Thursday, May 15, 2014

Urban gardening update, May 15th.

(I'm trying something special this year and am keeping a "photo blog," telling my story mostly through images but with a bit of description added as well, concerning my first-ever year of being an urban gardener. Check the "Garden 2014" photoset at my Flickr account for the entire series, including more photos for each entry than you see here.)

May 15: No news to report today; just wanted to get some shots taken of how all the new seeds are growing. As you can see, everything besides the latest morning glories have now sprouted, pretty amazing given that a lot of this stuff was planted only four days ago -- you can really tell with these seeds that we've now entered a period of the year with longer days and warmer temperatures, in that these same exact seeds would take a week or two to sprout back in March and April. But of course, as always, these plants are growing at sometimes vastly different rates -- the chamomile and lavender, for example, are both really taking their time, with these delicate little sprouts whose progress can barely be tracked, while the coleus is growing as fast as a weed, and with a much higher seed-to-sprout rate than just about anything else I've tried this year. (Just to remind you, I've included a photo of what these coleus plants will look like as adults; the hope is that these will provide some shockingly bright colors to my indoor garden, a notoriously difficult environment for growing traditional bright flowers, and that these bushy plants can serve as a main centerpiece in the middle of my apartment to help draw the eye of guests who are sitting on the couch.)

I'm also happy to say that my morning glory plant is producing more and more flower buds by the day, and that they're getting closer and closer to reaching adult size and blooming; just to remind you, I literally grew this entire plant from pebbly seeds, in an environment that the garden center told me was impossible for morning glories to thrive in, so this is probably the most personally satisfying plant of my entire garden right now, and I'm really looking forward to it finally blooming. And interestingly, just a week after plucking them for a dinner party, my adult basil plants are showing significant growth of new leaves again, in this fascinatingly mathematical way -- basically, none of the plucked branches are growing again, but there are new leaves growing precisely in the crevice between these plucked branches and the main stalks they're connected to. This is something surprising that I've learned here during my first year of gardening, of how mathematically precise the growing of these plants can get, with slightly different rules for each particular plant -- how in the case of moonflowers, for one example, each plant ALWAYS starts with two weird V-shaped leaves that shoot up out of the ground, then ALWAYS continues growing by its first adult heart-shaped leaf appearing in the crack between these two leaf stalks, and with every new leaf after that ALWAYS appearing whenever a new crevice has been formed by a growing previous leaf. I had always thought of plant growth as chaotic and random, so it's fascinating to see that there's this baked-in mathematical formula encoded right into the plant's DNA. Anyway, more later as always!

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