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2008.06.21

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Ms J

Amy,

偉い!That is absolutely fantastic!! I am so wanting to grow some herbs and tomatoes - sadly, we have a tiny multi-purpose smoking/laundry but south-facing balcony - but wouldn't know where to begin.

If you ever had a black thumb I am now convinced it's well and truly green!

Are you going back to Canada over summer???

Jane

kat

wow that is an impressive garden!!

Cecilie

I love your little garden, it`s so cute!
I have some tips for you for the tomato plants on your north facing balcony. The tomato plants will stretch since there is less sunlight here, but try trimming the top shoots of them, and pinch of the "thief shoots" that comes up between each branch. This will make the tomato plant denser, and it will use more of it´s energy on making more flowers and tomatoes rather than increasing in size.
If this does not work, I`d try to move them to the sunnier balcony, as tomatoes are total sun gluttons. :)

You can also try to pollinate the flowers yourself with a little soft paintbrush, just in case bees and bugs don`t do their job.

Good luck! :)

jenny kim

wow! let me just say you are doing a great job! in regards to the tomato's that are not growing, tomato plants need 1. lots of sun and 2. lots of nitrogen, try moving to the sunny side of the apartment, next, have you ever thought about composting? basically you are taking food scrap (vegetable, egg shells, no meat though! and newspapers, dead leaves, you can do a search to learn more) and either doing 1 of 2 things, storing in a enclosed bin and slowly letting everything decompose or 2 getting a plastic bin with layers and a layer at the very bottom with a spigot, putting scraps in and buying red wriggler worms, the worms will digest the food scraps and secrete a liquid which you use as compost, either way, compost is super super nutritious for plants, its a natural fertilizer so you don't have to buy regular fertilizers, and it allows you to garden organically, AND let me tell you, its like super food to plants, great especially for household plants since the nutrients in planted plants tend to get used up fairly quickly, i can assure you with the added sun and compost, the tomato plant will definitely start producing. happy planting! :)

Tess

There was a fellow a few years ago where I work who stored his very large 4 feet tall houseplants in the stockroom when he lost his apartment. He used a thing sort of like this:
http://www.orchidlight.com/l107.html
but not so fancy. The plants didn't make it, though they lasted for months though he only added water very rarely. They died from lack of light and the fact that the overhead door got left open in the middle of winter. But they didn't die of thirst. Might work. Might give you an idea...

jo 戎嶋

wow, you have inspired me to try more. I am a fellow killer of plants but now we have a house and small yard so I planted some cucumbers and eggplants - recommended as idiot proof by a friend. we have had one eggplant for dinner so far, a big fat caterpillar had another and the cucumber seems to be doing OK although they are still too small to pick.

Re: umeshu, I didn't make any in the end but we were given a big bag of biwa so we tried making it with that instead, fingers crossed.

Jason

This is one of my favourite posts so far! You are definitely doing better than me. I have a few herbs but got a bit tired of taking care of them so they aren't really thriving.

One question though - are your peppermints encroaching on the other herbs? Every resource that I've read said to never plant mints near others because they will end up killing them.

For the bugs, maybe you could try some 虫除け炭, just give it a search on rakuten. The reviews are fairly decent.

As far as watering the plants go, if forgetting to water them is the main problem, there are these little plastic caps for sale in home centres, which you attach to pet bottles, and jam them into the soil. They release water slowly but I have no idea if they are any good or tend to release too much too fast.

JoeInVegas

Looks like you are doing very well without much experience. Nice job.

Sean

If you find that your tomatoes taste insipid and watery, the reason is most likely that the soil is kept very moist. For the rich sweet tomato taste, the surface soil of the tomato plant should be quite dry and crumbly between each watering.

Otherwise keep up the fantastic planting! Nice shiso plant btw!

Christine

I think your mystery herb may be oregano. It looks a lot like mine.

Amy

Thanks for the tips and good wishes!

Tess and Jason, you're both describing similar things, and I tried cheap plastic versions from the 100 yen shop years ago. They didn't work: at first they didn't let any water out at all, so I poked a few holes with a pin and the water came out way too quickly. I gave up, but would probably have better luck with non-100 Yen shop ones. I really like the ceramic ones in the link and it's a great idea to use them with attractive wine bottles rather than ugly plastic bottles.

The mint did indeed take over its pot, and as it wasn't very tasty anyway I won't be planting any next year. The mystery herb did smell and taste a little oregano-y but I never planted oregano! And the tomatoes tasted better after I started watering them less often.

Thanks again!

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