Monday, March 15, 2010

Photo Tutorials and odd root veggies:

 I read quite a few blogs. Normally they are gardening or crafting blogs where the author is constructing some fascinating contraption or modifying something in order to repurpose it.  I decided that i am jealous of never having done my own photo tutorial. So, i think today is the day!

So, to set the stage:

I love the seed starting product known as Peat Pellets.  They are very convenient.  They allow me to sow seeds without having to buy anything but them and the seeds.  I can place the Peat Pellets in most every container i want.  What works best for me is to save  styrofoam meat trays and set the PPs on those. The trays take a Sharpie marker very well and there is plenty of room to write.

But, like i said, they aren't very cheap. I usually buy them by the bag - about $15. for 100.
It saves the work of having to individually fill those rotten 6-pack trays, which always give me trouble,  and they are more compact to store than bags of soil.

My mom gave us her Keurig coffee pot a few months ago, the timer on it ceased to function so she was getting a new one. We don't use timers on coffee pots, so it was a good match for us.  Now the one-cup system always sort of bothered me,  i'm not an environmentalist- really.  But the one-use plastic cup just kinda irked me even though i absolutely adore the brewing system.

Being the seed-starter than i am (i'm a better seed-starter than a gardener, big plans, bad luck, little follow-through) i pretty quickly realized that they were about the same size as my peat pellets. And better, by function, they already have a drain hole precision- punched into the bottom. All that needs to be done is to  remove the lid, the grounds and a quick rinse.  This is a project that is well within my skill level.

So i saved the K-cups over a number of months (about 130 saved), disemboweled them and set them aside (much to my hubby's annoyance) until around now.
Here are the Disemboweling instructions for making the Keurig K-Cup into a little pot for seedling propagation.

 This is a K-Cup. Recently used. Its good to clean them out shortly after they cool off or else things get a bit scary in there.

 Perfect seed-starting size.

Break the foil lid and peel it off. It is a little harder to pull off than usual foil tops because these are not really made to be removed.

It dosen't take very long even though it might separate into a few pieces, the cup is tough enough.

Now, dump out the coffee grounds. They stick to the mini filter, but that is ok. Usually i dump the grounds into a bowl (when i do 20 kcups at a time) and feed them to my worms.

 Then i poke my finger through the center of the paper filter, hook it and yank, peeling it away from the edges.

Dismantling complete.

I don't even have to poke a drainage hole.

Just a quick rinse...

Don't even need to use soap.

All clean and ready to be filled with potting soil.

 The white cups are best because they take a label so well. They also come in black plastic, but i only use those if i must.

They fit 50 to a standard flat, just like the Peat Pellets, and if you drink the coffee anyway, they are technically free.

Yay! My first tutorial.  LOL

So, you see, it is pretty simple :)

I spent some time looking up some info on growing a couple of the unusual root vegetables that i want to try this year.
Burdock is one of them.
Apparently it is quite good, shows up on cooking shous occasionally and is said to be loaded in good vitamins and minerals. Its downside is that the roots can grow about 3' long,  can get quite large around and are tenacious- so harvesting them is challenging!
But i came upon an ingenious idea for making the harvest much easier- if not the prep work:
From one of our customers, W. Takahashi:
I have a tip for growing Gobo without the intense digging normally associated with gobo. I start seeds early inside on a hot pad (Zone 5). Garden prep: Cut 4" PVC into 36" Lengths and then in half lengthwise. Bury the PVC starting 2"-3" deep at surface and the deepest end at 12" (at a cant). I plant the seedlings at the top end, positioned to ensure roots will follow PVC, keeping plants watered & fertilized. Once established, I mulch heavily with straw. I normally overlap each PVC with a 15" spacing of the plants requiring harvesting from the last plant first. Harvesting requires minimal efforts.  Source
I think its brilliant.  Hubby just sees it as more work. I'm wondering it it might be worth it, its a great idea but i don't know if it will ever happen, to be honest. But at least i know the best way to do it if ever!

The Salsify seems pretty straightforward, they are like thinner, foot-long carrots. But i learned that the foliage can also be eaten since salsify is related to the dandelion.

So, off to read a couple more gardening books. "Cash from Square Foot Gardening" and "Garden Encyclopedia".  The Cash book is basically the original "Square Foot Gardening" book, but with extra tips for making it a backyard business... not terribly interested in that- though i hope to be getting enough produce to both donate (and not just tomatoes and zucchini) and put away, bit it was the only square foot book we coulf find for free on the internet.

The Garden Encyclopedia is full of info, as it should be. It even has a section to help me decide how much of each item to grow- production estimates. This will keep me from getting carried away and planting too much of one thing and barely enough of another- while allowing for the plans to preserve.

Between the two books, i am being reminded to also stagger the planting of multi-harvest crops, like lettuce, cabbage, radishes and bush beans, so i don't have them all coming to bear in one week, but that we have one or two harvestables at a time.

More reading, graphing, planning, calculating and thinking.   Yay!

During the little one's nap today, i hope to get the onions, shallots and welsh onions (similar to chives) started and set outdoors with the other wintersown flats.

1 comment:

Faith said...

Excellent tutorial! I had no idea what those cups were you mentioned, but must be something to do with coffee. What a cool idea!

I love your PVC idea too. Might be more work at first, but a saving later on.

You are having fun! :o)