Gardening Update

I haven't written about my plants in quite a while, but they're still all doing very well. I've retired a few plants and added a new one, and mostly enjoyed the bounty along the way.

My spinach did well and I was able to get multiple harvests per plant once it was growing properly. The seeds were incredibly difficult to germinate for some reason. I may try it again, but for the time being I've retired the spinach tray to create room for more lettuce plants. Here was its max potential before the end:

The emerald jewel lettuce is doing pretty well. I'm not sure what to expect as far as size, but it's chugging along quite well. Some of the leaves have some browning in the field, whereas the salad bowl lettuce gets browning around the edges. I'm unsure what is causing that, or if all lettuce varieties suffer the same symptoms for the same problems. Whatever the case, I imagine I'll be eating some of it soon.

My most recent salad bowl lettuce plants are growing like weeds. I've had to refill the nutrient solution a few times in close order just to keep up with them. I current have 6 of those plants and will probably start some more seeds very soon to keep them on a good rotation. I've gotten a lot of good harvests from this lettuce variety and have retired a number of plants already after the third good harvest. At that point the leaves start to get tangy rather than the mild sweetness of the first growth.

The sugar snap pea vines are doing well. The one on the left seems more developed and is growing faster, but they're both coming along better than expected. Unfortunately I snapped the tip off of the main vine yesterday when trying to wrap one of the vines around the support string - apparently they're a lot more delicate than I had imagined. I think a side shoot will take over, though.

I tucked the two basil plants in around the broccoli. We've used some of the large leaves as garnish already for various pasta dishes. I'll definitely consider growing more basil plants in the future to have a more bountiful rotation since it's such a good herb to use. I've always liked fresh basil but I dislike buying the little containers at the store. The quality isn't always good and it goes south pretty quickly if you don't use it all up quickly.

The broccoli plants started growing their crowns two months to the day after starting the seeds. I should still have a couple weeks for them to develop fully, but they seem to be doing great. Every so often a lower leaf will get some yellowing and I'll prune them off once they get too far gone, but it hasn't seemed to destroy the overall integrity of the plants. Broccoli are heavy feeders and need a lot of nitrogen, and a lack can cause that yellowing leaf problem. I'm guessing that's a significant part of the problem. I think that the pots I have them in are on the small side, so the substrate isn't sustaining a great amount of nutrient solution. I'm just speculating, though. Also, I pruned up the plants a little bit so they could have a little more space, but they still seem rather compacted into their area. I can't do much for that right now other than prune them up a little more. But for now they seem to be fine and doing what they need to.

The newest addition to my basement garden, parsley, has been potted and is growing alright. Some of the plants have been a bit spindly to start with and I've had to bolster it with a bit more dirt, but it seems to be taking well enough, albeit slowly.

This is the layout of my shelf right now.

In the future I would like to build a greenhouse of some sort on the side lawn. I like the idea of having a more permanent outbuilding with a brick or stone foundation. For the time being I may build a raised planter or just try to grow a cherry tomato plant in a large pot on the deck. At some point I'd like to have some raspberry bushes, and from my research it sounds like those can do well in containers as well because they have a shallow root system. Anyhow, to those ends, and because I had a lot of broccoli pruning waste, I decided to start a compost bin. It's a 50 gallon tote that I drilled a bunch of quarter inch holes in. I've layered the contents with brown leaves from last fall that were under the house eaves with some topsoil, grass clippings, and leftover potting soil and stalks from my spinach and mesclun trays. I'll keep adding more stuff to it as I'm able.