Plant feeding update

This time it’s time to feed all the plants!

I’m feeding them at 11:40 am, from the top, until water comes out the bottom. I’m also leaving them in front of an open window in hopes that that will help dry out the top layer faster. Zeus and Kepler both took about 24 oz.

Zeus and Kepler are both looking great. Kepler seems a little greener than Zeus, maybe because Zeus didn’t get fed on the last cycle.

It’s been mostly cloudy and rainy in the past week, so the outdoor basils haven’t grown a lot. Ghost Fire and Prince look very good, as does Morty. Summer is still bouncing back, but looks strong now.


Plants have seemed overall pretty healthy. Summer is, of course a bit battered, but otherwise seems strong. The indoor guys are doing really well, although I have killed 4 or 5 little red bugs which I think are spider mites. Today I got one on Zeus’s pot. On two of the top set of leaves, spots have formed. On one leaf they’re little white bumps on the top of the leave, and the other is little black dots on first leaves of the newest top stems. I’ll have to keep an eye on them over the next few days.

Pictures and update

Summer is having a rough time. It has been windy the past couple days, and Summer and Morty have been blowing around a lot. Basil can be susceptible to bruising, and I think the constant bashing and rubbing of the two to leaves has caused bruising. The two large bruises are right were the two top leaves have been running into one another. There is even damage to the new steam leaves at the top.

Morty shows a little shredding on the edge of one of his leaves, I think from the same thing. I moved the flag back because the bottom edge was hitting the stalk, and I think created visible bruises there as well. Both Summer and Morty are getting a little bit barky around the base of the stalk, possibly from being thrashed about in the wind.

Ghost Fire and Prince, removed from the windy rail corridor, and planted in slightly larger pots, look very healthy. Ghost fire has a small bruise on one of the leaves where it is in contact with the metal pot.

Kepler and Zeus both look happy and healthy. Their new leaf sets are really starting to take off, even tiny leaves in the place where the seedling leaves used to be. Kepler’s actually a little further along even.

Cara’s growing some catnip, and one of the seedlings has threefold symmetry! I hope it grows into a real plant…

More burns?

There are some more ‘burn’ marks showing up on some of the leaves. They seem to show up between the veins of the leaf. If you look closely, it even looks like some of the leaves have thinned between the ribs of the large leaves. I hope they don’t turn into ‘burns’. They have been getting a lot of directly light from the sun and the CFLs. A couple days ago I moved them back to 2.5” from the bulbs.

The soil did seem dry, so I watered them both from the bottom. The rule of thumb is 2 knuckles on the index finger means water, but I have long fingers! It’s possible that the soil is getting a little too dry and that’s what’s making the leaves susceptible to the burns. So I think I’ll shoot for 1-1.5 knuckles deep. The window was open today, too, which may have dried the soil a little faster.

The outdoor basil are now outdoors,  and they’re doing really well. Yesterday, we cut the tops off all of those for a second pizza (the bread machine makes 2 dough’s worth). Cara watered them too, but I’ll need to be keeping a close eye on things.

Also, there was one spider mite on Zeus, and a couple on Summer Sunshine, but they were easily knocked away. It was pretty windy today, so they probably blew in. If it ever becomes a problem, I can make a special soap solution.

Otherwise, the plants are all healthy. The new branches are starting to take off already, and growing at a very good rate.


Thank you Kepler and Zeus. Perfect amount for one hothouse tomato, mozzarella, and basil pizza. Drizzle some olive oil on that, and bake at 450 deg F fro about 15-20 minutes. Delicious.

Initial Harvest

All plants are looking really good. The outdoor plants made it over night, but we brought them in to get them some more light in the front room. Plus it’s windy, so I’ll put them out tomorrow morning, probably.

I lopped the tops off of Zeus and Kepler, just after the second set of true leaves. We’ll use it for pizza tomorrow. The outdoor plants need a little more time for the third set of leaves to separate from the second, so I’ll probably harvest in a couple days. Zeus and Kepler look sad and bare, but new branches are on the way.

We put the two tops into a vase with water to store until tomorrow.


Plant food

Yesterday the outdoor plants were outside from 9 am to 9 pm, about 50-60 degrees F, and they look happy and healthy.

It’s been about a month, and the soil was starting to get dry, so I went ahead and added plant food to everyone except Zeus, who has new soil. I used the recommended 1/4 tsp of plant food to 1/4 gallon, and watered gently from the top using a small secondary container, trying not to disturb the soil too much. I used about 1 cup for all the outdoor basils combined, and 1.5 cups fro Kepler.

