Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Journal October 29, 2013 Supplemental LED Grow Light

Recently two new LED supplemental grow lights have been added to the greenhouse.  The lights have five 3 watt LEDs, three red and two blue, for a total of 15 watts each.  Now, there are a total of five supplemental LED grow lights, which still do not add up to much over 60 watts.  

The photo above is the tip of the Amfissa olive tree I received a few weeks ago.  I find it amazing that some trees go into shock for several months after being shipped, while others simply take shipping and repotting right in stride, not missing a beat.  The Manzanilla tree I received in July is still in shock; not having grown a single new leaf, the Amfissa, on the other hand,  has grown two new branches in only a few weeks.  Go figure.

The automatic vent openers were removed today so I can have better temperature control in the greenhouse.  At this time of year I like to close the greenhouse late in the afternoon to trap as much heat as possible going into the evening.  

Some of the olive trees appear to have stopped growing, while others, like the Amfissa, are still going strong.

Click here to visit the greenhouse.  The user name and password are both guest.  It the lighting looks normal, it is daytime, if the lighting appears red, the supplemental lighting is on, either in the morning or the evening, if the lighting appears black and white, it is night and the IR lights are on.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Journal October 27, 2013 Coffee Arabica Plants

The tropical collection continued to grow today with the addition of three coffee arabica plants and one Kleim;s Gandharaj, Cape Jasmine.  The coffee plants are shown above in the green pots,  the Jasmine is in the beige container.

Only one coffee plant was ordered, however it is common practice for the growers to plant several plants in a pot to make them appear bushy.  In that case it is best to separate the plants as soon as they are received and plant them in individual pots to give them room to grow.  Coffee makes a great house plant, requiring little care and rewarding the grower with occasional fragrant flowers. In my case, I paid $2.99 for a pot with three plants, which I consider a bargain.

The olive trees are no longer being fertilized;  I will hold off feeding them until probably late February.  Sometime in late November, hopefully, depending on the weather, I will close the greenhouse and move the olive trees to the basement. The supplemental LED lighting will be installed in the basement, and I will time the light to coincide with the actual daylight hours.

Click here to visit the greenhouse and use guest for user name and password.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Journal October 25, 2013 Overwintering Tropical Plants

Our weather has turned cold, so it was necessary to make a decision regarding overwintering the tropical plants from the greenhouse.   I chose to discontinue growing the Marconi peppers and use the tent and light for the tropical plants.

The plants in the photo are a mixture of three varieties of gardenia, with some unusual plants from around the world. Still to come are another variety of gardenia and three or four coffee trees.   It became a question of tying up the tent for three or four months for peppers, or accommodating the tropicals.  As I plan on growing Marconi peppers in the greenhouse next season, I decided that the tropicals were more important than a dozen or so peppers.  Another factor I guess is that I needed a challenge after having grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers indoors over the winter a number of times.  

Also, to add variety to growing greens I have a nice crop of medium bok choi in process.  Now we will have to find some recipes on line as to how to prepare bok choi.

The olives in the greenhouse are finally getting their chill period, with daytime temperatures in the sixties and night temperatures in the thirties.   I would like to give them at least a thousand hours of cool temperatures, so I plan to try to keep them in the greenhouse until late November.

It should also be mentioned that all of the tropical plants are being grown hydroponically.   

Friday, October 11, 2013

Journal October 11, 2013 Added an Arbosana olive tree to my collection.

When I first got the idea of growing olives I wanted to order an Arbosana olive tree, however, the grower talked me out of it saying, in her opinion, they were too difficult to grow.   Later, I purchased an Arbosana elsewhere, and I subsequently lost it.

Since changing to a less dense media I have not had a single leaf drop, or problem of any kind with the olives, so I thought I would try an Arbosana again.  I found a tree at a reasonable price, but they had a minimum of five trees.  I wrote to the grower and explained that I had just a hobby greenhouse, and my granddaughter and I were trying to collect trees from different countries; asking if I could purchase a single tree.  A woman named Brandi responded, writing that they would be glad to sell me a single tree for ten dollars, shipping included.

The Arbosana arrived today, and it is magnificent to say the least.  Writing to thank Brandi I told her that Ava and I name our plants, and we would be naming this tree Brandi.  It is nice to know that there are still some kind people in this world, in spite of current events.

