Friday, December 22, 2017

AreoGarden - Week Number 3

This is now week 3, and everything except the cilantro is emerging.  The Baby Greens are really taking off and so is the Romaine and Salad Greens.

On Day 14, I put the plant food in and added water.  There was still plenty of water in the reservoir but I filled it back up to the fill line.

It seemed that after I put the plant food in, everything perked up and started growing.

I'm disappointed the Cilantro did not emerge and I'm guessing it will not show up now.

One of the things I was not sure on when I planted the AreoGarden was how much to put in one garden.  I put the three greens stated above plus the three herbs.  The herbs are growing at a much slower rate and so I can see problems with the light being high enough for the salad greens, but too high for the herbs.

I'm not sure if I did things correctly or not as that part of planting the AreoGarden was confusing.  Next time, I'll try not to do that and see if there is any difference.

I did eat the pruned salad greens and they tasted so good!

For Previous Weeks:

Week 3 - AreoGarden

  • For Week 2 - See: Week 2 Blog Post
  • 12/21/17 - Day 15:  Cilantro still not emerged.  
  • 12/22/17 - Day 16:  Greens doing very well.  Perked up since feeding.
  • 12/23/17 - Day 17:  Raised Lights up some.  Pruned greens.
  • 12/24/17 - Day 18: Gone, no update.
  • 12/25/17 - Day 19: Gone, no update.
  • 12/26/17 - Day 20: Gone, no update.
  • 12/27/17 - Day 21: Gone, no update.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

AreoGarden - Week Number 2

This is now week 2, and everything except the cilantro is emerging.  I'm pleasantly surprised at the progress so far in just a few days.  The AreoGarden makes sense to me.

I remember seeing the Epcot display of hydroponic gardening, and it always intrigued me.

So far, I've not added any water to the unit.  It has taken a little bit, but not enough for me to add more.  It still has a few days before I need to add nutrients so I will check the water level at that time.

The Baby Greens are indeed growing faster than the other stuff.  I'm guessing now that I'll have to prune those back while the other plants catch up.

Temperatures this week have been on the cold side as we've been running the heat in our house.  Yes, we live in Florida where we hardly run the heat.  Most of the time, we're running the air conditioning, but it is winter and December here in central Florida.

For Previous Weeks

  • 12/07/17 - AreoGarden, Week 1

Week 2 - AreoGarden

  • For Week 1 - See: Week 1 Blog Post
  • 12/14/17 - Day 8:  Mint is now emerging.  Waiting for Cilantro.
  • 12/15/17 - Day 9:  Cilantro not up.  Condensation forming on little domes.
  • 12/16/17 - Day 10: Cilantro not up.  Not sure it is going to make it.
  • 12/17/17 - Day 11: Baby Greens are growing quickly.  Cilantro a no!
  • 12/18/17 - Day 12: Pruned Baby Greens
  • 12/19/17 - Day 13: Took dome off cilantro.  May not emerge.
  • 12/20/17 - Day 14: Plant Food added and water

  • 12/21/17 - AreoGarden, Week 2

Monday, December 11, 2017

AreoGarden - Week Number 1

Well, I went out and did it!  We bought the AreoGarden.  I had been looking at it for a long time, but with a sale and a 20% off coupon at Bed Bath And Beyond, I was able to buy this.  For me, it is a no-brainer if it works.  Reviews online are good about the AreoGarden, so hopefully, I'm delighted with this.

As a kid, we grew up with a big garden, and I miss that.  Sure, I live in Florida but now that were into the colder months, weather lows are unpredictable.  If I can grow anything inside, I'm all for it.  I dislike going to the store and buying produce that has been sprayed with gallons of pesticide and coated with wax.

We are running our lights for 17 hours starting at 6 am.

In our AreoGarden, we planted mint, cilantro, rosemary, baby greens, salad greens and romaine.

First Week - AreoGarden

  • 12/07/17 - Day 1: Planted Seeds
  • 12/08/17 - Day 2: Nothing new showing up today yet.
  • 12/09/17 - Day 3: Baby Greens is beginning to emerge.
  • 12/10/17 - Day 4: Salad Greens is now beginning to emerge.
  • 12/11/17 - Day 5: Romaine is now up and emerging.
  • 12/12/17 - Day 6: Baby Greens growth has pushed the dome cap off
  • 12/13/17 - Day 7: Rosemary emerging.

Day 1 - AreoGarden 12/07/17

Day 2 - AreoGarden 12/08/17

Day 3 - AreoGarden 12/09/17

Day 4 - AreoGarden 12/10/17

Day 5 - AreoGarden 12/11/17

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Day 61 - Tomato Seedling Update

They are doing quite well.  I'm feeling very proud of my little tomato plants.  Day 61, after starting them from seeds, they are really coming along.  I like my little staking system using wood skewers for BBQ grills.

