Growing Our Own: Update 3 from the New VegBox Garden

3 03 2009

VegBox Novice Lesson 1: Get seedlings right up to the glass in the sun.

they shouldn't be lying down ... they should look like tony's!

they shouldn't be lying down ... they should look like tony's!

A picture speaks a thousand words.

Mind you, to sum up the picture on the left above, I only need five.

“I killed the lettuce seedlings.”

Thanks to my mentors (Ann, Red and Tony) over on the selfsufficientish forum, I saved the carrot seedlings from the same fate by moving them right into the window.

very floopy broad bean stalks

very floopy broad bean stalks

VegBox Novice Lesson 2: Start bigger-seeded veggies off in their own separate pots right from the beginning.

The support of more experienced growers has been vital over the last few weeks. They keep reminding me: the first year is about learning as as much as growing.

Phew. Because 1) I should have planted the broad bean seeds in separate pots from the beginning, 2) I waited far too long before planting them out, and 3) if I’d grown them closer to the window, their stems would now be fatter, shorter and less, well, floopy…

VegBox Novice Lesson 3: Seedlings started indoors need “hardening off”.

Then Tony patiently instructed me to “harden them off”.

“Eh?”

“That means putting them outside in a warm spot during the day and bring them in again at night. Do that for a couple of days and they should be OK to leave them out all the time, then you can plant them in your garden.”

Thanks Tony!

fingers crossed

VegBox Novice Lesson 4: Boo. Broad beans don’t climb. No “Jack” impersonations for me!

Next, Tony assures me that broad beans, unlike runner beans, don’t climb. So all I needed to do was give them some canes and string for support as they get bigger.

And finally …

VegBox Novice Lesson 5: Keep outdoor seedlings warm and sheltered in the beginning.

mini greenhouses

mini greenhouses

What about the poor old lettuce seedlings? Well, I picked them and used them as “cress” on top of a new soup I was trying, and am starting again with new seeds. I’ve placed a trough on a South-facing outside windowsill, and have sown new seeds into that, covering them with mini-greenhouses made of re-used plastic bottle tops, thanks to a great tip from Anne.

In another 10 days, following Red’s advice, I’ll sow another lot in a second trough, and in 20 days another, etc etc. This should guarantee a long harvesting period for me, PVH and the neighbours.

Well, that’s enough growing antics from me for this week. Next week I’ll be planting the spinach and thinking about where to start the butternut squash.

Please, use the comments box to let me know that you’re making less of a mess with starting to grow your own veggies than I am over here!

Until next month!

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16 03 2009
Carnival of Homesteading - St Patricks Day Edition | Small Homestead

This article has been featured in the blog carnival “the Carnival of Homesteading” – do check it out.

25 03 2009
My Gardening Patch » Blog Archive » a gardening carnival - March 25, 2009

Great news – this article was featured in the March 25th Gardening Carnival … do check it out!

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