Something is coming out of my compost bin!! – Update

The volunteer tomato plant that has been growing out of my compost bin definitely looks healthy but given its rapid foliage growth and no fruit I guess I don’t need to do any soil tests to confirm my compost is high in nitrogen. Note to self, don’t grow tomatoes in pure compost.

Propagating peppermint and lemon verbena

Starting next week I will have an office at work with a window so of course I have to start thinking about what sort of vegetation I can put on that ledge. The first thing that came to mind was peppermint and lemon verbena seemed like a good choice since they provide an excellent fragrance and I can eat/drink them if I have to stay late and get tired of free soda. They can also be neglected for a weekend or brief vacation without relying on someone else to take care of them.

Unless this is the first post of mine you have never read or didn’t look at the title of this blog, I am cheap. I could have easily just payed $4-5 for a couple plants but I wanted to do this for free. First I prepared two terracotta pots with a mixture of potting soil and perlite and got the mixture about as wet as possible and set them aside.

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For the peppermint, the process to propagate is pretty simple. The stuff is tough and most talented people can not successfully kill the stuff if they try, so dig around in your existing peppermint until you find a good bunch of roots. Now the tricky part pull/cut/tear/scream whatever it takes to separate that clump of peppermint from the rest. Very obvious why this stuff can take over a bed. Take that clump of roots with hopefully some of the peppermint plant still surviving the extraction ordeal and place in a pre-dug hole and cover up with potting mix.

The lemon verbena is a little calmer process, to propagate this you use a process of taking a softwood cutting, which includes simply cutting a stem in which shows some decent life (green) in it. You want to make sure that your cut does not crush the stem so a sharp knife my work better than shears/scissors but that depends completely on the quality and sharpness of your equipment. Cut off any leaves on the bottom one third of the plant and place in potting mix leafing the remaining two thirds above the soil line.

Both of these plants currently have a pretty fragile root system at the moment so keeping their roots (or soon to be generated roots) moist is very important. To help with this I have covered both plants with plastic, if all goes well I will not kill these things and will have a nice addition to my new office come Monday.

Ok, so now where did the the cilantro go?

Well I wrote a couple weeks about my surprise of the missing tomoatos, last week I went back to my favorite Mexican restaurant at work and noticed cilantro has also been removed as a choice of condiments. Going back to my desk I discovered that cilantro and peppers have been added to the list of produce that has been reported tainted with salmonella. With the whole law of supply and demand maybe I should start selling my cilantro and tomotoes at the local farmers market.

Preventing tomato blossom end rot

If you are lucky you may have never seen this gross looking anomaly on the bottom but if you are like the rest of us you probably have seen this disorder especially on your first fruits of the season. Fortunately with some precautionary measures you should be able to minimize the effect of this on your harvest.

There are three primary causes for tomato blossom end rot; inconsistent watering, calcium deficiency, or abundance of nitrogen in your soil.

Calcium Deficiency: In most cases calcium deficiency is not the culprit but with minimal effort you can be proactive to eliminate it as a possibility. If you remembered to through in some egg shells and some Epsom salt when you planted your tomatoes you should be good, if you are like me and was too excited and forgot it is time to supplement. There are a few remedies out there including powdered milk, egg shells, Tums, or even some bone meal tea. I personally go the egg shell tea method, which simply requires taking some egg shells soaking them in water overnight and applying to my tomato plants. If you do this method you will want to prevent spread of salmonella make sure you bake them in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees. One bonus is this also makes the egg shells break up much easier. The best time to apply this egg shell tea is when you baby tomatoes are just starting to form since this is the time your little fruits are sucking up as much calcium as it can find

Inconsistent watering: I have an entire post on watering your garden but the basic idea is to not to drown your roots but watering too often, but not wait until they become completely dry either. Without water your plants have no means to get needed nutrients including the calcium mentioned above. For me this is the most common cause of of my blossom end rot usually after going on a week vacation with no plan for watering my garden while I was gone.

Too much nitrogen: From my experience if I have too much nitrogen I normally get tall plants with no blossoms until the nutrients in the soil balance out. Where you can get into trouble is side dressing (supplemental fertilizing during the growing season) your plants if you do this make sure you provide a balanced fertilizer such as compost tea or commercial brand that is specifically for tomato plant and follow the directions on the box. Plants much like ourselves can only absorb so much nutrients from the soil so we need to make sure we are providing what the plants need at that time in their growth cycle and remember when it comes to fertilizer more is not better in most all cases it will be worse.

Something is coming out of my compost bin!!


Noticed this plant before thinking it was a weed growing next to my compost bin, but today I noticed it was actually growing out of a small slat in my compost bin. After a little more inspection I realized the distrinct tomato plant look and smell. Guess I was wrong to think those green tomatoes I threw in last fall were too immature to have viable seeds…

Youngest gardening blogger

Well not 100% sure there is not a younger garden blogger out there but at the ripe age of 6 pretty sure Megan is in close competition. You can check out “Megan’s Garden” at http://www.megansgarden.com. Now I must warn you that this blog is written by a 6 year old that does not use a spell checker so if you may need to read phonetically which can be a fun challenge to see garden blogging from a child’s perspective.

If you have any serious issues translating feel free to post in the comments and I can translate.

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