If we were not hitting a cold snap this week in Central Florida, I would have already put them out in the Earthbox.  However, we're headed into the low 30's tonight and so I've got them inside where it is warm.  As soon as we get past the cold spell, I'll be working on planting them in the Earthbox.

Each day I can see them getting stronger, filling out more and really growing.  Hopefully they do well once planted, but I'm relatively pleased with how they have worked out.  It is my first time planting them from scratch.

So anyway, here's a video I did just showing more closely how they are doing.  You get to listen to my relaxing piano music in there as well as an added bonus (unless YouTube takes my own music down on me).  That's another  story with YouTube and copyright issues!

Day 61 - Tomato Update Video

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mature Tomato Seedlings

Yikes, I have not updated this in a little bit.  Bad Don.  I'll try to do better.  Once I get the tomato seeds planted in my Earthboxes, than I'll make another video.  I want to chronicle the growth of these plants from seeds to maturity.

One of the things I noticed having the tomato plants inside is that they were growing long stems, but it wasn't strong enough to hold them up.  I'm thinking that they weren't really getting enough sunlight and since it was warm enough, I started putting them outside during the day.  I would take them in at night because it still gets cool.

While that helped them a little, they still weren't standing up straight and it seemed like they had stalled out.  So, I went to Walmart and bought some little wood skewers that you would use on a BBQ grill.  I used them to stake the plants up as you can see in the photograph and tied them with plant tape.   The wood skewers were around 88 cents a package of 100, I believe.

It drastically helped.  Once I staked them up, I think they were able to get better sunlight.  Most likely they didn't have to spend their energy trying to hold themselves up.  It seemed like overnight, they responded.

Now, they have really taken off again and when I plant them in the Earthbox, I'll probably still use the little stakes to stabilize them until they get where they can stand on their own.

Fortunately, we've been having nice weather and sunny days so I could just leave the tomatoes outside to soak up the sun.  My hope is to transplant them into the Eartboxes in about a week.  I'll keep my fingers crossed that we don't hit any cold snaps.  

Anyway, that's the news on Growing Don's Garden for now.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Watch My Tomatoes Grow

I was trying to keep this blog up-to-date, but life gets in the way and it isn't easy to do everything I want to do.  It doesn't stop me from trying though!  Yes, you can laugh if you do the same.

I am now at Day 26 and most of the plants are doing well.  I did transplant them into bigger planting pots the other day as you can see in this picture.

The tomato seedlings had mostly reached two sets of leaves and I just felt like they needed to stretch their roots.

This is all a new experience for me, so maybe I did the right thing and maybe not.  The tomato seedlings look happy and healthy, so I think I'm on the right track.

Since there was a packet of fertilizer that came with the Burpee Seed Growing Kit and so I sprinkled that in the edges of the planter pots, spreading and distributing it evenly.  Then I watered it in.  The instructions on the package weren't that great.

If I didn't think we would have the threat of anymore cold weather or frost, I'd put these outside now.  Unfortunately, this is still February and it can get quite chilly here for plants.  So, I will wait until the first of March before I plant them outside in the earthbox.

If you want to watch my tomatoes grow, check out the following video on YouTube.  It will give you a sense of what happened every day as I've been trying to record that each morning.  Plus, you get to listen to my very relaxing piano music playing in the background.  It is a short video, so go ahead - take a look.

I will be writing soon about what costs I have put into this endeavor so far.  I want to record that so I'll have it the next time I do this.  Some of what I have purchased to do this, I won't have to purchase again.  But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself because that's for another blog post!

Check out my other blog posts & videos

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Tomato Seeds Progressing Along

There isn't too much to report today and I actually held off on writing another blog post.  The tomato seeds are doing well and the plants are growing each day.

Most of the tomato seeds have germinated but not all.  I expected to see some that didn't germinate and emerge.  It looks like all but two germinated.

One thing I get a kick out of is watching how these plants orient themselves to the light source.  When the sun comes up and I have the window blinds open, they lean this direction.  As the sun sets and it gets dark outside at night, then they lean back up towards the light in the center of the room.

Of course, I realize plants do this, but I didn't realize just how quickly they adjust.  Maybe I should find a way to do a video of it because it seems like it is pretty quick. 

It amazes me how the plants do that and know where to go.  I don't understand the mechanism that causes it but I'll be doing some reading to understand it.  I just find it interesting and amusing watching these tomato plants.

My other question I need to research is will these plants be able to grow enough in these little seed starting pods or am I going to have to transplant them before they get to the Earthbox.  I'm not sure what to expect on this because they are still a good month from being planted in the Earthbox.

So here are the most recent pictures by day.

Tomato Seeds - Day 8

Tomato Seeds - Day 9

Tomato Seeds - Day 10

Hopefully you did get a chance to watch the most recent YouTube Videos I have done on these tomato plants?  If not, check these YouTube videos out and see up close what is happening.

