This is my first attempt at blogging from my phone. Let's see how it goes.
Back in January I planted Kale directly in my three recycled blender pots. I spaced four or five seeds about an inch apart in each.
On average each pot sprouted four baby Kale. I have already tranplanted four of these to share a home with freshly planted carrots and peas, but on this day I transplanted the rest so each has it's own pot.
I found five pots at a local thrift store for under $20.
One of them is a cookie jar missing it's lid.
I started with a few rocks in the bottom to save a little soil. This space will also hold water that the soil can soak up as needed.
I mixed the last of my used soil left from our last planting adventure with the Keefers container mix...
and filled the pots.
Because the Kale is still so small I used a tablespoon to remove them from their original home...
and then placed them in the centre of the new pot, gentlely using soil to prop them up. I also move the Kale into the centre of thier orginal pots.
I lined them all up along the railing on the east deck. I find that the plants get plenty of water here when it rains. If anything is getting too much water I simply move it away from the edge until it stops raining or the soil begins to dry out.
In my quest to dominate container gardening I have drawn out a bit of design. I know what I want to grow and what I'm going to grow it in, and where and on which deck. I seldom follow any of these plans verbatim and this project was no exception. The plan was to find a long container and plant two rows of carrots in one and a row of peas and carrots in the other. This is what happened.
First the container. I had a hard time finding a container long and deep enough for what I wanted, (without building one which I may do later.) This is the best I could do. Not very long but pretty deep. This came from Canadian Tire and is actually meant to fit over the railing. I knew that it would not fit over my railing when I purchased the container, but thats okay. The added depth of the trough will be perfect for the carrots.
Next I had to address the growing medium. Soil. I am currently Laid Off during the Olympics and although I have a job to go back to, finances are tight, so we have put ourselves on a very strict No Spending Budgets. Bills and Groceries only. So I could not purchase any soil specific to this project and had to make do with what I had, which was a partial bag of Keefer's West Coast Container Mix, a hodgepodge bucket of reused potting mixes, left over "garden mix," composted soil from the District of North Vancouver, and a bucket of "junk" soil I tried unsuccessfully to us as a patio sandbox material for Cillian.
For the first pot I combined the "Garden Mix," the reused, and the junk soil and mostly filled the container, then topped it off with the Keefer's Container Mix.
The second pot was a comprised of the Keefer's and garden mix with a little of the reused mix.
This is where I first deviated from the original design. My Kale seedling are still young but knowing that I will need to transplant them soon and having nowhere to put them at this point I decided to plant one on either end of the carrot- peas container.
Using a table spoon I carefully removed 4 seedlings from the fullest Kale pots...
and planted one on each end of the new containers.
Then I made a 1/2" trough along the front of the container for the Carrots.
I poured some seeds from the Johnny's Selected Seeds Pouch into the spoon and began planting dropping them into the trough. I left about six inches from the Kale, so the Kale won't shadow the carrots too much.
You can plant the seeds 3/4-1" apart and then thin the seedling to 2" later. Not wanting to have to toss the unwanted seedlings, I spaced them about 2" apart now.
Then I dug another trough along the back and plant the peas about an inch apart.
I'm not as worried about the peas being dominated by the Kale as the peas are a vine and will grow higher then the Kale and they should live in harmony.
I placed on container on the East deck. I will either move this pot back against the railing or build a small trellis for the peas later.
The second container I put on the North Side against the railing so the pea vines can grow up them. I shuffled the other pots and containers around to accommodate.
The last thing is to water. While at the store I found organic fertilizer from Rubicon made from concentrated seaweed. As per the directions I added 1/2 teaspoon to my watering can which is about one liter.
I watered the contain enough to penetrate the soil and repeated a couple days later. The idea is to keep the soil moist but not swampy or over saturated.
Twin leaves that is. Three days ago I planted Marigold seeds (among others) into a seeding kit using fiber pellets and we already have several seedlings emerging.
The pellets are still damp and haven't needed any further watering.
I'm sure that the extra sunning days and the addition heat created by have the clear cover over the seeds has been a contributing factor to this early success.
Of the 50 pellets 16 were planted marigolds and of the 16 there are 8 seedlings 1" or taller and I can see 4 more breaking ground. That is about 75% success rate so far! I will leave the seedlings and their pellets in the tray until they are getting close to touching the lid, then I will transplant.
I have also had some success with the Kale I planted a month ago. There will be some pictures and further mention in my next blog which could be out as early as tomorrow or Friday. I'm laid off during the Olympics so I have some time on my hands.
Today was my day to plant some seeds. I have been looking for a seeding kit for some time, and came across a product from Planters' Pride. They are these little thin pallets with a seeding mix inside a fiber membrane. Instead of making biodegradable pots out of Peat moss, Planters' Pride uses fibers like coconut coir.
Peat moss is a great growing medium and widely used, but for the most part it is mined. This rich soil takes generation to create and we are using it faster then it is being made. Peat bogs are disappearing, find out more here.
I found this particular kit, reasonably priced, at Canadian Tire, I'm sure that other retailer also carry this or something similar.
The first step is to add water....
The pellet will expand to 3 - 4 cms tall.
Next is the seeds. Today I planted Marigolds, Cherry Tomatoes, Cockscomb Celosia Bombay Wine and Lavender all from my last Johnny's Selected Seeds and Lupins that I had left over from Pacific Northwest Seeds in Vernon BC. They don't have a website that I can find, but their seeds are available at David Hunter Garden Centres.
I'm growing Marigolds and Lavender for specific reasons. Marigolds help to keep small animals, (like squirrels) and some non beneficial insects away from the garden and Lavender will attract Ladybugs that are a beneficial insect to the garden, they eat aphids.
The Bombay Wine is a bit of an experiment. This is not the environment they were intended for. I think it will be warm enough during the summer that they will do fine and probably be Ok threw the winter, but will unlikely survive the winter so I am growing them as an annual.
I proceeded to place 1 or 2 seeds per pellet, gently pushing each one in. I planted them in rows. The Lupins, Lavender, and Cherry Tomatoes each got one row, the Bombay Cockscomb got three rows, and four rows or Marigolds.
Some seeds are very small and difficult to handle. I used a common butter knife to move the seeds into the pallets.
Last step was to place the clear cover over the top and sit the "greenhouse," in the front window. Are apartment stays pretty warm and lots of light comes through this front window. Now I will let the seeds do their thing. Once the plants start to grow to big for the green house I will put the whole plug into a container and the roots will simply penetrate the membrane.
Soon I will be planting carrots and peas directly into their pots. I will likely also be doing some gardening for my building as we haven't yet hired anyone to do anything. This is part of my plan to create our own community garden. I think that if I start doing the work then it gives me the opportunity to meet some of the people in the building who are interested in helping out with the garden. Step one!
I have just moved from Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver BC, to an Apartment in North Vancouver, in zone 8. I am a gardener without a garden, so I am learning about container gardening. Winters are short, typically with very little snow and sometimes not much frost. It rains most of the time, however things tend to dry out in Aug and Sept.