Friday, February 7, 2014

PLANTING: AeroGrow Mighty Mini Tomatoes

Ok, so I have a new AeroGrow supplied vegetable project: The Mighty Mini Tomatoes.

Theoretically these are supposed to be determinate (bush) and reach about 8-10" high at maturity. They are tailored for the standard 7 pod AG7. I am growing them in my Extra, which supplies 3 lights instead of 2.

The labels said that germination would be 7-14 days. Everything was germinated by about 5 days. Here we are at about 20 days or so from initiation:

I have already had to cut out the extra plants. 6 pods sprouted 3 plants and the 7th sprouted 2. 19 of the resulting 20 (!) plants could have been grown to maturity. Thus far I have been very impressed with the vigor of these plants.

I will continue to update this post as needed.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A New Year Dawning

I will add some Lavendar and other flowers to start the new year, plus another round of garden-starting.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

PLANTING: AG Salad Greens Kit

P+3 Days
(Note: "P" stands for "Planting". So the heading refers to days since planting. Oldest to most recent.)

Way back when I first bought my AG, about a year ago, I also bought the Salad Greens Kit. But then I bought some Romaine Lettuce seeds and went with those. You can see my blog of that experience, if you wish.

I haven't done anything with my gardens since around August or so, when my pepper and tomato plants petered out. I thought now was a good time to re-engage with my gardens and pulled out the greens kit. I never took it out of the cellophane so I assumed it was still essentially fresh. The test sproutings of the seed batch were back in 2011, about 1.5 years ago. No telling what would sprout now.

Well, after two days, I am happy to report that 6 of my 7 pods have sprouted. Man, those greens are go-getters! I remember the Romaine took off quickly, as well.

Overview. Look carefully and you can see some sprouts.

Wow. All that in just 2 days.

The pods don't all have the same type of greens.

P+4 Days

I promise I am not going to be like some helicopter parent always saying, "Ooh, look, look! Look what my lettuce did today!! Ya gotta see it!!" I plan to blog meaningful events and milestones. Not just shove some test on the site just because its a new day.
With all of that said...

Ooh, look, look! Look what my lettuce did today!! Ya gotta see it!!

No, really. Now, maybe I'm just having amnesia or something concerning the Romaine I grew a year ago, but this stuff just seems to be shooting out of the pod. Keeping in mind the pix above, here is what has happened over 24 hours:

This stuff seems to be growing about as fast as my Genovese Basil, last year, and that stuff just sprinted the whole time. At this rate I'll have all of the lids off by day 5.

P+6 Days

Well, all but one pod now have their lids removed. I don't imagine I'll be blogging this planting for a few days. There are only some many different ways I can say, "Look! My lettuce is just a little bit larger today!", and just adding more "!" or putting the "@" sign in place of the "oo" in "L@@k" is just lame and frankly unnecessary. Once they are a lot larger, or something peculiar has happened, then I'll update.
Anyway, here they are:

Not so much to look at. Check back in a week or so.
P+13 Days
Steady as she goes. Leaf lettuce is pretty hard to mess up (unless you nuke it with nutrients). One of the included varieties is Red Leaf, so I suppose that explains this:

That had better be a "feature" and not a "bug"!

Otherwise, you can see that other than growth, its all just kind of moving along. I did add a little water today. I could have waited but wanted to get a little fresh in there.

A bit spindly, but I guess that's normal.

PLANTING: Bell Peppers

I have recently fired up my AG Extra, along with my AG 7. Last year I tried to grow a tomato and a pepper plant in the same AG Extra. The both grew, but because their rates were uneven it caused a lot of problems. I got 5 or 6 decent tomatoes and a couple of nice green bells.
The bells were from Aerogrow and the tomatoes were from Park Seed Co.

Anyway, I am at it again, though I am just planting bells. One pod is the second one that came in the Bell pepper kit from Aerogrow, so it will be interesting to see how it likes living with another bell. The other is a Cajun Belle Hybrid from Park seed.

There are 4 seeds in the AG Bell pod and I put 3 in the Cajun Belle pod.

P+6 Days
I activated these on the 4th. Below are pictures of each pod, taken on the evening of the 10th. Fast-growing lettuce, these aint! Although as you'll see, one plant is a sprinter, relatively speaking.

First up is the second Bell pod from AG. Keep in mind that this pod has been sitting in an unsealed box since March or so of last year. And the seeds were harvested before that. So to be honest I have no idea if any of the 4 seeds will germinate, and if so, how healthy the plant will be. But as soon as I know, you'll know.

Hard to tell but there might be something happening.
Next are the Cajun Belle seeds from Park Seed. I estimate these are probably 6-10 months "fresher" than the AG seeds.

All three seeds germinated!
So the Cajuns have a "leaf up" on the competition!

I'll post here again once the plants have come up through the slitted cover.

P+7 Days
WOW! That was fast. No lie. The picture right below this text was taken less than 24 hours after the one above it. In fact, the Cajun is growing so fast I panicked and thought it might be a tomato instead of a pepper. A quick browse to Park Seed allayed my concern. Still, though. The AG seeds need to get going. Their label says germination in 8-14 days. Obviously that's not true for the Cajuns.
On a side note, I am really really impressed with my Samsung Galaxy SIII camera. All of the pictures taken for the current projects are from it. It takes some really nice close-ups!

Just motoring along!

P+13 Days
Well, the AeroGrow pod has finally showed up, and the Cajuns are motoring along. My Extra had a failing pump so I replaced between now and the last posting. Since the plants are so small now, I just popped the pods out of the grow deck and laid the down on some moist paper towels while I worked. It took about 15 minutes. They don't seem to have suffered.

I had to use foil light blockers because I misplaced my light blocker pods. Oh well.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sub-Irrigated Planter

UPDATED: 10-JAN-2013
So my Fresno chili peppers did quite well until the leaf cutter ants found them. Literally (and I mean that literally) over a 24 hour period, they stripped all but maybe 10% of the leaves off of the plant. Since it was in the bucket it was easy enough to move 50' or so feet from where it has been. About 3 weeks later, after the plant had mostly recovered, they did it again. At that point, I was pretty disgusted and frustrated and pretty much left it alone after that. I was later able to grab a handful of peppers as they ripened and that was that. In September the plant actually re-bloomed a bit and put out a few peppers but I was not actively tending it and I left them to the birds, or ants.
The bucket was within a couple of inches of the grass in both locations so this spring I am going to plant something else in it and have it up on our deck. It gets unobstructed west sun (no trees for blocking) and so gets incredibly hot there from June through August. It will be interesting to see if the small volume will make it impossible to keep the soil from getting too hot for the roots. Maybe I'll wrap it in foil or something.

Below originally posted on 29-MAR-2012:

DIY Sub-Irrigated Planter.
Sort of a very poor man's Earthbox.
I have planted a single Fresno Chili pepper plant.
All of the parts cost about $30-40. Including plant.
Not shown in the pics are some dowels I bought to help support the plant once it gets bigger.

I take two 5gal buckets and drill small holes in the "inner" one. Also a larger hole to take the water bowl.
There is a 3rd hole to allow the watering tube to extend into the water reservoir.

Here's the outer bucket, with 1 of 2 overflow holes to handle excess watering.

Here's the water bowl. It hangs down into the water reservoir that exists between the inner and outer buckets.

Here's a closeup of the water bowl. There are three other slits like this one to allow reservoir water to make its way into the soil.

Stack the drop the water bowl into the large hole and then stack the two buckets.
Stick the watering tube down into the reservoir. Fill inner bucket with soil:

Cover the top of the bucket with plastic and stick the plant trough a slit in the plastic.