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We're working on a new site and hope it to be up soon. In the meantime, enjoy our old blogs and how-tos.
We're working on a new site and hope it to be up soon. In the meantime, enjoy our old blogs and how-tos.
This is the shelf I have. It's a Husky 5 shelf heavy duty shelving system. It can hold up to 1,000 lbs per shelf, so it's more than enough for some plants and lights. Once we get the shelves rearranged, there will be about 1.5' between each shelf, which is more than enough.
The only complaints I have about it are:
I wish I had seen this one when I bought mine, as I would have liked gotten it instead.
It's the same brand and same type of shelf. The only difference is that it is 60" wide instead of 48". That means you can fit 6 trays on each shelf.
Since it was time for the peas to start popping up, I needed to add lights to the third shelf where those plants are sitting. So on Friday I ran to Home Depot and picked up everything I needed to add two more lights to the shelf. I now have three shelves of plants with 2 lights on each.
And it was a good thing, too, as by Saturday morning there were a whole bunch of peas that had popped up. Now they'll have the light that they need.
So, I started more seeds today. It's an ongoing process to grow seedlings, as some plants need more time, some you grow early in the season, some you start later. As such, I usually have seeds going into dirt from January through April - even later if I do a fall planting.
A question I see a lot from people who container garden is what to do with the soil from last year that is in their containers. Do they get rid of it? Reuse it? What? It seems like every year once we get close to growing season that this question comes up.
There are a lot of options. If you have a compost pile, you can dump all of the old soil that doesn't have plants currently growing in it, bulbs that will come back each year, etc. This gives it a chance to be reinvigorated by the nutrients it picks up from your compost heap. But what if you don't have a compost heap?
A friend asked me today how I attach my lights to my shelves where I grow my seedlings.
The shelves themselves aren't solid - they're a grid. So I bought some s-biners and chain. S-biners are similar to a s-hook, except that they have a closure that you can open by pushing, just like a carabiner. This means I don't have to worry about bumping a light or chain and the hook slipping, causing the light to fall.
Well, recently we were told that we had to remove everything that wasn't physically on/attached to the patio - no plants out on the ground. When I pointed out that I had permission to do this and it was in the same place as always, I was told that they had never given permission, had never seen the garden, etc. Now this was the exact person who I had talked to about my garden multiple times and had approved it. They tried saying in past years they'd just seen the greenhouse. A greenhouse that I just bought and installed this year. After a little more poking, it was clear that they had visited the garden this year (since that's the only time I had a greenhouse) and had to have seen all the containers since those were already there.
After a little back and forth, I ripped up a good chunk of the garden and the rest seems to be ok for now. Didn't make me too happy to pull up all my pumpkins, most of my squash, much of my cucumbers, etc. - it was probably $100+ worth of plants. Needless to say, we'll be moving as soon as we can, as I am tired of this kind of thing.
So how can you help protect yourself?
If they approve you having a garden, greenhouse, planters, etc., get it in writing. And get that again every time you sign your lease. Make sure that it states that this agreement supersedes anything in your lease, community rules, etc.
Set up your garden and then have them visit. Ask them if there are any issues with what you have, where it is at, etc. Then you can fix it before your plants get too established. My landlord couldn't seem to understand why it would be an issue moving a pot that is probably 20 gallons with a 7' tall tomato plant in it.
You might even want to document the visit, such as recording it. Just make sure what the laws are regarding recording other people.
Once they've ok'd it, take photos, print them, and have them sign off.
This should help protect you for at least the duration of your current lease if they try to change things midway like they did to us.
Powdery mildew is a problem for me every year. I live in an apartment that runs their sprinklers several times throughout the night from about 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Since these run at night when it's cool, it never fails that mildew starts to grow. Not to mention that it never fails that we get rainy days that are cool.
I've tried just about everything over the years. Several people mentioned Neem Oil, so I finally picked some up at the store recently when I found it on sale. I mixed up some and put it in a spray bottle and went to work. I gave everything that had mildew on them a good spraying and everything else that could get mildew got a light spray. And then I waited to see what happened.
A week later and there was maybe 30% the amount of mildew on the leaves as there had been previously. I was so excited, as some of the leaves were just completely white and fuzzy. I've got to do another spraying, as the bottle recommended every week until it's cleared up and every 14 days to help prevent mildew.
