25 Jun 2020
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
- Carrot Touchon
- Chives Garlic
I started a new egg carton in the indoor grow room for starters:
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.
17 Jun 2020
June 16, 2020
Let’s see… I want to journal as much as I can but there is a lot going on! Let’s start with seeding then.
After over three weeks, my mesclun mix, taking over an entire half row, hasn’t sprouted. Not a one. Very frustrating. So I put down a varied mix. I think I didn’t keep the top layer of soil evenly moist enough… so I tried something highly experimental and laid down some brown paper from a shipment a couple months ago. I laid it down, wet the paper, poked holes for seeds and kind of just shoved seeds in the holes. Looking at the nearly mature greens, I tried to strategically sow the seeds in the most bio-intensive way I could. I really hope they come up in a big even layer of tasty greens. I don’t know if the paper mulch will work… We will see. I think if I more carefully put soil over the top, I may have more luck. But also, if I can keep this paper wet I know the seeds will be moist enough. Plus, hopefully this can cut down on weeds. From the back to half-way to the front, in the second row, I sowed seeds:
- 2 rows of Arugula
- 4 rows Spinach
- 8 rows lettuce: Black seeded simpson, Lolla rosa, Gormet mix, Mesclun spicy mix, and four rows of French mesclun mix
- 3 rows of Kale Premier
- 3 rows Kale Blue Vates
- 3 rows Kale Dwarf Blue Vates
- 1 row Seven Top Turnip
- 2 rows Radish Cherry Bell
- 1 row Beet Detroit Dark Red Medium Top
I don’t know if these will sprout, either. Again, highly experimental.
One more bit of seed I put down was carrots in a blank spot in the regular carrot row.
I put down mulch on the long side by row one. The grass and weeds are getting a little hard to manage and I wish I didn’t have grass in between the planting rows. I think just having that grass in the middle is hurting my anti-weeds campaign.
Otherwise, things are growing really, really well. Last week was quite cold, which helped my greens. I harvested a bunch of arugula, some spinach and some rainbow chard. I think the arugula and spinach will be good to harvest completely any time. Then what? Get more seeds in the ground I guess. I think I harvested around $10 worth of greens. I want to keep an ongoing tab of how much value I can pull from my plot, knowing that I spent around $1,200 this year to get it up and going. Er, up and growing!
Side note: quite a bit of the rainbow chard has blight on it, and definitely more than a couple spinach leaves have brown spots. Hmm. Don’t know how to cut down on that. Especially the chard. THey’re almost like soggy brown/grey spots. Ish.
Otherwise, everything is looking good. Herbs are not growing at all, which is frustrating. Well, basil is sprouting in the ground and in a container. I am super, super excited to see cilantro growing in a container as well. No mint, nothing else. Well, maybe something else, but it could be a weed too.
Beans are comin’ along. Quinoa is slow going but growing. I kind of thinned half the row, and might do the other row. Maybe in a few days… they are growing all over each other and I am led to believe that one plan will grow really tall.
Lentils look nice, just getting bushier and bushier. I think the beans and quinoa like the heat and I’m glad to see sustained 70+ degrees all week. Tomatoes are growing, same with peppers. Slowly and surely. Peas are really fun to watch, and they’re coming up really well. Not really climbing yet… I might want to reassess the trellis. Onions are OK, the ones from seed don’t appear to be growing much at all. Kale is doing well. Lots of flowers on the two-year kale plants but haven’t seen any seeds yet. Potatoes are really strong, looking great.
Berries look fine, blackberries have beautiful flowers. Blueberries are a nice little bush, haven’t looked at amending the soil to lower the pH… doesn’t look too bad or like they’re struggling. Strawberries haven’t died but they’re not flourishing! Raspberries are flourishing. I transplanted a bunch to the front yard and those aren’t looking super great.
Finally, my transplanted herbs, started inside, almost died but they’ve become resuscitated for the most part. PHEW. Those are on the front porch and I realllllly hope they start growing soon. A few are sprouting leaves. It’s a start.
Did I post on the indoor setup? I don’t remember. Oh well, that’s good for now. Here are some photos: