Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tray planting

So, been on track with various planter methods of growing.

Most recent is a seed tray that sells for $3.

Then half a coir block, which sells for $5 but since we only need half, its $2.50 used. Coir block (how do you pronounce that??) is sort of compressed material that becomes soil like material when you leave it in water to soak. So it's easy to carry home from the shop and much easier to fill planting containers with than soil from around your house (as in you don't have to leave holes everywhere and home soil is often full of grass seeds and is not terribly consistant in quality)

Then some lettuce seeds. I collected mine from a previous lettuce I grew that I allowed to go to seed. Just one plant produces more than you get in a packet if you buy from a store! The variety I grow is green mignonette. The snails seem to leave it alone and although strong if you eat it right from the plant (which is probably why the snails leave it alone!) if you soak the leaves in a bowl of water for a minute or two they become just a regular lettuce leaf in flavour. Actually, a bit tastier!

If we treat the lettuce as worth $1.50 each on maturation and plant eight of them in the planter, the first four basically cover the costs of materials (materials which can be used again multiple times!) and the next four result in about $6 saved in groceries - ie, a profit of $6! Per tray!

I actually had some lettuce seeds I'd casually sewn into a bucket of soil awhile back - there were too many and they were crowding each other. But that worked fine for the new trays as I just transplanted the already growing lettuce plants to it! Giving a big head start and allowing the lettuces in the bucket more room to breath (I will probably transplant more from the buckets elsewhere - it seems one bucket suits about one lettuce each. I've a good head growing in one particular bucket)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cabbages & Caterpillars (and a watermelon)

The cabbages growing in buckets are doing quite well now - the leaves have toughened and it seems fewer or non catterpillars are being laid upon them. Some leaves are almost complete (somethings nibbled the tips though - perhaps grass hoppers?)

This after going through them each day and picking off a number of caterpillars from the plants - they like to hide under the leaves when they are small. Having the plants in buckets helped because this would have been a strain to do repeatedly if they were ground level. But at bucket level they are much easier to clear (or you could even put the bucket on top of something else!)

Also the watermelon out the front has started to fruit! I slipped a piece of cardboard under it to help keep it dry. I wonder if I'll actually get a melon from it? I'm anticipating some idiot passing by will spot any fruit just before I harvest and decide to stamp on it, because of what inflicts their minds. Still, if it leaves behind some viable seeds, that's a good result.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The tomatoes I trasfered into the ground - well, some were lost to heat. But now I seem to be about to lose some to hammering rain? A few look limp and unhappy after the sky bucketed down and washed away some of the top soil around their roots.

Meanwhile I'll see how the potato buckets go - I've had to tip over some of the more shallow buckets to drain, then just left them that way with more rain on the way. The ones with large plants I've left for now (will probably tip to drain tomorrow) as the plants tend to drink up some of the water.

Anyway, with the rains coming this is a big test for the bucket system!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Potato buckets are going fairly okay. Harvested from a couple more and as usual the potatoes cluster around one layer. With a couple of buckets where I planted the potato low, it's grown higher than the bucket now, so I've topped it up with soil. Though leaves half covered with soil died off, the plant seems to be keeping on. So hopefully it grows potatoes at a number of levels, ala the idea behind hilling potatoes when grown the traditional way in the ground.

Also with the summer sun here burning the lawn down, I've taken advantage of where I tore out some weeds to dig eight small holes, then transfered some tomato plants into them that I had been growing in the greenhouse. Often when I transfer, I don't make the hole deep enough and the tomato plant sits on a mound, both not having it's roots very deep and also the mound washes away with watering, exposing it's roots. This time I am avoiding that and hoping to take advantage of what is a very dry lawn at the moment.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Carrot tops amongst the lawn grass?

With shorn mown grass burnt by the sun, I've taken a section of front lawn and spread some heirloom carrot seeds around upon it as well as watering a few times. I don't use chemicals on my lawn, so I'm curious about growing a few carrots in that area. So this is an experiment.

However watering it seems to have activated some of the annoying deep rooted weeds I thought I'd removed from it. Perhaps by seed or remaining root stems, they are shooting up. It's annoying as I thought I'd cleared them all and was congratulating myself on that progress.

Can't find the name of the weed. It has a thick root, with leaves that come out in a circle around that and flat with the earth. When it flowers, it sends stems out from the center with little ovoid heads on them that have little white stems extending from their middle, with small white blobs on the ends.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Old swamped out bucket not such a great yield

I went through a bucket with a dead potato plant. It was one of the originals I'd started and I'd had some swamping problems with it, so I'd cut a hole in it's side about an inch from the bottom.

Not much of a result in the end - one medium potato (nice looking) and one tiny potato that was already sprouting. I wonder if becoming a relatively dry bucket (because of the drainage hole) contributed to that? The soil looked and felt nice, though - that seems a thing with this set up, it takes the kind of rough leaf litter and sandy soil and seems to make a nicer mix out of it. And also I have one more potato than I did before.

Anyway, put the soil back in the end and planted the sprouter in a small pit I made at the top, so I could hill in around it as it gets taller. Assuming hilling works.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Further P Bucket Experimentation

Gah, I think I over watered one bucket that had a nice patch of shoots coming out. The leaves went all wilty and then died back alot.

So I tilt it over to drain what I can.

Days latter it still seems wilty and dying back - so I press my finger at the side of the bucket to the bottom to feel if any water is down there. It's completely dry!

So I give it a little bit of water, just on that side I checked.

Now the shoot looks even less happy.

Meanwhile the other buckets shoot is bursting up at hyper speed!