Hopefully within a few weeks the plants will all nice and healthy again. Having this mildew on it makes it hard for the plant to photosynthesize, and it can die.
Usually when I have to deal with wilted seedlings,it's outside. Maybe we had too hot of a day and they need extra water. Or I didn't harden them off long enough. But this year I'm having the issue indoors. We've been so hot indoors lately that they are acting like they're having issues from not being hardened off long enough. Problem is they're indoors. It's just too hot inside for them and I don't have ac in that part of the house, so there's not a lot I can do (only in the bedroom).
I'm considering moving the ones most affected (cucumbers and eggplant) into my bathroom in the evenings and giving them some cool off time.
I'm looking forward to the day when I'm in a house that stays cooler or has something like a basement that stays cool. Then the poor plants won't have such a problem when the house is unusually hot. They were doing great until it got hot inside.
I am so tired of aphids. First I had the usual ones on my chives. I bought ladybugs. Then we found them indoors on my seedlings. I tried organic insecticidal soap, but that only works if it touches the bugs and they were good at hiding. So then I moved them outside and bought more ladybugs. Then a few days later I find an infestation on my kale. This time it was a different kind of aphid - these looked like globs of ash. The kale had been fine just a few days earlier. I ended up having to pull up half of it to protect the rest.
Then more seedlings inside got aphids. Then I found black ones on my beans.
I swear everywhere I turn I'm fighting aphids. And looking around town, it appears to be an issue many people are having. I'm noticing them on roses and such all over town.
I haven't posted much lately because it's just been rainy, rainy, rainy. Lots of rain. Even some hail and thunderstorms. Thankfully the hail was smaller and my plants a good size, as early in the season that could have decimated the garden.
I'm noticing a lot of pale leaves and yellow leaves across plants. This is because when you get this amount of rain it washes much of the nutrients out of your garden, especially if you are container gardening. After you've had a lot of rain it is very important to make sure you feed your plants and make up for the nutrition they lost from all the rain. I'll do my usual weekly treatment, but will also likely do some fish fertilizer and Epsom salts to make up for what they lost.
It is so hot here this weekend. Normally in June this area of Oregon should average about 78° for the high. This weekend we're expected to hit 100°+. With it being so hot, you've got to be certain to take care of your plants so that they make it through such high temps. That is especially true if you go from lower temperatures to really high ones like we've done (we were in the 60s).
Typically once planted in the ground or in a large pot, tomato plants will grow quickly. I usually see at least a foot's growth in the first few weeks, as well as a lot more branches.
If yours aren't growing very well, there are a few reasons this could be:
- It's too cold. Tomato plants are not fond of the cold and might not grow as well under those conditions.
- Not enough nutrients. Did you give the plant some kind of tomato food, fertilizer, etc when you planted it? Mine get a handful of long lasting granular fertilizer in the hole before I put in the plant.
- Using too much energy on buds/tomatoes. Did you pinch off any buds that popped up? It may seem crazy, but until your plant is a good size you should pinch off any buds that appear. This allows the plants to focus their energy on growing the plant instead of growing tomatoes. This will meant a healthier plant and more tomatoes later.
I planted my tomatoes in their pots on May 5th. I started growing them inside from seed at the beginning of March and then moved them outside a couple weeks before I planted them so they could harden off.
Here's what they looked like the day I planted them:
Here's a comparison of what they looked like on May 23 (when my husband helped me stake and mulch them) and today on June 1:
Planting tomatoes for the first time? Maybe been growing them for a while, but just been putting them into the ground without much thought to their roots? If so, did you know that tomatoes like to be planted nice and deep? Tomatoes are one of the plants that thrives on being transplanted because they love it when you bury their stem deep. I do this when I transplant the tomatoes from the seedling cells to the 4" pots and again when I plant them in my garden. This helps build a strong root system, which means better access to the water and nutrients in your soil.
All those little hairs and bumps that you see on a tomato plant can become roots if they get close to or touch the dirt. This is why sometimes when you buy a tomato plant you'll see roots right at the surface. This isn't a problem plant, it's one that is developing a better root system.