My collection is now in excess of twenty trees, though I have no idea of how many olives I can expect, if any.  I did find an encouraging sentence on one growers site that bolstered my expectations:

"For those of you who live in apartments, condos, any kind of rental or cold climates that want an olive tree but have no place to plant it, you can keep your tree in a large pot on your patio, sun room or greenhouse. Potted trees produce olives too and with one tree you can press and cure enough olives and oil for yourself. "

The Marconi pepper growing under the 150 watt 11 band LED grow light is doing fantastically.  The performance of this light is impressive, even if the color is a little weird visually.   The first four flower buds were removed to encourage growth; going forward I will let the plant flower to its heart's content.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Journal October 8, 2013 Cimmeron lettuce

There is a nice batch of Cimmeron lettuce in the grow chamber which should be ready to begin harvesting in a few weeks.  Talk about a heirloom variety;  people have been growing this variety since at least the 1700s.  Could the reason that it has been around so long be that it tastes so good and is easy to grow?

Cimmeron is a late spring late summer variety, but that little matters, when grown indoors seasons become irrelevant. 

The supermarket wars are heating up locally, with each chain desperately trying to compete, building newer and larger stores; adding new wrinkles to get people into their stores.  One local chain is enlarging their store, adding several ethnic eateries, and, get this, planning to grow produce  in the store hydroponically.  They plan to sell the hydroponic produce in the store.

Growing lettuce is one thing, however, they also plan on growing tomatoes.  These two crops have very different requirements in terms of lighting and environmental conditions.  I wonder who they will hire locally to oversee this aspect of their operation.  It is doubtful that an ad in the help wanted section of the local papers will produce a lot of qualified candidates.  

Time will tell.......

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Journal October 5, 2013 Growing olives in New York

With the arrival of two more trees today my olive grove is beginning to look more like a forest.  The new trees are a Manzanillo and a Leccino from groworganic.com.  I wanted the Manzanillo because the tree I have is doing absolutely nothing.  For the last two months it just sits there enjoying the sun and nutrients, but not putting out a single new leaf.  The Leccino meets my criteria, as it has large to medium fruit and comes into bearing early.  Also, it is pollinated by Pendolino and Arbequina, both of which I have.  

The Arbequina I received a short time ago appears to be struggling a little, with brown leaf tips and some leaf drop.  I wrote to Steve at foeverfruitless11 and sent a photo of the tree.  Steve replied today that it appears the tree has gone into shock, as that sometimes happens from shipping.  He wrote that he will ship a replacement tree, but to hold onto the tree, as it will probably come back strong.  Not many sellers on eBay treat buyers like Steve does.  

Last, but not least, I have an Arbosana tree on order, as I inadvertently over watered my small tree and it did not come back.  Small trees are really not as forgiving when it comes to over watering.   

Friday, October 4, 2013

Journal October 4, 2013 Cloning a gardenia

The photo above shows a Gardenia jasminoides Veitchii seedling that was struck from the mother plant only two weeks ago.

The mother plant, purchased on eBay, had a single tall stem, on which the first leaves were at least six inches above the soil.  I was hoping for a short bushy plant, so I decided to remove the growing tip and attempt to clone what I wanted.

Unlike most plants, gardenias will root more quickly if you do not remove the leaves, so I pretty much left the cutting intact.  The cutting was dipped in Vita Grow rooting hormone for thirty seconds and then planted in a mixture of 80% perlite and 20% peat moss.  

The cutting was kept under a dome using a 90 watt red/blue/white LED for a light source.  Additionally, the cutting was misted at least once a day.

It was obvious that the cutting had rooted when the tip began to grow again.  Today, 14 days after being taken, I potted the cutting.  When mixing the media for the container I added some nutrients for acid loving plants and I will also add some iron to the nutrients that I will be feeding the plant.  Hopefully, soon I will have the fragrance of gardenias to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Journal October 2, 2013 Growing Amfissa olive in a container

Another tree was added to my growing grove today, this one is an Amfissa which is shown above. At some point I am going to remove about a foot from the top, but I am going to let the tree recover from being shipped and potted.

This tree is also a beauty and was specially selected for me by Christine from the Texas Olive Ranch.  These folks are great to deal with and have some very nice trees  with very reasonable shipping charges.  If anyone is interested in trying to grow an olive in a container, Amfissa is also a good choice.  

Texas Olive Ranch has a website and they have trees that may not be listed on their website, so if you are looking for a varietal not listed just call or write them.  

Some of the dealers in better quality trees do not like to sell single trees, but the nice folks at the Texas Olive Ranch will try to accommodate you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Journal October 1, 2013 -Growing Peppers Indoors

The 150 watt 11 band LED grow light is doing a great job on the golden marconi peppers.  Only the vegetative stage lighting is being used, however I will soon switch on the flowering stage as well.

The plant support system, available here, promises to be a great improvement when growing indoors in a tent.

Today I intend to plant the trust tomato seedling in the second tent using the 450 watt LED grow light.  Again, I will use only the vegetative stage bands until I feel the plant is ready to begin the flowering stage.