Hello, everyone! If you have been reading and watching my deep water culture updates on Facebook with this newer Mr. Stacky product, you will know that I love this system. It is so much cleaner than trying to grow plants in soil indoors.
What I also like about the system is that the plant nests can be moved around. This can help you move smaller plants that may be overshadowed by something else or simply allow you to make a prettier plant display. Since I’m using two deep water culture growing containers and an additional nursery for seedlings at times, I have the advantage of moving plants around for maximum light and viewing. Thus, having more than one deep water culture system can be even more fun!
If you’d like to order your own deep water culture system, visit this page.
Hello, everyone! Be sure to join me on the Mr. Stacky Facebook page. I’ll be talking about my exploration in Deep Water Culture. I started some seeds and also am transplanting by using a relatively new system for Mr. Stacky.
If you’ve ever wondered what an indoor grow tent looks like, you can watch videos and ask questions on Facebook. Let me share my Mr. Stacky adventure with you!
Do you have an itch to grow something one more time before the cold of winter sets in? Let’s talk about things you can plant that have a short growing season.
As temperatures begin to cool, your growing options change. Mother Nature is telling you that it is time to grow cool weather crops. What are some things that you can grow in cooler weather?
The most easiest and quickest options are lettuce and radishes. There are varieties of each that can be planted by seed and harvested in under 50 days. Be sure to check with your local agricultural extension for the date of the first frost. (This is the last day you can grow without providing protection.)
If you’re not sure what to plant, I’ve provided a couple ideas below and a couple vendors that I personally enjoy using.
Little Gem Lettuce – This smaller lettuce is great for your Mr. Stacky. It’s been pretty low maintenance for me. I’ve used seed from Sustainable Seed Company and was pleased. Organic and conventional options are available. I believe the pictures of lettuce in this blog are from spring, but fall planting is great as well.
Radishes – Okay, I have to admit that I really don’t pay attention to the variety of radishes I plant. They are easy to scatter on the ground and quick to harvest. Pick something that visually interests you or has a story to tell. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a solid choice as a place to purchase heirlooms and things of intrigue.
No one enjoys dead plants. If summer’s heat is killing what you are growing, let us offer a few tips to make gardening easier.
The best way to have healthy plants in the summer is by planning your plantings. Do a little research in advance to make sure that you are planting what is appropriate for your weather conditions. For example, if you live in a really wet climate, you may not want to grow desert cactus.
Secondly, choose the right place to plant your garden. (This can also be enhanced by understanding what type of plants go with your climate.) Look up your desired vegetable or flower on the Internet. Learn what it needs and plant it where it will be most happy.
If you are using pots, don’t forget to pick a container big enough for what you are planting. The more soil that you have around the roots, the easier it will be for the plant to survive if it encounters a dry spell. Small posts will dry out faster.
Check your plants every morning and water as needed. (Put your fingers in the soil to see if it is dry. If the soil feels hot and is bone dry, you need to water. If the soil is cool and squishy, you may want to cut back on the watering. Consistently wet soil can invite disease.) By watering in the morning, it will be a cooler time of day and will create a rhythm for your plant care cycle. If you get in the habit of watering every morning, it will decrease the likelihood that you’ll forget to do it. If you see the forecast is suggesting extreme heat, go ahead and really douse your plants. It will help keep them cool and happy.
If extreme heat is prolonged, you may need to water more often or even multiple times during the day. If you don’t have time to check your plants more than once a day, you may want to consider installing drip lines and using a timer. It will take a bit of experimenting to figure out a good match of watering times to the requirements of your current temperatures. However, you’ve already planned to check your plants every morning, so you’re partly there.
If you make a mistake and your plant wilts, you may be able to save it. If it is in a pot, move it to a shady area , over water it and drop the pot into a couple inches of water inside another container for a few minutes. (Don’t let the water go all the way up to your potting soil or you might lose it.) This may save your plant. Once you’ve given it a chance to perk up, remove any dead leaves. Leave the pot in the shad for a couple of hours and move it back, once it is refreshed. If you can’t move your plant, water it until the soil puddles. The extra water may help save it.
Being diligent about checking on your plants will help keep them alive and make you a happier gardener. If you have questions, please post them on our Facebook page.
I remember seeing some herb cube ideas on the Internet a summer or two ago and developed a simple way to do it myself. If you’re in a hurry and want to save your summer’s herb bounty, the directions and pictures below should help. While I used basil in the photos, you can try any cooking herb that makes you happy. Experiment with it and enjoy! Cheryl
Do you love to garden, but have poor soil or have difficulty bending your knees? Consider growing vegetables in a raised garden bed.
A raised garden bed gives you the ability to plant in fresh soil in an area that is off the ground. This may reduce the amount of bending needed, while allowing you to have better control over the quality of your growing medium.
