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six pepper seedlings in black plastic planters . five pepper seedlings in plastic planters and pots

1. peppers A2, A4, A6, B1, B3, and B5 - Monday, 19 June 2017
2. peppers C2, C4, C6, D1, and D3


three images under the cut )


As you can see, I have rearranged my peppers. Actually I had them rearranged for a while -- not in this exact configuration, which I adopted a couple days ago because I wanted to space out the squash planters a little -- but differently from the groups-of-six I was using for photos. This is because Landlord Dude has yet to fix the damn gutter on the back of the house, and consequently any rain harder than a drizzle (or that lasts longer than half an hour) turns the gutter into a waterfall that happens to be right over one of my kitchen windows/my back porch. So I make sure none of my poor plants are right under the cascade, because they are small and tender and do not deserve to be punched repeatedly in the metaphorical face. *wry*

As you can also see, I have staked sixteen of the peppers. I did not stake E6 because it's growing noticeably slower than the others, but I think I will do so Wednesday evening because I will be leaving on vacation Thursday morning and I am quite sure it will need a stake before I get home a week later. I also didn't stake B5 because the poor dear is only just beginning to recover from its savage beheading -- it is growing a new leaf! Life finds a way!

Pepper D5 has something wrong with its leaves. I suspect it may have caught some residue from the fungicide/insecticide I sprayed on the Lazarus pepper a couple weeks ago, but the newest tiny leave seem on track to be normal rather than crumpled, so I trust it will do all right in the long run.


two images under the cut )


tiny green bell pepper on a pepper plant

8. the Lazarus pepper - Monday, 19 June 2017 (OMG AN ACTUALFAX PEPPER!!!)


And last but not least, the Lazarus pepper bloomed! The first bud opened on Wednesday, and as of today that first flower has lost its petals (heavy rain, what can you do?) to reveal an ACTUALFAX PEPPER. It is so tiny. And so cute. :DDD

I continue to fight a rearguard action against the evils of the white mulberry tree. You have no idea how many berries I have to sweep off the porch every day, or pick out of the pots and planters, to say nothing of the infinite mulberry seedlings I have to uproot and toss away.

(If you haven't realized by now? I hate mulberry trees. I mean, they are probably lovely trees in an orchard, or out in the woods where they can do their own thing without bothering anyone, but trust me, you do NOT want them in your yard. Not in a million years. They are a MENACE.

Also they attract squirrels, but that is a separate problem.)


four images under the cut )


Meanwhile, unidentified marauders (*cough* squirrels *cough*) tried to uproot Tan and/or shred its stem again, but so far as I can tell the leaves retain enough connection to the root system to stay alive. Also I have buried the long, floppy part of the stem under even more potting soil -- I did the same for Sethera while I was at it -- and have tried to prop up the vertical parts of the plants such that they have proper support and won't tip over under their own weight as the grow.

Azer and Covera, of course, do not suffer from this problem as they never went through a floppy phase of growing sideways in search of the sun, and are both growing great guns. I am fairly sure their mutual end goal is to devour my porch. Sethera and Tan probably share this ambition, though they are not quite as well-placed to follow through on it. *wry*

I have spaced out the four planters a little bit, but I am beginning to think that I may have to move one or two of them off the porch entirely. I am not sure where else they could go. Down in the yard among the raspberry canes? (Which survived last year's drought and have put up slightly alarming amounts of new growth; I think they want to devour my porch as well, though from below rather than from above.) In the front yard behind the shelter of the hedge? In the driveway beside the trash cans?

I will have to consider this before they get too big to move...


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Over the past week, my plants have suffered depredations from passing animals. (Probably squirrels.) They bit the stem and leaves off poor pepper B5, knocked over pepper B3, and made a serious gash on Tan's exposed stem.


six pepper seedlings in black plastic planters . six pepper seedlings in black plastic planters

1. peppers A2, A4, A6, B1, B3, and B5 - Monday, 12 June 2017
2. peppers C2, C4, C6, D1, D3, and D5


six images under the cut )


All the plants in question are still alive (though I don't know if B5 will recover and put forth new leaves), but I think sometime this coming week I will tie all the peppers to stakes -- not because they're especially floppy, but because stakes discourage squirrels from squishing them while they're still tiny and tender. I also want to make sure that all of Tan and Sethera's horizontal and non-prickly stem sections are covered by soil to protect them from casual bites.


one pepper plant in a terracotta pot

9. the Lazarus pepper


Meanwhile the Lazarus pepper continues to look somewhat undernourished, so I gave it some more fertilizer this morning. I expect it to start flowering over the next week or two.

