Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bringing in the Harvest

I have harvested the "Spice It Up" mesclun mix from Salt Spring Seeds, that I planted on the 2nd of April, three times so far and it looks like it might "come back for more".

I have planted two succession plantings of different combinations of mesclun - one on 17th May and one on 7th June. So there should be a steady supply of greens.

A local source of Liquid Seaweed
About two weeks ago Onami brought me two bottles of Liquified Seaweed Stock Solution made by Multi-Crop Industries Inc. a product from Cowichan Lake, Vancouver Island. ReindeersNatural@yahoo.com and I watered all the plants with this natural fertilizer to keep them going strong.

Harvesting Lettuce

I harvested from the lettuce bowl twice, once as cut and come again and yesterday I mowed down everything: all the lettuce, the individually planted kale, arugula and mustard and pulled up the rest of the radishes. I washed them all, drained them in a laundry bag and packed them into containers from EarthBound Organics Salad Greens.
I have been enjoying this ready supply of fresh greens in pita sandwiches and salads.

Carrot Tops Galore

The carrots greens look tall and health. They were planted about 60 days ago and according to the package should have been ready to harvest. I did pull out two to see what was going on under there and they looked about the right size for "Barbie". They tasted great, however. Nibble, nibble.

Local Weather Report

The weather continues to be rainy almost daily and today's temperature is 10 degrees C. Perfect weather for cool weather veggies like lettuces and other greens.

New Potting Medium

Well, not so new. Being from the West Indies originally, I think of the fact that the family, two generations ago owned a coconut plantation in Cedros. I think of all the potting medium we could have made and sold around the world out of all those discarded coconut husks! In those days the coconut fibre was used locally for mattresses and for door mats.

I was given a block of compressed coconut fibre to test as an alternative potting medium to peat. I placed the block in a storage container and turned the hose on it. By the time the block had broken up and absorbed the water (in no time at all) the 2.4 cu. ft. container was heaped high with loose, small particles of coconut fibre. I added a couple bags of worm castings and some oragnic fertilizer to the mix and am trying it as a potting medium. A couple things I like about this product is that it is an alternative to peat. Coconut fiber is a by product from the coconut industry which comes from underdeveloped countries so it supports their enterprises. It is a sustainable product as the coconut trees keep making coconuts. However it does need to travel far to get here. There's always a downside.

Hot Weather Veggies - What about them?!

Well, they are waiting and waiting and waiting in the wings. Getting long and lanky. Stretching to the sun if the sun won't come to them.


I planted out the pototoes in self watering containers. I read about them online and tried my hand at making them myself. The PVC pipe sticking up is where you aim the hose to fill the reservoir, the space between the two containers. Two holes are cut in the bottom of the inner (upper) container, one for the PVC pipe so it can enter the reservoir space and one for a funnel that sits in the hole with the end resting in the water in the reservoir. The medium packed in the funnel, wicks water up the end of the funnel, into the medium and is absorbed by the roots of the potato plant. Watering on demand. However so much water is falling from the sky that I have not really needed to fill the reservoir very often so far. There are two holes drilled in the side of the outer (lower) bucket at the height of the upper level of the reservoir which act as an overflow.


As for the tomatoes they are planted out in olive oil containers and hang on the fence. They do get rained on which is usually a "no no" but as someone explained to me that becomes a problem when the temperature warms up in July (?) and the warmth and damp becomes conducive to molds. Then you have a problem! and they should be placed where they cannot be rained on. So the tomato plants are safe for now.

Notice that one of the containers is a self watering one. A good idea if the weather ever does warm up as tomatoes need regular watering in hot weather.