Half-assed start at fall planting, 2018

When we bought the new place, one of the attractions is the huge 4th floor balcony that comes equipped with a water spigot.  I figured that I could live without a yard, but I do like the idea of a place where I can grow some veggies and flowers and sit outdoors amongst the things I’m growing. 
So, I just wasn’t organized enough for much of a fall garden, but I did have most of a bag of potting soil and a bunch of empty pots salvaged from the old house.  And I also had a basket of seeds, all of them at least a couple of years old.  So, last weekend I thought it would do no harm to toss some soil into pots and throw in some seeds.  If the seeds are any good, I can transplant them into bigger pots and have a fall garden; if they’re no good then I’m no worse off than if I’d just tossed them.
So this morning, I saw the first tiny sprouts, in the pot labelled “Pak Choi”.  Which is a seed I bought on a whim because I think that ingredient is tasty, but I don’t know much about growing it.  So, time to start researching and documenting!  And time to try to develop a standard format for whatever else grows…

So for my standard format, I figure I’ll do two types of posts:  journal posts which show what’s happened on a particular day (e.g. a list of what I planted/maintained/harvested and how) and research posts which will focus on a particular plant, technique, pest, etc.  In the research posts I can reference the relevant journal posts to show my ongoing experiments with the thing.  

So what did I plant?  
1.  Oat Grass for the cats – since I’d like this to grow in the pot I planted it in, indoors, I used a mid-sized ornamental pot.  Scattered the seed thickly and covered with about a 1/4″ of soil.
2.  Chives – didn’t actually plant these, just took a pot that’s been growing for several years and is starting to look rather peaked, and divided it into three different pots.  Hopefully that’ll encourage new life.  If they grow well, I might put some in with other things for companion planting or I might just give a couple away.
2.  Lettuce – I had a mixed packet of different types of seed, some of which was quite old, and I filled a somewhat bigger pot and scattered the stuff rather thickly across the whole surface and barely sprinkled some soil over it.  I figure that germination is likely to be very low rate.  If it grows more thickly, I might have to thin or transplant.  But, more likely I’ll be lucky to get just a few plants.
3.  Broccoli, kale, and Pak Choi, each in a separate container.  Each planted quite thickly, if it comes up I’ll need to transplant the seedlings to grow to full size.
4.  Swiss chard – a sprinking of different types, a mix of standard green chard and five-color silverbeet.  Again, seeds very old, sprinkled very thickly and assumed low germination rates and plan to transplant if any germinate.
5.  Herbs – savory, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano.  Planted in small pots, if they grow I’ll figure out what to do with them.

If they grow, I have a couple ideas for what to do with them.  I have a small supply of larger pots.  I also have a bunch of plastic crates I used for moving.  For the plastic crates, I was thinking of trying to devise some sort of self-watering setup – like, instead of drilling holes in the bottom, I would somehow create a water space at the bottom, maybe using old cans or something to prop up the soil, then use cotton rags (?) to wick up the water to the soil layer.  Will have to research options fairly quickly if I’m to use that this growing season.  More likely, this season will just be big plastic pots from the dollar store or big lots.  

The worst part will be hauling bags of soil to the 4th floor!


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