Saturday, September 28, 2013

Journal September 28, 2013

The olive grove continues to grow with the the arrival of two trees today; and two  trees arrived yesterday as well .  The trees that arrive today are a Mission, and finally a French variety, a Cailleitier, also known as a Nicoise, which signifies its curing.

Last weekend I placed an online order for a Koroneiki olive from Georgia Olive Farm; yesterday I received two trees.  One tree had a small portion of the top bent and broken, so I assume that they gave it to me, as I was not charged for it.  I did not mind the broken top as I still had to remove about six inches.  

The trimmings from the new trees are being cloned and all is looking well at this point.  The mixture of 80% perlite and 20% peat, and, importantly, letting the cuttings almost dry between light mistings seems to be th secret in cloning olives.

To view the greenhouse click here.

Both the user name and password are guest. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Journal September 23, 2013 Fall has arrived, for sure!

The Arbequina olive  purchased last week from Foreverfruitless11 on eBay was such a nice tree I could not resist buying another tree.  What a great buy, twenty dollars, delivered!  The second tree arrived today and it is another beauty.

This tree, however, has olives on it!  I had asked Steve to see if he could find a tree with olives and he said he would, and he did.  Great tree, great service.

Another company that I like for great plants and service is  Their trees are sourced  from Santa Cruz Olive Tree Farm in California.  The farm only sells wholesale, but is a retail outlet for several varieties of their olive trees.

The trees that I purchased from them were at least three feet high and they convinced me to abandon growing small trees.  Going forward I will aim for potted trees between 2 and 3 feet high.  Three more large size trees are on order: Leccino, Cailletier “Nicoise” and a Mission.

As for fall being here; tonight the temperature is forecast to be 37 degrees F, so with shorter daylight hours and falling temperatures the trees should begin to go dormant soon.  Olive trees require at least 400 hours with the temperature averaging 50 degrees to adequately flower in the spring.  Conditions in the greenhouse should be ideal, with days in the sixties and nights in the thirties and forties.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Journal September 21, 2013 Telescoping Upright Plant Support

Today I had my first opportunity to try the telescoping plant supports and clips; my assessment is that they are great! The poles telescope from 18" to 36" and the clips are much easier to work with than the vine clips I have been using. They are available from this site.

The two plants in the photo are olive trees, taggiasca on the right and pendolino on the left.  Going forward I am going to increase the height of the plants significantly.  By rearranging the staging in the greenhouse I can use more of the center aisle to allow for bigger plants.

 Another tropical I have added is Allspice, shown above.  In addition to being a fairly attractive plant, the leaves can be used as a spice seasoning.  The top six inches of the plant have since  been removed to encourage branching.  

Last, but not least, I have added Gardenia jasminoides Veichii to my tropical collection.  Again, the top portion of the plant has since been removed to encourage branching.  For this plant I am using a 70/30 mixture of agricultural perlite and peat moss.  Also, I have mixed nutrients specific to the plant by adding iron and decreasing the pH.

The tops of both plants have been planted with my other clones and hopefully in a month or so I will have two more plants to experiment with.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Journal September 18, 2013 - More tropical plants for the greenhouse

Another eBay bargain arrived today and it is a fantastic plant.  The tree shown above is an Arbequina olive, which is one of the best for container growing. Purchased from a seller called foreverfruitless11, it is one of the best I have ever received and it only cost twenty dollars, delivered.  If you are interested in growing an olive as a container plant this would be a good option to look into.

The 15 rooted cuttings mentioned in my September 9, 2013 post have actually turned into 19 individual plants.  All of the plants in the above photo, with the exception of the large container in the back row on the right, were received totally free of charge after a dispute with the seller.

That said,  there are still four more olive varieties on order, and, an Allspice, Gardenia and Ginger in process. Why all the tropical plants?  I guess I am looking for a challenge, and what is the sense of having a greenhouse if you don't use it for unusual plants?

