~*~ SMF February 2017 Challenge - Ebru Soaps! ~*~
~ February 2017 Challenge Photo Entry Thread ~

Soap Making Forum > The Soap Making & Craft Forum > General Chat > I finally have room for a veggie garden!
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-12-2016, 09:26 PM   #31
IrishLass
Administrator
SOAP_ADMIN.png
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 11,155
Liked 5512 Times on 2896 Posts
Likes Given: 3759

Default

Garden update (day 40). I planted/inserted two 3" tomato seedlings in the Tower two weeks ago (Brandywine OTV, and an heirloom tomato called Green Grape) and they are now over a foot long! And as of this morning, the Brandywine OTV has blossoming buds on it.

My cuke plant has several cucumbers growing on it, some of which are now 4" long! And the leaves seem to be growing as big as my head! They're beginning to look like something out of Jurassic Park or something!

My mints and basils are forever growing like weeds. I cut a bunch of sprigs off my mints and made a lovely mint simple syrup out of them the other day, and I'll soon be doing the same to my basils (maybe today if I get around to it).

Hubby got the flood and drain system up and running this past weekend, and our carrot seedlings that we started weeks ago are quite happy in it (I'm going to start some more seedlings to fill the other half of the cooler, hopefully sometime today):



The bottom cooler is the reservoir, which has 8 gallons of RO water in it, plus the Tower Tonic 'food' solution. There's a pump in it that pumps the water up to the top cooler through the rear black hose on the bottom cooler's right side (which is threaded up through the white PVC on the top cooler's right side) to fill/flood the top cooler up to the roots of the carrots before slowly draining back down through white the pipe on the left side to the bottom cooler.

The black hose that you can see on the rear left of the bottom cooler T's off from the main black filling hose and is a 'fail safe' that my hubby added in case the water pumped up too quickly.

The white pipe thing that you see in the middle of the top cooler was supposed to be a 'Bell Siphon' which regulates the water level and drainage flow. Hubby could not get it to work right, so in frustration, he abandoned that plan and instead transformed it into a 'gravel guard' for now to keep the growing medium from getting sucked down the drain tube.

The pump in the bottom cooler runs on a 15 minute cycle 24/7, just like my Tower (it's actually attached to my Tower's timer so that they run at the same time).

Hubby cut the lid of the bottom cooler's cover into 3rds, so that we can uncover it to add water/check pH, etc... without disturbing the piping (I open the cooler by pulling up on the middle third).

The top cooler is filled with pearlite and also a hydroponic growing medium called Hydroton, which are clay balls. The folks down at the hydroponic store recommended a mixture of both for growing carrots. I'll keep you all updated on its progress.


IrishLass


__________________
"Fair is a place to go to play games and eat funnel cakes".- a Hazel Original
Official Member of the Hoity-Toity Snickerdoodle League.
IrishLass is offline  
Marshall Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2016, 08:52 PM   #32
IrishLass
Administrator
SOAP_ADMIN.png
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 11,155
Liked 5512 Times on 2896 Posts
Likes Given: 3759

Default

We had a bit of a problem with the flood and drain over the weekend in the form of an algae attack. Yeah- can you tell we are newbies at this! The pearlite was wicking up the nutrient solution so high up the cooler that the top of the grow bed was getting damp, which exposed the nutrient solution to the sun, which then turned about 1/2" to 1" of the entire top of the bed a lovely shade of green. Although I love the color green, this was not a good green to see. The reservoir started smelling like a dirty fish tank and the water was getting murky....and little flying insects started multiplying around the top cooler above the bed.

We learned 6 lessons this weekend (in regards to our flood & drain system):

1) Sunlight + nutrient solution= almost instant algae.

2) A little bit of algae is fine, but a lot of algae can be a very problematic thing to hydroponic systems and the plants growing in them if left un-checked.

3) Dry/Wet Shop Vacuums are awesome at sucking up algea-coved grow media out off the top of flood & drain grow beds.

4) Pearlite has pretty good wicking/ absorption properties and does not make a good substrate to lay on top of drain & flood grow beds.

5) Hydroton clay balls are an awesome substrate to lay on top of hydroponic flood & drain grow beds. Lay them on 2" to 3" above the top level of where flood-water reaches in order to keep things dry on top, and to block out the sunlight.

