Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Journal March 27, 2013

Finally, almost two weeks overdue,  I received the Trilye olive seedlings from Turkey.  The package was pretty well beat up, and the seedlings are a little wilted, and, I am sure, stressed, from being denied water, air and light for several weeks. 

After opening the package, I cleaned the soil from the roots and soaked the roots in water for about an hour before potting the plants.  

This variety has small leaves, and, in my opinion, would make an excellent bonsai candidate.  The seedlings are still being offered on eBay.

Yesterday I installed a wireless webcam in the greenhouse, and the installation is not for the faint of heart.  It took me at least four hours on the PC to get it to work.  That said, the camera has pan and tilt and can be accessed and controlled from anywhere online. It has a motion detection alarm system, that when activated takes a photo and sends it to your email address.  It can be programmed to allow visitors access via a login name and password.  In addition, it has IR LEDs that can see in the dark for up to 25 feet.  Last night I could see in the greenhouse as well as in the daytime.  An added benefit is two way audio so I can talk to who ever is viewing the camera.   All this for forty dollars and change. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Journal March 24, 2013

Deciding to prepare the space that the olives will be growing during the season, I was preparing to construct something to support the supplemental lights.  Instead, I found that I could use the existing support by simply placing a short piece of bamboo between the clamp and the wood, which holds the lights firmly in place.  Basically, the old adage: keep it simple.

The timer is set to turn the lights on from 7 am to 11 am, and again at 5 pm till 9 pm.  After dark, the lights give the greenhouse an eerie pink glow, which no doubt sets the neighbors to wondering.

The two Trilye olive trees from Turkey have apparently gone astray in the postal system.  They are more than two weeks overdue, and I expect that they will be dead on arrival.  The seller assures me that if they are, he will issue a full refund.  That remains to be seen, and so much for registered mail.  What a joke that is.

If anyone thought I was kidding about the eerie glow from the greenhouse, guess again.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Journal March 23, 2013

The zinnia and calendula plants that I started on January 26, 2013 are starting to flower.  It will be nice to have a few flowers to brighten our current dreary weather.  I really should have been adding a few annuals to the greens all winter.

That said, I am afraid it is going to be a while before we see any sign of spring in upstate New York.  March has been a miserable month, and winter is hanging on for dear life.  Several inches of snow still cover the ground, the temperature is only in the mid thirties, the sky is overcast and the wind is howling; in other words, typical New York state weather.

The olive trees are in the greenhouse today so I am giving the LEDs a rest for the afternoon.  The nice thing about olive plants, is that they have a temperature tolerance from slightly less than freezing to triple digits, and they can also grow in sun or partial shade.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Journal March 13, 2013

The temperature today did not even make the mid forties, however the greenhouse was a toasty seventy something for most of the day.

This time of year is a major pain, as I have to bring the plants from the basement to the greenhouse and back if I want to give them sunshine and warmth.  

That is not to say that the plants don't flourish under the LEDs, because they do.  The olive trees little resemble the trees I started with only about three months ago.

In fact, the trees have been growing so quickly I was beginning to notice a slight nitrogen deficiency, which can occur during rapid vegetative growth.  To compensate, I increased the nitrogen, and added an iron supplement just to be safe.  Additionally, each 8 inch pot got a sprinkling of a teaspoon of Osmocote slow release fertilizer as an additional safeguard.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Journal March 11, 2013

The two small 16 watt LED grow lights that I purchased recently were placed in the greenhouse today for supplemental lighting.  I had to wait until dusk to be able to visually determine the area of coverage that the lights will provide at the height I have them mounted.

Using inexpensive clamp lights from Wal-Mart I simply clamped the lights to the dowels that provide support for the tomato plants.  That solution works perfectly, and it makes relocating or adjusting the lights really easy.

A three dollar timer is being used to provide a few additional hours of light in the morning and again in the evening, as I believe that the amount, quality and duration of lighting is vital to growing healthy plants.

I estimate that the lights are covering about eight to ten square feet, and as the lights will only be using 32 watts of power when they are operating, they certainly meet my objective of keeping cost under control. 

Each of these small lights has 168 LEDs configured as follows: Red: 660nm, Orange: 612nm,Blue: 460nm. These lamps have an estimated life of 100,000 hours, or about 12 years of continuous use.  

For supplemental lighting I feel that they will be perfect to add to the natural daylight, however, I think that to actually grow a plant, I would only plan on growing one small plant with the light no more than a foot from the plant.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Journal March 9, 2012

Today the temperature in the greenhouse hit a new high for the year to date, eighty six degrees!  So, I trudged through the ten inches of snow around the greenhouse to place a few plants in there to take advantage of the free heat and light.

All of the seeds, except the cucumbers,  for the greenhouse and garden have been started.  The seedlings will be grown indoors under lights and moved to the greenhouse to take advantage of the sun when the weather permits.

Periodically I check the Megaritiki olive seeds that we planted last November to see if there has been any progress.  A few days ago there was something peeking out of the seed coat, which upon closer inspection appears to be a radicle emerging.  And to think that it only took FIVE MONTHS to get this far!  What was I thinking.

I know I wrote that  I would buy no more plant material from foreign sources on eBay, but I did not follow my own advice.  When I searched olive trees to see if goldenpera_com was still peddling his diseased seedlings, I found someone else with Trilye seedlings for sale. These, however, are living plants, and, it appeared the seller had made a posting error concerning the price.  I wrote to the seller and requested a photo of what he had for sale, and he provided the photo below, which he said was taken this week.  Concerning the posting error; the ad was for two one gallon size seedlings for $7.50.  

I was the first person to place an order and I again wrote to the seller to confirm that I would indeed  get two plants on my order.  He replied that as it was his error I would be receiving two plants and they have now been shipped.  The seller even sent a photo of the shipment before he posted it.  Again, below is the photo in case anyone would like to place an order, but the price has been adjusted slightly. 

I may very well have a Trilye olive from Turkey yet.

This link will take you to the Trilye seedlings for sale on eBay:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Journal March 6, 2013

This afternoon I picked a nice batch of Fudanso Umaina which my wife is preparing for dinner this evening.  Fudanso is Japanese for chard and Umaina is the variety of cultivar.  It is a shorter version of chard with glossy green leaves and short mid ribs and is incredibly tender and tasty when picked young.  Tomorrow the system will be replanted with beet greens and the cycle will repeat.

It is a case of trying different varieties of vegetables that you would not normally see in the produce section of your local market, or at any green grocer.  

Continuing to grow fairly unusual vegetables I have started seeds for tennis ball lettuce, a Boston type grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and Japanese Black Trifele tomatoes, a pear shaped Russian heirloom.  

Why a Russian heirloom tomato is named Japanese Trifele is beyond me though.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Journal March 1, 2013

The first day of March begins meteorological spring and I guess the seeds are ready.  

Two varieties of tomato seeds have germinated in only three days, and I can even see a radicle developing on cubanelle pepper seeds started three days ago.  Several annual flower seeds germinated in only two days!  

Among the annual seeds that germinated in two days was a package of pacific beauty calendula seeds that I purchased last fall for twenty cents.  When I looked them up online to research details about this variety, I found Burpee selling them for $4.95 a package.  What's wrong with that picture?

 And, on the subject of seeds; last year I planted mixed Unwin's dwarf dahlia seeds and two of the plants had beautiful burgundy-red flowers.  By simply letting the flowers dry on the plants at the end of the season, I was able to collect seeds from those plants.  The seeds I collected were also among the seeds that sprouted in only two days.  Free seeds for life, ya gotta love it.