Keep checking back to watch the progress.  Feel free to offer any tips you have on growing tomato seedlings.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Week One Video Of Tomato Seeds

Time sure flies by!  It was just a week ago that I planted these little tomato seeds in the Burpee Seed Starting Kit.  They are really doing well.

By 7 days they were definitely emerging and doing well.  It is a lot of fun for me watching these tomato seeds grow and emerge into seedlings.

There are only a couple of plants that have not emerged, but if all of these make it, I'm going to have more plants than I will know what to do with.

I'll need more Earthboxes!  Most likely though, I will give them away or swap them or something.  They will not go to waste.

This is the first day that I have added any water to the Burpee Seed Starting Kit.  I put in one water bottle of water from the faucet.  I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to water these as they grow.  That looks like it could be a challenge, but time will tell.

I am keeping the lid off the grow tray because of the mold/fungus that was showing up.  These seedlings are going strong enough now, I don't think they would need much protection indoors.  Let's just hope the cats don't get curious!

So here's a short little video giving you a much better view of what is going on than just what I can show in a picture.  So check it out on YouTube!

Week 1 - Tomato Seedlings

As always, keep checking back each day.  I'm trying to detail the progress of what is happening.  Getting things ready outside as well, so when it is time to plant, I will be good to go!

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Seedlings Appear

Wow, what a difference a day makes.  Yesterday on Day 6, I saw a few tomato seedlings starting to appear and they were shooting up quickly.  This morning when I got up, I saw 28 of the 36 planted seeds showing up.

It is awesome to see the tomato seedlings appear.  They are ahead of schedule in growth from what I can tell if the germination time and emergence is 7 to 10 days according to the package.

So far, I have not had to add water to the tray, but I am monitoring it closely.  Most of the seedlings are orienting themselves towards the light from the window.  I will likely have to keep rotating the tray so they grow up straight, rather than slanted.

I always thought the seed stayed in the soil and the plant grew from it.  From what I'm seeing, the plant sends out a root which attaches in the soil and then continues at the top of the seedling.  It is almost like it is giving it the energy boost it needs.  I just never realized this was how a tomato seed grew.  It is interesting to me to see and learn this.

Many of the seedlings are now about 2 inches tall.  My goal was to plant them in the earthbox at the first of March, but if they get too big for this grow tray, I may have to risk the chance of cold temperatures and plant them earlier.  Time will tell on what I need to do.

So here's a picture of them this morning at Day 7.  There are 28 tomato seedlings that have emerged.

Previous Posts:

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Tomato Seedlings Emerge!

Wow, after wondering for a few days if I did everything right in starting the tomato seeds, I can see so much progress.

This is day 6 and I must be doing something right.

Yesterday afternoon I started to see some of the tomato seedlings pushing through the soil, but not enough where they were all the way through it.

This morning, I am able to see 15 plants pushing through the soil and I suspect by the afternoon, I'll see more.

I'm so happy to see the young tomato seedlings coming through.  Keep checking back, because I'll keep posting photos of what is happening each day.

So, here's a big welcome to the new tomato plants!  Grow Tomatoes Grow

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Possibly Some Mold Showing Up

I'll put the last three days of pictures below, but first I think having the cover on this seed starting kit may not be a good thing.

I had heard in a another videos on YouTube that using the cover can cause mold (fungus) to show up on the soil.  I see a couple of little spots of that.

So, I am taking the cover off during the day and putting it back on at night just to keep it a little warmer.  Hopefully that will help solve this issue and prevent it from getting worse.

I am now at Day 5 of starting these seeds and hoping it works.  I'll be disappointed if in a few days I don't begin to see something.

The soil does seem plenty moist so I think that is all good.  I'm just concerned about seeing the fungus in a couple of places.   The fungus I see isn't a big spot or covering much at all, but seeing a little makes me overly cautious.  Where there is some, most likely there will be more.  The above image has a yellow arrow indicating what I am referring to with the fungus.

The temperature has been between 70 and 76 degrees most of the time.  The seed tray is sitting next to the window so it should be getting plenty of light.

Below are the pictures.  Of course, there are no seedlings up yet, but I am taking pictures each day to document the progress.  This way I can look back in the future and see what was happening.  This website is a journal in many ways.

Here is Day 3 (1/16/17)

Here is Day 4  (1/17/17)

Here is Day 5 (1/18/17)

Keep checking back for more updates.  I'm crossing my fingers that in a few more days, I will be seeing seedlings emerge.  Grow tomatoes grow!

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Day 1 And Day 2

So, of course there isn't much happening yet, but I'm taking a picture each day of the progress of the tomato seeds.  I know it will be several days before I see anything.  Yet, I'm taking a picture - LOL!  I am so anxious to see the tomatoes emerge.