The garden is doing pretty well. Planted more carrot seeds a little while back, as something happened and most did not germinate. It could be that the cats were in the planters again. Lots of little carrot plants popping up now.
The tomato plants are growing like crazy. I think they really like that new fertilizer I bought. Same with the squash.
I'm planning to post a bunch of pictures sometime soon. Things have just been hectic with work and I haven't gotten a chance to prep all the photos for posting on the web.
Hope your gardens are doing well!
A lot of people are used to plants where the fruit doesn't grow until a flower has been pollinated. So when fruit shows up on a squash, pumpkin, or gourd plant, they assume it means the flower has been pollinated. When they don't see any fruit, they try pollinating the flowers themselves. The problem is that these kinds of plants don't work that way - they have male and female flowers. The male flowers go from the stem to flower, while female flowers have a fruit at the bottom.
Click any of the photos to see a larger version. Sorry about the quality - I didn't realize until I was all done with the photos that it was saving them as gifs instead of png.
Now that it's finally warmed up at night, my heirloom cucumbers are ready to go in your garden. They've been hardened off and have gigantic root systems (some already hanging out of the bottom of the 4" pots). Many already have blossoms.
All plants are grown organically by me and not treated with anything except Alaska Fish Fertilizer (organic, OMRI listed). Plants are in pots that are approximately 3.5"x3.5"x4" (often times called 4" starts). All have been hardened off and are ready for planting in the ground or in large pots.
Here's what I will have available starting this weekend:
Muncher Burpless - short and thick, can be pickled
Marketmore 76 - heavy, early, and long, can be pickled
Sumter - perfect for pickling
Spacemaster - compact, high yields; great for containers
Straight Eight - classic straight 8" cukes
Lemon cucumbers will be coming, they are just a little behind the others. If you want some of these and are certain you will pick them up, I will put a hold on them for you.
For those who are new to growing tomatoes from seed, it can be hard to know if your plants are growing on schedule as they should or whether they are behind. I've gone through my photos taken this year to give you an idea of over the course of a little over a month and a half about how your tomatoes should look. This covers from when I planted the seeds to when I moved them outside to harden off to when they were ready for sale/planting.
I keep my tomatoes inside in the warmth of the house until they are ready to be planted outside. At that point they go outside to be hardened off. Previously that meant outside in the sun for several hours and then back indoors at night. Now that I have a portable greenhouse, they go into there and I can close that up at night. Until they're ready for that, they stay indoors under the lights. Otherwise you can severely stunt their growth. They should not be moved back and forth from indoors to outdoors while they are small.
This should give you a better idea of how things should grow over that time. Next year I'll work on trying to take specific pictures of each seedling type daily so that we get a better idea of progression.
You can view the photos here in the gallery.
Yesterday I was out working with my plants and noticed that the kale had an usually high number of dead leaves. That was odd since it had been doing so well.
A little while later I went to add a little volunteer kale start that had popped up in another planter. Went to dig a hole for it and found that under the mulch the soil was completely saturated with water. I guess somehow I missed that this planter didn't have any drain holes in it. Seems like this is becoming an issue more and more. It used to be that pots all came with drain holes. Then they came with weak spots where you were supposed to use a hammer or other tool to pop those circles out. Now it seems like most have no way for the water to drain out.
So how do you solve this issue, especially when the planter already has soil and plants in it? A drill. Just put a drill bit into your drill and put as many holes into the pot as you'd like.
For now the pot has three holes on the one end. Later I'll add more.
Organizing your seeds can be a hard thing for some people. It's fine when you have a few packets, but what do you do when you have dozens? I wasn't sure, so I ended up diving them by type (tomato, squash, herbs, flowers, etc) and putting them in big envelopes. Inside each one is a ziplock for the open packets. I have the type written on the front of each envelope and I keep them in a container I bought at the dollar store. This makes it easy for me to flip through and find what I am looking for.
I also found this interesting way of doing it on the Frugal Mama & The Sprout blog. It uses a binder and photo pages to organize everything. This allows you to also add layouts of where everything is planted and then have the photo pages after it to hold each of the packets of seeds. I'm thinking of trying this next year.
Image courtesy of Frugal Mama & The Sprout
On the Montana Homesteader, they use an old photo album to hold everything together, including plans.
