Tag Archives: seedlings

The Great Cucumber Mystery

6 Jun

I had planned to write about picking strawberries for DC Central Kitchen today, but this seemed much more urgent. I have a mystery plant.

Here are the facts:

  • Started cucumbers and Mexican gherkins inside in late April. 7 seedlings from cucumbers, 6 from gherkins. All seeds that I planted sprouted within about 5 days. No duds! Photo May 30, 7 15 42 PM
  • Planted 7 cucumbers and 3 gherkins in the tank on May 30. Gave away one gherkin, two more are waiting for new homes now. Added the trellises for support. They look great. I’m going to get another one for the sweet peas I just planted in the second tank.
  • Left an open space because I though they’d like some additional breathing room.
  • Everything was fine on Saturday, June 4.
  • Sunday, June 5, 1:45 pm I see this cucumber looking guy poking out right in the space I left vacant. Photo Jun 06, 1 13 37 PM

WHAT?

I have no idea. I didn’t plant any additional seeds, and all of the plants I had were already in. This one is in a perfect spot, too. No one else would have done it, I don’t think my neighbors have been up there in a while, and what kind of  gag would that be? “Ha ha won’t it be funny if I follow Emily up to the roof and secretly plant some extra seeds?”

I still don’t know what, exactly, it is, but I’ll update in a few days. If it’s some sort of weed, I’ll just pull it and leave the space empty. If it turns out to be a cucumber, I’ll leave it, I suppose.

Also, I planted the second tank. Removed the GIGANTIC 3′ kale stalks that were still there from last fall. For a while I was picking the baby leaves and just munching them upstairs. They flowered constantly starting in April.

Photo May 14, 7 04 34 PMPhoto Apr 26, 5 08 03 PM

 

In went three bell peppers and one hot pepper. I left some of the carrots so I could continue to treat Dolley to some snacks for a few more days. I planted 5 sweet pea seeds, and I’m going to put in a trellis this week for them, too. Not sure what I’ll put in the other side there when the carrots are gone.

Photo Jun 05, 5 27 07 PM

 

Finally, right this very moment there are 7 DUDES ON THE ROOF MAKING PIPE AND DECK REPAIRS! THEY WILL BE DONE LATER THIS WEEK AND OUR ROOF WILL BE WHOLE AGAIN!

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Finally! Let’s Get Started!

1 Jun

This year was going to get off to a late start no matter what. We’re still waiting on roof and deck repairs (see previous post from February), but now we have a construction start date! Besides that, we had nearly a month of rain and unseasonably cool temps, including a few late frosts into May. Little guys wouldn’t have had a chance.

But, we went from 50ish degrees and raining last Sunday to sunny and nearly 90 last Thursday! I hope the cold is finally behind us. Last week I bought new pots and potting soil. Wound up with a bit of a different plan than I had a few months ago, but I think this will be just fine.

First, I started my seedlings off in March, a bit late, knowing that I’d probably not be able to plant them for a few extra weeks because of the roof construction. Some were in peat pots, some were in plastic pots I’d saved from the past, all into salad containers for ease of movement and watering. I put them on a table in the hallway because that part of the building gets a lot of sun. Peat pots are great because they are super cheap and you can just plant the whole thing when the time comes. The plant’s roots will come right through, so there’s much less of a chance of transplant shock. However, they do dry out much faster than plastic pots. New chocolate mint, too. I saw it while shopping for new pots and I just couldn’t resist. Also, some green onions I got in the grocery store that I resprouted.

Photo May 08, 1 54 41 PM

This year I also used salad containers. Just filled them with potting mix and planted cucumbers in one, Mexican gherkins in another, and basil in the last one. All three types of containers wound up being terrific in the end.

Photo May 21, 8 29 03 PM Photo May 21, 8 29 55 PM

I moved everyone upstairs to the elevator landing for about a week before moving them outside. It was much warmer up there, and I was able to get them right on top of the windows. Then outside for a few days, checking to make sure they were not drying out or limp. Because they are right against the building, they got a good amount of shade, too.

This past weekend was planting time. Each teeny tiny tomato went into a 26 quart pot with two little basils, except for one that got parsley. Not sure if the parsley is going to make it, but if not, I could always put another parsley in there. Right now I have one yellow pear tomato, two red cherries, and two roma plants. I’m considering keeping one of the extra romas I still have for another pot. Really want to make up and then can some paste, ketchup, and tomato sauce this summer.