The temperature got down to 70 degrees last night in the house, but from what I understand, the best germinating temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Unless we hit some very cool weather, I should be able to maintain that.

So here is day 1 and day 2 pictures

Day 1 - January 14, 2017

Day 2 - January 15, 2017

Keep checking back for updates.  I'll try to update this blog daily unless there is absolutely nothing to share.  Grow tomatoes grow!

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Planting Burpee Tomato Seed Starting Kit Video

Grow seedlings grow!  I'm counting on you.  You can do it!

Does it help to give the little seeds a pep talk?  I don't know, but I'm going to try.

Today I planted my Burpee Seed Starting Kit with tomato seeds.  You can learn more about what I bought and why by checking out the previous blog post on the "Burpee Seed Starting System".

I'm hoping that my tomato seedlings are ready by March 1.  Let's hope I did things right and all goes well.  My goal is to get them planted in the Earthbox by the first of March so that they have a full 70 days to mature before the sun starts beating down hard on them here in Central Florida.

After I got this done, I ran across the video on the Burpee website about how to set these up.  Of course, the link on the box just went to a page that didn't exist and I missed the actual video on their website when I looked earlier.  One would think that the link would be correct or if it changed, that somehow they might let you know about it.  Obviously, I ask for too much!

Outside of the lid not seeming like it fit on well, I kind of struggled to orient this black grow mat in the tray.  It wasn't real clear how to do it from the box.  While the pellets expanded, they didn't seem to expand as much as in the Burpee video.  So, I'm not sure what I did wrong or what happened.

I was a little unsure of how much water to put in the tray and that could be a little better communicated or maybe an easier way to fill it with markings that you could easily see.  The other thing I was unsure on was whether to break the pellets up like I did, or leave them intact.  Again, all things that Burpee could do a much better job in detailing or sharing.

Here's the link to Burpee's video just in case you want to see it so you've got a better idea than I did when I started out putting this together.

Regardless, make sure you check out my video below.  I'll keep updating the progress of my tomato seeds and hopefully there will be something to transplant when they are done!

Please let me know if you've tried this system and I always will take any words of wisdom in gardening.  I love to learn, so feel free to comment on the video or this blog post! 

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Burpee Seed Starting System

This is the first time I have ever tried to grow tomato seedlings from seed.  Normally, I have just gone down to a place like Lowes or Home Depot and bought what they had.

This year, I wanted to expand my knowledge and skills by doing this.  I hope I'm successful, but I know I can purchased the seedlings if all goes bad.

Today, I received my order from Burpee in the mail.  I bought one of the 32 xl Cell Seed Starting Systems from them.

I see that on Amazon, there is a 72 cell system which is larger than the one I purchased, but for the same amount of money.

The reason I bought this is that since I've never grown a tomato seedling from seed, I wanted every possible chance of success.  While I love to learn, I hate to reinvent the wheel.  I'll learn from what others have done.

Plus, it is a small enough thing that I can put up on my home office desk near the window and monitor.

I did get a package of tomato seeds from Burpee as well.  The ones I have been using in my Earthbox that I love and they work well is the "Celebrity Hybrid" Tomato.  Maturity is at about 70 days and the size of the tomato is around 7 ounces.

Because I live in Florida, the heat usually comes on hard in mid to late May and so anything that hasn't come close to being ready is usually stunted and slowed by the sun and heat.  Plus, the longer into the months it goes, the hornworms mysteriously show up.

So anyway, that's the beginning.  I'm really just having fun with this.  Growing things in a garden is something I enjoy.  It seems like the tomato plants I grow in my Earthbox out surpass anything I can ever find in a store.  There is nothing like a homegrown tomato!

Anyway, make sure you bookmark this blog and keep checking back.  I'll share what happens, even if it doesn't work out well.

If you have any tips for me, please leave them in a comment.  I'd also love to hear about your own tomato growing experiences.  Just make sure the comments are respectful and not derogatory towards any company or individual.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Beginning Of My Garden

Hey there everyone!  I'm Don.  Yep, the one and only Don in Growing Don's Garden.  I'll be posting updates of growing my garden.

Currently I live in Central Florida (Volusia County) and use the Earthbox to grow my garden.  I stumbled into them a few years ago and love them so much.

For awhile, I was traveling so much that my garden just kind of sat there, not being used.  This year, I'm trying to remedy that and get things going.  So, since I love to write and blog, I figured - why not make a blog!

Hopefully what I share will help someone, maybe even encourage them to start their own garden.  No, I'm not an expert, but I have learned a lot.

Growing up, we always had a big garden, but it took a lot of back breaking hours to keep it up.  That's why I love the Earthbox!  They are so easy to use and maintain.

So, pardon the dirt and dust as I get this blog up and running.  Go ahead and sit down on the little bench and rest awhile as you wait.