imafan26
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Why don't you just keep the peppers in pots all year, that way they are easier to bring indoors? 4 gallon pots for the longer lived peppers but smaller peppers can be kept in 2 gallons for a couple of years.

I am trying to figure out right now if it is a good time to start lettuce seeds. I want them to be ready to transplant out about the second week of February. Should I start them now or wait another week? It is harder to time things since the cold slows everything down a lot.

I usually fertilize when I pot stuff up, but I don't know if it would be a good idea to fertilize now since things aren't really growing except the weeds. I have to repot a lot of plants and I usually fertilize them at the same time. I do use slow release fertilizer so maybe it won't be that big a deal. My day temps are around 78 degrees so it may be warm enough, although most of the plants won't be doing much growing until the days are longer. I did start some cabbages, kale, onion, chives, parsley,lemon balm, and hyssop. The seeds of the kale and cabbage are ready to up pot. Hyssop took a long time to germinate but it is finally up now.

Your orchids look good but could use some repotting I think. Most orchids need to be repotted every couple of years unless they are grown on rafts or media less. I am bad at repotting so I like to go with no media so there is nothing to decompose. The orchids I grow in media seem to do worse.
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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

I can't believe how big the orchids got. They really liked where and how I kept them last summer -- on the back picnic bench under the mulberry tree. They are also in my new container method of planting in the upper half of 2 qt soda bottle slit open on one side, nested inside a clay pot. I'll definitely repot one or both that have not been potted that way in spring, and check the condition of the media in the others.


It's a tricky question about the peppers -- they do grow bigger and healthier when planted in right conditions in the ground, and they don't mind being severely root pruned to be potted to bring inside they are resting half of the time. Except for the SIP's the containers are not automated so more chance of stress especially with our annual summer drought. And I'm not good about fertilizing them regularly. Also, this way, I only bring in the ones "worthy" of saving.

...And then theres the randomly lazy-factor. Aji Pineapple+Jalapeño are still crammed together in their "temporary" doubled grocery bag on the upstairs bedroom window bench. :roll: They look fine ...if the bags don't fall apart, I might end up keeping them like that until time to plant outside in May .... :>
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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

I ordered mixed predatory mites on Monday with an Amazon gift card received over the holidays -- the overwintering mature plants are hanging on with ladybugs and baby spiders (and suspected wild predatory mites) helping, but hoping for more protection from the indoor Garden Patrol. Soon-to-be-started seedlings are definitely more vulnerable.

They arrived this morning -- just finished misting all the plants and distributing them ...all over the house (rofl) Instructions said release with lights off, but didn't turn off the lights -- hope it will be OK. Wonder what difference that makes....

Got a cell-phone call during the release process... and a predatory mite walked across the screen.... O_o (occasionally feeling tickly feeling on face and arms now -- real or imagined.... )

Also... went around checking distribution -- can't see them without a magnifying loupe (I did inspect the vial from the outside and saw the different species inside) -- and found ladybugs had appeared near release sites at three different locations.... :|
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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

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I had to go out today, but after returning, it occurred to me to mist all the plants with the ladybug nectar. Hopefully, they will desist now from munching up too many of the expensive new addition to the indoor Garden Patrol. :roll:
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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

...so invisible Garden Patrol deployed. 8) I'm going to be more diligent about misting twice daily in the morning and evening to hopefully provide periods of increased humidity for the new predators.

I think if tiny new buds like these don't turn russeted/brown and shrivel up, new growths that are showing mite infestation stress recover, and/or flower buds like these either set fruits or drop due to natural reaction to the colder temps, that would indicate their effectiveness.

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...I just looked at random pepper leaves with the lighted loupe and on the very first one, saw one of the reddish predatory mites roaming around. That was really encouraging, but the next one I looked at had definite signs of pest mite infestation -- looked like their tiny eggs -- and the one after that showed three light colored smaller mites that I couldn't ID as pest or predatory, though for the most part, I think the ones visible under the low power x10-x15 loupe are predatory.... oh well. Time will tell.
Last edited by applestar on Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Updated with mite observation under loupe.
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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

My two seed-grown Dwarf Moringa, spending the winter inside in Winter Wonderland, had been yellowing and losing leaves. I have been worried that they are suffering from pests but I couldn't see anything so have been suspecting mites, which I had hoped the predatory mites will control (wax paper packet). Apparently, the ladybugs decided to inspect them this morning as well :wink:

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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Orchids are blooming :D

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...snowing outside the window...
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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Peach Bhut Jolokia is blooming and setting fruits. I noticed a pair of ladybugs doing their thang. Image

...So I would surmise that they and/or the predatory mites have been effectively patrolling this plant Image

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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Winter Indoor Tomatoes -- I gave up on trying to grow tomatoes for the 2016-27 winter because I had been discouraged by the devastating and heart-breaking mite infestation that decimated most of the tomatoes and many of the peppers last winter.

To add salt to the wound, the infestation, which persisted, had been near catastrophic for last Spring's newly started tomato seedlings as well -- so disappointing because they grew very well to near-planting stage for about 5-6 weeks, then rapidly went down -- and we are talking dozens of transplants and entire flats. :cry: Some of them recovered, which was interesting, but not nearly enough to warrant repeating the experience.


I'm planning to try growing Winter Tomatoes again this 2017-18 winter and, this time, get the predator mites as soon as I see any suspicious sign of mite infestation. The ones I released thanks to a generous Amazon gift card holiday present has successfully fended off what could have been a sad repeat of last winter and most of my over-wintered peppers are recovering, so I hope to be able to grow tomatoes again with a more strategic Indoor Garden Patrol deployment. Image

For Thanksgiving-December holidays Winter Indoor Tomato harvest with extra early and early maturing cool-temp-tolerant varieties, August 1 seed drop has been the timing I have found to work in the past. You might need to start even earlier like mid-July for average-later maturing varieties, particularly slower dwarfs could fall short of the hoped for schedule.

