Back on the balcony

Back on the balcony

It’s been a few months since we visited Vidu in Prague. Let’s see how all those uncommon vegetables on his balcony are doing now!

Hey Vidu! How are your plants doing now?

Almost all my plants are doing very well! The tomatoes, hot chillies, bitter gourd, gotu kola and chard all look great. I’ve never seen so many flowers on my tomato plants as this year! Unfortunately my okra and kangkung caught a bad aphid infestation. I keep spraying the kangkung with garlic water, but their growth is slower than usual. With the okra I sadly had to start over again. They looked great at first, but the combination of aphids and cold weather was too much for them. The “new” okra is doing okay so far, with some first signs of buds. They’re about eight weeks old, so they’re still relatively small. I hope there will be pods to harvest in late summer.
 

Unfortunately, these things happen. Are there also plants that are doing better than expected?

This is my first time growing bitter gourd, and I’m very pleasantly surprised by it. It’s growing rapidly and looks healthy with lots of flowers. There are some first fruits too, but I think it’ll be a few weeks before they’re ready to land om my plate. The vines are growing so fast that I have to check on them daily to prevent them from taking over the balcony. I think that in about a month there will be no stopping them anymore! An unexpected benefit of the bitter gourd is the soft jasmine-like fragrance of the plant. It’s a nice change to feel a subtle natural scent on my balcony, which is otherwise quite scent-less.
 

In which phase are your plants right now? 

All fruit-bearing plants are in full bloom and have some first fruits. The tomatoes just started turning red, the hot chillies are still small and green and the bitter gourds are hopefully maturing well too. The okra, which is still young, are showing their first buds. The plants where you eat the leaves or the whole stem with leaves like gotu kola, chard or kangkung can be harvested every two weeks now!
 

Sounds good! Which products help you in this phase?

I use Cocos A&B and Pure Zym for all my plants. For the fruit-bearing plants I add Sugar Royal and PK 13-14. It's the first season I am trying out these last two products and I am very happy with the results. There are much more flowers on each plant than last year! Additionally, the tomatoes are more solid and taste better too.
 

How much of these products do you use?

I stick to the recommended dosage: 4ml Cocos A and 4ml Cocos B per litre of water. Initially I tried experimenting with a slightly lower dosage on the kangkung and gotu kola, but the plants didn’t do too well. The gotu kola leaves were yellowy and the kangkung wasn’t thriving either. When I started giving them the recommended dosage of Cocos A&B, the plants slowly improved. After that, I stuck with 4ml for all my plants. For Pure Zym, PK 13-14 and Sugar Royal I also stick to the recommended dosages. Overall I need about ten to fifteen litres of water per day for all my plants, with the corresponding amounts of basic nutrients and other products. This year I actually needed a bit more nutrients because of the problems with my okra. Luckily Plagron sells 5 litre cans too!
 
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