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Archive for November, 2008

What a week for My Patio Farm! My first stranger comment (Thanks again Vince!) (Am I scaring you Vince?) And now, my first outside link! The outside link came from Inside Urban Green: Modern methods of growing food, foliage or flowers for the millions of us who are not green thumbs.

(Ed note: The outside link may have technically happened before this week, but it was just this week that I noticed it).

Inside Urban Green is written by interior irrigation specialist Bob Hyland. According to the “About” section on his blog he is “an urban greenscaping professional with over 30 years of experience.” And he’s LA based!! Just the kind of person I’d like to get to know. Especially since ANOTHER one of my lettuce plants has died. Grr.

And if you’d like to know what he has to say about the difference between potting mix and potting soil (and yes, there is definitely a difference!) you can read that here.

And my number one question for Bob: Do you have to keep those plastic showercap-like things over the EarthBoxes? It’s ugly.

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I’d like to be more upbeat, but my EarthBoxes have not been the glorious answer to all my patio farm growing dreams as I’d hoped. I’d say the success rate has been somewhere between 58 and 73 percent, but take a look for yourself.

Here’s what I started with:

Lettuce mix right after planting.

Lettuce mix right after planting 10/13/08.

Broccoli, cauliflower and sugar snap peas right after planting.

Broccoli, cauliflower and sugar snap peas right after planting 10/13/08.

And here are those same EarthBoxes about a month later:

The broccoli, cauliflower and sugar snap peas 11/13/08.

The broccoli, cauliflower and sugar snap peas 11/13/08.

The lettuce 11/13/08.

The lettuce 11/13/08.

As you can see, the broccoli and cauliflower appear to be doing stellar, the sugar snap peas have thinned, but are definitely climbing, and while half of the lettuce is doing OK, the other half has completely died. (There’s another box too, but the results were similar so I figured it’s not worth photographing).

And here’s the other strange thing–I was watching the lettuce wilt when I’d forget to water for a day or two, so I started being really responsible about watering daily. Then I had to go away for five days and didn’t have time to find a plant sitter. I figured everything would die and the whole patio farm experiment would be off, but when I came back I found that the wilty lettuce had officially died, the OK lettuce had grown and the vegetables were doing great. So…who knows?!?

What have I learned so far? Well, if I were going to start again, I’d plant my lettuce in a non-EarthBox long rectangular wood box and I’d plant a lot more of it than I have. So far it’s like enough lettuce for sandwiches, not really for a salad. And I’d definitely do more vegetables in the EarthBox because that seems to be working out.

What I’m not sure of yet is what broccoli and cauliflower plants are supposed to look like at this stage. I see lots of leafy growth, but I don’t see anything that looks like the beginning of a vegetable. Do I need to be patient? Or are they maybe not getting enough sun? (Expert gardening readers feel free to chime in!)

And before I sign off, I’d like to thank the friendly Vince for providing me with my first stranger comment. At least I think I don’t know you Vince. I crowed in the office when I received the comment. Seriously! CROWED!

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