I decided to start a seperate gardening blog. I am no seasoned gardener, but I just want to grow fruit and veg mainly, as food is very expensive. These are just my mad cap ideas of how to grow things.
In Jersey most Tomatoes are grown with Hydroponics.
I had lots of little tomato plants that had self seeded coming up in the greenhouse. Along with Pac Choi, that had somehow grown themselves. So Himself was looking for some Litre bottles in my neighbours recycling bin!
He came and brought me these big water bottles, and some of the litre fizzy drink bottles.
Then a very dear friend turned up who is a very dedicated gardener, and we chatted for ages about what I should be doing.
Our friend still has lots of tomato plants, and pac choi and lettuice already sprouted. Which My Husband went and collected. So many I don't know what to do with them all. Then I had a bit of a brainstorm about using the plastic containers a bit more creatively.
I know the tomatoes can be grown upside down. So I thought if I used the containers the other way up to the way I normally use them, I could hang them up by the plastic carrying ring.
I used a soldering iron to make a hole about the size of a fully grown stem. Then softened the plastic bottom with my lighter and pushed it in so that it makes a little well. Filled the tub up with earth from the neck end and added about a litre of water. This compacted the earth a bit, so I refilled the bottle with some more damp earth and then put the screw cap on the container.
I turned it up this way round in the greenhouse and then transplanted my little self seeded tomatoes in the top. I made a hole for the root with a stick and popped the little fellas in. then I just put a bit more earth around them in the well at the top to firm them up a bit, and watered them from the top.
These are the ones I did yesterday.
Now the idea I had was that once the tomatoes had grown enough roots and got big enough not to let too much water out of the hole they are growing out of, I can hang them up somewhere and put a litre 'feeding bottle' sitting on the neck opening. This means I can dose them with feed as well once they start to set fruit. You never know, I might be able to 'train' them to be triffids as well.
I am going to try this out with other plants like Peppers, and Aubergines. Then I thought this might be a good way for people who live in flats with balconies to free up some balcony space, by hanging these on the walls. and over the balcony railings.
There isn't any reason not to make extra holes in the sides once the main plant is established, and grow herbs or flowers in them as well. Marigolds are always good, because they keep insects away.
The pots of Herbs in the supermarket can be transplanted. If you just put the rootball of basil for instance in a bowl of water, you can seperate some of the plants much easier by gently washing away the growing medium. Obviously keep the muddy water to feed back into the plants.
Save all tea bags, and just put them in one of these containers. Just shred them up a bit and chuck them in paper and all. Coffee grounds are good too. When the Bottle is full, you can just make the hole in the bottom I guess, and use the container like this. My mother grew lots of things wth tea bags.
I must try using them for sprouting individual seeds. Then I can just plant them straight into the garden.
As I have so many plants to grow, I wondered if I could layer them more to get more use from my Greenhouse space.
I cut the bottom off this big container with the soldering iron, then put lots of little holes round the first indentation line near the neck of the container by sticking the soldering iron in like a knitting needle... Then I put lots of holes in the litre bottle up to about half way.
I filled the litre bottle with ground, and put some earth in the bottom of the container to hold it in place. I think sand might work better, then I might not get weeds growing in the container.
Then I positioned it next to the wall. I must make sure I look for slugs round there!
Aha! This is a good one. Ask your hairdresser to keep the hair cuttings, because slugs can't slime over them. Then use the hair cuttings to mulch round little plants that get noshed overnight.
So then I gave it a good water. The idea is that the roots will want to grow down the litre bottle into the ground underneath. Then the holes around the bottom of the container feed little plants that can grow underneath the tomato until it gets much bigger.
Then I thought, why waste the bits I cut out of the bottoms of the containers. Perhaps if I put a hole in them and put things the slugs eat so quickly to grow in them, they will be a friendly deterrant.
You never know if something works until it's tried... Anyway I think its a creative use of something that needs recycling!
I have used watering bottles for a while now. It makes it easier to feed and water individual plants without watering the weeds in between!
I know its a bit late to start them but My Husband bought me some Aubergine seeds and sweet william seeds yesterday, so I am going to try them in the popagator in Tea bags.
I keep all my tea bags and coffee grounds to put on the garden, and do exactly what my Mother did. I chuck them on the patch of ground outside tha back door that I have a Jasmin creeper growing in!
Then If I need some for something else I rescue them and soak them for a bit. They are quite good for mulching round plants, and just get dug in later. So do the coffee grounds, just shred the paper up a bit.
