Monday, March 28, 2016

Journal March 28, 2016 - Seedlngs for greenhouse and garden

Seeds for both the greenhouse and garden were started on March 14, 2014.  Today I began planting some of the seeds into three inch pots to grow on under grow lights.

Once again I will be growing Tropic tomatoes for the greenhouse, with some in the garden also.  In addition, I planted Celebrity tomatoes for my garden and Ava's garden.

All of the annual flower seeds that I planted were saved from last year's garden, with the exception of Chrysanthemum, Robinson Red.  I had not seen these seeds before and the photo on the package looked very attractive.

The beets were picked today, but I let them get too big and I thought the greens were a little chewy.  The beets themselves, roasted, were delicious!

That is the trouble: in the spring with all of the planting, things get a little out of hand, and somethings get overlooked in the process.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Journal March 27, 2016 - Olive trees setting

The trees are setting fruit, a lot of fruit.  When they began to bud I thought, or hoped, that I might get enough to process a small batch in a Tupperware container.  Now, it appears that they are going produce a lot of fruit, so I began looking for ways to process the olives.


 The top photo shows a Spanish variety, Arbequina, the bottom photo shows a French variety, Picholine.  What I find strange is that the plants are in different stages; fruit set on the tops, while the bottom portions are still flowering.  To further complicate things: some plants are just about finished flowering, while others have green buds just beginning to swell.  Add to that, that there are at least ten different varieties, so it looks like the harvest will be spread out for quite sometime.

Making oil is not practical, as the equipment is very expensive, however, I would really prefer to process them for eating anyway.  I think I have found a method that I would like to try that does not look too difficult.  The link below will take you to a video on youtube.
Olive processing.

Last week I removed the straw blanket that was covering the garlic all winter, finding the garlic looking great!  Last season at this time the raised bed was still frozen solid.  After the bed warms up I will mulch with straw to control the weeds and moisture.

All of the bulbs in the bed came from last year's harvest, but the bulbs are all mixed up, so I can't tell which variety is which, except for the Italian purple.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Journal March 7, 2016 - Greenhouse open, for now

Unbelievable, the greenhouse is back in use after being closed on the first of January.  And, the weather service forecasts moderate temperatures well into the middle of next week.

So, I placed a number of plants in the greenhouse for as long as the weather permits.  This will give the grow lights a rest, save on  the utility bill and give the plants the benefit of greenhouse conditions.

Right now, at 6:30 pm, the temperature in the greenhouse is 49 degrees F.  The night temperatures for the next week and a half are forecast to be above freezing, however, I have the fan forced electric heater plugged into the thermo cube just in case.  

The fan forced greenhouse heater has been used very little since I have had it, so I am interested in seeing how it works.  It should be ideal under these conditions, as it will react to, and correct for temperature drop much more quickly than the oil filled electric radiator I had been using.

It would be truly astounding if the greenhouse was closed for only ten weeks out of the year in New York, but our weather is unpredictable, so the cold will probably return.  

Most of the olive trees placed in the greenhouse have buds that are just forming, they are further behind the trees in the tent with the large multi-spectrum LED, where the buds are fully open.  It should be interesting to see how the budding trees react to being in the greenhouse.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Journal March 5, 2016 - Warming trend on the way

The forecast for the upcoming week, beginning Monday, is for mild temperatures.  The night temperatures will be ideal for using the thermo cube with the fan forced greenhouse heater.  My expectation is that this will be an ideal combination for early spring and fall.  I plan on bringing nine olive trees from the tent indoors and leave them in the greenhouse for the entire week.

As the forecast also calls for some cloudy periods, I made a temporary installation of two LED grow lights to provide supplemental lighting during cloudy periods.  The lights can be turned on remotely from the house, so with the thermo cube and lights it should make for an interesting week.

The olive trees put on a lot of tender growth during their time indoors during the winter, so as I move them outdoors I give them a light pruning.  The leaves, however, are not wasted, they are cleaned and dried and will be used for olive leaf tea.  If you have never heard of olive leaf tea you might check this site: Olive Leaf Tea

 The Picholine olive tree has an extraordinary, to me, abundance of flowers.  The agronomy states that it is self fertile, but will do better with a pollinator such as Luccino.  Out of pure dumb luck I have a Luccino right next to the Picholine.  There are a number of tiny olives forming on the Arbequina, so my pollinating efforts appear to be paying dividends.  A small fan on a timer has been placed facing upward in the bottom of the tent to distribute the pollen as it falls from the buds to further improve pollination.

The beet greens, which are receiving only the generic dry nutrients with some calcium nitrate and Epsom salts, are doing very well at his point.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Journal March 1, 2016 - Brown Turkey Fig is waking up.

The fig trees have been indoors under LED grow lights since the first of January, along with the olive trees.  They, however, were completely dormant when I brought them in, not a leaf in sight.

Not so anymore, they only remained dormant for a short period of time and began to sprout again.  They have been sending out new growth for several weeks now, so when the temperature in the greenhouse permits I let them enjoy the sun for a while.

The photo shows a brown turkey fig, which is bearing size and may produce a few figs this season, hopefully.  The smaller plants are also doing very well, so I am finding figs are really easy to grow. 

The plants were received too late in the season last year to place them outdoors with the olives, but this season I plan on placing them on the deck and really letting them go at it.

It is said that they can be propagated easily from cuttings, but I doubt that I am even going to try, as I am really really stretched for room.

All of the olive varieties, except the Manzanilla, are in various stages of flowering.  I am tapping the open flowers and blowing the pollen around using a fan to pollinate the plants.  It is hard to tell if it is working, but I can see some tiny olives forming on some of stems, so I am really optimistic.

Starting seeds for the garden is on the agenda for next week.