Thursday 24 March 2016

Gardening Project 2016: Update 2

Week 4

Alrighty so continuing from Update 1, this is an update on week 4 of my seed-sprouted plants.

Everything has been going pretty well so far and haven't had any major problems alhamdulilah, but I did come upon a few issues that needed remedying.

These are my mini-bell pepper plants. Notice the damaged leaves of the bottom plant? The seed shell had stayed stuck onto those first leaves for so long that the first set of true leaves had started to grow beneath. It didn't happen like that for the other plant, so I had to carefully remove the shell, but it seems like they'll be curled and damaged like that for the life of the plant.

I also learned that you shouldn't water pepper plants as often as others, and should wait until the soil is completely dry before watering.

This is the biggest and healthiest Trinidad Scorpion Pepper plant I have, but I'm a little concerned about how small they still are. It's been almost a month! I'm wondering if perhaps my house is too cold? Not enough light? Or is this how fast they actually grow?

Well, they won't be going outside until around June, so I hope they go through a growth spurt before then. I have one other plant that is as big as this one.

These are two other scorpion plants that germinated around the same time as the previous photo! I think the top one is going to die, it just stopped growing. It didn't even straighten out and open it's first leaves yet. The bottom one isn't really getting any bigger, but I really hope it does!

Two days after feeding with liquid fertilizer, the purple undersides of the leaves are turning green again.
 Problem #3 was with the tomato plants. They were all growing quite tall and healthy when I still had them three to a cup, but two days ago I noticed the undersides of the leaves had become deep purple. I researched and found out that this is either normal for tomato plants of this size, or it means that it has a nutrient deficiency.

I hadn't been giving the plants liquid fertilizer as recommended because I thought the potting soil already had fertilizer in it. But I didn't want to take a chance, so I separated the plants into their own cups, and put just a tiny bit of liquid fertilizer into the water and bottom-watered them.

After two days the purple colour started dissipating! So I guess it was a nutrient deficiency.

The leaning tomato plant is one of two that isn't perking up as much as the others, but I'm hoping that it's just because of the transplant shock and they recover soon. This was one of my healthiest plants so I hope it makes it!

These are my Kailaan (Chinese Broccoli) and Mustard Greens seedlings. I really don't now if they're doing well for their age or not, but they seem to be healthy. Their colour is a normal green, not yellow as it appears in the photo.

The only issue I've had with these is that the peat pots dry out really fast, and sometimes I have to water them every day. Otherwise I haven't been giving them extra light because I read that 4-5 hours of sunlight will suffice. The other thing I learned is that even though they are cold weather plants, being on a windowsill during a cold night still might damage them, as you can see on the top plant's leaves.

I'm really happy with my Green onions and they're growing quite nicely! The only thing I haven't really figured out is if they need extra light at night like my tomato plants, or if they'll do okay with just windowsill daylight like the mustard and kailaan.

This is the bottom of the Green onions / scallions container, and as you can see the roots are coming through! This means that lately I've had to make sure to keep the bottom of the soil moist so the roots won't dry out.

Since the Green Onions have been so easy to grow, I decided to start another container of them! I used a tofu container with holes punched out, and seeds I got in the Chinese Vegetables seed pack that I bought from the Philippines.

My thinking is, even if the other stuff I'm growing isn't enough to completely fulfill my cooking needs throughout the summer, a huge supply of never-ending green onions would be a money saver!

Alright it's a little bit hard to see but this is my current setup for giving the plants supplemental light after sunset. What I did was I literally cut pieces of cardboard and taped them together to form a box with the bottom missing, then I cut a huge opening so that my lamp can fit inside without risk of it touching the box at all.

Then, I lined the inside with regular foil to increase the reflectivity inside. The result is that instead of wasting the light from the lamp that would otherwise shine on the floor or walls, all the bulb's light is concentrated on the plants. It seems to be working well so far!

I do recognize that this can be a fire hazard, but I'm using a CFL bulb, and I only put the lamp on when I am around and in my line of sight. I definitely wouldn't leave it on overnight unsupervised.

This is the view from the top of the box's opening where the lamp bends in. It's really bright in there!


That's it for this week! Be sure to Like our Facebook page to keep updated with this project, and other cool stuff!

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