Container Gardening #8 – I’m Growing A Salad Pt. 2

Container Gardening #8 – I’m Growing A Salad Pt. 2

 

Hey Guys,

Out of the twelve varieties of lettuces that I sowed in the peat pellets only six varieties germinated.

This is three weeks and two days of growth since being sowed on March 8th, 2018; The pics were taken on March 31st, 2018.

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I filled two window planters with potting soil.

*Please don’t make the same mistake I made by not making sure your potting soil is moist BEFORE planting. This will eliminate puddling when watering the plants in.

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I created holes in the soil so that I would have an idea of where I’ll be placing my lettuces.

As you can see the roots are growing out of the bottom of the peat pellets and needed more space to continue to grow. I removed the casing around the peat pellets. I added some of my very own worm castings from my worm bin to the planting holes before inserting the freshly peeled pellets.

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After planting, each variety gets a label with a date included so that I can remember what is what and on what date I planted them.

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This is a completed window planter of Arugula, Mustard, and Radicchio lettuces.

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When finished potting make sure to water the lettuces in well.

Thanks For Reading! ♥

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Container Gardening #7 – I’m Growing A Hass Avocado Tree

Container Gardening #7 – I’m Growing A Hass Avocado Tree

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Hey Guys,

I love Avocados, Hass Avocados to be exact. I watched a video of someone sprouting a Mango seed and thought that I should give it a try with my Avocado seeds. I started the germination process using two Avocado seeds, one with a layer of skin on the seed and the other without the skin covering the seed. I don’t have the dates of when I started each seed because I was testing to see if the seeds would actually germinate using this process.

One of the test seeds had rotted before it could germinate. This is the seed without the skin.

 The skin was left on this test seed and it didn’t rot but instead germinated. This seed was ready to be potted in soil.

I sowed the test seed that germinated into a container with soil and worm castings. I watered the seed in with fish fertilizer. I labeled the avocado seed with the date of potting since I didn’t have the date when I began the germination process.

Grow Your Own Avocado Tree From Seed!

Distinguish the top of the Avocado seed from the bottom of the Avocado seed. If some of the skin that covers the seed starts to peel off it’s absolutely fine. Being able to to see the natural break in the seed helps when staking the toothpicks.

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Gather a small translucent container that will hold your seed in, a few toothpicks which will be used for staking your seed in place, and some water; tap water is fine.

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Pierce the seed with the toothpicks at an angle making sure to avoid the natural splitting of the seed (if any).

Place the seed with toothpicks in the translucent container and fill with water exposing about 1/4th of the top of the seed. Place your seed in a spot where it can be easily monitored.

Tips:

  1. Check the water on a daily basis, adding back any water that was lost.
  2. Gently aide in the removal of the skin that covers the seed as it soaks off by rinsing the seed under running water.
  3. Make sure the container that holds your seed remains free of debris at all times to avoid any mold, mildew, or algae that may develop.

Thanks For Reading! ♥

Container Gardening #6 – Refresh Last Years Potting Mix

Container Gardening #6 – Refresh Last Years Potting Mix

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Hey Guys,

One of the items that can be costly when container gardening is the potting soil but it doesn’t have to be. I’m in my second year of gardening and have accumulated a few containers of leftover potting soil from the previous season crops. For those crops that were simply annuals and have finished their season without disease, I saved their potting soil to use this season/year. To refresh my last season potting soil, I amended it with products I’ve already had on hand which made this completely FREE for me to accomplish.

Gather your containers of previously used potting soil and transfer them into an empty storage container that is large enough to hold the combined soils.

Grab your gloves and/or gardening tools, and remove any mulch and/or dead plants from the containers.

Transfer the collected potting soils into a large storage container, one by one, breaking up any clumps and lumps you come across. Here I am using my hands to break up the lumps and clumps that were in my potting mix.

