and frustrations not seem in vain.
The Vardaman were fresh slips so they were slightly smaller plants.
Most people use soil in their potato towers while some add sawdust. I stumbled across a blog where they used a perlite and vermiculite mix. Being that I got four 4 cu. Ft bags of vermiculite from my brother in law’s work for free I figured why not just give it a try. I had some left over perlite that I used but I think after its all gone I’m going to cut some potting soil with the vermiculite so that its not ENTIRELY vermiculite. If it works well then next year I’m going to paint the inside of the barrels flat white to better the sun light exposure.
Ever since the first leaf burst forth my Orinoco banana plant has been progressing so well. Both the Manzana and Orinoco have 3 leafs flayed open in such glory. The Orinoco leaves are huge! larger than my head. With each leaf its gaining height and its making me worry a bit. I chuckle at the situation because I really have no idea what I’m going to do ahaha this could get interesting towards the middle of the summer.
Sure you can see the sugar cane in that picture but here is a better view.
And for everything else!
Beans, Broccoli, Cucumbers
Cherokee Purple Tomato
Black Prince Tomato. I cheated and made sure I snatch one with some buds already on it.
The Scarlett Runner Beans seem to be happy. I made a nice lid to go over the fist take and was sure to give it a nice bright white coat.
Welp! I thought I’d get into the good news first then move on to the bad news. All my fish are dead. Yep, at least for the ones in the large tank. I have had a few little ones bite the dust in the blue barrel but most the other fish seem to be doing fine. I actually changed these guys diet when it came to the blue barrel clan. I purchased two cups worth of duck week a while back to see what that is all about. Duckweed was said to be a crazy grower and good fish feed. So I took the top to the first IBC tote that I had cut off, added about 30 gallons of water, and chucked it in there with a air stone. I had started with the little solar bump but it seems the duck weed roots were just long enough to allow itself to be pulled into the pump. Figured Id hock that idea out the window for the time being. Ended up losing a ton of my original purchase because I put too much Fish Fertilizer in the water, yet some duck weed remained. It bounced back strong. Then I lost the whole crop during a storm where the water level rose and allowed it to all drain off the back end. Found it the next day and pulled all I could off the ground and chucked it back in the water. Needless to say this champion aquatic plant bounced back yet again. I put a nice cover over it so that it wouldn’t get flooded in another storm. Felt like a losing battle for a while there. Here it is now…
Doesn’t require much. Some people say the water can even be stagnant, yet I like just having some aeration. I actually pulled off about 3 cups before taking this picture. It only floats on the top so its crazy to think about how much of a power house this tiny little plant is. I decided to keep my blue barrel clan hungry so Ive only been skimming off two fingers worth of duckweed every two days and swirling it into their water. The gobble it up! The blue barrel clan is actually not as timid as my first group of fish. The minute I pop my head in there they come up ready for food. That makes me happy. Ill actually have more to add to the family because upon skimming off the duck weed today I realized I had also skimmed a bunch of frog eggs. Stinkin frogs turning my unadulterated water into such filth! Nah Ive been enjoying having all this glorious creation in my life. Back to the sad note though… My fish all died from high ammonia levels. I knew it was going up or at least wasn’t going down, but there wasn’t much I felt I could do because I have been relying on the rain water to stock my tanks. I didn’t have my barrel in place during that storm. I had run out of back up barrels to hold and transfer water. I had ignorantly hoped the grow beds would become established before the worst could have happened. Well the worst came, had its way with me, and left. Problem one was my SLOs bottom pipes. Upon investigation I found that some fish that had died, before floating upwards, had been pulled snug under the pipe where I could not see them. Even one was in the valve area of my IBC tote. Didn’t find him till I swiped my finger in there to clean out the settled dirt from my lava rock dust…yeah that was a lovely surprise. So here I had decomposing fish that I could not see making the ammonia levels rise thus killing off my stock of goldies. I mean better it be fish that only cost me 17 cents a piece than really losing out on something that was pricey. Which is why in my first year I’m only worrying with plant growth as my focus and not both plant and edible fish. Out came the old style pipes and in went the first SLO set up I had. Ill just have to stock larger goldies when the time comes and everything balances out.
I blacked out the whole tank and the windows that cascaded onto it and the sump. It was a great help and within days my algae bloom problem came to a halt. Depending on the ammonia levels I might end up restocking with a few larger gold fish come Wednesday. Until then…
Oh and I shouldn’t have much issue with not being able to collect ample water now…Got 150 gallons worth the last storm.