Garden Science gets an apartment
That’s right, it’s new fancy independent living for Garden Science. I probably brainstormed 50 or so “I’m moving” title ideas before I settled on this one because I thought too many people might just read the headline and think that I’d moved the blog itself to a different location or something. Nope! Garden Science the blog isn’t going anywhere, but Garden Science the narrator has moved.
This place is sweet.
This is the “game room” (games not pictured) featuring a plant shelf and some bottle cap folk art. All of my strictly-indoor plants are here with a couple of new friends, too. I’ll do a special plant shelf feature eventually.
One of my favorite parts of the new place is the balcony/patio area where my outdoor and seasonal plants are hanging out. I’ll do an individual feature on this, too. Things are still kind of in flux as far as what plant is going to go where.
Spoiler alert: Some very observant folks might notice that I have a “Dino Dome” on the shelf, and sheepishly I must admit that I have not done a single post on it yet despite how awesome it is. I’ve talked a bit about having a big important post coming up, and… well, that’s it. It’s still a work in progress.
Another one of my favorite things is this awesome railing-box I received as a gift. It has a lone impatien in it (a leftover from back at the house) but it won’t be the lone plant occupant for long. There is one other current occupant, and that’s Quigley the garden gnome. He decided to move his operation over to the apartment. Editor’s note: the railing planter can be found at Home Depot.
A while ago on Garden Science I announced the return of the instant garden. This announcement was made before the moving plan was fully realized, and it is possible that the move may impact coverage of the instant garden somewhat. Don’t worry though - I still plan on spending a lot of time at the house this summer and should be able to cover any cool developments there. If the instant garden posts are few and far between, take solace in knowing I should be able to more than make up for it in cool “urban gardening” patio posts.
Experiment 11 - The return of magic beans!
Once upon a time, Garden Science visited San Francisco’s Chinatown and found some message-inscribed magic beans. Readers were successful in translating the secret of the beans, but their fairy tale took a sad turn when they ultimately failed to grow. This was a pretty substantial disappointment.
Fortunately, there’s a magical place called THE INTERNET where time machines, unicorns, and other objects of myth are only a couple of clicks away. Searches on this “internet” thing helped me find some beans that were supposedly giant and drew comparisons to those from Jack in the Beanstalk. They sounded so remarkable that I just had to order them. After all, there’s nothing but truth on the internet. Right? I hope so, because I traded my only cow to get these.
Joking aside, both the vendor and the product got great reviews and the beans arrived speedily and just as described. By happy coincidence, they appear to be of the exact same variety as the original Chinatown beans.
Long time readers may know that I am a pretty big fan of Dollar Tree. My nearest one currently has respectably sized plastic pots (see the large capacity measuring cup for size comparison), and I thought I’d try planting a magic bean in there to see what happened. I’m optimistic that I’ll get a good germination rate out of these, so for now I’m only planting one. The rest may get planted in time.
Sweet dreams, bean.
Dollar Tree also has hanging pots right now. They aren’t super deluxe or anything, but a buck still seems like a pretty good bargain for this. It’s only a matter of time before something gets planted here…
Experiment 3 - A good day to be a Christmas tree in a can
I just realized something! Even though I intended to and even thought I did, I have not given a single Experiment 3 update since December 30th. Yikes, definitely time to change that.
The last time I reported on the Christmas tree in a can situation there was a second one that had only just begun to emerge. Much like its partner, it jumped to a stable height right away and then promptly stopped growing. While the first tree is tall, thin, and bright green, the second tree is shorter and stockier with a darker green coloration.
Despite their lack of growth, the condition of the trees remained pretty stable since planting… up until today. Upon looking at them this evening I realized their situation had deteriorated.
The granular pellets the trees are growing out of have seemingly no friction. As soon as they dry out between waterings, the grains shift with the slightest bump and the trees go with them. The poor smaller tree was at almost a 90 degree angle when I discovered it today. This was unacceptable.
The trees are still finger-crushingly small but I figured they weren’t going to get any bigger while they remained in a substance with the physical and nutritive properties of fish gravel. I was expecting a difficult extraction, but the grains were so loose I was able to gently pull each of the trees from the pellets with minimal resistance.
It’ll take time to be sure, but the trees seem happy to have left the can. Merry late Christmas, trees!
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.
Rotten to the core
A while back I wrote that the artichoke looked like it was going to overwinter. Things continued looking good over the next few weeks, and it even had a bunch of budding flowers on it.
I was fairly confident that the hardest part was over. It had made it to through the winter and survived several freezes/thaws… what could spring possibly throw at it that was worse than that?
Here’s some foreshadowing. As you can see in this photo that was intended to be solely of Quigley the garden gnome, the base of this plant looks bad. Really bad, actually. I noticed this, but since the artichoke seemed to be doing so well I barely thought anything of it.
…Fast forward a couple of weeks…
It didn’t happen on purpose and I wasn’t there to witness it, but recently the plant was hit lightly by a rogue gardening tool and the whole thing toppled over. The main stalk was completely rotted out. I have no idea how the thing was able to stand for so long, let alone how it was able to continue living and growing.
But all is not lost! New growth continues to spring up around the area where the main stalk fell and this indicates that the root system is alive and well. If we don’t have any more freezes this year, then we’re already off to a pretty good start for the season. This is about as big as the plant was when I bought it from the store last June.
