How does your garden grow?

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Farside
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Re: How does your garden grow?

#51 Post by Farside » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:13 pm

OK I thought I'd share part of a technique I originally developed for growing microgreens without soil. I'm adapting it for starting my ginger and turmeric.

I start with two growing flats. One perforated and the other solid. The perforated one will ultimately stack inside the solid one so that excess moisture will drain down into the lower container.
base trays.jpg
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Next, I enlarge two holes in the perforated tray and insert strips of paper towel through the holes so that when the trays are stacked, the paper wick will be in the water of the lower tray.
insert wicks.jpg
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You can see these wicks protruding out from the bottom of the perforated tray here:
position tray.jpg
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Farside
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Re: How does your garden grow?

#52 Post by Farside » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:17 pm

Once the trays are stacked together, I position the upper part of the wick as shown. I found that the ends of the tray tend to dry out if you don't pay attention to how these are positioned.
position wicks.jpg
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Then I place a sheet of paper towel between the two wicks.
wicking mat.jpg
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Normally I would then cover the entire bottom with paper towel and grow microgreens, but in this case, I'm covering it with a thin layer of soil. Then on top of that I have placed my ginger roots.
layer soil.jpg
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Farside
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Re: How does your garden grow?

#53 Post by Farside » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:20 pm

Finally, I cover the roots with soil as you do :-)
cover.jpg
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I will now water them by placing water into the lower reservoir. With microgreens, this will last a week before requiring a top up.

Here is my turmeric undergoing the same process in a separate container system:
turmeric.jpg
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As the roots sprout and roots develop, I will carefully separate the shoot and root from the mother rhizome and plant it in it's own pot.

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Re: How does your garden grow?

#54 Post by Farside » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:34 pm

Here is a photo of the trays about an hour after putting water in the lower containers. You can see moisture has made its way to the surface over almost the entire tray (if you look carefully you can see a few remaining dry spots).
working.jpg
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Re: How does your garden grow?

#55 Post by Farside » Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:42 am

This year I'll be growing parsnips. Last time I did this they didn't turn out too well because of carrot fly worms.

So I'm going to install a low tunnel covered in a very light row cover that lets in light and rain, but not the bugs. Since I'm going to the trouble, I might as well run an experiment...

The standard low tunnel is made from 3/4 inch pvc pipe that forms hoops, and are placed on top of rebar that is pounded into the ground:


However, I'm going to make mine out of 3/4 and 1/2 inch pipe. The first 18'' will be 3/4 inch, while the remaining 5' will be 1/2'' (I have 46'' beds). 3/4'' pipe seems a little heavy which is why I'm experimenting with 1/2''. It's also cheaper.

I'm going to make 2 low tunnels. One that is built normally, and the other which has had the 5' sections of pipe heated with a heat gun and flattened as whown in this video on how to make pvc bows:


At the apex of the hoop and at the ends, the pipe is round. That is so the ends fit into the 3/4'' sections, and the apex so I can connect the row cover fastener properly. The pvc actually tapers down from the apex to the foot, and I made my first one this evening.

I'm hoping this shape creates more lateral stability in the hoops and therefore better performance in the wind. What I've immediately discovered is that the tapered hoop has a lower, squarer profile when bent into shape. This means the tapered low tunnel will be 4 to 5 inches lower than the other one, and the sides are more vertical, giving the inside profile more of a square shape than a semi-circle.

I immediately see some advantages here. Since my sides are steeper, I have more vertical growing space toward the edges of the growing bed, which means that even though this tunnel will be lower, there is more practical space inside for growing in as well as a lower profile to the wind.


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