As I promised, an update: My rescued strawberry plants all seem to be still alive. The tomato experiment failed.
Here was my not-so-brilliant idea: add a couple drops of 35% hydrogen peroxide to the water in which the tomato stem was sitting to provide it aeration.
The stem began rotting after about a week – it took a while for the whole thing to turn brown, though – and then the leaves began wilting. It was a good idea while it lasted.
But have you ever heard of aeroponics? I didn’t until a couple of days ago. It’s a kind of hydroponics that uses a lot less water and no – that’s right, no – growing medium. Basically, you put holes in a plastic container – the top of a five-gallon bucket or storage bin lid, or the sides of a barrel or drum – insert plants into the holes via little pipes or hydroponics net cups, and set up a little irrigation system inside the container that mists the roots with water and nutrients every so often. Is that not cool?
A propos to this discussion, using this method to root plant cuttings brings a 100% success rate!
Here’s the video where I first learned about it (I just love Kristen Dirksen’s videos! Where does she find all these people?):
If you go to gardenpool.org, the guy there has step-by-step tutorials on building two different kinds of small aeroponics systems, one using a five-gallon bucket and one using a plastic storage bin. You can actually plant seven indeterminate tomatoes together in the five-gallon bucket and grow them to a huge harvest! Isn’t that awesome?
It is something I’d like to try in a couple of years once I get my feet wet with my new gardening system (pun totally intended). It does require electricity, but not much, and our future off-grid system may be able to easily handle it. We’ll see.
Oh, so what about my new self-watering garden? So far, I have measured out and leveled four beds – after ripping out all the strawberry plants. And there were a lot of them! Plus a few fire ant nests along the way, to which my feet and hands bear smarting testimony.
One more beds to go!
Here are a couple of photos of what I’ve done so far:
The above bed will have an inside area of four-by-eight feet. The one below is part of one that will have an interior area of three-by-ten feet.
The leveling is the hardest part. But since it only takes me a couple of days (working off and on since it’s still too icky in the middle of the day to do much) to complete one bed, I will be done with the last one before the waterproofing material arrives for our house and I have to divert my attention there for a good long while.
It’s funny – now I’m more excited about my new garden than the new house!