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Thread: New Gardens - Campus Raised Bed, Aeroponic Tower Garden and Indoor Container Garden

  1. #1

    Default New Gardens - Campus Raised Bed, Aeroponic Tower Garden and Indoor Container Garden

    Hello all,
    Thought I'd start up an introductory post and so... without further ado!

    I am a SoCal native who never got the chance to grow so much as a chia pet growing up. I am fascinated by plants and ecosystems. I received a plant as a gift one birthday and ACTUALLY kept it alive for one WHOLE year. I got a new plant for myself and by the end of the second year both were still alive! This meant that MAYBE I could be trusted to grow something more.

    So like most things, I went head-on into the storm.

    I applied to be considered for a campus garden at my school. Once I got accepted, I started my plants from seed indoors and transplanted the first of them in February. Of course, my carrots were sown directly into the ground but my tomatoes were just transplanted on the first day of Spring and they are doing great. Many of the other plants in the garden seem to be victims of disease or insects but so far I seem to have mostly kept in the clear. This time around I really didn't do much as far as testing of Ph levels, etc for my outdoor garden. And while I also started vermicomposting at the house with red wiggler worms and have a prolific bunny poop machine at home (named Sadie), I am learning online that some of my plants may not appreciate the extra boost in nitrogen that the compost would provide.
    I used 1/2" conduit, rebar and nylon to build a trellis along one side of the bed and placed all of my tomato plants along that wall so they could climb up it. I based the design on this video, but of course being a college student with a sense of design, I spray painted the conduit and put up a sign to match in my school colors:

    In my raised bed garden currently I have started:
    Wild Galapagos Tomatoes
    Little Finger Carrots (almost ready for harvest)
    Black-eyed Peas (just planted today!)

    Once the Carrots come up, I hope to place a few more and then make room for melons.

    Indoors in my container gardening, I have kept up some clover for the bun, oregano, chives and basil and got a hold of some dandelion seeds - also for the bun. These were definitely interesting to start out. The germination rate is very poor and they took awhile to come up but its definitely no wonder why that one little dandelion needs what seems like 100 little seeds just to get one germination! Also, the little "umbrellas" that these seeds float upon apparently have some connection to the germination rate also. Because of this connection, seeds whose "umbrellas" have broken away from the seed are FAR less likely to germinate. Out of the 6 or so I planted, I got one little dandelion to finally show its face but my bunny really enjoys the greens it provides and I may go for another try.

    My biggest problems thus far indoors have really been plants that have gotten too big for the space that I have for them, but I try to challenge myself and find new solutions.
    Currently indoors (besides my seed-starts) I have:
    A Par-cel variety of celery
    and of course... that silly old houseplant now.

    The newest and last of my new ventures lately, is the opportunity to get involved in my college's tower garden program.
    Right now I'm starting a few things to try out in the tower but I guess I'll wait until I see the first of those germinating seeds to say more!

    Off to bed for this busy Californian. If you have a tidbit, a side discussion, a question or just a hello, please feel free to post!


  2. #2


    Just a little update: Indoors I re-potted my celery today and it looks like a couple of my basil plants had a bit too much water. I have adjusted my watering habits and they haven't suffered too much for my errors. More on the indoors, mostly the basils have had a lot of lean to them since they've gotten so long and they want to get closer to that window. With some of the smaller ones I've been able to rotate periodically, but with as quick as the basil plants have shot up and I don't want to deny them support, some of them have been able to use the natural supports of the shelf system to grow as tall as 2-1/2 feet tall.

    Outside the BEP's are looking great. The ones growing in the aeroponic environment are off to a quicker start and everything is looking great. I did have my first carrot harvest. It turned out many of the carrots were pulled too soon which I did realize at some point and quit, but not soon enough. My bunny did get some of the smallest ones along with an abundance of greens from the carrots. They were all sweet and very good but I simply did not have the experience to know ...essentially how I would know they were good to pull... although per seed packet, I actually waited an extra week beyond seed suggestions and they weren't quite ready yet.

    Also, my tower garden is off to a great start! The college actually did poor planning of the program so it looks like I could even have use of the entire tower if no one else steps up?!

    Thus far I have started (all from seed, which I started at home, have already germinated and been transferred outdoors):
    Eggplant (1 started, the other I still have attempting a germination... these seem to take awhile)
    Black-eyed Peas
    a few varieties of lettuces - some head type lettuce and some loose-leaf
    and Mustard

    ...more details to come!

    My tomatoes are looking great thus far, I am a little worried about those on the sunniest side of the garden, with the conduit support, I worry that some of the branches are getting burned against the metal. It is really only something that would be a problem along the furthest edges of the trellis but I did notice some scarring on one of the branches the other day and was going to keep an eye on it. Otherwise, it's been a great and easy system, I have been following mostly "square foot gardening" styles and have been pruning away suckers at this point. My plants look so neat and organized where other plants in the college garden have completely overtaken their owner's garden boxes and have shaded out some of their other plants. While the herbs can generally manage with less light, some of their other plants like their peppers have not been as forgiving.

    Until next time (P.S. next time I think pictures are due!)

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