6) A little bit of 34% hydrogen peroxide goes a long way in helping to kill off algae and bring reservoir water back into balance without hurting carrots.

As for my Tower- it's still doing awesome, although I did have to trim back the roots of both my mints and also my purple basil- they were getting a little invasive. My Green Grape tomato plant now has flower buds on it, and my cukes are almost 5" long! Oh- and the aphids still seem to love my cuke leaves. I hose the buggers off every morning, but I'm thinking of making a garlic and habanero pepper spray and see how that fixes their wagons. No ants, though, which is good.


IrishLass


__________________
"Fair is a place to go to play games and eat funnel cakes".- a Hazel Original
Official Member of the Hoity-Toity Snickerdoodle League.
IrishLass is offline  
2
People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2016, 09:39 PM   #33
IrishLass
Administrator
SOAP_ADMIN.png
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 11,155
Liked 5512 Times on 2896 Posts
Likes Given: 3759

Default

Today is Day 51 and I'm so excited because I harvested my very first cucumbers off the Tower! :



There are more of them growing on the vine, but these 3 beauties looked quite ready. I cut open one of them for hubby, son and I to conduct a taste test and we were all agreed- it's definitely a cucumber! And a very lovely one at that. Although you can't tell from the pic, they each measured at least 5", and weighed between 10.45oz/296g, and 10.55oz/300g (each).

I thought I'd also include a pic of our typical haul that we harvest off the Tower daily (except for the cucumber, that is). Although you can't see them, there are also sprigs of mint, cilantro and thyme in there, but they somehow got buried underneath everything else. This is all going into our smoothies today:




The carrots in the flood & drain cooler set-up are doing great. No more algae attacks. Yay! Their tops are growing quite tall. I wish I had a way of seeing how big they are growing underneath, but we'll just have to wait until harvest to see.

I made a garlic/hot pepper/soap concentrate to spray on my cucumber plant to repel the aphids that are carrying on an ongoing, one-sided love affair with my cuke leaves. I diluted it and sprayed some last night after the sun had gone down on an inconspicuous cuke leaf which had a few aphids on it.

I sprayed only one leaf instead of the whole plant so I could test things out and make sure it wouldn't adversely affect the one before deciding to spray it on the rest of the leaves, and so far, so good. This morning there were no aphids on the leaf, and the leaf looked quite happy, healthy and green. I'm going to wait one more day, though, to see if the leaf is still doing well before using it on the rest of the plant. I decided to be so cautious because I've read horror stories of some concentrations/dilutions of homemade concoctions being too strong and destroying all the leaves as well as the bugs.

Here are the ingredients I used in my spray concentrate:

-2 whole heads of garlic. I separated the cloves from the knobby stem (which I threw out), but left the peels intact. The unpeeled cloves weighed in at 144g total.
-1 jalepeno pepper (weighed 25g)*
-1 habanero pepper (weighed 7g)*
-2 cups distilled water (weighed 471g)
-1 teaspoon of my diluted 65% OO GLS soap (unscented, and unembellished of course)

*The recipe I used called for 4 to 6 jalapenos, but all I had on hand was 1 jalapeno and 6 habaneros......and since habaneros are something like 40 times hotter than a jalepeno according to the Scoville Heat Chart for peppers, I figured my 1 jalepeno and 1 of my habaneros would be plenty good enough.

I tossed the whole garlic cloves, peppers and water into my Vitamix and blended on high until smooth (took about 15 to 30 seconds), then I poured it into a 16 oz santitized jar, covered, and let steep in the fridge for 36 hours before straining.

At straining time, I strained it twice: once through a fine mesh stainless steel strainer to get out most of the sludge quickly and without too much fuss, then a final straining through 3 layers of muslin which got all the rest of the finer sludge out quite easily.

By the way, I should mention that when I blended, and also when I strained, I wore one of those loop facial masks, my goggles, and gloves - because of the pepper juices/fumes, which were pretty strong.

My strained concentrate measured out just shy of 2 cups volume-wise, so I topped it off with just enough distilled water to equal 2 cups, and then I stirred the 1 tsp of my handmade GLS soap into it and poured into a pint-sized sanitized jar, covered and placed into my fridge.

