Monday, March 11, 2013

garden plans 2013

We are going to cut back on the "grow your own" in 2013. We will buy a limited number of starter plants, which will include heirloom tomatoes and a variety of chili peppers. We may include a few herbs like basil and lemongrass though our basil crop from last year was ruined by leaf miners. I love lemongrass! Besides enjoying them as an aromatic in cooking, I like them as ornamental grass. And at the end of the growing season, I collect the dried grass to use as mulch.
In addition to the fall planted bulbs, which have already begun to pop from the dirt filled planters on the balcony, I think we will grow more flowers in 2013. Flowers in summer will be great especially if they are fragrant! We tried to grow dahlias last year. They started out great but was infected with both the white powdery mildew, spider mites, and aphids. I'm going to try to grow dahlias again this year. Other flowers we will grow in 2013 are daylilies, gladiolus, and more irises though I planted some in the fall for what I assume will bloom in the spring? I guess I will find out sooner or later.

Hopefully growing flowers on the balcony will make a nice little haven for us to enjoy. And in order to enjoy the garden, we will need a place to sit so acquiring furniture is a must for 2013. I have had my eyes on this French bistro set by Fermob.

Here's to an exciting new gardening year!

strawberry plants: year 2

The strawberry plants are still alive and are getting ready to sprout forth new leaves. I noticed one of the plants continued to produce berries even through winter. It was dried by the time I found it when I was clearing the plants of its dried leaves. Then again, the winter was pretty mild but good to know that one of them can still produce.

I also found annoying tiny black aphids hiding out on the underside of some leaves and definitely on the stems. Fortunately, I spotted them and did my best to spray the plants with a neem oil based repellent to kill and prevent their return. Will make sure to spray again next week.

We have two strawberry planters on the balcony. One of the strawberry planters was attacked by a pigeon, at least that is what TH told me. I also noticed the pigeon poop around the damaged planter. As TH explained, the pigeon was pecking the planter and bits of the glazing came off. He further added that the pigeon didn't seem right like maybe he flew into something and got screwed in the head as a result. It would explain the pigeon's odd behavior of attacking the planter. This particular strawberry planter contained the pink galore strawberries.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I finally got some ranunculuses! They are such beautiful flowers with an odd name! They're also called Persian Buttercups. The scientific name is Ranunculus asiaticus. I've seen some beautiful arrangements with these flowers especially when grown in clusters. I find the white ones are so pretty because they have a touch of green.

A bag of ranunculuses

The ones I picked up were available at the Union Square Greenmarket. One particular vendor was selling them $3 each, or 2 for $5. The colors were limited but I picked out some nice ones; a goldenrod yellow, two white ones, and this pretty mauve. It's always best to pick out potted flowers that have not blossomed and have multiple buds when possible. The ones I got were opened with some buds. I did get one that was a single flower but I liked the color. It was the only one of its color that I saw. The flowers stay in bloom for about 4 to 6 weeks; at least that is what I am told.

Ranunculuses are spring bloomers and return each year. Their corms look like mini bunches of bananas, which can be divided. I'm hoping to also get some seeds from these flowers. I'm not sure what the seeds look like or how easily I can acquire them but I'm sure I can find out through the World Wide Web.

I've planted them in one of the Root Pouch planters and they look great together. :)

Transplanted ranunculuses

Persian buttercups

Monday, March 4, 2013

spring is upon us!

Well, it's 2013 and spring is upon us! Late last year, I purchased and planted a lot of bulbs despite TH's warning of not over gardening on the balcony again. And now that winter is basically over, the bulbs have started to sprout!


Pushing up daisies...

Pushing up irises

The bulbs included tulips, irises, hyacinths, and crocuses. The flowers range in color. I wanted to stick to a color theme, black and white, but failed once I started doing research and seeing so many different colors of flowers that I wanted to plant instead. Some people may say I should be concerned with having too many colors on the balcony but I'm not worried. I was very conscientious about the colors I selected. And seeing as I planted to them in a variety of planters, I can arrange them accordingly once they blossom.

Not only are the bulbs showing signs of renewed life, so is the peach tree! The branches are studded with blossom buds! Admittedly, the tree isn't aesthically and physcially appealing but it's growing - you will see new green branches. I'm looking forward to when the weather starts to warm up.

Peach blossom buds

Studded with buds