One of the items I use to amend my potting soil mix is Epsom Salt; I used about a cup full. Epsom Salt is Magnesium Sulfate (a magnesium and sulfur mixture) which is readily available to your garden once added with water. “Magnesium allows plants to better take in valuable nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus. It also helps in the creation of chlorophyll, which is vital for photosynthesis. In addition, magnesium greatly improves a plant’s ability to produce flowers and fruit.”

A great soil amendment that I added to my potting soil mixture was Trifecta+. Trifecta+ is an all-purpose organic fertilizer with an NPK of 5-10-4 and was crafted by a Youtuber name Luke from the MIgardener channel. “Trifecta+ is a natural base, premium blend fertilizer. Trifecta+ will increase flowering production as well as root growth, plant health, and produce sweeter healthier more nutrient-rich vegetables.”

Lastly, I added some potting mix I had from last season and then mixed all of the ingredients together very well. At this time you can add any other soil amendments/conditioners like compost to your mixture. I would’ve added some worm castings from my vermicompost but none was available at the time. I will add some worm castings to the soil during planting/transplanting.

Let’s Talk: Are there any products or matter, organic or non-organic, that you use or will use to amend your soil in an effort to replace nutrients that are used up in the previous growing season? If so, let me know about them in the comment section below.

Thanks For Reading! ♥

A Simple Way To Keep Your Produce Fresh Longer

A Simple Way To Keep Your Produce Fresh Longer

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Hey Guys,

Have you ever purchased produce from your local grocery store just for it to start welting before the week is out? I figured out a way to stretch the freshness of my produce with little money and thinking outside of the ‘Plastic Produce bag’….lol.

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First things First, get rid of those plastic produce bags that you put your fresh produce in at the market while shopping. The plastic produce bags found at the grocery store is meant only for transportation and not for storage. I’ve noticed that when I personally brought fresh produce home and stored them in the produce bags and/or trays that I purchased at the market, my produce would start welting and/or start to develop brown spots. Moisture was being trapped and the produce wasn’t getting enough fresh air.

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I picked up 2 packs of mesh laundry bags from my local discount store. Dollar Tree had the above 3-pack of mesh laundry bags for $1 (plus tax $1.08). Yes, you heard me right, That’s 3 zippered mesh bags for .36 cents each. The mesh bags measures 12 inches X 15 inches (30 cm X 38 cm) and can easily fit a medium-sized head of cauliflower with space to move around.

To prep my mesh laundry bags for storing my produce in, I recommend washing them first. Remove the mesh bags from its packaging, add a small amount of dish detergent of your choice, and gently hand wash them under warm water. Make sure that ALL of the dish soap has rinsed completely out of the mesh bags. I then hang the mesh bags and allow them to air dry.

Remember those Brussel sprouts that you saw earlier that was wrapped in a tray with plastic? Well, they have been stored in a mesh bag.

Full heads of Romaine and Kale lettuces are easily zipped away for storage.

This is a medium-sized cauliflower with room for company in one bag and a single stalk of broccoli in another.

>> Do Not Wash Your Produce Until You Are Ready To Use Them <<

I’ve noticed that by allowing my fresh produce to breathe and stay dry while being stored in mesh laundry bags that they stayed fresh longer. Let’s Talk: Have you used a product in a way other than what it was made for? Let me know about it in the comment section below.

Thanks For Reading! ♥

Container Gardening #5 – I’m Growing A Salad

Container Gardening #5 – I’m Growing A Salad

 

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Hey Guys,

I purchased an Artisan Salad Mix Kit online at MIgardener.com. The website is run by a Youtuber named Luke (MIgardener) and his wife. Luke practices Organic Gardening and posts videos on his YouTube channel regularly. I bought organic fertilizer (Trifecta +) from Luke twice but this was the first time I bought his seeds.

The Artisan Salad Mix Kit came with 12 different types of seeds, each in their own packet. The kit included:

(1) Ruby Red Leaf Lettuce
(1) Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
(1) Oakleaf Lettuce
(1) Slow Bolt Arugula
(1) Italian Dandelion
(1) Corn Salad Mache
(1) Minutina
(1) Giant Nobel Spinach
(1) Rouge De Verona Radicchio
(1) Large Leaf Sorrel
(1) Mizuna Red Streaks Mustard
(1) Purple Orach

This is how the compressed peat pellets look before they were expanded by the addition of warm water.