To dilute, I used 1 part concentrate to 2 parts distilled water (by volume) and only diluted enough to fill up a small 4oz spray bottle. I'll let you know what the test leaf looks like tomorrow.


IrishLass
__________________
"Fair is a place to go to play games and eat funnel cakes".- a Hazel Original
Official Member of the Hoity-Toity Snickerdoodle League.
IrishLass is offline  
6
People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2016, 07:57 PM   #34
IrishLass
Administrator
SOAP_ADMIN.png
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 11,155
Liked 5512 Times on 2896 Posts
Likes Given: 3759

Default

Day FiftyTwo since I started our Tower, and lookie here what I found growing this morning!:



Our very first Brandywine OTV tomato! It's only about as large as a pea at the moment, but I just can't help being very excited about it! Although we started the tower 52 days ago, the tomato plant itself is only 36 days old today.

Garlic spray update- no plant damage from the spray. Yay!


IrishLass
__________________
"Fair is a place to go to play games and eat funnel cakes".- a Hazel Original
Official Member of the Hoity-Toity Snickerdoodle League.
IrishLass is offline  
leilaninoel Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2016, 08:11 PM   #35
IrishLass
Administrator
SOAP_ADMIN.png
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 11,155
Liked 5512 Times on 2896 Posts
Likes Given: 3759

Default

A little tower update:

I lost count of exactly what day this is in Tower time, but here are our first Brandywine pickings (bigger than my hubby's fist) that I picked off my tower today, along with some Green Grape tomatoes (as big as plum tomatoes), some stalks of celery, some mint, some thyme and cilantro.

Also included in the pic are some of our carrots grown in our flood and drain system that hubby built out of 2 coolers. Two are red, one is white and one is orange. As you can see in the pic, we should not have planted so many carrot seeds so close together. Several of them grew together to form a giant mass of carrot! They taste absolutely delicious, though!

After I took the above pic, I set my tomatoes on my counter near some bananas to help them fully ripen. I'll let you know how they taste when the time comes.





IrishLass
__________________
"Fair is a place to go to play games and eat funnel cakes".- a Hazel Original
Official Member of the Hoity-Toity Snickerdoodle League.
IrishLass is offline  
4
People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2017, 06:45 AM   #36
IrishLass
Administrator
SOAP_ADMIN.png
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 11,155
Liked 5512 Times on 2896 Posts
Likes Given: 3759

Default

New Years Tower Update:

I tore down my tower over New Years weekend, cleaned it out and got it all spic and span in preparation to add the new extension to it that I got for Christmas (I can now grow 28 plants instead of 20!).

I also completely removed a few plants off the tower because I was a naughty lass and let them grow way too ginormous for the good of the tower. I then reinterred the more reasonably-sized plants back into the tower.

It looks kind of sparse right now, and My Green Grape tomato vine looks kinda droopy and sad because I trimmed its invasive roots back some before placing it back into the tower, but it should perk back up. If not, that's okay because I have 2 new (different variety) tomato seedlings growing in my seedling tray, one of which will eventually take its place.

Here's what things look like today:



At the very top I have 2 heirloom strawberry plants of the Alpine variety (one red and one yellow). It's hard to see from the pic, but the one furthest left has blossoms on it. I grew them from seeds that I planted in September.

On the 2nd rung down, you can see a new stevia seedling on the left, and a viola seedling with a yellow blossom on it.

Below that, the plants that are visible are my celery, cilantro, chocolate mint, a new Brandywine OTV vine on the left that I took from a cutting off my previous vine, a Diva cucumber seedling on the bottom center, and my none-too-happy-at-the-moment Green Grape tomato vine (that thing is prolifically fruitful, by the way!).

On the other side I have thyme, rosemary, a Granny Blank mint seedling and a purple basil seedling.

I'll soon be filling in the empty slots with collard greens, spinach, romaine lettuce Nufar basil, lemon cucumber, a melon vine, and a couple of short season tomato vines (they're all just baby seedlings right now).

The white wire thingy that you see on the very top of the tower is actually 2 wire hangers that I fashioned and attached to the lid in order to keep my insect barrier netting (not shown) from laying directly on my strawberry plants on top. I normally keep the netting on all the time (started using it 24/7 in November), but I took if off for the pic so y'all could see my plants better.

