Its hardening off time!
The growing season is here! And this means its time to get those seedlings planted outside, but before you do that, make sure you harden them off.. Your seedlings have been pampered indoors for weeks. They need to be introduced slowly to the elements of wind and intense sun.
Initially, you will put plants outdoors only for short periods of time, perhaps for a couple of hours. You'll want to set them in a semi-shaded area. Gradually, you will increase the time plants are kept outdoors; you also will gradually increase their exposure to sun. after about a week, these plants will be ready for the outdoor life
As part of acclimating the plants to the outdoors, you also will cut back on watering. This will allow plants to toughen and will prepare them for being transplanted. If you still havent prepared your soil, now is the best time; work some compost and mineral rock dust in your soil, turning it and preparing it for those hungry seedlings.
You don't have space
A lot of people really like the idea of gardening, but don't imagine themselves doing it since they don't have space. You don't need to be planting things in the ground, container gardening is perfectly fine! and maybe even better, since you completely control the soil. Containers come in all shapes and sizes and they will fit your lifestyle and space. If you live in an apartment, you may have a balcony that is perfect for container gardening, or a wide enough window sill outside your window to fit a container with all your favorite cooking herbs! space really isn't an issue. Anything will grow in compost rich soil in full sun, you just need to fit its roots in their correct size container! Tomatoes need a minimum size 5 gallon container, and herbs will fit really anywhere thats about 8 inches wide and deep. The Square Foot Gardening method I'm adopting for my garden is essentially a container method. So find a good spot around your house that receives about 8 hours of sunshine and you'll have a nice kitchen container garden to last you from September to May.
Here's a photo update on my seedlings: Here's something I found interesting, This is a French Marigold seedling escaping its very peculiar seed:
Square Foot Gardening
What is square foot gardening? A simple, unique and versatile system that adapts to all levels of experience, physical ability, and geographical location. Grow all you want and need in only 20% of the space of a conventional row garden. Save time, water, work and money! I am following the square foot gardening method, and I'll be using it as a reference through out the blog. Square foot gardening invented by the genius Mel Bartholomew! Learn more about it in his website , Or order his very very valuable book. It may come in downloadable PDF files too, if you search.
Here are the 10 things that make SFG different from traditional row gardening:
- Layout. Arrange your garden in squares, not rows. Lay it out in 4′x4′ planting areas. Companion plants can help each other grow bigger and tastier!
- Boxes. Build boxes to hold a new soil mix above ground. Your existing soil doesn't matter! forget about it, and just worry about the new soil called Mel's Mix.
- Aisles. Space boxes 3′ apart to form walking aisles. It makes it easier to walk and sit around the boxes, especially when your plants get really big and spill out of the boxes a little.
- Soil. Fill boxes with Mel’s special soil mix: 1/3 blended compost (please please make your own! The compost sold in Kuwait is a little shady) , 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite (All available in True Value).
- Grid. Make a permanent square foot grid for the top of each box. A MUST!
- Care. NEVER WALK ON YOUR GROWING SOIL. This is how the soil stays so fluffy and airy for the roots stay happy. Tend your garden from the aisles.
- Select. Plant a different flower, vegetable, or herb crop in each square foot, using 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants per square foot. You might, for example, plant a single tomato in a square, but you’d plant 16 carrots in another. Using this system, you can cram a lot of garden into a small space and still get excellent yields.
- Plant. Conserve seeds. Plant only a pinch (2 or 3 seeds) per hole. Place transplants in a slight saucer-shaped depression. This means you wont waste seeds! The traditional way is to plant lots of seeds then cut off the majority and leave the strongest.
- Water. Water by hand from a bucket of sun-warmed water.
- Harvest. When you finish harvesting a square foot, add only compost and replant it with a new and different crop.
The Tomato Book
"Delve into this little book, and you will find all the information you need on growing tomatoes. Discover the most reliable varieties, the highest yielding bushes, and those with the most intriguing shapes and colours. Find detailed advice on every aspect of growing tomatoes outdoors, under glass, and in the ground, in growbags, pots and even hanging baskets."- Product description
"The most practical book that all gardeners have been waiting for, this fun and informative guide shows how to make the best compost using ingredients that are easily found around the house." -product description