Monday, August 9, 2010

8/9/10 Harvest and Grow Box Jungle

The harvest this week was rather small, in quantity as well as in vegetable sizes.  Our Early Girl tomato plants are still producing tomatoes, but individual tomatoes seem to be getting smaller every week.  My spreadsheet tells me that I'm not just imagining this problem.  Hmm, would some fertilizer help with this problem, or is this normal for growing tomatoes?

The bush beans squeezed out a few more green beans, because I just couldn't bring myself to pull the three remaining ratty plants that still had some blossoms left last week.  Maybe next week.

The cucumber plants gave us only one cucumber this week, but I spotted several baby cucumbers on the plants, so hopefully we can get more cukes in a week or two.

Although our harvest was pretty dismal this week, our plants are growing really well in the indoor grow box.

 Indoor Grow Box Overview 8/8/10

On the top shelf, we have basil, cayenne peppers, jelly bean tomatoes, and some cilantro (started just last week).  When I started the pepper and tomato seeds in the grow box about a month ago, it was just an experiment to see how well the grow box would work to germinate seeds.  But they have been growing so well that I'm starting to wonder if we might get lucky and actually get some peppers and tomatoes out of them this year.  We transplanted a few of the seedlings outdoors, just to give them the best chance to grow during the rest of this season.  The remaining plants, we'll keep inside the grow box for as long as we can and see what happens.  I just spotted what look like tiny pepper blossoms starting to appear, so yeah, I'm totally getting my hopes up!

Are these really the beginnings of pepper blossoms?

In the middle, we have nasturtium and several different kinds of cut-and-come-again lettuce, including arugula.  Would you like to see the difference between indoor and outdoor nasturtium?

Nasturtium in the back; the rest are lettuce and arugula

More Lettuce

On the bottom shelf, we have some more experimental seeds, a new flat of spinach seeds (not yet germinated), and a few rosemary seedlings with a serious growth problem.  Okay, I know it's not fair to compare rosemary with fast growing annuals like cucumbers or green beans.  I did read that rosemary is hard to germinate from seed, and very slow to grow; but I had no idea that it would be this slow!  These seeds were sown in May, so they've been growing for almost three months now, and their heights range from 1/4 inch to barely an inch.  They are really testing my patience, but hopefully I'm more stubborn than they are.  Eventually, I really would like to have a rosemary bush (or even several) that I could point to and say, "I grew that from seed!"

Three Month Old Rosemary Seedlings

Happy Harvest Monday celebration continues over at Daphne's Harvest Monday.


Robin said...

Wow, your grow box is really doing well! I have found that my tomatoes get smaller and then they tend to produce bigger fruits again later. That is what they are doing right now. You should test your soil at the end of the season and add some compost and what ever else is needed. I hope that you use organic fertilizer. We are "those people" who never use any chemicals.

Anonymous said...

If those tomatoes are some early variety, maybe it's time for them to produce less. Do they have any flowers?
Those are definitely pepper blossoms! With enough sun and water and you will get some peppers soon.

kitsapFG said...

The grow box is certainly performing well for you! Fun to get an update on how it is working out and what you are growing in it. I would think it would be a useful tool in the winter for growing fresh greens.

Engineeredgarden said...

The size and quality of tomatoes late in the season always diminishes, and mine always does that too.

Mr. H. said...

Your grow box really is pretty amazing, I'm not sure that I have seen anything quite like that before..really neat. I can see why the peppers would like it.

Cheryl said...

The grow box experiment is very interesting. Just because I ran across this again last night, here's a tip for tomato pollenation. The flowers are self-fertile, but you can help the process along by gently thumping the stems. I had a friend that would spank his tomatoes. Fully ripened tomatoes grown in your house. Wouldn't that be great.

Martha said...

I wouldn't give up on the rosemary. It is a slow grower and you have two nice looking starts there. I think few things are as tasty as rosemary, but that's just me.

michelle said...

Tomato plants do seem to loose some oomph as they near the end of the season.

I can tell that you are a transplanted Californian by that yearning for a rosemary plant. My sister, from CA but living in IN for many years now, is always trying to get rosemary to grow.... Good luck, don't quit!

~Holly~ said...

Looks like grow box success! Looks fantastic!!

Shawn Ann said...

before long your little grow box will not hold all those plants once they reach full size!

thyme2garden said...

