The class was so inspiring! It made me want to give up my day job and become a full time balcony gardener. Sadly the office job pays for all my potting mix (and all my seeds too) so at this stage balcony farming is just a fun little side gig.
I went home from Eden Gardens with three bags of potting mix, a packet of kale seeds and a renewed sense of urgency that I needed to get some of my autumn/winter plants in to their pots asap...or risk missing my window.
The kale seeds were the only new seeds that I've bought for this winter (so far). Over the year that I've been gardening I've somehow managed to accumulate quite a collection of seeds. A few seeds had expired but I have more than enough to keep me going until we head off on our overseas jaunt later in the year.
So where do I plant my seeds? I plant everything directly into pots. As I'm gardening on such a small scale there's no need for me to plant seeds into seedling punnets and then transplant to the final home (like you would in a "real" garden). To me that's a waste of time and needlessly upsets the seedlings roots - I also find transplanting seedlings really stressful as the potential for me to kill ALL the seedlings is pretty high. The pots I grow in aren't that big so the soil gets nice and warm to help things germinate - so planting directly in to the pots is the way for me.
I really have no idea what I'm doing when I'm recycling potting mix and I've heard from various sources that it's either a good or a bad thing to do. Basically new potting mix comes with a bunch of stuff it in like nutrients and good micro-organisms that are depleted by your growing plant (this is why it is important to feed/fertilize your plants during their growing journey - the only "food" they get in their soil is what you feed them) . When I recycle I tend to put ALL the old potting mix into a bin, mix it all up, add in some dynamic lifter (pong) and osmocote. I assume all of this is putting something back into the mix. When the soil goes into the pot I give it a good watering with a watering can that has seasol or blood + bone mixed into it. I have no idea if this is "right" but it kinda works so I'm just going to go with it for now.
As a side note I ALWAYS ALWAYS wear a face mask when working with potting mix plus I wear gloves as potting mix contains micro-organisms that may be harmful to your health. No joke! Be safe.
So for autumn winter I'm attempting to grow:
- kale (which will be an experiment)
- 2 x pots of carrots
- beans (which have already been munched by caterpillars and they are less than 2 weeks old!)
- bok choi
- pak choi
- 1 x broccoli plant - from a seedling I was given by a colleague
I've also bought myself a "potato bag" and when the weather gets a bit colder I'm going to give potato growing a whirl. Wish me luck!