Saturday, June 2, 2012

In Which I Lied and Now, May I Introduce My Garden

Well, I thought that was a break only for the shop and not the blog. I decided to focus on my review blog and that is all fine and dandy, but I forgot, sorta about this one.

Well, I'm back. I guess and hope.

I was talking to The Philosopher Musician and I said "I guess I should be journaling all this stuff I'm doing" regarding my poor attempts at gardening (and self-sufficient living in a place it seems nearly impossible to do). I had thought, I'll grab one of my journals and turn it into that, but lately I've been craving some sort of online outlet for my thoughts. I'm even considering attempting something for work, but it doesn't seem prudent. Someone gave me a journal and I just need to start using it more.

Now, regarding the gardening attempt which I think I'll focus on today. Out of 8 seedling attempts (8 types at 4 per container at [1st mistake] 5 seeds a thing), only 3 plants have managed to survive somehow by luck. I had a fourth, but that was a random coincidence and it ultimately died. I'm on seedlings round number 2, just two tomato plant types, and so far all good. I all ready have sprouts and it has been three days. I'm trying hard not to dream about what I'm going to do with the tomatoes (Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter), but I'm just excited that my makeshift seed starter really works. I honestly just used cheap dirt, egg cartons (cardboard), and old takeout containers that snapped shut. I'll post pictures eventually. Oh, and also, the seeds are kinda old, like 2 years and older, so that's also pretty impressive.

Lesson Recap Here:
  • Seed starting kits can be made with plastic takeout containers, cheap dirt, and paper/card egg cartons. Don't forget to water them before you snap it shut. Seeds will still grow and survive.
  • Seedlings are actually pretty weak and not all seedlings can be treated the same.
  • On this round, I need to deal with the seedlings when I start seeing mold, which I think is a product of the egg cartons.
  • Refrigerate seeds and feel free to try growing them even if the package says "best by 2008." Chances are they might still grow and be fine! I should check the age of the zucchini packet (the thriving survivor of that seedling attempt) and eggplants (I got 2 of those to make it!). Although, I suspect that might also be the mold problem...and really I can't say that I've been successful until I've got a food but I'm hopeful.
  • Don't start dreaming about a bountiful harvest.
In terms of apartment gardening where all you have access to is your balcony (which I also call the patio), zucchini and tomatoes, according to The New Kitchen Garden by Anna Pavord, are good starts. Reading about the eggplant though...they like tropical conditions so...this could prove interesting. I'm now determined. From The New Kitchen Garden by Anna Pavord (DK publishing, which I LOVE, 1996), I learned:
  • Zucchini love water. And sunlight. That might explain why I think Zucchini 1 has been taking forever to grow and has yet to bloom. OOOOOH.
  • Eggplant like heat and humidity, which might explain why they seem to be taking forever to grow, but the glass jar terrarium idea is still good.. Guess I need to add more water and move them to the patio where there is almost full sun (which might be a problem for other things later).
Actually, that's it. I didn't learn much about scallions, which we're going to be experimenting with. The Internet (multiple sites including LifeHacker) told us we could chop the green bits we need off, stick the white bit in water and it'll grow. It does, but now I want to know if we could make a cycle out of it: cut scallion, some green on it, move from water to dirt, pull from dirt, start cycle over. Only thing to do is try. We certainly have enough to experiment with.

Next steps:
  • Figure out how to grow carrots. I have big pots I scavenged and wonder if they'll be deep enough to get at least a 6 inch carrot from.
  • Test Scallion Theory.
  • Locate a drill to make a compost bin for the patio. I have an 18 gal tub that I don't plan to use for storage, so I think that'll work nicely for compost at the moment (unless I locate a smallish trash can to drill holes into). I am determined to start a compost bin. The amount of compostable food waste we pitch is starting to bug me.
  • Figure out or (hopefully) scavenge a window box to plant lettuce into so that we can have a "revolving" salad garden. We'd enjoy that very much I think.
  • Remember to write about how the garden is doing and more about attempts at reducing stuff in general.

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