An early March snow storm reminded be of why I love container gardening. The last week of February I planted sugar snap peas in 5 1/2" x 12" x 18" ceder grow-boxes. I chose a variety of sugar snap peas that grow 24" tall, doesn't need to be supported and is cold tolerant down to 28 degrees. The seed package indicated the seeds would sprout in 7 to 14 days. I was hoping to do better than that so I placed two of the grow-boxes on a heated seed starting mat. I put a third grow-box on a shelf in front of a south facing window. Using the seed sprouting mat the peas were up and going in 4 days. The grow-box in the window had peas up and going in 6 days. The grow-boxes are small enough they are easy to move if necessary. Now that the peas are about 4" tall, I'll leave them outdoors and just cover them at night with gardening fabric. If we get more snow I'll move the grow-boxes onto a covered porch. I hope to be eating fresh garden peas by the middle of April.
Many of us have plants growing in window boxes in our houses. I have garden greens that are doing well, as long as I remember to water them.
If you keep the window box in a spot where you see if often, it is no big deal to water it. But if you have several boxes, or if you keep them in a room off somewhere, it is easy to neglect the plants.
This article describes an easy way to make a self-watering box using inexpensive materials you can find at a hardware store.
The system puts a reservoir of water under the potting soil. A wire rack covered with felt supports the soil above the water. Water can filter down through the soil and into the reservoir below.
A small pump circulates water from the reservoir up into the soil. The pump can be put on a timer so it automatically circulates for a pre-set time every day.
The system could easily be modified to water several boxes.
It is worth considering if you are getting serious about indoor grow boxes.
Mother Earth News has an interesting and strightforward article on composting. Per the article "Composting mimics and intensifies nature’s recycling plan. A compost pile starts out as a diverse pile of kitchen and garden “waste.” Left alone, any of these materials would eventually decompose. But when a variety of materials are mixed together and kept moist and aerated, the process accelerates. Compost matures into what soil scientists call active organic matter: a dark, crumbly soil amendment that’s rich with beneficial fungi, bacteria and earthworms, as well as the enzymes and acids these life-forms release as they multiply."
"Adding compost to garden soil increases its water-holding capacity, invigorates the soil food web and provides a buffet of plant nutrients. Compost also contains substances that enhance plants’ ability to respond to challenges from insects and diseases."
The article cleared up many misconceptions I had about composting - laying out the information in the following 10 facts.
1. Balancing ingredients is optional.
2. Good compost can be either hot or cold.
3. Small or large - any size pile will work just fine.
4. Turning compost is optional.
5. You can gauge the moisture level of your compost pile by its fragrance.
6. Compost need not be a secret.
7. You can compost diseased or weedy plants.
8. With a worm bin, you can even compost indoors.
9. You can safely compost livestock manure.
10. There are good uses for immature compost.
My sister, Laurel Christian, has plants growing in front of a sunny window in her home in St George. She is now harvesting ripe cherry tomatoes and also lemons.
Wish I had enough sunny days to do that. Where I live in Provo we don't get enough natural sunshine to ripen tomatoes during the winter. People who grow them here need to use supplemental lighting.
Maybe I need to move to St George.
That's a pretty nice looking sandwich, even if I did make it myself. Ham and cheese and fresh greens from my window box garden. I planted mixed greens about a month ago and now I have abundant greens ready to harvest. They are tasty and it is fun harvesting garden produce in the middle of February.