Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gardening Therapy...

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that the gardening bug has bitten me again. Only this time, we're into planting our own greens. We're just beginning to see the fruits of our labour... mind you, this is only on very small scale. As you can see from the leaves, the insects are also having a go.

Chai Sim
This is our chai sim (mustard green??) pot. It measures 1 foot in diameter but they're growing really well. I turn on the drips on very hot days and they get enough water. Now, whenever I need greens, just cut what I need and let the new shoots continue to grow. No chemicals!!!
Mixed Veg
This one is another pot, but with other types of vegetables as well. I planted celery too but they don't seem to be growing well, yet. I am still trying to grow them in another planter box. I've spring onions somewhere inside this pot too. And our mint is growing super well too at the 2 locations that we planted. But our drip system from the pond to grow vegetable didn't work out well. The water supply couldn't be sustained because sediments from the pond water would jam up the dripper. And somewhere too, my spring onions are 'springing' very well. I used small onions. Must do it with big ones next round. My chilli plants are doing well too. I have so much that my day help and neighbours are helping themselves to them too. Unfortunately, my long beans have reached the end of their cycle. But new ones are coming up... I am waiting to see whether my blue lake garden beans will bear. A few of them are growing quite okay at the moment.
SIP
Now, this is our experiment with sub irrigation planting (SIP). A pot with its own potty. LOL! The top pot is filled with soil and its potty is filled with water. There is a small overflow hole somewhere about 3 inches from its bottom so that the soil doesn't get too soggy and the plant 'feels' overwatered. We're growing cucumbers in this pot. And the best part is the 2 pots cost only RM5. In IKEA they have this self watering pot which costs almost RM90 each! Anyway, we plan to make a few more of this. My salad leaves didn't do too well the other time. Maybe I'll try them on our balcony next.
SIP 1
And this is how it looks like inside. The curve pipe is for me to pour water down there, usually people just cut a 45 degree angle to it but we had this pipe with the corner joint glued there; so we just recycled it. To make sure water gets to the soil, Other Half used towel strips to connect the soil to the water. Capillary movement does the rest for us.
Cucumber in SIP
After the 2 weeks, the cucumbers seem to be doing relatively well. The pipe is where I feed the water into the potty below the bigger pot while the white cap is a plastic bottle cork from a bottle of sparkling wine, recycled. Its purpose is to close the hole to the water supply so that mosquitoes don't fly in and breed. The reason for the pipe is so that if you want to cut out a piece of plastic to cover the soil so that weeds don't grow, you can replenish the reservoir at the bottom. In 2 weeks, I've only replenished the water supply twice, not because it needed to be replenished but because I was itching to. I think it can easily go 2 weeks for now without it needing to be 'watered'. The soil feels moist all the time and I don't have to worry about it going dry.

While I am still on the subject of SIP, this was what we did on Saturday morning for a friend who wants to try SIP. The pail is recycled... I think it still needs some soaking before planting can take place..
SIP Homemade
We took whatever plastic bottles we could find around the house and recycled them. Other Half drilled holes into them. They are going to the stand for the cover of the pail which we will use as a platform to separate the water from the soil. I think there is a space of about 8 inches for water storage in this SIP.
SIP Homemade 1
The complete set with the cover. The lining cut out from the cover is used to 'seal' the sides so that the soil does not fall into the water section below. The cut coke bottle is the pathway to fill up the water reservoir. The holes are for the 'wicks'; I'm recommending to her that she uses the same type of towel material that we're using. I think the water should last for 2-3 weeks for a full bucketful of vegetables. And the best part is, everything is recycled!!! 8)

Therapy on a weekend, quite a fruitful one too for we were also able to squeeze in a visit to family members not seen in a while.