Experiment 8 - Return of the instant garden
I am pleased to announce that Garden Science’s biggest and best experiment to date - the instant garden - will return this spring for its second season.
Wait… it gets better.
Garden Science gets THE WHOLE BOX this time! There is no lack of ideas (or seeds) to fill it with, either.
What’s in store this time around? There’s going to be a couple of second generation instant garden classics coming back for sure. I’ll also be planting the really old gourd seeds and crossing my fingers. Additionally, I’m looking into trading my cow in exchange for some more magic beans so that I can try a reboot of Experiment 11. That last part may or may not happen, but I’m hopeful.
New Year 2013 Update
A happy new year to all of you Garden Science readers out there! I thought a good way to kick off the new year would be with a quick overview on how all of the current experiments are doing. If you do not see one of the 11 total Garden Science projects listed here, that means it has already been concluded. All experiments can be accessed from Garden Science’s tumblr homepage.
- Experiment 2 - Lemons: The lemon trees are having a much better winter than last year (knock on wood) and so far, there are no spider mites plaguing their indoor habitat. “Biggest” and a couple of the other plants have actually gotten a head start on spring and are growing new leaves already. There is a post in the works, although pictures have not been taken yet.
- Experiment 3 -
PoinsettiaChristmas Tree in a Can: In case you missed it, the Christmas tree in a can recently sprouted a new friend! I am now overseeing the care of two tiny trees, and am considering my options for transplanting in the near future.
- Experiment 4 - Growing Kits: At this point, the only non-Christmas kit still growing is the cactus grow kit. There are still a good number of little cacti and they look healthy but perhaps a little sun-starved. There is a whole lot of new stuff about to hit the grow kit category (mostly holiday gifts), so stay tuned for that.
- Experiment 6 - Zombie Plants: They had a great run, but the basil plants from this experiment were eventually pulled up with the rest of the fall garden. There are no current zombie plants.
- Experiment 7 - Avocados: The avocado plant grew to a very respectable size before being pulled indoors with the rest of the tropical trees. After struggling to find a great indoor location for it at the house, I brought it to work where there is a nice broad window for it to sit next to. It seems pretty happy. Unless something unprecedented happens, regular avocado updates should resume when the weather improves.
- Experiment 8 - Instant Garden: All the products of the instant garden have been cataloged and are now being stored in a safe, dry place. I plan to try a few more cooking endeavors when I have a chance. Outside, I have noticed a couple of volunteer lentil plants springing up where the garden once was.
- Experiment 9 - Pineapple: It’s dead, Jim! It held its own for a long time, but eventually it withered and died. I think it finally succumbed to rot. Don’t worry though, I plan to try again.
- Experiment 11 - Magic Beans: Regrettably, it looked like this batch of magic beans was not meant to be. I should have waited and planted them outside in the spring, because I don’t think that planting them inside during the winter did them any favors. They did not sprout at all, and soon I will be on the lookout for a replacement batch.
As an added bonus, the Garden Science sidebar is now mostly updated.
Experiment 8 - Meet the Garden (Part 7)
Before leaping into this much-postponed (and possibly last) episode of Meet the Garden, I’ll go ahead and take this opportunity to blame Garden Science’s absurd lack of posts on being ridiculously busy lately. Ridiculously busy. The sidebars still haven’t been updated, and it may still be a while until that happens. Posts will probably be less frequent moving into the fall, but hopefully there won’t be too many super long gaps in activity again, either.
The instant garden is nearing retirement. Near the base of the planter boxes you can see a peppering of bean shells that I tossed there thinking they’d somehow disappear. Flawed logic, apparently.
I’ve been trying to harvest the lentils as they dry, but I’m pretty sure there are millions of them hidden in there. Right when I think I’m making progress, these plants prove me wrong by seeming to have exactly as many lentils as they had two weeks ago. It seems impossible, and it’s something that Garden Science cannot explain.
A couple of late ears have shown up somewhat recently. I doubt they’ll get pollinated properly enough to fully form, unfortunately, but even if they don’t it’s shaping up to be a pretty decent crop.
The mystery plant has been pruned back several times and keeps making incredible comebacks. The camera was on a bizarre setting for this photo apparently. As much as I’m not-so-secretly rooting for this plant, I’m even-less-secretly hoping it doesn’t go to seed and totally take over.
The garbanzo beans finally dried on the plant, and I picked the last of them shortly after taking the above photo. I ended up with a lot more than I was expecting considering the squirrels (presumed) ran off with a full branch of them.
The fava beans dried, as well! Like the garbanzo beans, I harvested them right after taking the picture.
Pinto and Navy Beans
The pinto and navy beans are totally done. I need to do one more check to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but I’m pretty sure their reign is over.
The peanuts don’t seem to be growing much anymore. I’m hoping we’ll have a nice mild fall that will give them a little extra time, but for now it’s a question mark.
That about does it for this episode of Meet the Garden. There’s a whole bunch of stuff lined up for the blog that I haven’t had a chance to post yet, but hopefully things will slow down enough for it to all unfold in short time.
Experiment 8 - The first beans
I check the instant garden for developments about twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Yesterday evening I made an awesome discovery.
These pinto bean pods were completely dried out on the vine. For those unaware, my goal for the beans and lentils has been for them to dry naturally with the sun so I can finally harvest them. Therefore, these are the first items from the instant garden that are actually ready for harvest!