Reformation Acres has a whole bunch of ideas, including tic tac boxes and filing envelopes.
Thrifty Fun has even more ideas, including photo pocket pages and coupon organizers.
Many parts of the country are having abnormally high temperatures. That is definitely the case here where I live in Oregon. We're seeing temps in the mid to upper 80s and there's been some talk of us hitting 90 this month. For this part of Oregon, that is just crazy. We should be in the 60s and 70s right now.
For those of us who container garden, that means lots of watering. The plants haven't grown strong enough roots yet to be able to seek out all the water in the pot and the plants aren't strong enough yet to deal with this weather. That means a lot of wilting, shock, and possibly death. So how do you deal with this?
Go out first thing in the morning and give everyone a really good watering. Make sure not to miss anyone. Doing it early in the day before it gets too hot out decreases the amount of water lost due to evaporation and allows it to seep into the dirt.
Put mulch around your plants. Several of my pots have mulch all around the plants. Home Depot has been running a special lately on the weekends where big bags are only $2/each. I bought three, which appears to be way too much for my garden. Having never worked with mulch, I didn't realize that a little goes a long way. And be sure to have gloves as well, otherwise you will end up like me and be covered in slivers. I like working in the garden with my bare hands, but not with mulch! Adding mulch helps to keep moisture in your pots longer, which means they can better make it through these hot days.
Check on your plants during the day. If it's extremely hot outside, you may find some plants need a second watering. Just be careful, as you don't want to overwater and wash all your nutrients away. You can look at the soil and see how dry it looks, is it pulling away from the sides of the pot, etc.
Hopefully all of this will help you to protect your plants during these heat waves.
If you want to grow a garden that is free of chemicals, beneficial bugs are going to be a lifesaver for you. Without them, you'll end up with bugs all over your garden, killing plants, eating leaves, etc.
One of my favorites to use is the ladybug. They love aphids and can eat up a bunch of them. They'll also eat pollen as well, which means they may pollinate your plants. There's a good source of information about them here.
Ladybugs can be purchased at many feed stores, farm stores, etc. Here I've bought them at Coastal Farm & Ranch as well as Fred Meyer. They tend to come in a mesh bag or plastic cup. They tend to be in hibernation, but will wake up once they warm up. Don't be surprised if some are dead - that's normal. If a lot of them are dead, that's not, but don't be surprised if 10% or so are dead. That's why you get so many in the container.
Wait until it is almost dark and give your garden a good watering. The ladybugs are going to need a lot to drink once they get active. Then, just as it is getting dark, release your ladybugs. I tend to sprinkle them all over my garden so that I have good coverage. Ladybugs do not like to fly in the dark, which means they will stay in your garden. The longer you can get them to stay at the beginning, the more likely you are to keep some of them around.
When I came out the next morning, there were ladybugs everywhere. They were chasing bugs, eating pollen, and mating. I can only hope this means I'll find ladybug eggs later.
I also bought a little plastic house they had for ladybugs at the store. I am interested to see if this helps keep them around as well.
We're having unusually nice and warm weather here in my part of Oregon (80s in early April!), which means I'm busy outside in the garden. I have to take it slow and only do things in short bursts (and wait for others to do the heavy stuff), but I am getting as much done as I can. Trying to clear out all the peas, beans, and greens so that tomatoes can begin moving out to the greenhouse. Some have grown significantly faster than others and are blocking the light. As such, I'd like to get the big ones moved outdoors and give more room for the little ones. Plus it's about time to transplant all the peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers into bigger pots. That means I need the space.
My outside plants are doing really well. Lots of flower buds everywhere, including on my beans. I probably need to see about setting up my trellis soon for the peas and beans.
Picked up a bunch of potting soil yesterday as well as some new containers. Looking forward to transplanting more veggies soon. I'm a little behind last year, as I already had squash in containers on March 21st. Hoping to do those in the next few days. I've had them all outside hardening off the last few days.
Bought Abby some new flowers to go along with the ones she already has. She always likes having a number of flowers and I like all the pollinators they attract to the garden. I picked up a few colors of mums as well as some red Asiatic Lilies. We really love those kind and have been trying to get them in various colors. Each year we've added on a new color. We now have pink, yellow, orange, and red.