And that is pretty much that. (Well. Aside from the infernal mulberry sprouts. But my war with the white mulberry tree that grows bang up against my porch railing is a long and tedious tale, which I will summarize by saying that if you are thinking of planting a mulberry anywhere near a building or a patch of ground you want to use as a garden? DON'T.)


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one squash seedling in a clear plastic tub . one squash seedling in a clear plastic tub

1. Tan, Monday, 5 June 2017
2. Sethera


two photos under the cut )


As previously mentioned, only one of the seeds in the fourth squash container sprouted, and its cotyledons were somewhat damaged -- brown spots at the edges and so on. But the seedling (henceforth known as Covera) has been growing, albeit a bit slowly, and its growth pattern (firm upright stem) follows that of Azer rather than the inside sprouts (Tan and Sethera), so I think it will be all right.

The other peppers are putting forth proper leaves, and while Azer is lagging Tan and Sethera in number of leaves, it certainly makes up for that in size and general health.


one pepper plant in a terracotta pot . six pepper seedlings in black plastic planters

4. the Lazarus pepper
5. peppers A2, A4, A6, B1, B3, and B5


two photos under the cut )


Meanwhile the Lazarus pepper is still looking a bit unhappy. I suspect soil leaching, since after all it's been in that pot for over twelve months now. I don't think sun shock is the problem, since it sits under the mulberry tree and is thus relatively shaded. The weather continues to be abnormally cold and wet, but I did give all the plants a small dose of MiracleGro this morning. (And they have probably lost it all to a thunderstorm this afternoon. *sigh* Well, I do try.) It also has a number of buds, which are probably a week or two from opening, and I think it's been putting forth some new leaf growth as well.

The baby peppers have take a while to properly settle into their new homes, but they are now beginning to grow in earnest and I expect the next couple weeks to show some significant height gains.


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two photos under the cut )


two squash seedlings in a clear plastic tub

3. Azer and Hovera


It is nothing short of amazing what a difference it makes when squash seedlings spend at least a few hours outdoors in direct sunlight in the days immediately after they sprout, instead of living entirely indoors with inadequate supplemental artificial lighting, as you can see by the developmental differences between Tan and Sethera (indoor sprouts) on the one hand, and Azer and Hovera (outdoor sprouts) on the other.


Side note: Tethera's stem broke when I was checking it soil for moisture levels. I have planted two new seeds in that container, which have not yet sprouted. I've been keeping the seeds indoors for warmth, but will probably shift the container outside as soon as they sprout.


one pepper plant in a terracotta pot . six pepper seedlings in black plastic planters

4. the Lazarus pepper
5. peppers A2, A4, A6, B1, B3, and B5


two photos under the cut )


Meanwhile, the Lazarus pepper has been having some issues with its lower leaves, so I have sprayed it with my 3-in-1 fungicide, miticide, and insecticide. Hopefully that will help. It also has a whole bunch of buds, but none of them are particularly close to opening.

The baby peppers have now moved outside for good and for keeps (at least assuming the temperature doesn't drop below 50F at night in the next week or two, in which case I would bring them inside overnight), and this morning they enjoyed their first rainstorm, which has since been followed by delicious sunshine. :)


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(Back on my regular Monday schedule. *wry*)

two squash seedlings in clear plastic tubs . one squash seedling and two squash sprouts in clear plastic tubs

1. Tan and Tethera, Monday, 22 May 2017
2. Sethera, Azer, and Hovera


As you can see, the newest squash seeds (Azer and Hovera) have both sprouted. They peeked above the soil around 11pm Saturday night and have been going great guns since then. I will give them a week or two of growing before I decide which one gets to live.


six pepper seedlings in black plastic planters . six pepper seedlings in planters and assorted pots

3. peppers A2, A4, A6, B1, B3, and B5
4. peppers C2, C4, C6, D1, D3, and D5


six pepper seedlings in assorted pots . one pepper plant in a terracotta pot

5. peppers E2, E4, E6, F1, F3, and F5
6. the Lazarus pepper


All the peppers are enjoying another day trip outdoors. They will come back in around dinner time, because of the weather. (This has been a weirdly cold, wet spring, and that shows no sign of changing any time soon.) I think I will also bring the Lazarus pepper in tonight, though tomorrow I may finally be able to leave it out 24-7. I intended to do that over the weekend, but I've been a little jittery when temperatures keep dropping below 50F overnight.

