It started with Spider-pillow

My photo
A while back when i worked at The Comic Book Shoppe (bank st) we had a regular christmas secret santa. The first year i was there i pulled Ted who had a thing for Spider-man. In one of those strange moments of brilliant clarity I whipped up spider-pillow. It was the old Spider-man logo with a round pillow in the middle and 8 3-D legs all made out of comfy fun fur....things have continued in this manner. This is my so called craft

Saturday, November 15, 2008

i love the climate

so let me say this. i was worried about the amount of sun we might get. when i started planting i was convinced that growth would be really really slow. turns out we must be on a good angle for the sun.

the tomatoes are obviously getting bigger. i can look at them at the end of each day and see new growth. the lettuce is expanding monstrously and the herbs are doing great too. everything is growing like mad.

check out my garden. ^^bb

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

planting round 2

so after a rather awesome day relieving i came home in such a good mood that i was determined to finish up my planting.

i had more juice containers for the last of the coriander and more lettuce (for lettuce you need a 1.5L pot per plant so the 3L juice containers here are amazing). i wanted to move those roma tomatoes to the 18L containers and i wanted to get as many of the remaining tomatoes into containers.

so back to the drainage holes, washing rocks, filling pots with dirt. did all my transfers, planted new ones, watered everything, etc. now i'm really packed full on containers onto the balcony. i'm going to see if i can't find a cheap table for our office that is the height of the window. i think i'd like to put a lot of the herbs on the table so that i can give the tomatoes more access to the sun. right now i have to organize by height (shortest near front) but that means my tomatoes in the back get less sun because of the way the sun moves around here. but they're all growing so it seems to be good so far.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

what do the bus drivers think of Canadians?

so i ran out of dirt. and i was annoyed because i had just made the score of my gardening career. we were walking downtown a few days ago and we passed a rather large organic store. out front in a cart were a pile of large containers, 18.9L containers, that had once held chickpeas but were now empty.

i said to blaise "i wonder if we can take those" and when i ran in and asked the answer was a resounding "yes". they were putting out their empty containers for people like me who wanted containers for growing tomatoes. i scored 4 of them and they were sitting at home (with a fresh batch of rocks from Lyall bay) empty. my other plants were starting to get droopy, they needed to be planted soon and i wanted to transfer the two romas out of the smaller pots and put them into these larger ones.
but i was missing something critical...dirt.

so today while blaise was working i got up and got myself a bus day pass and headed back to the nursery to get more dirt. now last time blaise and i did this we ended up taking a cab back because we didn't know how to get home by bus. this time i had checked my route. i would take the 44 to get there but it only came by once an hour. but down the street i could pick up the 2 which would get me to Kilbirnie shops which i could transfer to a 3 which would take me home.

so i bought my first 40L bag and headed to the bus stop. for a distance of 2 blocks it was surprising on how heavy and freaking awkward the thing was. but i got my bus, hopped on, got a strange look from the driver and headed home. thankfully it was early and blaise had another hour of work so i figured i'd go get a 2nd load.

well first off i hit the same driver on the 44 who looked at me funny but didn't say anything. got another 40L bag of dirt and headed down to the 2. however by this point in the day there was a lot more people out and about. i walked onto the bus carrying my bag in a sort of "carrying a sleeping toddler" hold and there was giggles from all over the bus. the driver had the biggest grin on and said "well thats a new one"

hey i have no car!

kilbirnie transfer was just as bad, i swear they had radioed ahead "crazy lady carrying dirt". the driver there just kept snickering as i shifted my bag around on my lap trying to prevent my legs from falling asleep. but got the 2nd bag home. 80L of dirt...that outta do me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

the first batch planted

so blaise helped me get some dirt from a store called Palmers (which has an amazing restaurant called Chocolate Frog but i digress).

i had also accumulated over the last few days a large collection of empty pop bottles and juice containers of 1.5L to 3L. i have been raiding the recyling bins in the basement. every one gets a bath with boiling water to kill off nasties and i figure i'll fill them with herbs.

so with plants, rocks, dirt and containers on my balcony i was ready to go.

Step 1 - drainage
borrowing one of blaise's spare metal files i proceeded to sit outside and punch holes into the containers. the juice and milk containers were pretty easy but the larger plastic containers were thicker and required the "encouragement" of a hammer to punch through the plastic. each container was given multiple drainage holes. i'm idly wondering if i have made enough. not enough and the root rot will set in.

Step 2 - rocky bottoms
so i have been really careful and washed all my rocks i got off Lyall beach. wanted them to be salt free, bug free etc. then i carefully put a decent layer of rocks into each of my holed containers. that should help my drainage issues.

Step 3 - the dirt
we bought 2 bags of dirt, 1 standard potting mix and 1 veggie mix. the guys at the nursery suggested we not grow lettuce in the veggie mix as it would be too strong and burn the lettuce but they did suggest for container growing of tomatoes the veggie mix would ensure a good crop. so using makeshift tools (the bottom of small coke bottle) as a shovel i set to work loading the rock filled containers with dirt.

Step 4 - the plants
so then came the plants, i don't have enough containers at this point so i'm kind of restricted. i got the basil and some of the coriander in, the bay leaves, 2 romas, some of the lettuce and a couple of cherry tomatoes.

Step 5 - watering
container gardening means you need to water more often. not sure why but you need to water every day. and i don't have a watering can or a way to disperse the water in a rainspout pattern. my solution? make a dispersal mechanism.
i took the top of one of the milk containers i had cut off and took the file and punched a pile of holes into the lid. then its just a matter of pouring water through it...worked out pretty well...i was actually impressed.

oh and as a note, my drainage system works awesome!! it pours out excess water easily. success!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

let there be plants

so in my wandering to introduce myself to schools in the area for the purpose of teaching, i happened upon a beautiful school called Island Bay.

the gardening thing looks to be predestined because today they had a school fair including a gardening stall. so on a very wet and miserable day i took myself off to island bay to see what herbs and veggies they had.

i ended up being pleasantly surprised. i picked up the following:
6 cherry tomatoes
6 roma tomatoes
6 buttercrunch lettuce
6 Main summer lettuce
5 basil plants
1 chive plant
1 bay leaf plant
6 corriander
(and a new zealand plant called a silver spear which isn't a veggie, but decorative)
total cost in plants $21NZ