Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gardening Experiments ;))

I am completely exhausted.

& what have I done? Nothing much.

Mum and I have been planting seedlings - tomato & pepper/paprika.

I'm rather a newbie at this, since I only started helping her in this last year.

'Oh I learnt it when I was married already!' she's eager to point out (probably hinting I can easily learn this on my own too - and possibly get married and give her grandkids asap too!).
Thing is, she had co-workers and neighbours to help & conspire with, and did a lot of random trial-and-error too, so I think all those precious years of experience are worth something too! (Plus, no sight of eligible bachelors falling from the roof at the time of speaking!)

So we made a pact. I am the apprentice, and she's my mentor. Sort of.

Oh. We even put it 'on the agenda'! To be done Monday after lunch immediately. uhm.
With all the laptop-drivers frenzy (& little kiddies around), it only managed to be done today. (YAY!! Sis finally got her new laptop to work!! The original shop (yesterday) and a small shop here - that finally fixed it all! - were involved.)

You probably know a thing or two about my Mum by now. If I'm disorganized, she's Mrs Disorganization herself! (I had to learn from someone, didn't I?)

It took probably at least an hour (altogether) to set things up, sort the still usable ex-yogurt pots (according to labels) etc.
Of course Mum has also 'always bought' the peat for the seedlings. I lamented this fact a while ago when we started the first trays already. Still, it had to be used up.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with what we did. Used ex-yogurt pots (mostly #5 & #6 plastics, I think - some were illegible) that had been previously used & already had names of the sorts written on them, & little special pots for this that were also previously in use. And ice-cream & quark plastic pots for the seeds.

She had wanted to buy one of these, but luckily I prevented it! (I thought surely it would be just one more thing to throw away!!)

Garbage: 3 yogurt pots that had been chewed though (?!) /poor mouse! - or whatever chewed it! you have to be pretty desperate to go chew yogurt pots, no?!/
To-be garbage: the bag from the peat! (am not completely happy about the styrofoam or whatsit in the peat either!) and seed bags.. :(
Not completely happy with the use of alcohol-'permanent' marker either! - sellotape+paper+ballpoint pen as an alternative seems even worse (!?) - (What did they use in old times..?)

Would love to use our compost, Mum said it would have to be sifted well (& an appropriate sieve made!) and maybe little animals could be a problem?
We have these little seedlings in the living room or kitchen, on a tray, on the window sill, & there are (mysteriously) too many ants already! (Did they come from the bought soil/peat or through the window? no idea!)

We intended to use toilet roll inners too, for a bunch of them at least, as experimental sideline, but then there were enough yogurt pots so we didn't!

So ideally next year we'd be better organized & use the time better (instead of me waiting for Mum to find things, or decide on how many to plant/sow)

A pack of seeds costs about 0.80 Euro, and pepper/paprika seedlings/plantlings are 0.50 Euro one, so this saved quite a bit of money! (at least 3x6 tomato plants will be needed, and some peppers, and later on other stuff..)

Mum used to buy the plantlings, but since we've got the greenhouse, she grows them herself. She's very free-spirit about it too: 'If they grow, they grow.' She likes to have extra to give to her Sis, if theirs do badly. And if ours did badly we got some from my Aunt too..

I'd love us to grow our own seeds, since the ones bought come in tiny little sachets that are most likely not recyclable and not compostable. (It would be good to check though.) Some are also not really organic, though Mum DID buy some organic ones the other week! :) YAY! (after I told her which shop has 'em!)
I'm curious about this idea: to eat & plant (cherry tomatoes) in the same day?! Is it really possible?!! Full details here (in one of the comments!)
(Actually Mum has saved her own seeds at times in the past, but 'sometimes they came out okay, sometimes they didn't.' Okay. Guess we'll just have to take this risk.)

And, lol, apparently we're not the only ones with weird seedling/plantling practices: meet Gary - random pic found on Flickr! :)

And some more interesting DIY ideas for yogurt pots!
(I like the last one - seems we COULD use those chewed up yogurt cups for some things after all!!)

Overall, I think we saved the world (or at least our house) from quite a lot of plastic clingwrap, throwawayable plastic bags, unnecessary food miles, and other horrors! - so basically I AM satisfied with it all! 2 hours of slight frenzy for all those yummy tomatoes and peppers all summer long!! That's basically nothing!
/& if I were a bit less frantic and perfectionistic - 'Mum, did I tuck 'em in allright?' I might even find this thing relaxing!/

Wish we'd done this when I was a kid already! (Little-Miss-not-so-Green might enjoy it too, but it would be better to do a line without her first.. I think she's not to be trusted completely yet.. maybe next year..?)

If you know zero waste (& non-toxic) alternatives for permanent markers (or more about using own compost for planting seedlings/sowing), please tell!!


  1. Well done, Layla (and your Mother)!
    Another fabuolus experiment!

    I was planning to plant cherry tomatoes in pots too, this year, but I feared that March is too late for plating seeds. So I thought to but directly plants. But you're right: they must be organic! I'll look for them, and in the case I don't find them, I'll try with seeds from eaten tomatoes (I've looked to those links, thanks)! ;)

    I have the problem of ants too. This is the period they appear but I think they go out from the fixtures of walls and windows, in search of something to collect for next winter! I'm still looking for a natural remedy to keep they off, even if there are spiders and other predator insects around the house garden. I'm surrounded! OoO

    As regards yogurt pots, I used them last year to plant few seeds of lemon tree (just one has survived at the winter), because I wanted to make some green gifts. And I used a mixed plastic tray cutted in pieces to make tags for seeds, but unfortunately I used markers to write above them.

    Yes, as opposite you could think (and hoping you're not disappointed), I have markers too. I don't use them to write notes but I need them in order to write on the CDs I use for work. And I have almost three or four of them which I want to use until the end. But next time I'll have to buy one I will search a greener one. There are some lines of green products for office. You may ask for them to the nearest stationery shop. Or look on the internet. Surely you'll find someone.
    If I have another idea I'll tell you! ;)

  2. Thank you!! :)

    We just did some more gardening today :)
    /just removal of old dead flowers and branches etc/

    Glad you found those links helpful!
    We didn't plant cherry tomatoes (we prefer 'real' big ones!) As with everything: there is the ideal, and there is 'reality' - we don't have all organic yet, so hopefully next year!

    I've heard of some natural remedies for ants - must look a bit to see what I can find!
    I know my ex-roommate used cleaning-high%-alcohol (the pink one) - killed the ant & poured on the wall a little, and they stayed away! (probably depends on the ants too!)
    my Grandma used some other stuff, will ask her..

    WOW, lemon tree! This is wonderful! it's probably too cold for them here, in southern Slovenia some people have them and move them to the cellar in winter! (in big buckets)

    We have markers for CDs too (so how can I be dissapointed with you?! I'm disappointed with our shop/s, producers & waste management companies for not recycling them!) looking for a greener line is a great idea! Thanx! :)