Catching Up

For those of you who have been reading from the beginning, I have been posting about notes I have taken in the past. In this post, I hope to catch up on everything I have not yet mentioned, as briefly as possible, so as to allow me to post what is currently going on with me. I feel like I’m doing so many things that I want to share.

So, I planted arugula, and radicchio in containers. I used bone meal and green sand in that mix. The arugula sprouted in 4 days, and the radicchio in 5. Something’s been eating the arugula, so yesterday I added a seashell mulch to the container, hoping that would help. I need to get more of this; I’ve run out.

A friend gave me some plants from his garden for mine. I’ve dug up all the buttercup and dandelion that was plaguing south wall of my tiny yard, and I’ve planted geraniums, ornamental grass, rose campion, foxglove, lady’s mantle, poppies, and borage. There is another plant, that I have yet to identify. I am growing my appreciation of the outdoor space we have.

south wall of my yard before the dig with arugula and radicchio in foreground

south wall of my yard after the dig and transplant.

I planted my garden plot at the community garden. I did this in spite of the rain, as the slugs on my patio were stalking my squash. A couple leaves were seriously chewed before leaving here. In this plot I’ve planted buttercup squash(2), cabbage(3), pumpkin(2), yellow zucchini, green zucchini, delicata squash(3), cayenne pepper, jalapeno pepper, cinnamon basil(4), genovese basil(3), marjoram, smoky fennel(3), and borage, calendula, and alyssum to attract beneficial insects.

I used the Gaia Green fertilizer (4-4-4), 1 C/100m sq. I need to get some more mushroom compost for mulch. There is compost provided here, but after seeing what goes into the compost bins, I didn’t really want to use it. It is mostly uprooted weeds, and sod. No one has been adding any vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, or any of the other goodies that make compost great.

With Joe’s help, my husband, I got the tomatoes planted yesterday into two large self watering containers made from storage totes. It goes much faster with help. I used the same mix as for the beans and strawberries, and added about 1 C rabbit manure to the rooting area. In one container I’m growing Black Krim and Yellow Pear, in the other Bonny Best and Super Italian Paste. The Bonny Best was a surprise as I thought I grabbed a Green Zebra. Sometimes while searching for a better looking transplant, I grab a completely different cultivar. This also happened with the cinnamon basil. I wanted thai basil, and honestly, I’ve no idea what to do with cinnamon basil, any ideas? Plus, if any of you have grown any of these tomatoes, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

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The Beginning

Hi there and join me on my journey to lower my grocery bill by growing as much of my own food as possible. I live in a townhouse with a back patio, for which I will be growing in containers, and I recently acquired a plot at a local community garden, which I’m very excited about. I started keeping a journal about a month ago, when it occurred to me I should be sharing this information, and meeting new people with the same interests. So, I’m going to give a brief synopsis of what I’ve accomplished so far, along with what I’m currently doing, over the next few days we should be caught up.

I began on April 29 with my first self watering container. You can go here to find more information on those, including how to make your own.http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/self-watering-containers/ I filled it with a mix of equal parts coir, (coconut peat), which is a sustainable alternative to regular sphagnum peat, and mushroom compost. (one brick of coir, and half a bag of compost.) To this I added vermiculite and perlite, approximately  3 cups of each, and about 21 T of greensand. I also added some aged rabbit manure. My grandmother, who keeps everything, has been saving this rabbit manure for probably ten years, in a large garbage can. She was very proud that I came around with a use for it; however, the lid blew off some time ago, and the bucket filled with rain water. So, my grandmother no longer has a large bucket of dry pellets, but a large very wet single pellet of rabbit manure. Fortunately, there were some dry pellets left in the hutch. My grandmother is planning to dry out the remainder, but I’m past wanting it, to be honest.

Watercress

watercress with green onions, and a seashell mulch

I planted water cress in this container with green onions around the side to deter pests. The watercress took 5 days to germinate, and the green onions took 17 days. I used a seashell mulch to deter the rampant slugs around here, and it also reflects the light up to the leaves helping them grow. This is great if you have a lot of shade, which I do.

I’ll just leave you now with a few things I have learned at this point:

  • self watering containers do not keep the surface moist, you need to mist the top to allow seeds to germinate
  • potting mix needs to breathe; don’t keep it in a container with the lid on. It will go mouldy.