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Peppers, Carrots, Herbs, Stevia (Another Garden Update)

Jalapenos (July 12)Jalapenos (July 12) Small Garden (July 12)Small Garden (July 12) Stevia Plant -- Ordered OnlineStevia Plant -- Ordered Online More on the garden. All the way to the left of the big garden I have jalapenos; they didn't fit into the pictures in the post I put up yesterday.

The jalapenos were ravaged by insects early on, so they're only now starting to actually grow. I had them under tulle floating row covers for awhile, and then starting using diatomaceous earth and pesticides to keep the bad things away from them. They're still kinda struggling, but are starting to establish themselves. (Same situation with the bell peppers, which are in the next picture down, but they seem to have recovered more quickly.)

Behind the jalapenos you can see the cantaloupes and watermelons that did fit into yesterday's pictures, and off to the right are the pumpkins and cucumbers.

I have marigolds interspersed throughout both gardens. None of them have bloomed yet so they're not all that obvious, but the ones that I put in earlier are starting to get quite large. There's a marigold plant in between the jalapenos and the cantaloupes too, but it's kinda hard to see exactly what's what in the picture.

I find garden photography so frustrating. Getting a closeup focused on one plant is one thing, but pictures of whole sections of garden end up looking confusing. Green in front of green, green behind green, green hidden and tucked behind green.. even labeled it's hard to tell what's what.

And the confusing-garden-pictures problem is nicely illustrated in the next picture. You can see the row of bell peppers, you can see the row of tomatoes to the right of it.. but then there's that left row. It has basil at the front, then a section with cilantro and oregano side by side behind the basil, and then a section of carrots. But the basil bush hides the oregano and cilantro, so I guess you'll just have to use your imagination to see them.

The original volunteer Brandywine tomato plant that sprouted up out of the top of my herb planter sometime around the end of winter is in the front of this row of tomatoes.. but you can't see it here. Perspective is so darn annoying in garden pictures!

And yes, I know, the deck is a bit of a cluttered mess. I really need to come up with some kind of decent outdoor storage solution. What am I supposed to do with not-currently-in-use plant supports, rakes, shovels, etc? It seems absurd to bring stuff like that all the way around front and into the garage when I still need them out back. We don't have a shed.

And the bottom picture is the Stevia Plant I ordered from a seller on Amazon. (It was one of those semi-Amazon purchases where you have to click the "see all buying options" rather than having a normal "add to cart" button. Not sure what's up with that, usually even things that aren't fulfilled by Amazon have a normal "add to cart" button. The seller on this one was "So Succulent Gardens.")

I decided to just buy a plant after figuring out that at least one of the seedlings I've been growing wasn't actually stevia. (The bottom one in that last stevia post turned out to be mint. This wasn't all that surprising as the mint I planted last year never sprouted.. so the seeds had to be somewhere!)

Stevia Seedlings

Indoor Stevia SeedlingIndoor Stevia Seedling Outdoor Stevia SeedlingOutdoor Stevia Seedling I split up my stevia seedlings; one inside and one outside. The leaves on the outside one look a bit gnarled, but it's also significantly stouter than the indoor seedling. The indoor seedling taller, but distinctly more fragile.

The windowsill really doesn't get quite enough light. It's good for starting seeds, but not quite enough for decent growth. In the fall I'll probably put in a grow light to supplement the light so I can keep a few plants going through the winter. Herbs at least, but it would be nice to keep at least a few vegetables going.

The rest of the garden is doing more or less okay. I'm having big bug problems. The cucumber beetles are bad. And of course, so are the stink bugs. Really bad. I've been using diatomaceous earth, Dipel, and insecticidal soap, and tulle floating row covers, and they all help some.. but not quite enough. I finally bit the bullet and ordered Sevin. I'm getting some cucumber wilt. I've read that you diagnose bacterial wilt by breaking the stem and seeing if there's a milky sap inside and it'll be kinda sticky. It's not, but there's still some kind of wilt problem. And this was a strain that was supposedly disease resistant.. maybe just not to bacterial wilt, though. So I set up another fence for cucumbers, will plant some more, and will use the Sevin. I may order some more seeds too, of one of the really good disease-resistant varieties.

Stevia From Seed and Ordering Plants Online

Tiny Stevia SeedlingTiny Stevia Seedling
I ordered a packet of Stevia Seeds along with an Amazon order awhile ago, before I actually knew anything about growing stevia. The overall rating was low, but included "reviews" like "how many seeds are in this packet?" and of course, non-review reviews piss me off to no end. They were eligible for super saver shipping, so I ordered them to push an order over the $25 necessary to qualify for the free shipping.

At the time I didn't realize that germination rates on stevia are rather low, so I only planted a few outside. I don't think they've sprouted outside, but I planted them out in the big garden and that's not really a great place for starting seeds. After learning that they're fairly difficult to start, I poured the rest of the packet into cup of dirt inside and sat it on the windowsill, not really expecting much since it was a fairly small packet. I've actually gotten two started, though!

I divided them into separate cups, and placed one of them outside and left the other on the windowsill. Both are growing slowly (as seedlings tend to do before they establish enough leaf surface area for faster growth,) but are growing.

There have been subsequent reviews (after I bought these seeds) stating that they don't grow at all. This I find pretty strange, especially since one person says that they ordered three packets. I'll have to leave a review stating that mine are growing, but since they're tiny and not really established yet, I'm still holding off making judgments either way about them, particularly since I've had massive problems with strawberries sprouting as tiny seedlings and then dying.

Just to be certain (given that I use a significant amount of artificial sweeteners, growing stevia would be really nice,) I'm kinda considering ordering an already started plant. As far as I can tell, there is one place online, Michigan Bulb Company that sells established stevia plants. If I want to order, I'll have to soon, because their spring shipping season is almost over. But they have flat rate shipping, and I can't order just one little thing when there's flat rate shipping involved! ..So I'm still debating it. Maybe I'll tack on an order for a grape plant.. if I can figure out where I'd want to set up supports and all for grapes. Grapes are something I keep thinking about growing anyways.. it's just the "where" that's a tad problematic. And I don't want to give up on my started plants. But three plants are better than two, right?

Some of those dwarf citrus trees are pretty tempting too. But then I have to decide just which one or two I want, and I have problems deciding what I don't want to grow. I want to grow everything!

I'm also still a tad nervous about ordering live plants online. I've ordered plenty of seeds online, but still haven't ordered any actual plants. I know some come as bare root and some actually come potted, but I'm having trouble picturing just what a plant traveling through the mail would look like.

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