Prep for Costa Rica

While B-rad and I were married in October, we (finally) took our honeymoon this past week. It was awesome and I’m definitely going to post about it 🙂 but this left the problem of what do to with the plants.  We have friends here but none of them live close enough to ask them to come and water.IMG_0703B-rad is better at this type of problem solving. He went to Home Depot and found the raindrip system. It is meant for out door hoses, but we found a connector and hooked it up to the sink. I put the setting for every 2 days and for 3 minutes.  IMG_0702 B-rad and Chicken Nugget setting up the little hoses. The system is pretty cool, it came with different connectors which made it easy to run the water to all of the plants. IMG_0709Chicken Nugget helping out/poking holes into the dirt. Kids loves dirt 🙂IMG_0704  Tomatoes are doing great. You can see the hoses, they are quite small and B-rad attached them to rail with zip ties.  IMG_0706Also, my cucumbers are doing great. They are attached vines to the railing and the flowers are coming along nicely.

We got back yesterday and I am happy to report the plants are huge.  I am going to take some pictures once it stops raining (rain in San Diego, finally).

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Grow Girl

It has been a while! I have been busy. We went to Vegas this weekend and I joined the 30-somethings of the world. I figured Vegas would be a fun place to turn 30 – I had never been and we had a great time. I’m excited for this new chapter in my life and for my plants 🙂IMG_0696Tomatoes are growing strong! One plant is bigger but the little one is hanging in there. I put a zip tie on the bar to help it grow straighter, I didn’t attach the zip tie to the plant but just for it to lean on. I’m pretty excited about how they are shooting up. IMG_0697I do not remember which flowers these are, but they are doing well. They are from the packet of seeds I purchased from Food52 and all the flowers looked beautiful. I’m excited to see them bloom. IMG_0698My cucumbers have started growing vines. I’m thinking I need some sticks to help them with the vine issue. As you can see, the middle guy attached himself to the one on the right. I’m not sure what that means 🙂 but I’m guessing I need to provide something for the climbing. The watermelons seem to be doing well, they seem healthy and I planted a couple of marigolds in there. I’m excited to see theses bloom.

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”  Sophia Loren

The Cucumber Sadness

dying cucsThe day after transplanting, I came home to this. My precious cucumbers, shriveled up and sad. I’m blaming the tarp (and myself, but mostly the tarp). In my last post. I mentioned that I didn’t cut holes first, I put the plants in first. This was a huge mistake (but also the tarp’s fault, somehow).

IMG_0645I took the tarp off and put a sheet over all the plants. They were struggling with the sun, above are the tomatoes. I left the sheet over for a week.

IMG_0646As you can see, those three are the ones that have been surviving. I added more soil as well. They are definitely growing straighter and seem stronger than this picture. I think I saved them, at least 3 of the 5 anyway. IMG_0644

Lastly, the watermelons are fine. Of course they are, I was worried the most about them. Isn’t that always how it works out 🙂

“A person who never made a mistake is a person who never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein

Transplanting

According to my directions, it was time to transplant my seedlings. I bought my city pickers at my local home depot, you can also get them online. I mostly followed the directions.  The unit comes with directions and google has them as well.

IMG_0638First, you layer the potting mix and cover it with some lime. I used Kellogg Garden Organics Raised Bed and Potting Mix (available at Home Depot) and Espoma Organic Garden Lime (Home Depot).  IMG_0639Next you add more mix and dig a trough to put the fertilizer. I used Kellogg Garden Organics Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer (Home Depot). Then you cover it with the last of the mix.

IMG_0640Here is where I went really wrong. I put the plants in first, instead of cutting a hole and them putting the plants in. This was a HUGE mistake. I usually am pretty careful and follow directions but in the excitement I wasn’t thinking. I will write more on this later but in addition to cutting the plastic all weird I needed more soil and didn’t put the seedlings in far enough. You do not want the leaves touching the plastic, it will dry them out.

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This is how one is supposed to put the seedlings in, cut a hole then place them in.

My next post doesn’t have great news, the cucumbers might not make it. Whomp, whomp 😦 I’ll wait a couple of days, a few might pull through.

“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.”

Paramahansa Yogananda

Thriving seedlings

IMG_0628My mini-watermelons are coming along just fine. Three of the five have started growing and I definitely consider that a success. They have finally reached the top of the bag.  Their second leaves are coming in.

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This little guy came up late. The seed is still on there 🙂 All five cucumber seeds sprouted which is exciting.

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Most of the cucumbers are starting their third leaves, except the little one. IMG_0633

Tomato seedlings have several leaves now. This weekend I’ll be heading to the garden store to get my city pickers planters and materials. We have chicken nugget the weekend I’m going to transfer them and he’ll have more fun planting than shopping – for some reason 5 year old’s find dirt more fun than a store. I’m also getting more seeds tomorrow, edible flowers and mixed greens. While I don’t plan on eating the flowers, I do want to have some flowers outside and options are nice.

Hello Seedlings!

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There is that saying – two out of three ain’t bad. That has happened with my seeds, two out of three seemed to have worked. They are growing fast and it’s awesome! I’m thinking about bumping up my seed start times for the cucumbers and mini-watermelons, they are starting to sprout their second leafs.

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This little guy still has the seed on this leaf. It’s so amazing what grows from seeds and what they provide.

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I was trying to capture the beautiful little hairs on the plan with my macro lens. March’s month goal is photography related. I’m hoping to work on getting better shots.

“A garden is grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” Gertrude Jekyll

Starting an Urban Garden

When we went home for our wedding, we spent a lot of time visiting our moms who are both back east. B-rad’s mom (who actually introduced us) has the most beautiful garden. It’s filled with snap peas, tomatoes, herbs… I felt a little envious. We lived in an apartment with no yard of our own and I wanted fresh tomatoes.

This was an odd feeling, I have a black thumb – I killed our little succulent plant, which are one of the easiest plants to keep alive! Why was I jealous? I suppose it was a combination of waiting to be back where most people live in houses with real yards and not in an apartment and missing everyone, gardening can be a social activity.

In proving to myself that I wasn’t a plant killer, I read up on how to re-bloom an orchid. It worked. The orchid B-rad gave to me last year is about to bloom and I’m so excited. This research lead to research on how to grow an urban garden – I can do this!

IMG_0375I purchased a few seedling kits from Food52, they come in packs of three (links for everything are below). The tomatoes take longer to start, about 5-6 weeks before I can move them outside. The cucumber and mini-watermelon take 3 weeks. Above is the tomato kit.

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There are husks in the bottom of the bag for draining. Since there are no holes, the water will drain to them and then be re-absorbed as needed.

IMG_0377You poke some holes into the soil bag and then run water into the bag. Since you want the soil to be moist, you’ll squeeze the bag and the extra water will come out of those poked holes. IMG_0379Organic tomato seeds! Hopefully all three little ones grow. After you put the soil over the husks, you’ll plant these little guys about 1/4″ deep and spaced away from each other. Luckily, I can start these now because while we have some cold mornings here we don’t usually have frost. You’ll want to make sure in 5-6 weeks you are clear from frost. IMG_0380

You place a plastic bag over the top to create a bit of a green house. There are very detailed instructions that come along with the starter kits. I look forward to started up the cucumbers and mini-watermelons in a few weeks.

To move them outside, I’m going to use the City Pickers system. In doing my research, they seem easy to use and I like that they come on wheels which makes them easy to move around on our porch. I’ll post pictures once my seedlings are ready for it.

Links for purchasing the Potting Shed Creations Kits:

https://food52.com/shop/products/955-seed-starts

http://www.pottingshedcreations.com/

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Aubry Hepburn