Photo May 30, 7 06 24 PM Photo May 29, 4 44 54 PM

I also have a new large herb pot with two parsleys, dill, oregano, and thyme. Mint, of course, has its own pot. My mother bought me a gigantic rosemary plant that got its own 26 quart pot, too.

Photo May 30, 7 06 19 PM Photo May 24, 3 30 38 PM Photo May 31, 5 10 56 PM Photo May 24, 6 54 15 PM

 

Into one tank, 7 cucumbers, 3 Mexican gherkins, and two bell peppers. I bought two pieces of lattice trellis things specifically for the climbing things so they don’t have to lay on the fencing anymore. Notice in this photo the tank is not in it’s normal spot! It’s right in front of the entry door for now. Argh. Anyway, the second tank still has some carrots and kale from last year, but I’ll eventually put the rest of the peppers in there, including one hot pepper. Might get a second hot pepper.

Photo May 30, 7 08 29 PM Photo May 30, 7 16 37 PM

Haven’t planted the sweet peas yet. Might do that in the second tank with the peppers.

Now that I have something to write about, I’ll be updating again on a regular basis.

 

A Slow Start to 2015

29 Apr

We’ve had a few nights in the 40s in the past week, so I’m glad I haven’t put anything out yet in the garden.

However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been preparing behind the scenes. I started some seedlings inside a few weeks ago, and they’re actually looking fairly decent. I know I said I wouldn’t have tomatoes this year, but I’ve decided I’ll put them in the buckets and not the tanks. One plant per. I have 6 little tomato seedlings now, three yellow pears and three red cherries. I also started 6 cucumbers, but only four are looking good. I’ve been taking them outside during the day and they sleep inside. I hope to have them all planted in about two weeks.

Photo Apr 28, 1 34 07 PM I decided to put a bunch of herbs into the huge pot I used have only for rosemary. Now rosemary, tarragon, and sage are sharing a space. I will eventually add in the parsley I started several months ago, and possibly the basil. They are now living in the hallway, getting direct sunlight every day.

Photo Apr 20, 4 01 18 PMPhoto Apr 19, 4 05 07 PM

ShmErin got a huge dumpster full of mulch from the City of Alexandria. Wound up being a liiiiiittle bit more than she had anticipated! I took some to beef up the tanks. I’m going to add the compost on to it this weekend, too.

Photo Apr 19, 3 58 23 PMPhoto Apr 19, 3 58 26 PM

Finally, my neighbors and I bought some new solar LEDs. I put them up last night all along the fence. They look great.

Photo Apr 28, 9 25 45 PM

Happy Tu B’Shevat! (Some Indoor Plant Chat)

4 Feb

Happy Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish “birthday of the trees”!

In honor of this fun holiday, a bit of indoor seed starting chat.

I’ve been growing seedlings inside, mostly herbs, not necessarily for consumption but more for sport, if you will. Right now I have ginger, basil, parsley.

I make ginger beer. Right now for fun, but we’ll see what happens with it. Anyway, I wanted to see if I could grow my own ginger. I started with a few pieces of organic ginger root, left them in a bag in the fridge, and when they grew “nubs,” I planted them in a pot. It grew very quickly and sprouted several stalks. Now it’s just a pretty ornamental. Kind of looks like bamboo, and it has a scent that is bright, almost grassy citrus. Smells very clean. I’ll plant it outside in the roof garden when temps get to about 60-65F. From what I’ve read, harvest should start after about a year, enough time to let the root system grow. After all, we’re hacking off chunks of the root. I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold back and let it grow. We’ll follow this ginger development over the next few months.

Ginger, about two weeks after planting.

Ginger, about two weeks after planting.

Many fragrant stalks.

Many fragrant stalks.

Ginger, happily growing today.

Ginger, happily growing today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby basil seedlings, Dec 1, 2014

Baby basil seedlings, Dec 1, 2014

Basil today.

Basil today.

I planted some basil, too. These guys first went in in December, and they’ve barely grown since then. I just started to see a second set of leaves from the few remaining seedlings, so that’s nice. Normally by 10 weeks we’d be significantly larger, but we’re not outside here.

 

Parsley today, planted Dec 1, 2014

Parsley today, planted Dec 1, 2014

Same story with the parsley. Second, and some third, sets of leaves, but not that much else going on. More lanky, lazy looking parsley. I was considering letting my rabbit have at these seedlings, but I can’t let her eat my science experiment just yet!

