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After not checking in for a week, I was bit nervous in checking in on my vegetable garden in Brooklyn. Luckily with the ridiculous amounts of rain that we’ve been getting, things looked good, but some of the containers showed signs of pest problems. The first problem that I noticed was on the collard greens. Some of the leaves on the left side were a bit chewed through. Most of the bigger leaves were untouched. I didn’t notice any pests on them while I was there. At this point, I’m not seeing this as a huge problem, but...

Last month, I read the book Plenty. There was a passage in it about “food traceability” and how our food travels on the average 1,500 to 2,000 miles from farm to plate. That has stuck with me, well because that number is insane. Besides the distance that it traveled, what about what else went into getting that food to me. How was it treated? Who are the people that worked to get it to me? How were they treated? Even though I didn’t start from seed, I can tell you that I got the planter from Trina at Silver Heights Farm,...

After being away for six days, I was shocked when I returned to see the growth of the lettuces in my containers. It was definitely time for my first harvest. Most of the leaves were at least 6 inches and didn’t want them to get much larger. This brings me one step closer to my goal of getting one salad. Didn’t turn this into a salad because I had already eaten dinner. Made this post abbreviated because still playing catch up from being away. I definitely wanted to get something posted though as it’s pretty damned exciting...

We’ve been through how to build a self watering container, talked about what kind of potting soil to use and how to make it. Now I am going to tell (and show) you how to water them and how to tell it’s filled: On my fire escape garden, I use a funnel and an empty juice bottle. In my Brooklyn garden, I use a hose. Fill with water (not Kool-Aid) through the pipe. Once the reservoir is filled, it will start to come out of the overflow hole that was drilled into the side. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDpaMI6NEIQ ...

In a previous post, I explained the basic differences between coconut coir and peat moss based potting soils. Now I am going to show you how to make your own potting soil using a peat moss base. Here’s what you need to make your own organic potting soil: Sphagnum peat moss – holds water and air; provides little nutriton Vermiculite – provides minerals (potassium, calcium and magnesium) Garden lime – provides minerals (calcium) and balances acidity of peat moss Compost – provides the lion share of the nutrition...

This whole experience is all new to me, especially the part about actually planting. Here’s five things I learned about how to plant vegetables in a self watering container: Be gentle. Pop the vegetable out of it’s cell. Push it from the bottom and gently pull out. There are many plants in a cell. A lot of the cells contain multiple plants, so you have to thumb around the soil line to see the separation of the plants. Pry apart with thumbs. Use your thumb to gently pry them apart. You’ll wind up breaking up some of...

First off, from what I can tell there is no difference between potting soil, potting mix and transplant mix. It’s all the same thing just different names. The reason that you want to use potting soil is that it allows for aeration and water to flow. If you use traditional soil in a self watering container, the roots would get too compact and not be able to grow. That’s no bueno. Of course it isn’t that simple, there are different kinds of potting soil. There is one that is peat moss based and one that is coconut coir...

After getting the news yesterday that the vegetable gardening season already started and some plants should already be out, I need to get moving quicker. I went out to visit the ‘rents place today in Staten Island to make all of the self-watering containers at their crib. All of the materials were there, so it was just a matter of putting everything together. At their spot, I have am going to have two containers and two buckets set up. Each container took about a half hour to put together regardless of the size. There are two...

After days of back and forth, I decided to go with copper pipe instead of the vinyl tubing in the self watering containers. Wasn’t very clear on the benefits of one over the other because read lots of pros and cons on each of them. For using copper pipe, came across a few articles that spoke about leaching into water. Came across the same articles for vinyl tubing. Since I was going with the vinyl tiles for the insert, I felt better about choosing the copper pipe. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxXZ1vMyFdI In shopping around for...

I took my first crack at making the insert for the self watering container today. The hardest part was cutting a square into circles that would fit snuggly into the bucket. Yes, I just said snuggly. Tools that I needed: Razor blade Scissor Pen Thumbtack Rope or string Something to measure water Materials: 5-gallon bucket Coin cup to use as my wicking basket 1 12″x12″...

Took the day off from work today to spend the day with my gram and to negotiate the land space with her. Before I headed out to her, I measured out the space of my fire escape garden. Not too bad about 36″x”12″. That should be enough for about three buckets without getting in the way. Just need to figure out how many soda bottle planters we can...

As you can see, by this time I am expert at getting buckets. Once I get my Flip Video camera I’ll have to record and educate you on my ways. For now just be in awe of my splendor. I’ve also been doing more reading into building the self watering containers and what can be used. As of now, I am going to go with the bucket in bucket or the plastic tote in plastic tote approach. Those seem to be the ones that best suit my needs. ...

First off, I scored my first bucket last night. On the way back from the movies (I checked out Anvil and highly recommend to any 80s metalheads out there). I saw one laying out next to a dumpster, so I snagged it. Soaked it over night in some baking soda and vinegar. Like new. My Gram sure is smart. Besides being a ridiculously gorgeous day outside today, it was a productive one as well. Picked up the Incredible Vegetables from Self Watering Containers book from the library. I went to the park, laid out in the grass and started to plow...

by your idea After some research, I got more info on the self watering containers. The Homegrown Evolution had a great resource on Self Irrigating Planters posted on April 5. One site that I checked out, Instructables, had a few different variations. One using 2 liter soda bottles and plastic totes. I like it cheap and green. Fits the criteria. Before I got too far ahead of myself, I had to talk to my roommate to see if he’d let me put these containers out on the fire escape since it’s out of his window. Luckily, he and I...

For the past few days I’ve been lamenting in my stupidity of building a window garden in a spot that gets no sun. Smart move on my part. Good job. But things done changed. I was trolling around on this here internet for what I can possibly grow or do. I came across the idea of self watering planters. Most importantly this video: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZUCxBHeq04 The basic concept of self watering containers is that the water is on the bottom of the container and the soil above. There is a separator between the two and a...