The Year Has Turned, So I Am Thinking Garden

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Don Alaska, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    The holidays have calmed and it is cold outside (-15 F.), so I am thinking GARDEN! I have pondered soil blockers for about a decade, but I have not spent the money on one. My lovely wife got me a blocker kit from the good ol' UK for Christmas, so I am quite excited to give it a try. I am also doing seed tapes this year. I tried them years ago and they didn't work very well, but I have studied the technique for making them, and, since I can no longer crawl around on the ground planting seeds any more, I thought I would give it another go for small seeds such as carrots and radishes. I may also try them with herbs and a few flowers, although those crops are generally my spouse's realm. I can only stand long enough to make 10 feet of tape at a time, so it is a slow process, as we have an acre or more of garden to plant. Most of that won't be carrots, though. I am thinking about selling them as I can make them using seeds that are not usually commercially available as seed tapes. I am also hoping that the soil blocks will allow me to transplant crops that I have had difficulty with in the past, such as dill and fennel.
    When I lived in the deep South, I would have been planting potatoes now, but here the ground is frozen solid for several feet down and covered with snow at the moment. Is anyone else thinking about gardening? I know those of you in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, etc. have weather compatible with garden dreaming....
     
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  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    For sure, we are thinking about that here, @Don Alaska , and I just received my very first garden catalog in the mail a few days ago, as a matter of fact.
    Every fall, I say that it is not worth trying to grow any thing, and I am never going to do it again; but every year........along comes January, with its promise of Spring......... and here I am dreaming of having a garden again.

    It is time for me to start cleaning out the aerogardens, and get them ready for planting new seeds. I have the regular grow kits, and then I also have one of the seed-starter trays, which is only designed to start the seedlings and then transplant them when they get large enough.
    Last year, I also tried out the mason-jar hydroponics, and that actually worked out pretty well, too, although only for smaller plants . You would need something larger than a canning jar if you were planting something like squash or tomatoes; but for things like parsley or basil, it works fine, and was an interesting experiment.
     
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  3. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Planting time is still a little way off here but I can understand your impulse to put seeds in the ground, @Don Alaska. I haven't had a full garden for the last couple of years but when spring comes, the urge to till the earth and sow some seeds is almost overwhelming. It goes back to the memory of walking barefoot in the newly tilled damp earth on a warm spring day. But my common sense tells me that I can buy what vegetables that my grandson and I need for less money that I would spend growing them.

    What is a blocker kit?

    @Yvonne Smith , tell me about the Mason jar hydroponics?
     
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  4. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    A soil blocker kit is a set of "presses" that allow you to form pots directly out of soil.
     
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  5. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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  6. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Thanks, @Don Alaska , that's something new to me. I have bought plants in the pots where you plant the whole pot along with the plant. It supposedly dissolves and has food to feed the plant while it grows. The plants that I have transplanted thrived very well. I'll look the soil blockers up and learn more about them.
     
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  7. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    I actually tried the mason jar hydroponics as an experiment last spring, @Don Alaska , and started a thread about it. I mentioned it to Shirley, but didn’t put the link in this thread, so I am doing that now.
    Gallon milk jugs worked better for me than the canning jars, and there are pictures of my results in the thread.

    What Ina was doing was starting one of the hydroponic towers, and it seemed to be doing well for her, and since she could not go outside in the heat, this was a wa that she could grow fresh salad greens.
    After I had posted about the aerogardens, she became interested, and she was able to buy a really nice hydroponic tower set up.

    http://www.seniorsonly.club/threads/growing-hydroponic-herbs-in-mason-jars.8656/
     
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  8. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    I remember reading about the Aerogarden, but I thought I recalled Ina having small hydroponic jars or containers that she was using when she died. That was before I joined the forum I think, but it may have been in one of your posts/threads. We have big gardens left over largely from when we had six very active children at home. While we were then trying to get as much food production for both humans and animals during that time, we can now experiment more with the tilled space, and we have decommissioned a number of the raised beds as no longer necessary. We have four greenhouses of various sizes, but our original one is small (6 x 12) and is over 30 years old now. Our biggest one is aging as well, and may have to be reconstructed in the next few years if I am still able. An Aerogarden might work for us now, but it would require a lot of supplemental lighting in the winter, and growing things in the winter here has always been a bit counterproductive. Have you ever tried growing fresh greens from root crops? If you can find organic beets or turnips in the discount bin of the grocery store, or from your own storage if you have it, and just stick the roots into a bucket or pot of sand and put it in a sunny window. Soon you will have enough fresh greens for a salad or a small side dish of veggies. It is a great way to recycle vegetables that have deteriorated in storage and gotten a little soft.
     
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  9. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    Even here in Alabama, it is way too cold to think about planting anything yet, but with March starting next week, I am hoping that spring will appear as well. My daffodils are up, but not blooming yet. We have a very shady lot, which puts us behind places that have more sun, and I have been seeing daffodils blooming when we are out driving somewhere.

    I haven’t even started the aero gardens this year. For some reason, even after being thoroughly cleaned and fresh water, they get algae and turn green and it kills the seeds before they can even sprout.
    A while back, we got a little plant starter that uses dirt, but has a water reservoir in the bottom, and it came with basil seeds, do I planted that yesterday. After I did that, it occurred to me that it was about the same size as my smaller aero gardens, so instead of using water/hydroponics, I filled the basin with potting soil and planted spinach seeds. If that works, I might do the same thing with the larger aero gardens.

    I have discovered that I really like book choy (pak choy?) and so I looked on ebay and ordered some seeds for bok choy, romaine lettuce, and more of the Malabar spinach, which is not actually a true spinach .
    The Malabar spinach is a tropical plant that grows into a vine, and the leaves are similar to spinach leaves. Since it is a hot weather plant, it produces all summer long, when most true spinach has withered up and gone to seed.

    A5903690-F5F4-413D-B11F-B2A4CCBC2792.jpeg
     
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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
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  10. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    Almost a month later, and today, I transplanted some of the bok choy, spinach, romaine, and basil. So far it seems to be doing okay with the transplanting. I have started some tomato seeds, one is a cherry tomato that we can just pick and eat as they ripen, and the other one is called a creole tomato, and it was developed for Louisiana, and hot, humid states of the South. It look similar to a Roma tomato, so not a great big tomato on the plant.
    Here is my little bok choy babies in their new home.

    E8E3C590-4097-464C-8716-65B0D4209B9B.jpeg
     
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  11. Ed Wilson

    Ed Wilson Well-Known Member
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    I planted onions for scallions last Monday and 2 peeked out today, only because I had them in a planter indoors. When it warms they will go outside. I never planted much and each year it gets less and less. I plan to plant just 2 cherry tomato plants right in front of the patio where I relax in the summer. Close to tend to and watch. I'll just till a circle about a foot across. Less to weed and take care of.
     
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  12. Ken N Louis

    Ken N Louis Very Well-Known Member
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  13. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    It is another nice day, and maybe warmer weather coming again. I have been outside working (playing ?) in the yard and re-potting plants that I have had inside sprouting. they are still small, but now they are in a pot that is large enough that they can easily grow better.
    I have lettuce, bok choy, arugula, collards and Swiss chard , for spring greens. I have started some tomatoes, cucumbers (I am trying the long Armenian cucumbers this year), and some cantaloupe started.
    With the trees along side of our property and out behind us, we should have more sunlight in the back yard this year, and even a little bit more in the front yard.
    I have everything out front for right now, But hoping to move some of the larger plants out back if they grow well this year.
     
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