Gardening

I’ve never really tried my hand at gardening until now so whether or not my thumbs are green, remains to be seen.

Obviously growing your own produce is one of the most self-sufficient, sustainable ways of ensuring spray-free, plastic-wrapping free food and it provides a use for compost produced by Bokashi Binning all our food scraps… so here goes!

I’ll be taking a lot of advice from good friend, and Hamilton artist, Laura Hodson, who has been gardening her way to some delicious looking meals for over a year now. Google, of course, will also play a large part, but most of this is going to be a true-blue case of trial and error- as is any good grimoire!

I planted out my garden on 7-June-15.. not the best time of year to start a garden but most of the plants were sold as winter plants so we’ll see.

I’ve been starting out a lot of things in the kitchen, mostly things that can be grown from left overs you’d normally compost so make sure you check out that page to see how it goes. Great way to save some money and replenish your pantry.


Starting in the kitchen

As it turns out, loads of the stuff getting chucked into the compost bin can actually be used to grow new produce.

1) Spring Onions
Easy peezy, this one. Buy from supermarket, put in glass of water on windowsill (white bit in the water!!) trip green bit as needed. It will keep replenishing. However, someone else got to my spring onions first, now I have literally JUST the roots sitting in a shot glass of water. Only time will tell if it’s too late for them…

2) Garlic
Another super simple method here. Get a clove of garlic (yep, just a clove) and push it half into a pot of soil (the end that was from the root end). Keep it in the sun.
I wasn’t overly convinced that this was going to work so I’ve planted two cloves still attached the to root part. Maybe I should have trusted Google… maybe my way will get results faster…

3) Ginger
You need a piece of ginger root with buds. Plant it. Wait for ginger to grow. Doesn’t get much easier!

4) Potatoes
We have two methods going on at home:
a) Plant a potato that has “eyes”. It will grow a new potato plant.
b) Plant pieces of potato skin approximately 2 inches by 2 inches with an “eye” in the middle, 4 inches into a pot of soil. Wait for delicious potato plants.


Trees

Date Tree from seeds
I have no idea what I’m doing here!! I used dates in a recipe the other day and it felt like such a waste chucking the seeds away so now they are sitting on my kitchen window sill on a soggy bit of paper towel. Apparently they should split… I’ll keep you posted!

Okay so NOTHING happened here!!! Will do some research and try again 

Apple Tree from seeds
Please be aware that this is a simple guide put together after much Googling. It does not go into a huge amount of detail and I only up to step 3-4 myself so I am not speaking from experience. Anyone reading this with any actual experience, your comments would be amazing!

  1. Collect a bunch of seeds (there are different types of apple tree, apple trees cannot self-pollinate, the more seeds you start with, the more likely some will turn into seedlings)
  2. Dry them completely
  3. Wrap them in a damp paper towel, place in a sealable bag or container and put them in the fridge. This is essentially simulated winter. During this time, the seeds will begin to grow roots and sprout. They will need to be left in there for eight or more weeks. Keep the temperature the seeds are stored at around 40 to 50ºF (4.4 to 10ºC), with optimal temperature being 40 to 41ºF (4.4 to 5ºC
  4. Check on them and ensure paper towel stays damp.
  5. After the eight weeks have passed, your seeds should be sprouting and will have developed little roots that will be emerging from the bottom of the seed. When your seeds have sprouted, remove them from the refrigerator.
  6. Fill a small pot with potting mix soil with a neutral pH level and make a hole in the middle 2 or 3 times the depth of the sprouted seed
  7. Cover it, pat down GENTLY, then water immediately
  8. Keep at room temperature and allow access to sunlight
  9. Move outside when frost risk is over and sapling looks strong enough
  10. Clear a 4 foot diameter for planting site and dig a 2 foot hole in the centre, twice the diameter of saplings root system
  11. Make sure soil of hole walls is loose enough for roots to penetrate
  12. Transplant your sapling. Gently spread out your tree’s roots so they are not tangled or get bunched up in the hole you have dug. Start to replace soil all around the roots. Once you have covered the roots, pat the soil down firmly to get rid of any air pockets that might be hanging out around the roots. Fill the rest of the hole with loose soil
  13. DO NOT ADD FERTILIZER!!!! It will burn your saplings roots
  14. Water the tree in well to eliminate air pockets. Spread a 3 foot circle of mulch, such as hay, straw, or organic hardwood chips, around the sapling to help you sapling retain moisture and prevent competition.

When transplanting your seedling outside, consider the following points:

  • Sunlight: Apple trees need full sun. This means that they should get six or more hours of direct sunlight everyday. If possible, plant your tree on an east or north-facing slope.
  • Soil: Apple trees don’t like soggy feet. That means they need to be planted in soil that will retain moisture but does drain well. The soil should be moderately rich and have a relatively neutral pH level.
  • Space: Because you are growing your tree from seed, it will grow to full size (meaning it can reach 20-30 feet/6-9 meters in height). You will need to make sure that it has enough space for its root system to grow. Plan to plant your tree at least 15 feet (4.6 m) from another tree, particularly if you are planting two apple trees in a row

Watering your tree:
While the tree is still short (roughly 6-8 in/15-20 cm tall) the tree should be watered every 10 to 12 days. As it gets older you will just need to make sure the soil stays damp but not soggy

As your tree grows up:
You will need to keep an eye on pests, and your tree will eventually (probably) need fertilizer.
The amount of ongoing care and maintenance will also depend on your type of apple tree and again, location.
The products best suited to your tree will vary depending on your location and so it is best to seek specific advice from your local garden centre.

Mandarin Tree from a seed
Please note that the same sidenote as above also applies and my mandarin seeds are currently sitting in the fridge with my apple seeds.

  1. Collect and dry seeds. Store them in the fridge in a sealed container or bag until you are ready to plant them
  2. Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, then water thoroughly so soil is fully saturated. Ensure easy drainage so soil does not become soggy.
  3. Keep warm and in the sun, ensure even moistness of soil. Germination should take approximately 2 weeks.
  4. Transfer into pots at approximately 4 inches tall and continue to “pot up” until they are suitable to transplant outside (approximately 2-3 feet tall and after they have been acclimatized to outside).