Filling In The Empty Spots

Somehow, there has always been empty spots in the garden. I’m hoping that this latest round of seeds and transplants changes that.

Indoor setup is going really well. I finally have that figured out to the point where my baby seedlings aren’t dying. Bottom-watering is the key, for sure. I don’t think I have it completely optimized, and I have much to learn, but no death is a good start.

I moved a tray of seedlings upstairs to go outside: all lettuce. I moved another tray of seedlings that was outside, to inside, as it appeared that the indoor controlled environment was more favorable for the baby plants. Looking at plants that I seeded indoors and outdoors at the same time, though, shows that direct seeding produces MUCH bigger plants than transplants. My bean transplants (lentil, black and pinto) are duds compared to the direct-seeded ones!

I transplanted some spinach sprouts from the front porch to the plot. I transplanted the lettuce into the plot as well.. just a little bit here and there and everywhere.

Then I put a bunch of new seeds in the ground, in the botched herb area. I wish I got the herbs going, I wonder if the soil was too cool back in May.

In the third row, from back to front, I planted:

  • Kohlrabi Purple Vienna
  • (Space where basil sprouted)
  • Beets Detroit Dark Red Medium Top
  • Carrot Nantes Half Long
  • Pea Snowbird

House-side row in container, from back to front:

  • Leek American Flag
  • Bunching Onion Parade
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Carrot Touchon
  • Chives Garlic

I started a new egg carton in the indoor grow room for starters:

  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Dill

What else… Indoors, I set up the hydroponics system and am so excited to finally be at this point. The arugula is growing… slowly but surely. I am excited to see if there is higher growth now that nutrients are included. One out of four sunflower plants sprouted. I tried to rustle up the soil a little, in hopes that the other three would sprout. I have low hopes on that.

I harvested the microgreens. The radish did well, the pea shoots not as much. They were all definitely moldy. Moldy maybe isn’t the right word… but some type of fungus activity on the roots. I have a lot to learn with microgreens, but feel like I need to go all-in if I really want to grow them. Hydroponics is more of an interest for me, anyways. Maybe I’ll make the jump.

Outside, the herbs on the front porch aren’t dying. Some are barely hanging on, some are doing pretty well, actually. I forgot what is what… lost that long ago. I will have to wait to see. They require frequent light watering.

Transplanted raspberry shoots are dying. The preexisting raspberry plants are doing better than ever, which is great. I’d like to propagate those even more, and that may require cutting down decorative flowers and plants along my house. Hmm…

The berry bush is looking good. I’ll have blueberries. The strawberries have definitely taken, but they’re pretty small. I think it’ll take a year before they start spreading. But, there are several berries ripening right now! I just want to see a big bushy patch!

Potatoes are flourishing. Flowers are starting to appear. No pest issues anymore, seemingly. The leaves and twigs as mulch/mounds seemed to be a good idea. Great growth.

The other potatoes, carrots, beets and brussel sprouts in pots are doing OK. Nothing gangbusters. The fourth container with mustard greens has been excellent, however. I cut them all down in one *shink* of the blade and they’re growing right back! Super fun.

In the main plot, I’ve harvested all of the arugula and all of the spinach, and left two plants each to flower. Kale is coming in nicely, but a lot of pest issues with holes in the leaves and slugs crawling around. The flowering kale has developed seed pods. The flowers have all dropped so I will keep a close eye on when I should cut them down and harvest the seeds. I think I will be able to reap a LOT of seeds.

Pak choi was doing OK, but bolted so fast! Bummer. I cut a few leaves and ate ’em, but didn’t get to the tasty-looking stems. I just let them both flower and do what they do, and will focus on collecting those seeds as well. I am excited about collecting seeds.

The lettuce is finally looking big enough to harvest. I will wait a few more days, so I can eat the rest of my spinach (lots of salads lately), then cut it down and focus on replanting the first greens row.

My second row of greens sprouted nicely! Happy about that! I wonder if it was the brown paper keeping the soil evenly moist. I don’t think I’ll put that down for the new seeds, though. Kind of a pain in the butt to lay out and stuff. Plus the water doesn’t really soak through the paper.

Tomatoes are flourishing. Really fun to watch. I need to explore some pruning methods, some trellis options, and just do more research in general. Peppers are growing nicely. Nothing crazy.

Beans are looking great: lentils kind of ho-hum, pinto and black beans slow and steady growth. Quinoa is looking ever-better. I did an experiment a few weeks ago by thinning half of the quinoa row. The non-thinned plants are doing so much better. Crazy! I think it’s because they kind of stand up on each other. I am anxious to continue thinning but the good growth makes me think twice. I will keep a close eye and take it day by day.

Rainbow chard is getting bigger by the day, and I think I’ll keep a close eye for bolting before harvesting it all. I’ve taken several leaves off that have blight, cut around it and eaten.

Peas are doing really well and have started flowering. I think a harvest is around the corner. I never thinned those out, and it’s a big bush. I don’t think I’ll thin them by now… Carrots are growing bigger every day, too, and I haven’t thinned those out. I don’t think I will!

Broccoli is growing, but starting to flower, no real broccoli. That is a bummer. Maybe the smaller one will do OK.

My last round of seeds in containers is looking good. Everything has sprouted, which is excellent. A lot of greens, but the broccoli and cucumbers have sprouted and are growing too! The broccoli is really crowded so I think I may want to thin that out. Hmmm… so many experiments to do.

Garlic looks crappy, onions from seed look crappy. Onions from transplant look good. Chives look the exact same as always, and I haven’t harvested any.

What else… I think my last harvest was probably around 4 or 5 clamshells worth of greens. I think I’m up to about $50 worth of produce that I’ve grown. That is one smaller harvest (mostly arugula), one bigger harvest (mostly spinach), and several tiny harvests for one smoothie-worth. Plus my microgreens! That is a pretty generous estimate, and definitely just an estimate.

I think that’s about as good an update as I can make right now! So fun!! Here are some random photos from the past couple days or week or so.

Spinach harvest

Finally microgreens! Tried a few times, here is an actual end-product.

Radish and Pea microgreens. Note the fungal activity haha…

Potatoes comin’ in strong!

They’ve taken off. Nearly 2′ tall

Greens, turnips and radishes have sprouted nicely. Fairly good germination rate. We’ll see if the transplants take… they are very small transplants.

Arugula harvest

Indoor grow room is rockin’

Hydroponic arugula. They all sprouted!

Microgreens from a few weeks back

Kale and Pak choi, solid germination. Lettuce comin’ in too.

Quinoa is bigger every day! With beans in the background, the fourth row is starting to fill in.

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