The snapdragons are doing really well, which makes me happy. I grew them all from seed last year and these are the ones that have returned for a second year. I also found a pansy in bloom, which is another flower I grew from seed last year.
I planted two large pots of carrots this year - one is the Short 'n Sweet variety, which is often times used for baby carrots. They grow shorter and sweeter than the average carrot variety. The other pot has heirloom rainbow carrots.
Last year I tried growing them, but we got a lot of rain shortly after I planted them. That caused the seeds to all run to the edge of the pots, which led to very few growing. This year the seeds were better established before we ended up with a bunch of rain.
Over the last week or so, little plants have slowly been emerging. I can't wait to have fresh carrots later this year.
So it's that time again - time to move the tomato plants from the little seedling cells into seedling pots. I'm especially careful when doing this since I only minimally thin the tomatoes - I only remove the ones that are significantly smaller than the rest. For any of the other cells, I very carefully separate each tomato plant and transplant them each separately into larger pots. It's rare that I lose one when I do that, but it happens occasionally. I still end up with way more plants doing this than if I were to only select one per cell. But it also means that I end up with a lot of tomatoes - about 7 trays worth this time.
The key is being very, very careful with the roots. Massage the ball of dirt and roots gently and then carefully separate each tomato by holding the plant and gently wiggling it away from the others. Then you can plant each one of them. You might break a few plants when doing this, but once you get the hang of it you'll end up with more plants than if you saved one per cell.
When I planted the Contender Beans, I knew that they were considered "early" beans. I didn't realize just how early they meant. They started growing beans while still in the house. So if you're looking for green beans that start growing very early, Contender is a very good choice. Just in the past two days I've already picked a few beans and they've just been growing in small seedling pots. Imagine what they'll do in big pots or in the ground.
Tomatoes and peppers are hot weather plants. They really prefer it when the temperatures are warm. So that means if it's not warm where you're growing, it's going to take longer for them to germinate and grow. That means it is best to help them stay warm and their soil moist if you want them to do well.
These plants are some of the few that I do use the clear tray covers on when they are germinating. The lights above them help them to stay nice and warm inside the trays, which helps them to grow. But I've found that it is best if you do this with seedling trays that are not made of materials like peat or coconut, as those mold very quickly. I've never been successful with those kinds of pots under the clear covers. As long as they don't get over-watered, I've not had an issue with the traditional plastic seed cells and regular seedling soil. But if you're using other kinds of pots or material to grow the seeds in, you may run into issues.
So the shelf greenhouse I originally bought had some issues, such as the zipper being broken. Then I found out some of the pieces that snap together had cracks in them. As such, I took it back to the store to exchange it. They were out of what I wanted, but offere me the larger greenhouse at a discount. I didn't think that was going to be an option, but my complex was pretty cool about it and said I could indeed have it. So now I have a nice walk-in greenhouse available on my patio.
It happens to us all - you get nice weather for a while and you put your seedlings out. Then the worst news comes out - you're going to have a cold snap. How do you protect your plants?
There are a number of ways you can do this, including:
So what should you choose? Below is some information on each option.
Well, I found that I really liked the other light I purchased better, so I packed up all the lights that I had purchased and returned them. When I bought them they weren't what I had wanted in the first place, and the way I had them hooked up made it difficult for me to water plants, move them around, etc. They'd said if they didn't work out I could bring them back within 30 days and that's exactly what I did. Now I have the new lights hooked up and I hope these are going to work better for me. It's much easier dealing with one light, two cords, and two chains on each shelf than two lights, two cords, and four chains. Ended up saving about $100 this way.
So Friday I went out to buy a new set of lights for the third shelf since my eggplant had popped up and I didn't want it to get too "leggy". Went to my usual store and they only had one light (I needed two). They said they might have more in later in the day, but didn't know. Didn't even offer to put one aside or order one. I bought what they had and then ran around town trying to find another. No such luck.
So I went to Home Depot to see what they had. Couldn't find any 4' T5 lights that plug in, but did find some T8 ones. They were just under $18. Then a set of two daylight bulbs for the fixture was like $9. So for less than $27 I got a light that actually works better than the T5 ones I bought previously. They're brighter and are longer (even though all of them are supposed to be 4'). So I think I am going to see about taking these other ones back and replacing them. I haven't been entirely happy with them, but they were what I could find. For the $40+ I spent on each one, I would expect more.