By twisting the bottle, you can usually regulate how slowly the water feeds the plant. You don't need that 'feeding' thingy, it just does it by itself. Also a bit of sand in the bottom of the bottle would slow up the water.
It makes watering much quicker, and you don't need so much water.
Penny Lion and Tuppeny Bear came out for a photoshoot in the greenhouse with me a couple of days ago!
Sad, sad person..... still it beats doing it on my own!
The thing in the tub at the front is a physallis that is making a comeback. So I stuck some of the Bok Choi round it. (Depends where you come from). The watering bottle when I get another one fits over the stick.
I also thought I would try reviving my strawberries. Now that I am making holes in plastic containers....
I thought if I made a hole big enough in a clear litre bottle cut in half, I could put the flowers through the hole and just put a bit of plastic with holes in it over the open end with an elastic band.
So far, without the rain,(which just showered a bit yesterday), and the Blackbirds and slugs, oh and the dog, we actually haven't had many!
I have been trying to come up with a devilishly good contraption to get strawberries. I will post in a few weeks to let you know if all this works!
I came up with a better idea for the strawberries. I made a hole in the bottom of a screw top plastic jar, then lots of holes in the lid. I put a little sprig of strawberries inside the container.
Now all I have to do is unscrew the lid and put it back on to get the strawberries. It might make them ripen nicely, and I can see them and get to them without fiddling with elastic bands.
Then I watered the plant!
I know recycling is a huge concern right now, and should have been for ages. (Think of all that scrap metal and spare stuff buried in landfills). I am sure it will be worth reclaiming it. As well as making geothermal energy out of them, as long as landfills do not leak anything dangerous into the water table, they are quite fascinating. (Takes ages for these photos to load).
Glad I didn't have to play with dolls when I was small... My favorite was the new chemistry set at Christmas, The 300x microscope I got when I was probably 5 or 6 years old... The train set, because of the wiring... and kite making.
My Dad made one we got to about 5000 feet from the back garden. It was a box kite made out of twigs and some old sheet that couldn't be repaired any more. We kept running out of fishing line, I am not sure if we were left holding it while He went and bought some more fishing line... I think we had it on old fishing reels. It took ages to wind it back in, so we didn't mess up the fishing line... Memories!
just use them as bird scarers. The little birds fly into my greenhouse and get trapped, to the best thing to do is keep them out...
Also they are great hung on fruit trees instead of netting that the birds get caught in. You don't have to go climbing around in nets. If you just put these on the tree when it's small, they grow with it. They are like rainbow catchers too.
It would be great if there was a skip at our dump site to go and get plastic bottles and containers from. I don't buy bottled water or fizzy drinks.
It's surprising what you can do with 'rubbish' and a bit of ingenuity.
I have already tried out the tea bag seed planting, I did this earlier. Good use of some take away cartons. It would be good if they were all made with plastic tops, then this is an ideal sport for young kids to do, watch, use, and see a result. I will take a photo of them if they sprout. I put will try to put the pictures on a media slide show.
I put the seeds in the opened up T bag, then covered them with sloppy coffee grounds. Underneath the T Bags I put the coffee filter papers to hold the water. They look a mess, but the idea is to get seeds to grow directly in the T Bag and transplant them without disturbing the roots. I suppose kitchen windowsill herbs would grow very easily like this, just put more coffee grounds in the bottom of the container on top of the paper. Once they have sprouted take the lid of and keep it for next time.
I put 12 Aubergine seeds in the long container, and there are 6 Butternut squash seeds in the small container. I will pot them on, and put them in the greenhouse or something.
Obviously they have to grow first! I was going to put them in ordinary peat pots or something in the propagator, then I remembered we had a take away yesterday. So I went bin diving and washed out the containers. I thought, why waste the electricity when a metal container on the windowsill will get nice and warm.
This is the reading for today June 11th.
LITTLE FAITHFULNESSES. (didn't know there was such a word!)
It is in the everyday of life that nearly all the world's best work is done. The tall mountain-peaks lift their glittering crests into the clouds, and win attention and admiration; but it is in the great valleys and the broad plains that the harvests grow and the fruits ripen, on which the millions of earth feed their hunger.
So it is not from the few conspicuous deeds of life that blessings chiefly come which make the world better, sweeter, happier, but from the countless lowly ministries of the every-days, the little faithfulnesses that fill the long years.
By J.R. MILLER D.D