This is how the peat pellets looked after warm water was added. I repurposed a cake pan and cover and created a mini greenhouse that held my Jiffy peat pellets.

I labeled and placed the 12 different types of seeds into 2 peat pellets each, totaling a number of 24 seeded peat pellets.

Once all of the pellets were planted with seeds, I placed and locked the dome-shaped cake cover over the pellets and onto the tray. I was told by another Youtuber to keep the indoor grow lights on for 24 hours until they sprouted. So I will have my lights on for 24 hrs until they sprout and, then based on each of the seeds, will give them an average of 6 to 8 hrs of sunlight daily.

Let’s Talk: I’ve started a few weeks late for the growing season in zone 7 but am excited to have finally have started. Did you start planting your seeds for this years growing season yet? If so, what seeds have you planted? and if not, what are you thinking about planting whenever you do start? Let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks For Reading ♥

Fruit Flies – My Maintainance & Prevention Methods

Fruit Flies – My Maintainance & Prevention Methods

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Hey Guys,

I’ve found an eco-friendly and economical way to get rid of Fruit Flies using items that I already had in my kitchen/pantry. I was starting a worm bin and have read many times of people having issues with fruit flies. The fruit flies were being attracted to the spoiling fruits/vegetables that were being fed to the worms. I knew how much of a nuisance fruit flies could be and wanted to avoid them as much as possible.

I researched a mixture that would trap and kill fruit flies by mixing some Apple Cider Vinegar with a bit of dish detergent. I personalized the amounts of each ingredient to 4 ozs of Apple Cider Vinegar & 1 Tbsp of Dish Detergent then placed the mixture into a wide-mouth mason jar. I covered the opening of the jar with a piece of  Saran wrap and screwed on a band (1 of a 2-piece top) to secure it in place. I punched small holes in the Saran wrap to allow the fruit flies to smell and follow the fermented scent of the vinegar. Once a fruit fly enters through one of the openings in the Saran wrap and land into the mixture, the added detergent prevents the fly from escaping which causes them to drown.

I took extra measures in preventing fruit flies from evading my space by securing a net (Halloween themed spider web) over the lid and openings of my worm bin so there weren’t any eggs being laid in the bedding. I buried the food that I feed the worms so that the spoiling/rotting scents of the food didn’t easily escape into the air drawing anymore flies to the bin.

Let’s Talk: Do you or have you ever dealt with fruit flies? If so, do you have a method of controlling/preventing them? Let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks For Reading! ♥ 

Container Gardening #4 – Assembling A 3-Tier Shelf

Container Gardening #4 – Assembling A 3-Tier Shelf

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Hey Guys,

I needed something that would hold my potted plants off of the floor while they grew indoors during the cold weather months. I came across this 3-shelf rack from BJ’s that was on sale at the time for $15; the rack needed no tools to put together so I gave it a try.

 

The instructions were really easy to understand and it came with everything I needed to put the rack together correctly.

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These eight black plastic disks are of no use to the assembly of the rack as they were only used for packaging and should be discarded.

You will need to screw the four bottom poles to the four top poles in order to create the four legs of the rack.

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After finding the desired location of where you want your bottom shelf to be, attach two of the plastic tapered locks to the grooves of each of the four legs making sure the arrow is pointing towards the shelf. Tip: This step is easily done with the rack lying on its side.

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Once the plastic tapered locks are placed on all four legs, you may now put your rack in the upright position and push down on the shelf until it sits securely in place over the locks.

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Continue the previous step for each of the remaining shelves until you are finished and have reached the top of the rack. Your rack is fully assembled and you may use it however you choose.

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I used my rack to hold a few of my potted plants while they grew indoors during the cooler weather months.

Let’s Talk: Have you ever repurposed something? What was it? and why? Let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks For Reading! ♥