For Zeus, I watered from the bottom every 10 minutes or so until the top soil felt moist.

Hardening day 1

It was about 50 degrees F this morning, and rose up to 59. Partly cloudy. I put the basil out at 9, and Cara brought it in at 12:30 pm, so about 3.5 hours. Cara says Prince was drooping hard, but the others were fine. She put Prince under the CFL and it came back to life right away.

They’re all happy. Tomorrow I’ll probably put them out in the morning again, then Cara will monitor them and try to leave them out until later.

Starter Leaves

The seedling leaves on the plants are starting to turn black around the edges. I hope it’s not fungus. Anyways, it seems that once the plant has plenty of leaves, this is normal as the starter leaves aren’t needed any more. I started to clip the worst one with scissors, but it pretty much fell off in my hand when I touched it. So I went ahead and gave all the starter leaves a tug test, and Zeus, Prince, and Kepler all lost them easily. They seem to still be useful on the others.

Rodney was healthy, so I gave him to Lani.

After the transplant they didn’t grow much for a couple days, I guess because they were spending energy growing new roots to dig in, but they started popping up over the past 24 hours. Zeus is 6” tall now, and ready for the first harvest! Kepler is almost there at 5” tall. The others look healthy and are growing, but not as fast. I’m hoping to do one big harvest this weekend, and then also water with plant food for the first time this season, though I hope the pots will be dry enough…

Speaking of watering, Cara water the (soon to be) outside plants from the bottom which seemed to be very effective. I’ve been going off the second knuckle rule (put finger in soil down to second knuckle. If it’s dry there, water it from the bottom). It’ll probably end up being about once a week, but I’ll keep checking them daily. The plant food will have to be watered from the top, of course, and will also serve to wash salts downward which was recommended earlier. I should water from the top once a month. The plant food is recommended every two weeks…

I should skip feeding Zeus since he’s in fresh soil (which comes with probably 1 month of fertilizer), but Kepler has the old soil, about 1 month old now, and the others have soil from last year. So Zeus will get some special treatment, and I can probably just water him from the bottom.

I’d like to move the little plants outside since that’s where they’re going to live. For best transition, they will need to be hardened. The idea is over 7-10, to get them ready to live outdoors so they don’t get shocked and die. Naturally, start with a few hours a day, and move up, avoiding days with rough conditions (cold, windy, high temperature difference from the previous day). Tomorrow I’ll set the plants outside before I leave for work, then Cara will bring them in. So that will be a quite a bit, but the transfer should have toughened them up a good deal already… I hope… We’ll keep an eye on them…


Yellow Seedling Leaves – Why Are My Seedlings Turning Yellow


All the plants are over 3” tall with at least 2 sets of leaves. We are ready to replant!

Zeus is going to a new 8” pot that is 1/3 – 1/4 perlite. I used a little more than 1 handful of perlite to 3 handfuls of potting soil. I mixed it in a separate bowl, then put it straight into the pots packing down lightly. Zeus went into his own 8” pot. Kepler was replanted into the 8” pot where he and his friends grew up. I removed the soil, mixed with perlite, and repotted. The others went to smaller containers outdoors where Cara took the soil from last year (standard potting soil, but possibly infected with downy mildew) and mixed it with perlite for a drier soil. It will be interesting to see if they become infected with downy mildew. I tried to take reasonable measures to avoid infecting Zeus and Kepler who will remain indoors. Cara gave Rodney to Lani.

Except for Zeus, almost all the plants are drooping–probably due to shock. The answers in this post make me confident that this is to be expected, and they should recover with some sunlight. Too bad it’s raining outside. I put Zeus and Kepler under the CFLs.

The sun came out on and off around 4:30 pm, so we put all the plants in the front room. They’re getting pretty good lighting, so far at least through 6:00 pm. They’re starting to look alive again.

Bottom watering Kepler and Zeus – Kepler drank a good amount, but Zeus’s uptake has slowed, possibly because this is new, very dry, and less connected soil. I may have to put it in a bucket of water later to make sure everything gets wet.

Now it’s 7:30 pm and they much happier. Not fully recovered, but pretty damn close. Zeus and Kepler are back under the CFL, and the 4 others are on the window sill, 1-2 feet away getting a little bit of the light.

Also, Jim H. suggested that the brown markings on Zeus and Ghost Fire might be burns, especially since I had misted them with water on a sunny morning. Indeed, they haven’t spread to other plants, or in size. GrandmaGos independently suggested that it could be burns, but didn’t think that misting it with water would have anything to do with it. GG also suggested that I should ditch the CFL lighting, but I think I’m going to keep it for now.