Transition To Outside Summary
Fungus gnats. Little evil beasts that can lay 300 eggs at a time and the little freaks eat up the roots that can seriously damage the plant. I had tried so hard to make sure I was not overwatering my plants, as this draws them, but if you read my last post on this adventure Better Prepared This Year (Container Garden 2020 Diary #1) then you are aware I had the issue. As soon as the air conditioner went on in our apartment, the bugs started appearing.
Thus, I immediately worked on transitioning the plants outside.
Problems I had with this transition. The first day they were outside it was high heat and high winds. Something to keep in mind is that indoor plants are NOT strong like outdoor plants are. They have to adjust to temps and winds. So it’s very important to make sure your plants are properly staked.
You don’t want to tie plants tightly to their stake. There needs to be room for them to grow.
June 2020 Container Gardening
First Issue- I Thought I Killed My Cucumber Plant
Well, I tied my cucumber plant TOO tight. I almost snapped the stem completely off. I was really devastated about it because I was convinced there was no hope.
However, I had read that it was still possible to repair broken or dented stems. There’s hope, as well, if your stem isn’t completely broken that it still can get nutrients, and thus, repair itself. Even if a stem is completely broken there is a chance if taped together that it could repair itself.
After I calmed down, I tied a looser tie on the cucumber plant and stake, prayed, and hoped.
The cucumber plant DID survive!
Second Issue- More Broken Stems From Green Beans
My green beans were the most grown out of all the plants, and they looked green and healthy before going outsides. But, man, that wind! A number of stems, even after being staked, became bent. I tied new ties. The green beans adjusted at the new odd angles and they also survived!
Third Issue- Heat Scorched/Distress
Wilted. Crunchy. The leaves on the plants were struggling. Being heat scorched/wilted doesn’t mean the plant needs more water, rather, it needs a shaded place. Some plants do well in the sun, others, need a break. Some plants, like my cucumber plant, will have leaves appear wilted in the midday heat, but as soon as the light is directly on them, they perk back up!
Out of all my plants, the peppers seemed to struggle the most with the direct sun. I’ve lost three plants. Those three also were the plants with less soil as well. The other two pepper plants aren’t doing that much better. I am thinking of keeping them in the shade more until later in the day, which I have done, but they are not growing much.
Fourth Issue- Not Enough Fertilizer/Soil/Right Sized Pots/Trellises
I realized my peppers and tomatoes needed deeper pots just like the green beans and cucumbers. However, I do not have deep pots. This means roots cannot be grounded as the plants would enjoy and when the plants start to fruit they have fewer nutrients. My friend did give me some chicken poo to use for fertilizer so my plants could get a boost of nitrogen. I realize now I should have grabbed liquid fertilizer for my container plants in spring and some tomato cages/trellises. These things should be thought about in spring before gardening because supplies run lower in the summer.
Fifth Issue- Aphids, Spiders, Wasps, Bugs, & Getting Rid of Fungus Gnats (Briefly)
I had a lot of aphid issues in June. Aphids tend to be very problematic, but they do not produce as fast as fungus gnats, so they can be dealt with easier. They can come in an assortment of colors. I had green ones.
Aphids are a food source for spiders and ladybugs so the ecosystem will help you out. Speaking of spiders, when you garden because of insects you will attract them. They can be your friends, even at a distance.
I also encountered the “blue wasp” which is also known as a type of mud dauber. These wasps are actually not aggressive as long as you do not mishandle them. That was a relief! They are like a wasp, but metallic blue in the light. These wasps are beneficial and they are known for killing the black widow spider!
Briefly, yes, I was able to get rid of the fungus gnats. I didn’t water my cucumber plant longer than is necessary, and that seemed to deter them. HOWEVER, as soon as rain and other waterings occurred they came back. Fungus gnats tend to really enjoy cucumber plants so having problems with them may not relate to overwatering.
This ^^^ is a good depiction of where my plants were when I transitioned them outside. They grew quite a bit within one month. The blue pot now holds a tomato plant, I got rid of my previous plant. The green beans were doing the best out of everyone. This is about the beginning of June.
Cucumber’s Growth (Green pot)-
I staked it, adding my homemade trellis, and it began to grow and climb. About mid-June, I started seeing the first cucumber flowers grow. The first flowers are always male, and later flowers with the unfertilized cucumbers attached are female. Late June, female flowers were starting to show.
Tomatoes’ Growth (Blue Pot, 3 Containers, & 1 Planter)–
The 3 container tomatoes have been surprising me with how well they are growing. They don’t have a lot of soil, but the containers do give them about a depth of 5 inches. Still, tomatoes NEED A LOT MORE! Please keep this in mind. Toward the end of June, I started to see flower buds on the tomato plants appear. Tomatoes are self-pollinated, the wind helps them.
I didn’t realize my radishes needed to be deeper than what I had them. You’ll notice as radishes grow the bottom stems will start to turn color, those stems are part of the radish that will grow. I kinda learned this too late and kept having to pull out broken radish stems.
Flower Update (smaller purple container)-
The flowers have stumped me for this season. The picture below is honestly the best my flower got. (Also notice how small the tomato plant in the container behind the flower is.)
Pepper’s Growth (2 Containers)-
I did lose some plants, so I’m going to focus on the 2 in containers. They still struggle with light, so I’ve been working on helping them adjust. Also, the few inches of soil they have I’m sure is not enough.
Green Bean’s Growth-
They started out very strong, but with the winds and being grown indoors, the stems were very thin and had a lot of issues as the weeks progressed. Honestly, as you’ll see in July’s update, the green beans right here are at their peak. You’ll notice, I also starting getting flowers. Green beans are self-pollinated. You do not really need to do anything.
FIGHT BACK WITH CAYENNE PEPPER!
So, in ending this post, I want to add I’ve been working on what to do as the flowers begin to fruit and more critters take an interest. One thing you can do is sprinkle cayenne pepper. Chipmunks and squirrels do not like it on their paws. This is a trick some people with bird feeders use on their seeds. It deters fluffy creatures, and will not hurt birds.