A lot of people want to grow their own vegetables, fruit, and herbs, but don't know where to start. It's taken me several years, but I've gotten pretty good at it. I continue to improve and learn from others and will be even better once I'm in a house where I can plant in the ground and have more room to work.
For the purpose of my blog, I'm talking about fruits and veggies in the culinary sense, not biologically. So cucumbers, squash, greens, peppers, etc = veggies. Tomatoes and strawberries = fruit.
I grow plenty of vegetables and some herbs, but very little fruit. That's because most fruits seem to grow on bushes, vines, or trees, and I can't have any of those in my container garden. But once I get into a house and have land, I am looking forward to growing a lot more fruit. When it comes to herbs, I just grow the things I use often, like basil, rosemary, cilantro, and chives. I also grow some mint to help attract pollinators and such.
Well, with the exception of cucumbers I think I'm just about done planting seeds for this season. I've done a few batches of peppers, tomatoes, squash, and eggplant, which should be enough to meet my needs and have plenty left over to sell. Every year I am too early with my cucumbers, which means my first batch dies because it is too cold outside when I move them outdoors. So this year I am purposefully waiting a few extra weeks before I start the seeds. Since I don't have any room inside for them, I can't be tempted to start them yet. I have a bunch more peas, beans, greens, and herbs to move outside, and once I do that I'll have room for the cucumbers.
Here's some photos of my tomatoes and squash:
I've been wanting to do some outdoor gardening, but with my back injury it makes it difficult. Today I finally was able to make it out there and do some gardening. I put some of my window boxes back out into the yard, cleared out dead leaves, and planted a whole bunch of plants.
I now have peas, beans, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, kale, and bok choi growing outside in my garden.
I think I've just about got everything loaded into the store, so I've turned it online. If you're interested in pre-ordering seedlings, this is a great way to do it, as it keeps track of everything for me.
If you run into an errors or problems, please let me know.
Since the weather is getting nice outside, and my pea plants are getting big, it's time for them to go outside to get them hardened off. This will help them to get used to the cooler temperatures outside so that they are shocked by the colder dirt in the ground (or in the pots). They'll go outside for a part of the day each day until they're ready to be left outside entirely.
Thus far I have 55 plants outside. I'll be keeping some for myself, but the rest will be up for sale. Those are:
10 plants 8 plants (2 ppu)
Oregon Giant (large podded snow pea w/ sweet peas): 17 plants
Burpeeana Early (3" pods with 8-10 sweet peas; prolific and early): 12 plants
Dwarf Grey Sugar (heirloom edible pod snow pea): 10 plants
Cascadia (sweet snap pea that grows on a short plant): 6 plants
These are $2/each and come in a ~3.25" pot.
Here are some great resources for finding out when to plant things in Oregon. If you live in another state, do a Google search, as there are likely similar resources available for your state. For here I just Googled this: oregon vegetable planting calendar
Oregon vegetable planting calendar
Here's the calendar for where I live (Zone 8)
I was able to do some outdoor planting today, as the weather was really nice today. We were supposed to have gotten heavy rain yesterday, but it never really came. As such, my planters were damp, but not soaked. That meant I could finally get my tulips and hyacinth in the ground. My husband is really bad about buying anything for me for holidays and such, so I picked up some plants at the store instead.
Between the weather and my injury I haven't been able to work outside like I normally do. My poor daffodil pot had gotten knocked over, spilling most of the dirt. But sure enough it returned and I have a couple flowers on it, even though it's in maybe 3" of dirt. I added more to it today, so now it doesn't look quite so sad.
I also pulled two deep containers onto the patio, sprinkled carrot seeds (one a rainbow mix, the other some short 'n sweet), and covered them up with more soil. They're under the patio so I can better protect them from any hard rain or temps, but they can still get sun once they pop up.
Hoping to later this week go out and pull up any dead plants and start getting things organized for planting. Getting very excited about spring!