A couple of beans were still the tiniest bit soft, so I left them in the sun for a while to become fully dry.
I’ll have even more of a bean update soon, I think, because it’s supposed to almost reach 100 degrees (F) today and I’ll bet that sort of heat moves the drying process along pretty substantially. I also picked a few dried lentils yesterday, but I’m saving that update for a little later when I’ve had time to pick more. Stay tuned!
Experiment 8 - Popcorn Science (Part 2)
I woke up early this morning to check on the popcorn.
I’m definitely not a morning person, but when I’m working in the garden in the A.M. I almost feel like one. There were clear skies this morning heralding nice weather for the rest of the day.
The corn is quite impressive now. The largest plant measured in at well over 7 feet tall a couple of days ago.
Not only have the tassels fully emerged now, they are also dropping pollen. Here comes the science:
The tassels of corn plants produce pollen, and the silks need to be pollinated in order for an actual ear of corn to develop. This essentially means that the pollen has to come into contact with the silks.
In a large corn field, the odds of this contact happening on its own is pretty high. Since I only have two plants, I decided to help them out. I gathered up a fair amount of pollen to start with… more on that in a minute.
Whoops, turns out my science wasn’t 100% correct on this! Check out this post in which I elaborate further.
This is what emerging silks look like. They sprout from the top of what will become the ear. I noticed this development only a day or two ago, but the progression of the silks really exploded after my initial discovery.
The largest would-be ear is actually on the smaller of the two plants. It grew surprisingly large before finally showing a display of silks. Here’s some cool trivia - there is exactly one silk for every kernel on an ear of corn. Neat!
In an attempt to aid pollination, I dumped all of the pollen I’d collected earlier onto each mini-ear’s silks. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll have some ears forming in the near future.
I didn’t have a great way to photograph it, but it’s interesting to note that the smaller of the two plants has two ears forming, one larger one and one small one. This is pretty typical. The largest plant actually has four forming, and they’re all about the same size so far. The highest one is well up near the top of the plant, too, which seems unusual. It will be interesting to watch and see if they all fill out.
Experiment 8 - Peanuts (MTG 6.7)
Greetings friends. Life continues to keep me busy with other things besides gardening, hence the longer than intended leave of absence. This will be the last episode of the long-running “Meet the Garden Part 6,” after which our regularly scheduled programming will resume. Today, our focus is the peanut plants. Some of these photos might be about a week old or so, but the peanuts have not been growing stupendously fast so it’s all still relevant.
All in all, they still look like they’re doing quite well.
The largest plant is not only growing new foliage at its top, but near its base as well. Leaves grow 4 to a stem and gradually unfold.
I catch the largest plant “napping” now and then. I’m uncertain if this is temperature related, light related, or perhaps the result of some other factor. I know my shamrock closes up at night, and I’m guessing peanut plants do the same thing. I have not charted the activity regularly enough to know.
When I first discovered the smaller of the two peanut plants, it was practically being smothered by the lentil plants. The actual lentil seeds in their pods are getting heavier now, and as the plant grows heavy the peanut has more and more sun exposure. It looks every bit as healthy as the “bigger” plant.
This concludes Meet the Garden Part 6. As I mentioned in the first post of MTG, the instant garden is a moving target. I already have a brand new update on the corn plants, lentils, and a couple of other things waiting in the wings. I also have a big pile of fun stuff I’ve been meaning to report on but haven’t really had a chance to yet. Stick around - there are bound to be some fun posts over the next few days.
Experiment 8 - Lentils and Green Lentils (MTG 6.1)
If you missed the last post, I’m doing edition 6 of “Meet the Garden” on a per-plant basis. First up, the lentils!
The plants appear to be done flowering and are absolutely covered in lentil pods. Many of the lentils within the pods look like they are at or nearing full size, too!
The above photo should provide some amount of context.
The plants are looking as if they may be nearing the end of their season. Does anybody happen to know a good way of drying fresh lentils and/or get them out of their shells?
Experiment 8 - Meet the Garden (Part 6.0)
The instant garden is a moving target. Right when I thought I’d acquired everything I needed for a new update, stuff would grow more, new cool things would happen, and suddenly I’d be way behind in my documentation. Now, I have a giant folder full of photographs from last week and even before that have not been viewed yet but keep growing steadily more archaic. I also have a ton of new ones.
Constructing these giant “Meet the Garden” posts takes a lot of time, and that’s part of what’s been keeping me behind schedule. For that reason, I have decided to divide edition 6 of MTG into bite-sized pieces and make one post for each plant instead of one or even two massive posts for everything. My theory is that this will not only keep the updates shorter and therefore more time-management friendly, but also it will allow me to post a sort of time lapse for each plant as it’s appeared since MTG 5 in a way that will be a lot easier to read than if I posted all of my material in one or even two posts. They would just be too gigantic.
Garden Science usually only posts once or maybe twice per day, but I am likely going to be making three posts per day until this MTG deal concludes… and that count excludes other circumstantial things that may arise. I’ll be spreading the updates out evenly over the course of the day a) so that I can write them whenever I have time without falling behind again and b) so that it doesn’t get too spammy. If this idea works well, I may use it again in the future.
Thank you for reading the famous Garden Science wall of text. Expect updates on the first couple of plants later today!