A quick tip to make your plants extra happy? Save the water you boil your eggs in and give it to your green things. Vitamins and minerals and good stuff comes from the egg shells when they cook, so by putting them into your soil, it’s a great extra boost for the things you are growing.
Tag Archives: plants
It seems all I can post lately is about my little urban garden. I don’t feel that I have been doing much other than production knitting and growin stuff. However, there was an interesting incident regarding some yellow jackets in the carrot box…did you know that the cans of foaming insecticide to rid oneself of these flying terrors do not spray when held upside down or sideways? I learned this after I blew a line of air into the sleeping hive…anyhoo, the battle rages and I’m slowly gaining a foothold to regain control of the carrot box. In the meantime, there is all sorts of other cool stuff growing.
Peas are in and it seems daily I am bringing a few handfuls in to munch on straight out of the pod.
The tomatoes are a little late in taking fruit this year, but I have faith in something or other that it will happen. Loads of blossoms, but they aren’t wanting to open all the way. I’ve been jiggling and wiggling them here and there and that seems to help mama nature along a bit…
Garden containers are expensive! And I’m not even talking about the nice Ming dynasty rip off ceramic pots. All of them! Why not scour your local thrift stores for cheap household items that not only become functional food and plant producers, but also become a stylish conversation starter?
Sure, fresh basil in your kitchen is awesome. But basil in a coffee pot is super cute as well as functional.
Many fruit producing plants can be grown in containers and most don’t need to be as big as you think. This Filius Pepper plant is going to do just fine in this blender carafe. And it cost .33c. I’m not even kidding.
Every time I go to a thrift store I see matching canisters for flour, sugar, etc and I finally grabbed a coffee canister last week. Again, .33c. And with $1 worth of seeds we will be in cilantro for months.
Save the giant cans from tomatoes (people love it when you grow tomatoes in a tomato can) and coffee. Add some pebbles for drainage and bam! You’re ready to get your garden on.
If you haven’t caught on by now that I’m a little (ok, a lot) obsessed with my garden, you’re living in space or perhaps under a rock. I have been having so much fun playing in the plants, making massive salads with the never ending supply of greens and poking my tiny tomatoes and asking if they’re ready yet. Sitting on the deck in the midst of all the green just makes me happy.
And the view from our living room window isn’t too bad either….
I love our little green space right in the middle of the city! High five urban gardening!
I was so excited to stumble upon our first little cucumber while I was trying to coax a vine back to the trellis – I had no idea it was even there! So exciting! The whole ‘grow stuff’ thing is really working! We also have a squash which is starting to form and most of the tomato plants are in blossom at the moment. I’m amazed at the sense of accomplishment and straight up pride I’m taking in these little plants started from seed….!
Our little garden has finally made it outside and the growing seems to be speeding up (Huzzah!). The peppers have been staked and the tomatoes have been re-homed into cages (it’s very humane, don’t worry) or those upside down Topsy Turvy things. I have had mixed reviews as per their performance, so we’ll see. So far the plants are trying to bend back up toward the bag (?), hopefully they will figure it out soon and stop fighting gravity. The cucumbers have sort of stopped doing much of anything, so I’m not sure what to do with them, but the squash has continued the whole ‘world domination’ plan.
Of course I have learned a few more lessons….
Lesson 5: If you are going to restart your herbs and/or lettuce, stop trying to be nice and start them in the house (see previous post where I killed them all in eggshells). These guys need tough love and need to start their entire existence outside in the elements (nice elements, not too crazy). After a few of my lettuce sprouts got to 2 inches high, I put the basket outside and they promptly shriveled up. The next batch is doing much better with a full life of outdoor love. Parsley also curled up and had to be reseeded.
Lesson 6: What you think is enough light may not actually be true. I had placed my recycled soup and coffee can planters in some pre-made wooden garden boxes figuring they would just continue to flourish in the sun. This is hard when your wee plants aren’t quite big enough to see over the edge of the planter. I used the plastic boxes from some of my starts to prop the cans on until the plants are big enough to sit flat.
We had intended to get our feet wet in the container garden arena last year as we had a deck put on our condo. However, the best laid plans and all that, as well as the deck building crew taking all summer to build the damn thing, put us behind schedule to an entirely new growing season. So here we are. Still gardening virgins. We read all the books and the blogs and thought we were ready, and then mama nature showed up and put a wrench in our plans by snowing in May of all ridiculous times. So needless to say, the seeds I started in March (Lesson 1: too early for everything but tomatoes) either didn’t make it or were barking to get outside. I have already learned a lot in our foray into the world of seed starts…Shall I share the knowledge? I hear it has power.
Lesson 2: Eggshells are great to start your heartier plants in (squash, zucchini, etc) but too tough for delicate things like herbs. I lost most of my herbs because I either lost track of watering in the shells (whoops) or their root systems were too delicate to maneuver in the small space.
Lesson 3: A grow light is great to get your starts green and growing, but after the first 2-3 inches of growth, doesn’t supply enough light to keep them growing any larger (except of course for the squash which is apparently a super plant and just wants to take over the world) – they stay the same stagnant size until presented to actual light on a windowsill or (someday, maybe) outside. Most of my tomatoes and my pepper plants just sort of stopped growing – it took forever for secondary leaves to come in, and I fear I wasn’t as ahead of the game as I would have liked.
Lesson 4: Dirt is expensive! I know this is a big investment for the moment and doesn’t need to happen each year, but the cost for (on sale!) bags of dirt was more than I had planned for. My suggestion: slowly buy bags throughout the year or when they are on sale to help offset the cost (or at least spread it out).
We definitely still have a ways to go as these little guys aren’t ready to go outside yet. Strike that, the outside world is not ready for these little guys. We’re still dipping close to freezing at night and though the days are sunny, we’re not quite there….So for now, all available windowsill real estate is spoken for and then some. I took all of the cucumbers and remaining peppers to my shop where I planted them (inside) in the containers there. I am still unsure as per whether they will stay the summer outside the retail space, or come home to hang out on the deck….the learning continues!
I was told recently that I’m very thrifty and resourceful when it comes to food in the house. Why, thank you! I’m not sure if I’m actually thrifty or it’s that I just hate wasting food or throwing live things away. For instance, I really don’t like spider plants but can’t bear to toss the little spikey babies, thus I have loads of spider plants (Would anyone like one? Please?). The same goes for the ends of green onions and lettuce too. A little water in a dish (changed daily to avoid funk) and the end of your cut romaine/iceburg/butter lettuce will quickly begin to sprout new edible greens. Not only is this a great way to stretch your food budget but also cheers your kitchen too!
I am also in the process of sprouting an avocado (just for giggles), and we have some onion sprouts to throw in our salads this week. Onion sprouts are deliciously oniony without the large chunky crunch of real onions, though take 2-3 weeks of care before being edible.