Over the last few years, I've learned a lot about growing vegetable, herb, and flower starts indoors. The first few years I just put them under my dining room light and a lamp and wondered why they were so spindly and weak looking. Why they often times died. Then I realized that they must not be getting enough light.
We have a grow store nearby that sells lighting, plant food, light stands, trays, and more for growing plants indoors. A good amount of it is targeted to marijuana growing (which is legal in my state), but is also excellent for growing your seedlings indoors.
I went in and talked to an employee and explained what I was doing. They sold me a Hydrofarm 4' light that has 6 tubes as well as a 4' Jump Start stand that can hold the light. This pretty much covers my entire dining room table, even when I have in the leaf. I absolutely love this light. It is amazing the difference between when I was just growing them under a lamp and when I got a real grow light. The plant grow stronger, bigger, and faster than under just a plain old light.
This will be the third growing season that I've used the lamp and stand. They've served me well. And when we had an issue with some of the connectors breaking on the stand, Jump Start sent me new ones at no charge. Excellent company and I love their products. Thus far I have not had to replace any of the bulbs and I have my light on about 12 hours a day for a few months. I haven't noticed much of an increase in our electricity from them, either.
This year I decided to increase the amount of seedlings I can grow at a time, so I purchased a heavy duty shelf at Home Depot, some chains and s-biners to hang the lights, and some more 4' grow lights. I originally planned to do one light per shelf for 3 of the shelves, so I bought three lights. But after hanging them, I realized that I wasn't getting quite as much light as I might like when the lights were down low, so I decided two lights per shelf might be best. So I went ahead and set it up that way. I currently have two shelves covered and will be purchasing two more sets to do a third shelf. The other two shelves are being used for storage, such as seeding soil, trays, tray lids, and pots.
I went through and did some initial counts on what is growing and has been separated out into individual pots. Since the seeds for things like lettuce are so tiny, I always end up with multiple plants in each pot. I've been going through and transplanting them to bigger pots, one plant per spot, so that they have more room to grow. However, I'm only about a third of the way through that process, so these numbers for greens will increase once I finish that work. Beans and peas are already one to a spot since their seeds are significantly larger and easy to separate.
I'll work on getting better numbers over the next few days, as we'll be setting up my shelves and I'll have more room to put all the transplanted seedlings.
I will also likely end up doing a third round of these. I had to stop previously because I ran out of seeds, hence some of the odd numbers you'll see listed. Plus I have the scarlet runner beans that are supposed to be here later this week and some Italian beans.
When it comes to peas and beans, I usually plant at least a dozen, if not more, in my garden as most don't take up a lot of space. I think last year I ended up with something like 25 pea plants in my garden, which produced peas for months, not to mention the beautiful flowers.
Well, seeing as we've been having warmer than usual temps in our area, and the long-term forecast seems to show the same, local weather forecasters are saying that it looks like winter is indeed behind us. That means it is time to get your gardens ready for the first seedlings of the spring season! This can include carrots, onions, peas, beans, greens, herbs, broccoli, and more!
I already have a lot of these going and am working hard to get them transplanted to larger containers so they have even more room to grow. Hopefully tomorrow I can get a count of how many of each of the items I have growing. I've already started a second batch of peas and beans and picked up some more seeds at the store since I'd run out. I also ordered some scarlet runner beans, as I had a request for them. Apparently they are quite pretty when in bloom.
I already have dibs on many of the peas and beans and need to find out how many more people want them. This way I can ensure that I have enough growing. Thankfully I have very good luck with peas and beans (near 100% germination rates), so the key is to get enough growing so that they are ready in time.
So if you want peas, beans, greens (various lettuces, spinch, kale, broccoli, various cabbages), or herbs, you should let me know ASAP so that I have enough growing for everyone. I know that I do have a lot of the Little Gems growing, which are a nice sized Romaine Lettuce. One head is often times just the right size for a meal. These have been my favorite of all the Romaine varieties I've tried. I probably have at least a couple dozen of these going right now, maybe more. I've got to finish transplanting and separating them so I can get an accurate count. Most people grow at least several of these at a time since they don't need a lot of room.