The weather has also made it a little tricky to start moving the seedlings outdoors, since I don't want to just toss them out for twelve hours straight while I'm at work (yikes!) and my days off tend to be iffy on the weather front. I assume it can't stay cold forever, though.

And that's about it for the week. :)


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As you have doubtless noticed, I failed to post about my plants on Monday the 15th. This is because depression occasionally whacks me in the brain with a bag of sand for a while, whereupon I let stuff unrelated to immediate survival (or my job) slide until such time as I have the spoons to deal with it. Yes, even fun stuff like gardening. *sigh*

Anyway, I did scrape together a decent bunch of spoons today so here we are with the grand pepper repotting and squash thinning post. Better late than never, yeah? *wry*


four pepper seedlings in black plastic planters . two pepper seedlings in a black plastic planter

1. peppers A2, A4, A6, and B1 (Friday, 19 May 2017)
2. peppers B3 and B5


two more images under the cut )


I decided that this year I wanted to keep better track of my peppers, which is why I 'named' them on a grid system back when they were still in their little black plastic tray. I therefore painted those IDs onto the planters and pots and made sure to transfer each plant to the correct final home.

You may note that several of the seedlings have lost a cotyledon. This is because I was kind of a dumbass and left them out too long one afternoon last week, and then overwatered them in a slightly panicked reaction to their desperately wilted state. :( But they seem to be recovering (I think the fertilizer I gave them last weekend perked them up a bit) and I figure proper soil can only help in that process.


two squash seedlings in a clear plastic tub . one squash seedling in a clear plastic tub

5. Yan and Tan (Thursday, 18 May 2017)
6. Tethera


four more images under the cut )


Meanwhile, all the second-round squash seedlings were doing fairly well, but I had to murder two of them or the only eventual survivor would have been Tethera -- these tubs are not big enough to support two full-grown squash plants. So Yan and Pip got snipped, since Tan and Sethera, their pot-mates, were flourishing just that vital bit more. I hate this part of gardening, which is why I vastly prefer to plant single seeds and transplant the survivors. Alas, that is not practical for squash!

I should mention, at this point, that Meeny (my one surviving first-round squash seedling) died last Friday. I am not sure what went wrong. Perhaps I overwatered there as well? Perhaps Meeny did not cope well with being confined to my kitchen after several afternoons outdoors in proper sun? (I had to bring all the plants inside last week for temperature reasons.) It is a tragic mystery. But I have planted two new seeds in that tub -- henceforth to be known as Azer and Hovera -- and hopefully they will have better luck than their predecessor.

Lastly, I moved the Lazarus pepper outside for good and for keeps a couple days ago... except I think I'll bring it indoors one last time tonight, since the temperature will drop down to about 45F and I would prefer not to test its ability to withstand quite that much of a shock. *wry*

(Oh, PS: the onion was not able to recover from its mold infestation. So it goes.)


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I mixed some MiracleGro into water this morning and gave all the peppers and squash a drink of fertilizer. Hopefully they will appreciate it.


a peeled onion, just sprouted, lying in a ceramic dish with a bit of water

1. my unexpected onion, Monday, 8 May 2017


The onion was having serious mold problems -- two separate kinds, one black and mostly under the skin, and one white and infesting its base where new roots were attempting to sprout. So I peeled it, cut out a couple particularly bad spots, and sprayed it with fungicide. I think that did in its first attempt at growing roots, but it seems to be trying again and at least these new attempts will not get strangled at birth by evil spores. *crosses fingers, wishes it well*


eighteen pepper seedlings, growing in peat cylinders in a black plastic container . small green pepper plant

2. eighteen pepper seedlings
3. the Lazarus pepper


I think all the plants miss going outside for the afternoons -- they really liked the direct sunlight -- but it's been low to mid 40s (Fahrenheit) and/or pouring rain for the past several days in Ithaca, so they're not getting back outdoors until Thursday at the earliest, and possibly not until next Monday depending on how the weather behaves.


four squash photos under the cut )


Methera-the-squash failed to sprout, which saves me from having to figure out which seedling to murder in one of my tubs. I will still have to decide who will survive in the Yan-vs.-Tan and Pip-vs.-Sethera matchups, though. I am hoping another week will make it more obvious which ones are more vigorous than the others.


