After some long thought on the subject, I decided to give up my community garden plot. I was all gung-ho for it. But the effort required to keep it up, along with my own backyard garden, and anything else I take on this summer… It just needed to be dropped. The garden site is on the opposite side of the city, and during high traffic times, it takes me far too long to get over there. If I didn’t have backyard space, It would have been a higher priority. Spending over half an hour in traffic to get to the site, and then again to get back home… Not my idea of a good time.
Especially with zero hail resistance, and nasty perennial weeds on the paths.
Now the question is… Where am I going to grow my massive amounts of carrots?
Before I get started, here is the link back to the first post on the Sweet Potatoes. I did try this a few years ago, and I never got to the part of putting them outside. I did have some really beautiful flowers in my kitchen window though. If you didn’t know, Sweet Potatoes are related to Morning Glories and are not part of the Nightshade family like regular potatoes. So in all actuality, I may only be able to produce pretty little flowers and tiny little tubers not worth all this effort. That is the beauty of an experiment. These are FAR outside my zone, but I am banking on the heat of my patio to hopefully get a little harvest. I don’t have aspirations of becoming a sweet potato farmer, this is just a fun little thing to try out.
I left the last post at “wait for sprouts to arrive”…
Well boy did they ever. Within a week, I had some sprouts that were almost 6 inches tall. Keep in mind that these are vines, so they will grow fast.
Once these sprouts get a decent size, gently snap them off. This takes a little bit of the tuber away with it. (Just be gentle and don’t be alarmed. It is just a sweet potato and we are just experimenting. The fun is in the learning and its ok to screw up.) Leave the smaller sprouts on the tuber to develop some more.
Take the sprouts you removed, and snip off their lower leaves with scissors or a pinch of your nails. Put these in a separate jar. Soon we will see some little roots sprouting off the stem.
Now the trick will be to keep them growing slowly until we can get them into their final home. I’ll update again at the next steps. Or if anything exciting happens.
A few points to remember:
Keep the jars topped up with water. As the sprouts start growing more vigorously, the water will go down faster. Just keep an eye on it and don’t let it dry out. I have to top the tuber jar up every couple days now because of the amount of sprouts/roots happening. As the slips start producing more roots, that jar will need water added more frequently as well.
If you notice the water is getting smelly, growing algae, or turning a weird colour, dump it out and add some fresh water.
I don’t know if I clarified to put these in a sunny window or not. If I didn’t then I am now… Keep both jars in a sunny window. Plants need light. 😉
I have no real gardening updates. When the weather is allowing, I’ve just been working like crazy making things for our little Etsy shop. We’ve had a few nice Chinook days where it makes it really tempting to pull the seeds out and start sowing. But I have been good and resisted. The cold and arctic weather between the Chinooks, has been a good deterrent as well.
The most I have done garden- related is start attempting to get some sweet potato slips. The tuber itself has made quite a few little sprouts that have grown quite vigorously. So I will have to make a little update on its own.
I have indulged in a few seed packets as well. 2 varieties of carrot (‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Little Finger’), some Dill and some ‘Diva’ Cucumber. The Cucumber is new, and I’m excited to try it. I like to grow the pickling cucumbers, but I don’t have the space to get the volume of cucumbers to make pickling all of my own worth it. Hopefully someday, but for now, I’m going to try something new.
The two carrot varieties will be heading straight to my community garden plot. I want to double (or even triple) the amount of carrots I grew last year. Fresh from the garden carrots are one of my most favourite things. You just can’t beat them. The plot there will also have beets and onions for sure, maybe more.
Now that we are heading into March, I can allow myself to take a peek at my tomatoes and other seeds. I re-purposed my little LED light I got for seed starting into a shop light, so I may have to take it back in the house for a few months to get things going.
Keep an eye out for more garden related content in the coming weeks. The season is starting to kick off and I will actually have something to write about.
Quick little tip before I sign off on this post:
When you get new seeds, write the year you got them on the package. Most seeds are viable for a few years if stored in the correct conditions, so you don’t need to purchase them every single year if you still have some left. By writing the year on them, in a few years you will know that the germination rate of that package may not be the greatest. I grew some seeds I had left from 2013 last year and they grew just as well as the new ones.
I am still trying to hide my seed stash from myself for fear of starting a million things far too early. I’m still in the mindset of keeping things simple this year, and starting seeds in January is not in tune with that. How long I’ll be able to actually hold out is anyone’s guess.
So I thought I would update you on the cacti that I started from seed last year in January. There was an incident. The cats knocked the whole thing over, so there are a few less survivors than there would be otherwise… I currently have 4 survivors. 2 are in peat pellets, and 2 in the original 3″ pot I sowed them all in. The two in peat pellets were the only ones left with any rootball still attached when they fell to the floor. I didn’t want to disturb the ones in the pot that stayed in the soil any more than they already were, so I used some peat pellets that had un-germinated seeds in them, and here we are.
The two in the original pot are my favorite. They are doing much better than the little peat pellets ones… understandably. I’ve always wanted one of those cacti that are really pokey, but I always talk myself out of buying them when I see them in shops. So to grow one from seed… needless to say, I’m pretty excited about it. Now I just need to not have it thrown on the ground in a fit of feline angst.
I will pot them into a proper pot once I get sowing seeds later this spring… I may even splurge on some fancy cactus soil for them. My aloe needs some attention as well so It may be worth my while to give it some soil more catered to their special succulent needs. (somehow “succulent needs” just sounds wrong doesn’t it? That’s why I had to leave it in)
If you are interested, This is the link to the original sowing of the seeds post from January 17, 2016. And this is the link to the update a few weeks later once everything started germinating. I haven’t really updated you on them since then.
On Canada Day (July 1st if you didn’t know) I had all the gardening ambition finally and after getting the backyard all sorted, I headed to my community garden plot! I also went ahead and got super sunburnt too.
I only had a little weeding to do. That was nice, because I expected to have a ton of weeding with all the sun and rain we have had.
I sowed some ‘Gold Rush’ bush beans, which are going to end up being the only beans I have this year. I totally spaced on sowing them in the yard. So disappointed in myself on that front.
I also sowed some ‘Bulls Blood’ and ‘Chioggia’ Beets, AND some of the onions I sowed from seed back in December! Here is hoping that everything grows well with the limited summer we might end up with.
On a more positive note! The carrots are doing well and the potatoes are starting to flower! So I should get something from this whole venture.
Also, check out my neighbors garlic! I’m so jealous of it!