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Phunque’s Desk - the Yellow Room

When the Wife decide to hire a carpenter to build an addition on the south side of the house, she sweetened the pot considerably, adding a pantry and a sun room for me. She got an extension on her sewing room and I got two rooms. I don’t remember putting up all that much resistance, but I must have.

Years before that I built a green house on the south side of our first house. I devised double pane glass but it leaked. It was about ready to fall down when we sold it and the buyer took it down just before it fell.

We learned a lot in the few years we had it. We never successfully grew carrots. They grew, but they were so strong they were awful. We learned what white flies were and we learned how hard it is to kill aphids.

Tomatoes seem to breed white flies and support their lifestyle. Peppers encourage aphids.

At this moment, late December 2018, there are aphids on the only pepper I managed to keep alive all summer. Last Spring when I carried it outside, something ate the aphids, but as soon as I moved it back in, the aphids came right back. I’m knocking on wood here as I write this, but I haven’t had white flies for three years. Now I’m probably doomed. I trimmed the infected pepper plant way back and sprayed twice with DEET. It killed one generation of aphids, but more must have hatched.

We bought a grow light and a timer. This time of year the timer turns the light on at 5:00 in the evening and keeps a red glow in the back yard until 8:00. It’s a certified grow light and it looks red to the naked eye. If you get close, you can see some blue light way up in there. We’re trying to make the tomatoes think it’s summer.

But the magical time in the yellow room is in the sunshine. There are a lot of windows in the yellow room. There is one on the south and one on the west and the Wife designed another wall that is at a 45-degree angle and there is a window in that wall as well. So when the sun is shining, it really shines.

This year I have several tomato plants, two atomic grape plants (one three-feet tall that became very ill mid-summer and still hasn’t started blooming again and one that I planted late in the summer), a bloody butcher that is three years old, and a new early girl. The early girl shot up to the ceiling in two weeks and the tallest stem got heavy and fell over. I have a wire cage around it that is holding the stem off the bench. I discovered the first bloom yesterday. I will tap the stem daily to move the pollen around and fertilize it. Outside the wind moves tomato blossoms enough to pollinate them. Blossoms that aren’t pollinated will not produce fruit.

There is a geranium that has had a red bloom all summer as far as I can remember. They last several days and then another opens. There is an African violet that has a bunch of spent blossoms that I need to remove. The Wife has three orchids and two of them bloomed this past summer. She says that an orchid requires at least 20 degrees difference between day and night temperatures to blossom.

Last year I bought most of my summer garden seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog. Two weeks ago they sent me two exactly alike and I was glad because Dale, my co-custodian at the Senior Center, needs one, too. When mine arrived the Wife said, “Oh no. I know what you will be doing for a week.”

Well, you have to read your seed catalog.

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