Well, I couldn't sleep last night, so I figured I'd use the time to transplant some of the bigger plants over to pots that were of a larger size. These ones are about 2.5x2.5, which is nearly double the space they had in the containers they were in. Not only that, but when it comes to greens I have a very hard time putting just one seed in each pot because the seeds are so tiny. As such, the baby choi and romaine lettuce I transplanted often times had 3-5 plants growing in a single slot. I carefully separated them and put each into its own pot, which will allow them to grow much faster. I try to be very careful, as this can damage the roots and kill the plants. Many people will just pinch off all but one of the plants, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Thankfully since I'm so careful I usually am able to save 90%+ of them, so it's well worth the time and effort to separate them.
It's been nearly 24 hours since I did the transplant and thus far they all seem to be doing fine. There are a few of them that were quite tiny and may not make it, but the vast majority of them have already perked back up and seem to be doing fine.
Well, some of the items are growing so well that I am going to have to transplant them into bigger pots soon. That's especially true of some of the pease, beans, and lettuce. They're just all growing so fast. The peas are about ready to grab onto the lights.
Well, thus far my seedlings are doing quite well. Got a lot of growth over this past weekend. Loving the new timer I got for the grow light, as now I don't have to remember to turn them on and off - it does that for me. Certainly helps ensure that the lights are on for the right amount of time.
It's amazing sometimes with plants how much growth you can get in just a day or so. I've highlighted some growth here that happened just within a day. I circled the corresponding cells since I had to flip around the tray so that those with growth would be closest to the light. Clicking an image will bring up the full-sized original photo.
So this year I decided to put in a big upgrade to my seedling growing setup. I've been very successful ever since I added a nice big grow light over my seedlings. That led to a lot more extra seedlings, which meant a good amount of sales of my plants. Last year was a very good year, which meant some money left over after paying for all the expenses related to growing the plants. As such, I decided to put that towards an upgrade in my system.
The other night I couldn't sleep, so I figured I could use the time to get my seedlings started. I had them in the dirt by about 5 a.m. on Thursday, January 28th. I planted:
Sorry I haven't added anything to the site in many months. Thanks to the car accident last year, I've been on light duty and haven't been able to do many of the things I enjoy. My time at the computer is limited, which means I haven't been able to do any work on this site in quite some time. I ended up having to take it offline because the software was outdated and I didn't have the time to work on my personal projects.
Last year's garden wasn't as successful as it could have been since I couldn't work in it like I usually do. Many of my vegetables were left on the plant too long, so they ended up bug bitten, split, etc. I was so disappointed since I was really hopeful for my garden after all the planning I put into it. But if you can't physically do the work on it, it's hard for it to do as well as it could. We still ended up with a more than 50 lbs of vegetables, but we could have had a LOT more. I probably threw away at least that much in vegetables that would have been good had they been picked a few days earlier.
I took some time this weekend to get things up and going again so that I can start uploading photos and writing about this year's garden. It is going to be interesting to see how things go, as I can't bend, stretch, or do repetitive motions. That can make gardening difficult. So not only will I be talking about limitations of growing in containers, but also physical limitations as well.
You can view an assortment of photos that I just uploaded of last year's garden here.
Hopefully this year's garden will be fabulous. :D
P.S. Those Big Mama Tomatoes are wonderful! Turns out they're a large paste tomato, which is good for sauces. I grew one plant and it just about took over my garden. It was so big it snapped multiple stakes, a cage, etc. It alone probably produced several dozen pounds of tomatoes.
Welcome to my blog on container gardening. I live in an apartment and as such don't have the option to plant anything in the ground. As such, I gave dozens and dozens of containers surrounding my patio filled with herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers.
This last year everything started out good, but then I was in a car accident in mid-April and have been unable to do much by the way of bending, stretching, etc. That made it hard to do as much with my garden as I wanted last year.
I started out with just a few planters of strawberries around my garden. Then I added a few hanging baskets of flowers for our daughter. Each year I've expanded and expanded my garden. I've been buying bigger and bigger containers and adding new plants. I've found some things that have worked well for me - like the Asian finger eggplant that produced probably 100 eggplants - and things that haven't - my rapini never grew and it's just too cold for melons to do well.
I hope to share what I've learned thus far, tips, and more through this blog. I also hope to hear from you about what has worked for you.
Be sure to check out the photo galleries! Lots of photos there showing what I'm growing, how the plants are doing and more!