My unconfirmed suspicion -- all based on general impression -- is that the plants become somehow aware of the 2-4 week period before and after winter solstice and slow down/stop growing. But if there are more advanced green tomatoes on the plant, they will mature and ripen as long as it's warm enough. If they have not grown enough, then they seem to just hang on the plant until after New Years to resume growing again.


...I still have some ladybugs left in the package from the fall-purchase, but I'm not sure if they are still alive -- I'll have to check. In the meanwhile, the already released ones are still around -- either originals or next generation from eggs they laid. I saw several -- on the Yellow Room peppers and Winter Wonderland Dwarf Moringa and orchids yesterday. They could also be ones that escaped out between the inside and outside windows -- maybe they managed to find a crevice to hibernate in and are now waking up.... This is a good thing because ants have been invading -- recent warm temps must have thawed them out.
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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

As mentioned before, spring thaw = ant invasion and subsequent increase in aphid and scale infestation. But everytime I thought about intervening, there was a patrolling ladybug, etc.

I'm glad I didn't employ extreme measures because look what I found scurrying on the orchid blossoms and stems -- these are ladybug larvae in case you don't recognize them -- they have spread out to the peppers as well Image

Image
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

My little tea shrub Camelia sinensis var. sinensis has started to leaf out since mid-February or so. It had a bit of set back last year, but seems to be recovering. Hoping to get an extra surge in growth this year after putting it outside... larger container? More fertilizer???? But maybe it would do better with a colder winter dormancy period... (this is in a cooler southeast window with blocked heating vent and positioned near the right/darker side with no direct supplemental light)

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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Image I discovered ladybug eggs on the plastic panel guarding the Not Peach Bhut from the pepper foliage munching kitties

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It looks a bit messy because this is one of the mite-infested peppers that is recovering, so I drop mite-killed leaves at the base of the stems as much as I can, and the ones that fell between the container and the shoplight are left where they are -- in case there are predatory mites on the leaves (it stands to reason there would have been some on the heaviest infested leaves). I want them to climb back up the plant rather than tossing the leaves in the compost collector without any way for them to get back on the plants.
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

The eggs were ready to hatch today -- haven't gone to look...they may have come out already :D There was also a pupa on the shoplight reflector. Not sure if the dark color means it's ready to come out (it could be -- reminds me of the color of Monarch butterfly chrysalis when they turn clear on just before eclosing). I usually see the opaque lighter orange colored ones. On the other hand, this might be the big larva I saw earlier which had been crawling around on the reflector, and maybe it had molted into the pupa form.

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john gault
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Ladybugs love to lay eggs in my live oak tree and every year about this time I see tons of their larvae; what's cool about them is they remind me of little battle vehicles (like a humvee) and they do have a tremendous appetite for aphids.

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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Yep, it's always good to have something large, like trees that provide attractive habitat for predatory ladybugs. In my garden, I discovered to my delight that the plum tree in the back yard and golden locust in the front yard serve this function. Not only the trees but areas under them to just beyond the drip line become full of mature ladybug larvae and pupae, and we have to be careful of weeding and mowing until they eclose.
:()

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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Winter Indoor Garden -- the coffee tree is in bloom again.
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Garage V8 Nursery is getting busy. The upper shelf is dedicated to the started seedlings waiting for their chance/turn to go outside to harden off.

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The container fig trees will need to go outside soon -- the New unfolding and developing buds•fruits are in danger to being rubbed and bumped off while I'm tending to the seedlings, and they are basically in the way.

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john gault
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

applestar wrote:Winter Indoor Garden -- the coffee tree is in bloom again.
Image
That first pic is a Coffee tree? I've been wanting to get one, but what caught my eye is that those flowers look much like the flower of a citrus tree. Am I seeing that correctly? Are the flowers fragrant, like a citrus?

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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Yep. More about this tree -- shrub -- here :arrow: Subject: COFFEE SEED IS SPROUTING!

The flowers don't have significant fragrance, but line each branch so it's very pretty when in bloom, and it blooms in several flushes through the year.
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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Here are two of my overwintered peppers being readied to be planted out. As you can see, this Aji Pineapple and Jalapeño were dug up and crammed into the doubled grocery bag *to be potted up later* ...but they seemed fine all winter in their bags and I never got around to potting them up. They spent the winter by a SE-facing upstairs bedroom window with nominal supplemental light -- it was a double CFL bulb 2.5 feet away with other plants in between.

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They both began showing signs of mite infestation but recovered after predatory mites were released. You can see some ripe fruits in the photo. Jalapeño is getting old and may not recover its vigor. I have several new jalapeño-type varieties that I started from seeds for this season.
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

I just binge-read this whole thread and I am so impressed! This is so beautiful and interesting. I had 5 little herbs in pots all winter - only 1 of the originals survived when I moved them to a more evenly warm/humid window by the kitchen sink - and even then my SO thought I was crazy (though he did very sweetly humor me). I can't imagine what he would think of this - especially releasing ladybugs indoors! :lol:

He's since come around a bit, realizing how much better it is to have fresh herbs in our food, and how much more cost effective it is just to keep them around both for that and for the pests that they deter!

Thank you for sharing :)

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applestar
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Re: 2016-17 Winter Indoor Garden

Thank YOU! :D

I'm so glad you enjoyed my little winter adventure. :() Yes, just show this thread to your SO and say -- "Look at this CRAZY person. At least I'm not THAT bad." :lol: Haha -- I would think anything would seem reasonable by comparison. :wink:

...I'm still occasionally finding ladybug pupa or larva (I didn't take a picture of the larva I found today :P )
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