Update 8/20

No pics.  Celebrity tomatoes not doing well and dying on top.  Brandywines look very healthy but also have some brown leaves.  No mites.  This may be due to lack of nutrition since I didn’t add any compost into the mix this Spring and I’m behind on fertilizing.  Fat eggplant in caged position 14 is stunted due to sunflower.  Fat eggplant in caged position 1 is very big and healthy as well as its two habenero companions.  None of the 8 habs in NE corner will produce anything.  The sunflowers there look very nice however but they don’t play well with others.  Tomato harvest is coming in.  Second wave looks unlikely or maybe small due to flowers dieing even though there are tons of bees due to the sunflowers blooming.  We’ll see.  Maybe later I’ll post some harvest porn.  Until then….

BTW: It hasn’t rained since I can’t remember.  This might be considered a drought right now and watering is a PITA.

Note: Veranda north wall box was not being watered properly because I couldn’t see it.  Drip irrigation for these boxes is a must.  Soaker hose on alley level boxes somewhat work but is not a solution.  Those boxes need proper irrigation.  That is all….

Sunflowers as buffer plants

IMG_7912Here’s a shot of all 14 caged positions with sunflowers in bloom.  There are a lot of bees now and it looks like the tomatoes have a lot of flowers.  As mentioned before these sunflowers drink a lot of water and they don’t seem to make for good companion plants.  The habeneros shared with sunflowers are probably not going to produce anything.  Out of 12 habeneros planted I might see 4 plants produce anything.  Next year sunflowers will not be used as companion plants and will have to have their own container.

Sunflower Companion Plant

IMG_7804A sunflower companion plant rises high above the rest of the tomatoes.  Saw an almost red tomato on a Celebrity and it didn’t have BER and it is of decent size.  I’m sure it will be ready to pick tomorrow and it will be the earliest that a decent tomato has been harvested on this roof.  I did use quite a bit of lime in each container.  Overall there are a lot of green tomatoes and so far little evidence of mites.  I did not see any live crawling ones yet but might have seen one of their webs.  Still doing hard water showers every day.  That is something that can’t be done with drip irrigation.

Update 7/27:  Picked first tomato tonight from a Big Boy.  The tomato was around 8oz (decent size) and had a little Blossom End Rot (BER) at the bottom.  Cutting into it revealed the BER went into more than half the tomato.  Although it didn’t look bad from the outside it was bad on the inside.  It didn’t taste that well either.  This is the earliest decent tomato picked since I’ve been growing tomatoes on the main roof (2005).  Usually first picked tomatoes are small and total throwaways.  BER does go away as the plant gets its circulation going so BER should be expected on the first few.  It becomes a problem when it hits every tomato in the first wave of harvest which has happened in past years due to stress on the plants and Mark not completely aware of what is going on.  So far no mites seen.  Some curled leaves but no mites.  Not sure what is going on with them but it doesn’t look like a problem right now.

Sunflower Veranda North Wall

IMG_7380A sunflower grows on the veranda north wall box on 7/3.  Haven’t taken current shots in awhile.  Tomatoes look good.  No sign of mites knock on wood.  I’m doing the cold water shower technique with every watering.  The sunflowers on main roof look very good.  I might plant another set of seeds to see if I can get another wave of sunflowers after this current set blooms and peters out.  Habeneros are recovering and have sprouted new leaves.  Looks like I may get some habs this year.

SE Corner Main Roof

IMG_7309Finally a photo taken on the day it gets posted.  This is the SE corner main roof.  These two containers support sunflowers like last year.  This year however they’ll support 8 habeneros since the NE corner box is being dismantled throughout this season.  We’ll see how well this works.  Due to the cold Spring and still cool, rainy weather, the habeneros are struggling and are smaller than the seedlings when planted.  This has happened in some past years and the habs eventually grew to full size.  I suspect the yield won’t be as good as last year however.  I’m experimenting with sunflowers as companion plants this year in multiple containers on the main roof.