I really like using the netting. It lets the sun in, but keeps the bugs out, thereby eliminating the need for any insecticides. My biggest problem was the moths that would lay eggs on my kale and chard, which produced an epidemic of leaf-chewing caterpillars that treated my tower as their personal salad bar. I tried to keep the population down by hand-picking them off, but it was turning into a losing battle. I was either going to have to resort to spraying down my leaves with BT or else surrender my kale and chard to them, but then I found these which solved my dilemma. It just slips right over my tower and I can fasten it closed it with the drawstring on the bottom.

I also have the thermal blanket sold by the JuicePlus company that I drape over the tower on nights that get down to near freezing temps. It's not often that temps get that low here, but it's happened twice this season so far and the blanket has kept all my plants cozy and happy.


IrishLass
__________________
"Fair is a place to go to play games and eat funnel cakes".- a Hazel Original
Official Member of the Hoity-Toity Snickerdoodle League.
IrishLass is offline  
2
People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2017, 06:53 AM   #37
earlene
Grandmother & Soaper
SOAP_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
earlene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Western Illinois, USA
Posts: 1,294
Liked 1138 Times on 611 Posts
Likes Given: 1022

Default

I can't believe how white and pristine it still is. And your yard is so bright with the blue sky and all. My back yard has snow and looks dreary compared to yours!
earlene is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2017, 07:08 PM   #38
traderbren
 
traderbren's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Maryland
Posts: 511
Liked 389 Times on 212 Posts
Likes Given: 211

Default

Wow, Irish Lass! I'm just seeing this thread after a long absence. How awesome, and I'm super impressed with how much you got from your garden!

(Also, jealous of that blue sky.)
__________________
-Brenda
Hello, Lardy, my old friend. I've come to soap with you again.
traderbren is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2017, 07:18 PM   #39
BeesKnees
Supporting Member
SOAP_SUPPORTER.png
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: AL
Posts: 305
Liked 134 Times on 71 Posts
Likes Given: 295

Default

Wow, that looks great!! Oh, the possibilities of a new growing season!!

The tower is so white! Are those the numbers you originally wrote? Sharpie remained despite rain and weather?
BeesKnees is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2017, 08:42 PM   #40
IrishLass
Administrator
SOAP_ADMIN.png
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 11,155
Liked 5512 Times on 2896 Posts
Likes Given: 3759

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by earlene View Post
I can't believe how white and pristine it still is. And your yard is so bright with the blue sky and all. My back yard has snow and looks dreary compared to yours!
I can't imagine snow ever looking dreary...at least not until it gets mucked up with dirt and car exhaust, that is. lol I used to live where snow storms were the order of most winter days, but in the area of the country where I live now, snow is as rare as hen's teeth. Instead, the majority of our days throughout the year are filled with sunny blue skies. In fact, they are so commonplace that cloudy/rainy spells are almost cause for celebration (they kinda break up the monotony).

I must confess that my tower is so pristine-looking in the pic because I had just cleaned it , but I'm really impressed with how easy it is to keep the tower so gleaming white. Just a wipe-down with damp cloth is all it takes to keep it looking spiffy. Hopefully, that won't change as it gets older.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeesKnees
Are those the numbers you originally wrote?
For the most part, yes, they are. There were two that I had to go over again in certain spots due to some wicked rain and dust storms we had on a few occasions, but all the rest of the numbers have remained intact.

Here is a pic I took today with my anti-insect netting draped over it:




IrishLass


__________________
"Fair is a place to go to play games and eat funnel cakes".- a Hazel Original
Official Member of the Hoity-Toity Snickerdoodle League.
IrishLass is offline  
leilaninoel Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Veggie Lavender Essential Oil Soap topofmurrayhill The Photo Gallery 20 03-10-2016 06:37 AM
Veggie Peeler 1, Finger tip 0 nsmar4211 General Chat 6 12-20-2015 02:04 PM
Veggie soaps Ebony-soap Soap Making Recipes & Tutorials 3 05-07-2014 04:19 AM
veggie pulp heartandsoap Lye-Based Soap Forum 3 01-20-2011 11:30 PM
Veggie deodorant base Sugawata Bath and Body Forum 2 05-06-2009 02:14 PM





Newest Threads