Back on the subject on indoor hydroponics; I had a chance to look at the Garnet Rose lettuce this evening when the LED grow light turned off.  With the light on, it is not possible to see the true color of the plant, and this one is a beauty.  Sometime ago I read that red lettuce has more health benefits then green.  That being the case; you should be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and bend steel with your bare hands after eating this one.  I have never seen a lettuce as red as this one!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Journal September 15, 2013 - The ultimate plant support system for indoor gardeners

As promised in previous posts  I will be using a new plant support system that I feel will be hard to beat.  The video above has some information regarding the system, and I will also give a brief outline below.

As we did not have any Giant Marconi peppers in the garden this season I decided to grow them indoors; if things go according to plan they will be on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner.  The plant shown above was started from seed exactly four weeks ago and has been growing under a 90 watt red/blue/white LED grow light.

The peppers will be grown in one of the tents using a 150 watt 11 band LED grow light.  The photo shows the plant with the plant support system collar in place with the upright telescoping support shown in front of the container.  The upright support slips onto the posts and can be extended from 18' to 36", also, the posts can be adjusted and locked into position to accommodate the shape of the plant as it matures.  Also shown is a plant clip that easily snaps around the plants and posts, also there is a trellis kit available that also snaps onto the posts.  

All in all this is a really nice system, which someone has put some creative energy into developing.  I was so impressed that I immediately placed an order for a unit for my remaining tent.

Anyone who wishes to order, or obtain more information, can contact the company on this link.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Journal September 14, 2013 - Indoor gardning - beet greens

I will begin this post by saying that the issue with Kinsvillegrower has been resolved and the olive cuttings are enroute.  It was an unfortunate incident caused by the grower going out of town and accidentally leaving his cellphone at home and not being able to communicate.

While most gardeners are preparing for the end of the season, as year round gardener I am gearing up for some serious indoor gardening.

The above photo shows today's harvest of Early Wonder beet greens from one of the ebb and flow systems, and, fifteen Garnet Rose lettuce seedlings that will go immediately into the system to replace the beet greens.

The current photoperiod of twelve hours for the lettuce and greens in the grow chamber seems to be just fine, so I am going to leave it be.
On the subject of lighting; frequently I hear from someone who is attempting indoor gardening with shop lights of CFL bulbs, and I try to stress how important light is to plant development.  Light is just as important as nutrients, if not more so.  The above photo shows the Garnet Rose seedlings before I placed them in the ebb and flow system.  They should give you a benchmark of what a properly lit seedling should look like.  If your plants are long and leggy, they are not getting sufficient light and are reaching for more.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Journal September 10, 2013 - Seed starting media

Three cups containing purple basil were placed in the aeroponic unit today along with the lemon basil.  When they named this purple basil, they were being serious, as this is about as purple as you can get.

Seed starting media is about the only thing I purchase from local hydroponic dealers; last week I called the local hydroponic shop to make sure they had oasis horticubes in stock before I drove twenty five miles to purchase them.  The guy said they were out of stock and hemmed and hawed when I asked when they would be in.  He told me I was the only person who purchased them;  yeah, like big deal, it seems I have purchased every one you ever had.  He said he would try to order them, but somehow he did not sound sincere, so I decided to sever my ties with this dealer.

The only cubes I could find on Ebay were small one inch cubes, which would cost more, however, they would yield almost three times as many cubes as the sheets from the local hydro dealer. The cubes are fine, as most of what I plant is lettuce, and I am sure larger plants will not be an issue, 

The departure being: it is recommended that the cubes be completely saturated before the seeds are dropped into the dibbled opening.  And, the cubes remain in water with the level about one third of the height of the cube until germination.  Using a domed container is also recommended, which I had been doing all along anyway.

If this works out it will save having to germinate the seeds in moist coffee filters and transfer them to cubes after germination.  The small square in the domed container contains twelve decoricated yellow Swiss chard seeds, so we will soon see how this goes. 

Another benefit of the smaller cubes it that they take up a lot less space under the lights.  The photo below shows a dozen Sweet Valentine lettuce seedlings I am trying under an off the shelf 65 watt 5000k CFL bulb.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Journal September 9, 2012

Somewhere back in the blog I mentioned purchasing two small LED grow lights from and if I would like to retract what I wrote about them.  Already several LEDs have failed on both lights, and the same thing happened to a friend who purchased two lights. 

