My summer Balcony Garden ( and eager 2 year old looking for ripe tomatoes)
Yum, nothing beats a sun warmed ripe tomato fresh from outside with a bit of salt and pepper. I didnt even bother with basil this time, I was too eager to eat it.
The humingbirds love these scarlet runner bean vines, but they are too fast for me to get a photo of them (yet). Originally I had hoped to harvest these beans for green beans, but the pods swell so fast I gave up and will just let the pods mature to save seeds for next year. I planted some bush beans and real edible pole beans for an early autumn harvest, they have taken off wonderfully well in this heat.
When we first moved here I didnt see any bees, zip, nada- so I planted marigolds in a planter box hanging off the balcont railing, hoping the bright colors would catch the eye of a wandering honeybee. It seemed to work, and we have a few that show up daily to the tomatoes, basil flower and these oregano flowers I took the photos of. None ever land on the marigolds tho oddly enough.
This week has been so very very hot, its 108 outside right now and supossed to stay that way or hotter thru the weekend. I know I shouldnt be complaining, thats the norm for around here, but its been an unseasonably cool summer, all of June pretty cloudy and cool, only getting into the low 90s most days of July & August. I had actually been seriously considering starting my fall seedings this week ( carrots, beets, lettuce, cabbage etc) worried that we'd have a very harsh cold winter if summer was so cool, but again mother nature likes to surprise us.
Fall frost dates are weird around here, for San Bernardino ( the closest city I have weather data for) the 50% date for frost is around Dec 25, and the last Spring frost date is Jan 21, so not a whole lot of risk of a frost or freeze most years. Plus being on the 2nd story surrounded by concrete I'd guess the reflected heat, covered overhang and reflected light from the carport would all keep my balcony above freezing even in a cold snap. So for fall crops I'm looking at planting around Late September/into October. But with this heat I'm not so sure, we had record setting heat last October in the 90s. Weird.
Anyhow, my balcony garden has proven to be fairly successful, lots of herbs and 'Flamme' cherry tomatoes, and the 'Patio' and 'Bush Champion' plants are packed with blossoms and smell green tomatoes, they really kicked into high gear when the sun finally came out in July. The 'Flamme' tomato had been going strong since it was planted last March, so it made sense it was the first to fall victim to some bugs and some sort of disease.
First off I noticed some leaves randomly dying, drying up and falling off, then it was side branches wilting and dying, and now I'm seeing it in more and more places on the plants. I tried to take detailed photos and spent a few hours pouring over my notes from our disease management class and the Master Gardener Handbook. I think its some sort of wilt, just not sure which type-grrrr. I tried to cut off the damaged areas and sterilized the slippers after each cut and its still popping up all over the 2 plants. *sad sigh*