Robin - the SFG box where I'm growing my tomatoes just contains Mel's mix (equal parts compost, vermiculite and peat moss). I probably do need to add more compost to replenish whatever nutrients already got absorbed.

* * * * *
vrtlarica - the tomato plants still do have flowers, and more seem to be coming every week. Thanks for the confirmation of the pepper blossoms, I will be so excited if we actually get some peppers from them.

* * * * *
kitsapFG - thank you! We'll definitely be able to grow fresh greens in the wintertime, and in the dead of summer (like right now!) when it's too hot for leafies to grow without bolting.

* * * * *
Engineeredgarden - that's good to now. I've only gotten nine tomatoes out of these plants so far, so I'm really not ready to accept the reality that we're already "late" in the season. The plants still have another dozen or so green tomatoes, and more tiny babies on their way. I'm hoping they grow a bit bigger before they turn red.

* * * * *
Mr. H. - thank you so much! The peppers are growing really well in the grow box, I kind of felt bad taking them outside to expose them to the natural elements.

* * * * *
Cheryl - thanks for the tomato pollination tip. I read the same thing a while back, but I don't always remember to tap the flowers when I see them. Next time!

* * * * *
Martha - no worries, I'm totally NOT giving up on the rosemary. These seedlings may be small, but they give off the most amazingly strong rosemary aroma every time I touch their tiny leaves. I can't wait for them to grow up so I can actually use them!

* * * * *
michelle - yup, guilty as charged. I definitely took it for granted when saw rosemary bushes in CA. I'm not giving up, I WILL grow one in Indiana!

* * * * *
Holly - thank you thank you!

* * * * *
Shawn Ann - this is what Keith and I worry about every week. How will we accommodate them all when they outgrow the limited space in the grow box? I think this is going to happen before they reach full size!

Dan said...

Your grow box is doing really well! If you want bigger tomatoes you can thin out the suckers early in the season. You will get bigger fruit but less of them.

Stevie from said...

That grow box is totally awesome! So cool.

thyme2garden said...

Dan, thanks for the tip about pruning the suckers. I do vaguely remember reading that somewhere, but I didn't do it. Hmm, fewer bigger fruits, or more smaller fruits... I don't know if I can choose!

* * * * *
Stevie - thank you so much! We totally love having it.

Lou Murray's Green World said...

I find that my Early Girl tomatoes peter out pretty early in the season, and yes, they seem to get smaller. Good luck on the rosemary. It's an adorable little plant at this point, with lots of potential.

Angela said...

I am also wondering if the reason you see your plants in general producing less is the heat you are experiencing. Plants do slow down when it gets into the high 90's and 100's. They do, and if they are not too beaten up they may pick up pace again if it cools down a bit. I wish I could send you some of my cool temperatures :-)

Daphne said...

I don't think it is unusual at all for the tomatoes to get smaller as the plants age (though sometimes they get bigger too). I've thought of growing rosemary from seed too, but I've read about how hard it is. I don't know if I'd have the patience except over the winter when nothing else is growing (well for me, not for you with your grow box).

Dan Owen said...

It's the heat, I think. Most plants will shut down somewhat when the temps climb into the nineties. I've noticed that with the tomatoes that are in full sun while the plants I have under a small tree are still doing well. That's my theory anyways.

Autumn Belle said...

Now I have a little chili (pepper) plant that is just begining to bloom and their tiny flowers look like yours. I grow the chili from seeds leftover from my cooking.

thyme2garden said...

Lou Murray - I guess that's par for the course, for these tomatoes producing earlier than others in the season. Thanks for the rosemary luck, I'll definitely need it. I hope all the potential amounts to something and I can grow it without killing it first!

* * * * *
Angela - you might be right about the heat as well. I have read similar things as you said, about plants slowing down during super hot times. I sure wish we could do a little barter - some of our heat for your cool temps!

* * * * *
Daphne - I'm not ready for my tomatoes to be so "old" yet! I feel like we're just getting started here in our garden. :)

* * * * *
Dan Owen - another vote for the heat! Hmm, we'll test out your theory when this weather cools down a bit. I sure hope it does, eventually!

* * * * *
Autumn Belle - so I really do have "real" chili pepper flowers! I can't wait for the first peppers to appear, and I'll definitely save some seeds when I do.

Wendy said...

looks like you've got a lot going on there! How exciting - and yeah, enjoy seeing the peppers in a week or so!

thyme2garden said...

Wendy - thank you for visiting my blog! I'm really looking forward to my first peppers!


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