Sunday 17 April 2011

Rooftop Gardening: What did I plant?

What did I grow?
I thought it would be a useful idea to run thru everything that I planted in my garden on an individual basis and outline the special areas to consider in terms of when to plant, where to plant, how to water?, How long to harvest etc.

Also for myself it is a good way for me to understand what exactly I need to do over the coming days, weeks & months per each vegetable. Already I realised that the carrot should be planted in a moist soil up until they are almost mature. I had read the instructions wrong and thought they needed to be watered twice a week which I had in fact done as 3 times a week as the weather has been very dry recently. I am glad I caught this mistake early, we will see I guess if it had a drastic effect on the success of the crop.

Straight away I can see the benefit of the square foot gardening method as in the case of the carrots, their watering pattern differs from the others so it is easy to just water their square and not the others. Also with the excellent drainage in each pot any excess water will be drained away

Front Pot:
Carrots, Spring & Red Onion, Rocket, Coriander & Mustard Red Giant Lettuce
Back Pot: 2 Tomato plants, Sweet Red Pepper plant, Marigolds & a Sunflower

(An inch is 2.5 cm)

Carrots: (Amsterdam Forcing 3)
Spacing: 16 plants per square foot or one plant every 3 inches
Seed to Harvest: 10 weeks
Seeds Store: 3-4 years

Starting Location: Full Sun, but can stand partial shade
Seeds Indoors: No
Seeds Outdoors: Sprout in 2-3 weeks outdoors. Plant 1-2 seeds per space and cover with compost.

Watering: Keep ground moist at all times even if this means daily spraying in hot weather. Carrots must have constant moisture until almost mature to grow quickly and continuously, without any stops. Then slow down on the water so the carrots don’t crack from over-rapid growth.
Fertilizing: Light feeder, may benefit from occasional applications of fertilizer
Maintenance: Weed weekly, otherwise work free

Onions (Red Onion: Allium Cepa, Spring Onion: White Lisbon)
Spacing: 16 plants per square foot or one plant every 3 inches
Seed to Harvest: 20 weeks
Seeds Store: 1-2 years

Starting Location: Onions like a sunny spot but will tolerate some shade
Seeds Indoors: Sprout in 5 days in 70F
Seeds Outdoors: Because the season is quite long you can start indoors first & transplant. I decided against that just see how things would go. One onion crop is twice as long as the carrot so we will see how the Summer goes with it.

Watering: Weekly watering.
Fertilizing: Light feeder, benefit in the early stages. Don’t fertilize after early June
Maintenance: Weed weekly. When bulbs start to expand use your finger to remove some of the soil around each bulb and partially uncover it. This makes it easier for the bulb to expand. It will not hurt if you can actually see the top of every bulb.

Lettuce (Rocket & Mustard Red Giant)
Spacing: 4 per square or every 6 inches
Seed to Harvest: 7 weeks
Seeds Store: 5-6 years

Starting Location: Full Sun to partial shade, shade is welcomes in the hot summer
Seeds Indoors: Yes, sprout in 2-3 days at 70F
Seeds Outdoors: Sprout in 5-10 days

Watering: Water daily until they sprout, then weekly water, do not water the leaves as you may spread fungus disease
Fertilizing: Heavy Feeder. Benefits from monthly applications of high nitrogen fertilizer such as fish emulsion
Maintenance: Weed Weekly, don’t let the weeds grow. Lettuce has such a shallow root system it can’t compete with weeds.


Coriander (Cilantro)

Spacing: Space every 8 inches apart
Seed to Harvest: 12 weeks
Seeds Store: 3-4 years

Starting Location: Full Sun
Seeds Indoors: No
Seeds Outdoors: after last frost

Watering: Water weekly
Maintenance: Shelter plant from wind, apart from that does not need alot


Tomatoes ( Tumbling Tom Red & Sweet Million)
Spacing: 1 per square or 12 inches
Seed to Harvest: 17 weeks
Seeds Store: 4-5 years

Starting Location: Full Sun
Seeds Indoors: Sprout in 1 week at 70C
Seeds Outdoors: Season to short to start outdoors

Watering: 1 – 2 gallons weekly (a gallon is 3.5 litres aprox). Keep water off the leaves where possible
Fertilizing: Heavy Feeder is appreciated monthly.
Maintenance: Weekly, prune off side branches (suckers). As tomatoes are a vine plant you will want to attach them to a growing mesh. (more to follow there when it happens)


Peppers (Sweet Patio Red)
Spacing: 1 per square of every 12 inches
Seed to Harvest: 19 weeks
Seeds Store: 4-5 years

Starting Location: Full Sun
Seeds Indoors: Sprout in 10 to 15 days in 70F.
Seeds Outdoors: Peppers need warm soil, so don’t transplant until 2 weeks after the last frost

Watering: Weekly, 1 cup with young & 2 cups or more when plants are larger
Fertilizing: Responds well to a weak fertilizer like a compost tea
Maintenance: Weed Weekly. Support stalks when reaching maturity (more to follow when it happens)

Marigolds (Calendula officinalis) & Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus)
Spacing: 4 per square
Seed to Harvest: 10 weeks
Seeds Store: 2-3 years

Starting Location:
Grow in Sunny location
Seeds Indoors: Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days
Seeds Outdoors: Yes

Watering: 1 cup when young with 2 or more per week when older. Do not let plants dry out


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