I do have actual seed starting pots and pellets that I’ll bring out in about a month or so. I’m going to build a little seed starting box and see if I can get some plants to grow upstairs this year instead of buying ready baby plants. I’ll probably stick with herbs, but we’ll see how adventurous I’m feeling.

 

Oh, here’s my ginger beer!

Rabbit's Domain Ginger Beer!

Rabbit’s Domain Ginger Beer!

Garden Catch Up On A Rainy Fall Day

17 Nov

It’s cold and rainy out today. I’m going to think happy garden thoughts so my feet will warm up.

2014 was a mildly upsetting year up on the roof, though that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything! Over the next few weeks I’ll post by general topic instead of a play-by-play.

First, a catch up.

IMG_4947

Herbs. Dead rosemary, returning chives, returning thyme.

All in all, my “harvest” was much smaller than in years past. We had some gross cold, cold weather that actually killed my rosemary plant. It had been doing really well over the years, and I had given it a much larger pot. I thought it was pretty hardy. I heard that lots of other folks lost their rosemary. The rest of my herbs came back, though. Chives, thyme, and oregano all came back in their pots. I planted new parsley in a pot, and then both green and purple basil in one of the tanks from seed. They wound up doing well. I still have not replaced the rosemary. Debating what to do there, if I should try some indoor herb gardening this year. I brought one plant inside last week but I don’t know if I want to make a whole indoor garden out of it.

IMG_4948

Tank 1, cucumber seed, bean seedling, tank 2.

Then we had a bit of a cold snap in May that killed off several seedlings I had started indoors and had replanted outside. I started beans inside. They died, so I wound up planting them a second time. Here are my tanks and some wee baby seeds. The tank on the top wound up with cucumbers, beans, and beets. The one on the bottom had the same as last year, two tomato plants, variety of carrots, and the aforementioned green and purple basils. I planed fewer carrots than last year, and I think they grew much better because of it.

I decided to tackle my problems with water this year. I built (what I thought would be) a great rain barrel! You’ll have to wait for my next post for my great 2014 water adventure.

The highlight of this year was certainly my composting abilities. I had two buckets that did really well. I’ll save that for another post as well.

Fences Make Good…Bean Plants

29 May

I built a fence. Out of bamboo and twist-ties. I’m so handy.

The beans were flopping over in the wind, so I decided to help them stand upright. I was able to see the bad leaves and pick a few of them off. Now they will happily feed me with purple string beans soon.

About two weeks ago I decided to fill in the spaces in the carrot rings where I didn’t get carrots. Just regular seed, no more tape at this point. I also decided to plant some more green onions. Brought both packets up to the roof (with my cocktail, of course) that evening and went to work. Then I sat back, had my first sip, and realized that I had put the carrots where the onions should be and the onions where the carrots should be. My neighbor, also enjoying a beverage on the roof, asked if I could just switch the seeds. No, no I can’t do that. I figured, just wait and see.

My fears were for unfounded, I was glad to see a few days ago. Both carrots and onions are coming up in their proper spots. Whew!

photo 3 (3)Someone is eating my cucumber leaves. Any ideas? I don’t see anything on the underside of any of the leaves, and I’ve checked at different times of the day, just in case I have a night nosher or something. Also, I’m wearing the latex glove because I had smashed up part of my hand a few days earlier and had it all covered up in super awesome advanced healing bandages. Didn’t want to damage them any more than I needed to.

 

photo 1 (5)And finally, it’s going to be almost 90 degrees here in the DC area by the end of this week. We started off with a thunder storm last night. Great opportunity for me to collect about 24 gallons of water from the roof in my 5 gallon buckets, smaller buckets and watering cans. I also filled up the reservoirs in the containers holding other smaller plants now.

Early May Update

14 May

Some updates from the garden….these photos were all taken May 3-12.

Another view….

Radishes are all ready. They are ready to pick at 28 days, so these are all ready to go. I’ve been picking a few every day. Use the leaves in salad and on sandwiches, also. Check out the huge one!

photo 2Also, this kind of smells as if a few dozen large farm animals decided to use the roof as a toilet….all at the same time. It’s quite amazing, really. This is about 4 weeks old now, and everything I’ve read says the smell should go away after about 6-8 weeks. I hope, anyway. Otherwise I probably won’t have any friends over this summer….

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