Today both lights were replaced with waterproof units and I am much happier with the new configuration.  These new lights have a slightly different spectrum, which appears more blue in color than the 20 watt red/blue unit that I have been using.  The new lights, shown on both sides of the support, are only 12 watt units, so now the total wattage for my supplemental lighting is only 42 watts.  Using the remote control, the lights can be activated whenever supplemental lighting is needed.

As the lights are flood lights and swivel 180 degrees, the supplemental lighting can now cover a much larger area of the greenhouse. 

It was my intention to hold off installing the lights until next spring, however, I have fifteen small olive seedlings on order and I will place them in the greenhouse until mid December.  When I bring them in, the LEDs will come with them, to be used in the basement to provide lighting during their dormant period.

The trees that are enroute were an Ebay bargain that I came across late at night; fifteen rooted olive cuttings that are in a bonsai forest planting.  The seller is a bonsai dealer, who claims the trees are four years old, with some having a trunk diameter of about one inch.   As I am no longer into bonsai, I am going to separate the trees and plant them in individual pots and establish them as individual trees.  At some point I intend to offer them for sale, either for pre-bonsai or individual olive trees.  The seller, who only knew they are olive trees, did not know the variety, as I only paid slightly more than a dollar a tree that is really not a big concern at this point.

When the trees are established, anyone who is interested in growing an olive tree in a container can contact me through the blog.

My assistant Ava's cantaloupe project is a rousing success and she should get a Superstar Gardening award for growing melons in upstate New York.  In the words of the immortal Jackie Gleason: How Sweet It Is!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 5, 2013 Indoor Gardening

Among the seeds I purchased recently was a variety of lettuce called Thai Oakleaf, shown in the upper left of the photo above.  I really purchased the seeds on impulse, thinking Thai sounds different, however, I should have read the complete description; as this variety has a distinct almond flavor.  I hate almonds and would not eat one on a bet!

The reddish colored plant to the left of the Thai lettuce is Cimmaron, which looks delicious and should be a winner.  The two plants in the front are Golden Giant Marconi peppers that I am hoping will be on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner.

One of the pepper plants will be grown in the tent with the 150 watt 11 band LED grow light.  And, I will be using a new plant support system that I am very excited about, as it is ideal for what I am doing.  

A representative of the company that makes the plant support system contacted me through this site and they sent me a sample to try.  As soon as I received the sample I place an order for another unit for the second tent.  Yeah, it is that good, so stay tuned.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 1, 2013 Indoor Gardening

The greenhouse is pretty much empty at this point, except for the olives and a few tropical plants.  My attention is being turned to my indoor garden with a few plantings already underway.

This season some unusual varieties of lettuce will be on the menu ; five are already in process.  The photo above shows two of my new varieties: Wnter Density (left) and a heirloom called Schweitzer's Mescher (right).  Winter density is a Romaine and the Schweitzer's Mescher is a bibb type. Together I think that they will make a good combination for salads.

In addition to the above varieties, Thai Oakleaf, Cimmaron, and Garnet Rose have been started, so soon the grow chamber will be up to capacity.

Regarding the greenhouse, the olives will be wintered in there for as long as possible, hopefully until early December.  As the temperatures begin to get well below freezing, the plants will be moved to the basement for the duration of the winter.

Since I began indoor gardening light hangers have been an issue to some degree.  Over the years I have used hangers with adjustable tension and the Easy Reach hangers that the TV pitchmen were hawking a few years ago.

When I find something that works well for me, I like to share it, so that is the case with the hanger in the photo.  The hangers were purchased on Ebay on auction; on average I paid less than $5.00 dollars for a set of two, delivered.  The price is much much less than the hangers I have been using, and these hangers are easier to use and will support a lot more weight than what I have been using. 

What I like most, is that the hanger itself only measures five inches, so I can raise the lights in the tent higher.  Additionally, the hanger is ratcheted, making it infinitely adjustable.  They are so sturdy I feel completely comfortable using only one hanger to support an expensive light.  Not too bad considering they cost on average $2.50 per hanger.