Garden Journal 05/19/2020

COVID-19 “Stay Safe At Home” order drags on and on…

Tonight I harvested a single zucchini, from the Home Depot purchased transplant that was one of the very first COVID-19 Lockdown plants. It was 123 grams and about 7″ long, and a bit weirdly shaped. Wasn’t sure whether this was exactly the best time to cut it off, as it’s the first? There are 3-4 more following right behind though.

Today I filled a new 18 gallon utility bin SIP, and planted a couple of cucumbers grown from seed over the last few weeks. They have been looking pretty yellow – hopefully their big new home will perk them up. This SIP is layered with.

  1. 4″ perforated corrugated pipe.
  2. Sand (generic coarse construction sand)
  3. Sphagnum peat moss (just enough to cover the sand)
  4. Custom mix of the cheapest Kellog “Garden Soil” (which is like 99% poorly composted wood chips), plus a LOT of perlite, plus sand, Kellog organic fertilizer, and epsom salt.
  5. Finally a pre-bagged Kellog premium potting mix called “Patio Plus” that I beefed up with perlite, sand, and fertilizer. Finally a light top-dressing of organic fertilizer and mulch.
Spacemaster Cukes in an 18 gallon sub-irrigated planter.

Also transplanted 28 leaf lettuce seedlings into the first of the elevated/shaded SIP bins, in position #2. That was bloody hard work for being such tiny things, there were just so many.

Future self: sow directly next time! I’m beginning to think there are only two good reasons to sow separately and transplant later:

  1. You want to get an early start indoors because it’s too cold outside for whatever slow-germinator you want to get started (like maybe tomatoes and peppers).
  2. Very low expected germination rate and you don’t want to tie up bed space just waiting and wondering whether something is going to germinate or not.

This happened with bush beans in one of my containers earlier this spring. I sowed 4 beans in a 24″ extra-wide window box and not a single one of them germinated. I’ve since ditched that packet of beans and bought two others – one of which showed some green this morning for the first time (sown in peat pots over a week ago).

Peat pots were a waste, but I wasn’t ready with the elevated SIP and I wanted to get a head start on the lettuce germination and growth. Next time – direct sow if at all possible!
Transplanting 28 leaf lettuce seedlings is time-consuming and tiring, even into an elevated bed.

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