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On Using Pop Bottles for Tomato Seedlings

Kind of the most amazing thing ever. Right now.



These two pop bottle planters have a variety each in them. On the left, Green Zebra, on the right, Yellow Pear. They were both grown from seed, started in peat pellets and then transplanted into self watering pop-bottle planters. I’ve fertilized them both in the past two months they’ve been growing, and I’ve gotten to the point where I need to water them every second day. They’ve become monsters.


The above picture just shows the Green Zebra as of today. The yellow pear have been separated into separate bottles, and one has been put in the outside ground (we’ll see if that works). There’s a little less than a week between the two pictures and you can see the serious amount of growth these guys have put in.

My only concern is they might have grown too fast. Not too leggy, but once they get outside, I’m worried about how they’re going to deal with the wind. I guess only time will tell.


A month of progress.

I’m writing this using my computer which has just been rescued from the grave, and one of the reasons why I haven’t updated this recently.

A month has passed, and I have harvested that promised salad of beans and radishes and lettuce. It was small (37 grams) but delicious. More radishes are getting up to size, and even more are sprouting.


There have been mysterious lettuce problems, and the gain of a community garden plot. We’ve been experiencing a very early spring after a very mild winter, so we’ve put out some plants MONTHS before I would normally dare put them outside. In fact today I plan on transplanting a tomato that just has to get out of its pot. If it dies, it dies, because it certainly isn’t going to make it if it doesn’t get into the ground. I also plan on putting in the second (!!!) zucchini this afternoon. The first was put in almost two weeks ago. It was a similar situation, I didn’t have a pot for it, so it was waste a seedling, or put it in the ground. So far so good, although it has been very dry. The plot is about 1.5 miles from the house, so we’re not getting over there often enough to water and tend the babies. I’m hoping we can figure out a better schedule.

This is the community garden we’ve moved into. This is the first year after renovation, so really we’re responsible for building up and maintaining the soil. It’s been a really hard dig getting it turned and adding compost. But the water has been turned on, and the neighbors have been really friendly. You can see our plot as the third one in on this picture. That was April 8th, I’d turned the back 2.5 feet, and started down the side. We’d also put peas in the ground along the side of the back section.


Anyway, once I get this computer back up to speed with photos/photoshop I’ll fill in the blanks on the last month.


I’m hoping we’ll also get some photos today of how our garden grows.


A small problem on the windowsill.

The green things are moving  along and putting out good growth, and otherwise being boring. The planters however are starting to show a weakness.  The self watering planters rely on a reservoir of standing water in their base, and I’m keeping them in my windows. They have developed a fly problem. I think they’re just fruit flies, but they’re going crazy and so am I.

I’m not sure what to do with this problem, and if it’s a significant enough issue to force me to stop using these planters. I’m finding them to be very good at actually growing things, and they are very low maintenance.  I’ve opened the window without a screen, and I’ve gone on morning fly killing missions.

In the land of good? The bean flowers have opened, and one has started to unfurl it’s little bean. It is green right now, but I assume it will turn purple on it’s  way to becoming a mature little guy.

We also harvested 1 gram of lettuce today. Very exciting.

Thief in the night.

I woke up this morning to find the pot of radishes on the floor.

Up until now I had hesitated to go vertical with my windowsill garden. While the cats were a little mischievous, it was nothing I couldn’t live with. The poor  beans are missing a couple leaves, and I have one less basil plant than planned. Not the end of the world.

This morning my salad date in 2.5 weeks was almost canceled. At the very least I think we’ll have to add some store bought produce to the lettuce and radishes in order to make it happen. I was able to save a couple of the radishes, but I’m not sure how well they’ll recover from the shock of having their leaves nibbles and their roots exposed. The lettuce was also attacked, but probably by the stealthier cat. It looks undisturbed, expect that two or three plants are missing. Taken by a cat burgler!

So I’ve started to think about going vertical. Taking those delicate little guys and suspending them in the window. I’m worried about exactly how we’re going to anchor them, and exactly how I’m going to suspend them (Macrame is still an option, but it scares me).

How does my garden grow?

We’re in a stage where most of the plants are being kind of boring. They’re putting out more growth and getting ready to eventually set fruit. We’re past the really exciting stage (did they germinate? wow look at those little guys go!), and we’ve yet to reach the tasty stage.

Our sunset lettuce, about 35 days old and post thinning.

10 days old, our french breakfast beauties are going for it.


The first crops we’re expecting to reach the tasty stage are Sunset Lettuce and French Breakfast Radishes. We’re planning a salad, for sometime about 2.5 weeks in the future. I’ve got to get on to the second planting of the lettuce, I was planning to do it around the same time I put in the radishes, so I could plan a second salad some time in early may. The lettuce packet tells me that they take a little under two months to mature, while the radishes are super fast at 25 days. If this staggered salad planting works, I can plan on having  snack out of my windowsill garden every month. How efficient.

Flower buds have formed on all of the bean plants.

Over in the living room our big stars (royalty purple podded bush beans) are continuing to get harassed by the cats. They’ve also slowed down on leaf growth and appear to have all decided to make beans. All of the plants are sporting multiple flower buds, I wonder how long until beans? Will they be on time for my salad date with the radishes?

The cat's name is also Bean.

living room window has a whole bunch of beans. The thai basil is also starting to make a go of it in the recent warm weather.

So this is how my garden grows. Rumor has it that I might be getting a community garden plot, which would mean more than one snack a month worth of vegetables! I’m crossing my fingers.


Spring is coming?

It’s been a very mild winter, but cold enough to keep most plants in the winter browns. The sun is lengthening its day, and we’ve been starting to get days that smell like spring. I hadn’t seen much vegetative evidence of this, so we went on the hunt!

Off to the blue hills this past week for a walk through the far north-eastern section of the park. This section has more low-land and water than the sections we walked in the winter. I was on the lookout for early medow-land plants, and other green things. And we found something!


Poking out of the boggy ground next to a stream (and in a couple cases, in the stream) were a patch of skunk cabbage! I’m sure I saw these growing up in Nova Scotia, but I don’t remember them. It could be that the soil was too disturbed by kids running through the woods. This was an exciting find for me. I’m hoping we can get back into the woods a couple times a month and document the forest waking up to spring.


It’s an exciting time.

First Bite!

Sadly it was really only a bite. I thinned the lettuce and used the thinned sprouts for a totally delicious tofu sandwich. The sandwich consists of:

  • Thick cut Sourdough bread.
  • Raw milk blue cheese
  • Fried tofu that gets soaked in balsamic vinegar
  • earth balance
  • sprouts

Verdict? delicious and I can’t wait for the lettuce to grow more.