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one squash seedling planted in a clear plastic storage tub . three clear plastic storage tubs full of potting soil

1. Meeny, thriving
2. Bare dirt where Meeny's baby siblings will eventually sprout


So, all the squash except for Meeny died. Woe! But Meeny is doing just fine, and I have planted six more seeds in the big storage containers (two per container) which will remove any need to transplant this next batch. I will thin them as necessary.


eighteen pepper seedlings, growing in peat cylinders in a black plastic container . squash seedling, pepper seedlings, and pepper plant on a wooden porch

3. The eighteen baby peppers
4. All my plants enjoying an afternoon outdoors, Monday, 1 May 2017


The pepper seedlings are also doing just fine, and are enjoying their occasional day trips to my back porch. They're still not really big enough to transplant, but I think they will be ready around May 13th or so.


small green pepper plant

5. The Lazarus pepper


And the Lazarus pepper is growing both new buds and new leaves (even as it has lost a few old leaves from lower down on its stem), so I think it may actually achieve the dream of both flowers and fruit this summer. :D I just need to remember to fertilize it sometime this week.

Hmm, and I should probably start collecting eggshells again, to mix into the soil when I transplant the seedlings. Eggshells are good for plants in general -- they are a fast and easy source of calcium -- and particularly good for peppers and tomatoes.


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withering white flower on a small green pepper plant



The Lazarus pepper continues to chug along. I don't think the current flower is going to produce fruit, but the plant itself seems to be gearing up to sprout some more leaves and flowers, so hey, we'll see what happens over the summer. :)


eighteen pepper seedlings, growing in peat cylinders in a black plastic container



The new pepper seedlings all continue to do well. (...I'm going to have to find pots for all of them, aren't I. Oh, bother.)


four squash photos under the cut )


Meanwhile, the squash are doing... not so well. Of the four I transplanted last week, only one (Meeny) seems to be thriving. One (Miny 1) already died and has been replaced by one of the previously un-transplanted seedlings. The replacement is now unhappy in turn. Another of the initial transplants (Eeny) is in the process of dying; I expect it to be withered by morning. And the fourth (Mo), like the replacement transplant, is... let's go with 'not happy' and leave it there, yeah?

The moral of this story is that I should A) not plant squash at all until mid-April and B) plant them directly in their final homes -- probably two or three seeds to a container, and then thin to whichever seedling seems healthiest after three weeks or so.

We learn by doing, I suppose, and I have plenty of squash seeds left. I will plant a couple of them in Eeny's container later this week, once I know whether I'll be replacing Miny 2 and Mo as well. (I have no seedlings left to transplant; the remaining three have all died.)


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I did not make a gardening post last week, but eh, whatever, moving on.


white flower on a small green pepper plant



The Lazarus pepper is blooming again. As before, I do not expect anything to come of this, but let us all enjoy the pretty flower while it lasts. :) (The other two buds have both shriveled at this point.)


eighteen pepper seedlings, growing in peat cylinders in a black plastic container



The pepper seedlings continue to do well, and I think they will be ready to transplant in another two or three weeks.


five squash photos under the cut )


On Sunday night, I punched holes in the four plastic storage tubs I bought a couple weeks ago, and I transplanted the four squash seedlings that seemed to be flourishing the most. (Three of the original eleven sprouts had shriveled and died by that point, and two others had each lost one of their cotyledons, which was a little sad but also helpful in reducing my transplant choices to a more manageable spread.) I tried to be as gentle as possible with their roots, but only time will tell how well I managed.

(FYI, the transplanted seedlings are hereby named Eeny, Meeny, Miny, and Mo, because it amuses me and because I can do that if I want to. ;D )

Next weekend I might try to buy a trowel (possibly also a hoe or a garden rake?) and plant the other seedlings in the yard, assuming they're still alive by then. I mean, I am going to buy at least a trowel anyway, since I need that to plant my narcissus bulbs, but anything beyond that is kind of dependent on circumstance. *wry*


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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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