July: Weeding time

July: Weeding time

It is always a good time for weeding, or as we like to call it thining. In our raised garden beds, we try to contain the bad weeds (twitch glass is the worst at the moment) and to reuse the beneficial plants, some of which are also edible.

Above left: before weeding, we know that on the left of this raised bed are two rows of carrots of one age and another that is younger, there is also a row of beetroot and chard seedlings that we are using for our salads. The weeds in this raised bed are mainly miners lettuce and chickweed.

Above right: after weeding, we thinned out the miner’s lettuce and chickweed and some of this was used in today’s salads, some are chopped and dropped and the rest was layered into the compost heap. We leave some of the weeds in place growing as they help support the plants we’re growing (we believe in a canopy type environment) – this also helps with reducing frost damage to tender plants.

Above left: before weeding, we know that there are chard, beetroot, kohlrabi seedlings and pea plants growing in this bed. The weeds in this one are mainly chickweed, with some miner’s lettuce.

Above right: after weeding, most of the process for this was to chop and drop, we’ve noticed that the chickweed stores a lot of moisture, as does miner’s lettuce and as this breaks down the bedded plants use it.

What is chop and drop?
When a weed is plucked from the soil and ripped into bits/chopped and placed back on the surface to decompose in place.

Day 10: Microgreens trial

Day 10: Microgreens trial

The growing environment is working out well, which we are quite happy about, the cost of running the system doesn’t seem to be much at all when compared to running the rest of the house. The lighting appears to be sufficient for the plants to germinate and to continue to grow in – so at this stage we’re very impressed with the trial.

Next on our list of things to do is:

  • Wire up some more lights (we’re running out of well-lit areas for our second trial while our first trail continues to grow up to 20 days – a small oversight in our planning)
  • Consider how best we can maximise/minimise the different variables: trays, water, heat, coco-peat, lighting, time, etc
Day 9: Microgreens trial

Day 9: Microgreens trial

The trial is going well, we’re learning what we might have done wrong – and we’re planning what other experiments we can do to make improvements.

Here’s an overview of where are at day 9:

  • We need to consider better overnight monitoring, as we believe that while it is -3ºC outside the garage where we have the grow booth probably gets down to < 13ºC
  • The dehumidifier stops functioning as a dehumidifier at about 15ºC and therefore the RH humidity continues to rise as the night goes on. This has not resulted in mould forming as yet, which is promising, however, something to be mindful of.
  • The dehumidifier does continue to run a circulation fan so we don’t have an additional fan unit to run.

Two that have not preformed well are the beets:

  • The Bulls Blood Beet had poor germination and this didn’t really recover (as yet). We believe that we should soak the seed first and add a pressure plate to ensure that the roots do dive into the cocopeat rather than be raised up.
  • The Beet had a similar issue. We will let this trial run, however, roll on a second beets trial. 🙂
Day 8: Microgreens trial

Day 8: Microgreens trial

Frosty morning outside today but our indoor environment is working well, the temperature remained above 16ºC overnight at an RH of 53%. Some pictures of ice crystals that formed on our car overnight.

All of the greens except the Basil are now uncovered and all are growing good (at least for our first trial). We are happy that there is no mould and that the root growth is increasing out the base of the trays now. We can see that some of the varieties have performed better than others and in our 2nd trial that has started we’re experimenting with a different start where the seeds while germinating are under pressure – this is meant to keep the seeds in their non-clumping forms and to ensure that the roots go deep rather than lifting their neighbours away from the coco-peat mix.

Day 7: Microgreens trial – 6th morning

Day 7: Microgreens trial – 6th morning

Last night we decided to take the covers off some of the more rapidly growing micro-green seed varieties, and we also started our second trial.

What we noticed was that some of the germinating seedlings had started to dry off, and some had started to move towards the edges of the trays hunting for light.