Will the plant yield flowers this year?
Quigley is admirably optimistic.
Springing back to life
Winter is the most difficult time of year for Garden Science. There are fewer daylight hours, the schedule is generally crammed with lots of other things, and there aren’t very many plants to write about. The number of posts inevitably drops quite a bit as a result.
In addition, there have been a multitude of other things going on that have limited my time here. Most of them are great and/or awesome things, but it’s still unfortunate that the posts are so few and far between.
It’s all okay though, because spring is here! Much like this bleeding heart plant, I am hoping I’ll have the opportunity to spring back to life now that the weather has taken a turn for the better.
In the short term I plan to go through and answer my long-neglected bank of user comments and questions. I thank you for them and I read them all, and I will try to post answers to as many of them as I can in the next few days.
After that, I’ve got a marathon post I’m working on that I was hoping to finish in one day but kind of got away from me. Hopefully I can steadily make smaller posts until I get that one finished.
In the not-too-distant future it will be planting time of year again. At that point there should be a wealth of things to write about, and I can’t wait!
Holiday Goodies - Sprouter Kit (Part 2)
I’ll admit it… Part 1 of this series was a little dry. The sprouter kit is an excellent thing, but that post basically amounted to a bunch of pictures of water and plastic and there’s nothing all too interesting about that. Don’t worry though - this post will have actual sprouts in it.
It’s actually been a while since I took these pictures, but according to the dates on the photos it only took about 5 days to go from dry seeds to delicious sprouts.
For the sake of comparison, the above photo shows what the seeds looked like dry. After the events of post 1 took place, here’s what happened next:
While they were still growing we kept the tower stacked up and when they were done we harvested them and put them in the fridge… but not before making an awesome sandwich first. To those following along at home, I again recommend making sure you read the instructions in-depth and I advise being diligent about watering and emptying the water-catching tray.
Want your own sprouter kit? You can get one from Williams-Sonoma! I can confirm that it’s not only a fun thing to own, but it makes a great gift, too!
Holiday Loot Part 1 - Eggling
As promised, I am now just literally “breaking the shell” and delving into the first of several holiday loot write-ups. Hopefully the delay between this and the next loot post will be a short one, but everyone should keep their fingers crossed anyway just for good luck.
The fabulous Eggling receives first honors! The pictures in this post are assembled from two different instances when I took the packaging apart, so if the scenery looks like it’s changing constantly it’s only because I’m switching between the photo shoots.
I had never heard of an “Eggling” before, but i can verify even without seeing how the result turns out that they’re pretty cool. It was a gift, but I found their website (eggling.com, appropriately enough) and they have a lot of neat things for sale there. You can grow various types of Egglings, but mine happens to be basil. This is good, because… well, I like basil.
Here are the goods. I have to say, as somebody who never has enough of those little terra cotta plant dishes, I really appreciate the fact that there was one included here.
I also appreciate the seed packet. I didn’t realize it until I read the instructions, but there are already seeds in the egg. That means that the ones in the packet are just a very cool, bonus courtesy. I am saving them for later, just in case.
The instructions seemed simple enough. There were text instructions, too, but the 4 step illustration pretty much sums it up.
It isn’t a real egg, but wow… it looks and feels exactly like one. It’s so smooth and pretty I hesitated before hitting it with the spoon.
The instructions warn against hitting the egg too hard, but it was surprisingly resilient. My dainty tapping had no effect so I gradually increased the force it up until the egg broke. That said, the egg isn’t made of steel so I would recommend heeding the warning on the instructions just in case.
After giving it some water, I placed it on the window sill in the kitchen where it will theoretically receive as much cloud-filtered sunlight as the Pacific Northwest can offer right now.
Spring is on its way, as evidenced by bulb plants starting to burst through the ground in the front yard. That should herald not only the arrival of new plants, but a wealth of new stuff to write about, too. Hooray! Stay tuned for Eggling updates and for more holiday loot!
Experiment 2 - What’s this?
Not only are the lemon trees holding their own against pests this year, but “Biggest” (my largest lemon tree) is living up to its name. It grew its most impressive leaf yet during the winter and towers above the next tallest of the lemons.
A spider has taken up residence around the edge of the pot and has lived there for months. Its web is pretty impressive and I have no intentions of moving it, lest its presence be the cause of this great success. I am also not moving that blue ribbon. It looks goofy, but it is one of the main structural pillars around which the spider has based its web. I have included a picture of this spider above, which turned out impressively well considering the fact that the spider is tiny and difficult to photograph.
There is something odd going on, though. I was looking at the lemon plants the other day and realized that Biggest has a co-occupant in the pot. This is pretty unusual since none of the lemon trees have been outside since summer ended, meaning there hasn’t been a chance for any new kind of seed to get dropped in there. Just to the left of the tree’s trunk you can see it, it is a spindly plant with a small crown of yellow-green leaves.
Is it possible that this is an extension of the main tree springing from the roots? I am going to keep monitoring this and provide updates if there are any. I’ve also enabled answers on this post in case anybody has any ideas.
In other news, there are still a bunch of holiday goodies that I have been meaning to write about. It would be a shame to spend too little time on any one of these awesome items, so I’ve been waiting for the perfect block of time to try, photograph, and write about them all. Never fear, it is only a matter of time before they end up here.