Friday, June 29, 2007

Indoor gardening, some thoughts

If you read swedish you can take a look at "Livet i en lagom stor stad" (Uppsalaliv) has proclaimed Parkettodlaren (Indoor Gardener's mother blog) blog of the week. I'm honoured, and feel it's time to sum up the experiment so far.

My biggest enemy isn't a gardening thing at all. It spells boredom. You know; suddenly your interest in the subject dips and you start working on other things instead. I've had one serious dip so far. The causes were full time work and illnesses, but they could have been a need for playing the accordion, learning cymric or drinking non-alcoholic colourful drinks. These dips are one of the reasons I use selfwatering containers and long time working fertilizing tabs. In this way the basic needs are covered.

And how did my plants do during this dip. Not bad. My strawberry and iceplant seedlings died a dry dead. The others were replanted and lives pretty well. The nasturtiums I planted on the balcony are fighting a tough war against the pansies in the same container, on the other hand they are the healthiest of all plants. The nasturtiums inside are among the plants with thrips and are sprayed with soft soap every other day.

I've started to experiment with smaller containers - although I still build them myself out of plastic boxes from IKEA (cheaper that way). The bins you see on most of my pictures are dimensioned for growing root vegtetables - carrots, turnips and tiger nuts for exemple. The best crops for indoor gardening have turned out to be leaf vegetables, however, and they don't need as deep layer of soil. The question is if I ever will have patience to wait for a turnip to form its root. It doesn't matter that they grow fast, they grow very slowly anyhow. The last turnip I harvested had a root thick as a finger. The carrots did better though.

Two things have proved to be important; extensive notes and extreme hygiene. When it comes to notes I see myself bying a book with black covers and writing minute data with blue ink and longhand. Since I know myself the reality looks quite different. I write data with water proof black ink on paper tape and stick the strips directly onto the sides of the container. This really makes my gardens look like experimental cultivations, and for a long time now I've ponder on a way to make them look nicer. The plan involves fabric matching the curtains (which I plan to sew), velcro tabs and me getting off my butt...

Growing vegetables indoors are more like growing stuff in a greenhouse than outdoor gardening. You may know that a greenhouse should be washed thorougly at least once a year? You do that to get rid of different pests that are hiding in cracks and minute getaways. Perhaps it's good to do the same with indoor gardens? I've cleand the window where my thrips ridden garden is placed using soft soap. I haven't had an entirely problem free garden in years, so it will be interesting to see what'll come out of this insight.

The most important thing I've learnt is that nothing is A Big Catastrophy (tm). You are allowed to be the greenest of amateurs, and you are allowed to stay like that for as long time as you like, untill you feel ready for higher learning. You can even digest this higher learning in the smallest portions possible. As long as you provide the plants with enough water almost anything will grow.

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