Thursday, 19 March 2015

Gardening is Cheaper Than Therapy

Tomorrow is the first day of spring officially, although here in the lower mainland of BC spring has been with us for a month or more!

I thought I should post you some new pics of the progress of the indoor Growlight Garden (IGG) and the mini hoop houses .

The IGG on March 3rd

The IGG on March 11th
These three photos I took this morning:

Closest tray is scallopini squash and roma tomatoes

Left tray is cabbage and peppers, right tray scallopini
and tomatoes
Peppers just germinating now, left tray compared to scallopini
squash in the right tray.
In order of germination I have started: cabbage, scallopini squash, early girl and roma tomatoes, ancho peppers and red horn peppers, and butternut squash.

It is obvious to me that I am going to want to transplant at least some of these seedlings into pots (peat pots?) soon as there is a real disparity in the heights of the different plants, and ideally I want to keep the grow lights about 10cm above the plants to discourage leggy growth. 

But since some of the plants (cabbages and squashes) are so tall already, and the red horn and ancho peppers only just germinated this past week,  10 cm above the squashes is a good 20 cm above the peppers!

I also  noticed some very tiny white bugs two weeks ago, on the damp matting beneath each tray of plants.  They get quite agitated when the tray is removed and they are exposed to the light.  We looked at them through a magnifying glass (they are super tiny things) and then I Googled and found out that they are Springtails.  Called this because they have a hinged body with a powerful tail that propels them quite far, even these tiny ones we have are good jumpers!  Interestingly enough, much of the info I found initially was on marijuana growing blogs!

Magnified juvenile Springtail

I took the matting out of the IGG, washed it with really hot water, then dried it thoroughly, then put it back.  Since then, there have been very few Springtails, and I have been checking and squashing them daily, although by all accounts they don't really cause harm.  I am curious as to how they originated, it has to be from a) the peat pellets I put the seeds in b) the potting mixture I put aroung the peat pellets in the trays, c) the seeds themselves, but this seems quite unlikely or d) the matting that came with the IGG (also seems unlikely).

I have not taken a super recent photo of the hoop house interiors, it's been about 3 weeks.

Hoops were left open one day to expose to sunshine and fresh air

I am disappointed that the lettuce and endive did not germinate, so I plan to put more in this weekend.  I think the soil dried out a bit too much, which I didn't think would happen since the beds were wet when I covered them, and the interior of the hoop plastic always has lots of condensation on it.  I have watered them a couple of times, to no avail.  Maybe when I am there this weekend, I will find that they have finally sprouted.

Peas inside hoop house

Of course the peas are going like gangbusters, but they are doing the same in the bed that doesn't have a hoop over it, although I did protect it for the first few weeks with a sheet of corrugated clear plastic.   Now it is just totally exposed.

Peas in bed with no hoop house

The kale is now about 2-3 inches tall with the first of its frilly leaves. 

I have tilled the garden bed once, but I need to scrape off the grassy surface of the areas that I want to convert to garden this season.  I tried just hacking through it with the tiller, but besides being very difficult and hard work, it only results in a lot of grass roots being broken up and mixed into the soil which will lead to more work (weeding) soon.

We plan to fence the garden this season as well as expanding it.  It was pure providence that no little critters disturbed it last year, no bunnies, no deer, quite amazing! 

Garden Plan
The garden plan was laid out in February, shown here.  It has already been somewhat modified, and probably will be again before everything is planted.

I am going to try some companion planting to see how that works out this season, and I am especially excited about the corn/pole beans/squash combo, as the beans grow up the corn stalks.  But, do they choke the corn and stop it from producing I wonder? 

I am not going to subject all my corn to this just in case!

 I saw a cutesy sign in a home décor shop last night out walking Bogey, it said:

Gardening is cheaper than therapy - and you get tomatoes!










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