How do you grow vegetables in a raised bed?
Begin by choosing your container and location. You want a raised bed that is large enough to plant the vegetables you desire, while holding enough moisture to keep your plants thriving. Where you plant is also important. While under a shade tree may be fantastic for shade-loving flowers, vegetables need to be in the part of your yard that gets a significant amount of sun throughout the day.
Secondly, choose and fill your raised bed with a potting mix recommended by your garden center and fill your bed.
Next, add your plants and water well. (If it is really hot in your area, you may need to give them extra water the first couple of days to help them transition into their new home.)
Finally, be a good friend to your raised bed and check it every day. Stick your fingers into the soil to check to see if it needs water. If it feels dry, add water to the base of your plants. (Splashing can spread disease. Watering in the morning before the heat of the day is a great habit to choose.) Fertilize as recommended by your plant food manufacturer.
Harvest your vegetables when they are ready and enjoy!
Living with insects is part of gardening. There are good bugs and there are pests. Knowing how to control the bad insects naturally can help save your garden. One of the more destructive and frustrating enemies is the squash bug. Let’s talk a bit about what to do with them.
Squash bugs can suck the life out of your squash, if you are not vigilant. They love hiding and can be quite frustrating to control. If you are an organic or sustainable gardener, harsh chemicals are not your favored choice. Thus, as disgusting as it may appear, the best control measures are searching and destruction.
Searching for squash bugs means that you need to get close to your plants and move the leaves around. You will find the insects crawling anywhere on your plant. When you see them, simply pick them up with your hands and drop them into a bowl of soap water. If they don’t drown, you can remove them one by one and crush them with a stone.
The second thing you need to do in your search is look for eggs. Typically, the eggs will be lined up like soldiers in a pattern on the underside or top of leaves. Scrape the eggs into your soap water. You can also remove the leaf and crush the eggs with a stone.
While this procedure may seem distasteful and brutal, it will help decrease the destruction in your garden. If you do not control squash bugs, they will keep multiplying and kill your plants.
Growing your vegetables in a raised container like the Smart Farm can reduce the bending needed when inspecting your vegetables. If standing is challenging, you can even pull a chair up to your Smart Farm to make gardening more comfortable.
Please visit the Mr. Stacky page on Facebook for gardening pictures and help in answering your growing questions.
We introduced everyone to starting seeds in the Smart Farm in earlier posts. I thought it might be a good time to show you what the Smart Farm looks like approximately 24 days later. The picture on the right shows the current Smart Farm. Some of what you see is the lettuce that we started from seed, while other things are transplants. Can you find the basil, tomatoes and squash?
In less than a month, we have a gorgeous planter that is filled with green. The maintenance at this point is very easy. I just have to keep the bottom reservoir filled and the pump plugged into the timer. If you’re wondering how much fertilizer that I’ve used, I am still running off the initial small bottle that was sent as a sample. I initially poured the whole bottle into the reservoir once the seeds sprouted. Although I have added water, I have not added new nutrients. However, it is overdue for a refresher.
What do you think of my Smart Farm?
P.S. The pic to the left is a reminder of how bare it was before the seeds sprouted and other plants were added. What do you think you can grow in one month? If you need help, please write me on our Facebook page. I’m happy to answer your questions and help you grow whatever you dream about.
The picture to the right is the nearly finished product after growth. Cheryl
Growing your own fresh produce with Mr. Stacky can be an exciting adventure and we are here to help you learn. If you are a new gardener, starting vegetables from seeds for the first time might seem difficult. However, this series of blog posts will break down the steps for you and help make it a fun experience. This initial post will cover seed selection.
The most important thing when choosing seeds is to think about what you like eating. If you hate spinach, you won’t enjoy growing it. If you crave fresh greens on your salad, then planting lettuce is a fantastic choice for a beginner. It be easy to germinate and gives you results fairly quickly. Additionally, the showy leaves of lettuce look gorgeous in a pot.
What lettuce seeds are best? Little Gem is a favorite of this writer, as it sprouts easily and does well in a pot. If you plan on filling an entire Smart Farm with Little Gem seeds, you may want to purchase more than just a little packet of seeds. It is better to plant more than you need, as you can thin the seedlings, later. You can purchase the seeds in various quantities here.
Lettuce is a cool season crop and there are a lot of different vegetables that you can grow in a Mr. Stacky. If your weather is really hot and sunny, you may want to consider gardening something that thrives in heat. Bush beans do well in warm weather and the seeds can be planted directly in a pot. While green beans are the variety you may know best, consider choosing something fun like Dragon Tongue that have spatters of purple on the full grown beans.
Be sure to check this blog regularly for more tips on growing with the Mr. Stacky Smart Farm. If you’d like to order a Smart Farm, click here and enter in “growjoy” as the coupon code to save $50.