Gardening: Hydroponic kit producing bountiful herbs
Thu., Jan. 19, 2023
It’s time for a winter catch up. I’ll start with an update on my hydroponic experiment.
When I started this project, I was skeptical. Maybe I’d been burned too many times on other gardening kits that promised all the answers and was approaching this experiment the same way. Not anymore. I must now say that the AreoGarden nine-place kit given to me by my neighbor is a growing success.
For those of you who missed previous articles on this, I planted the kit in late November on my office work table. It came with a large water tank, an LED light on an expandable stand, seed cups containing several different varieties of vegetables and herbs and plant food. I planted basil, ducat dill, parsley, chives and mint. It took about two weeks for things to sprout and once they did, the plants took off such that on Dec. 27, I harvested big handfuls of parsley and dill, more than enough for a couple of recipes. Last week I had to raise the light and harvested another crop of parsley. I’m looking for a good recipe for the basil as it is also ready to harvest.
Maintenance has been easy. I add a gallon of water every three or four days and a measured amount of plant food every week. We’ve raised the light twice. The instructions said to prune the plants hard to keep them in bounds. It’s nice to have fresh greens.
On other gardening fronts, I am envious of those of you who don’t have snow in your yards. Living on a north facing slope with lots of pines, we still have several inches of snow and an ice-covered driveway that requires ice cleats to navigate. One advantage to this mess is that I now know where the main deer freeways are around the yard that helps me decide where not to plant things that might not really be deer resistant. They tend to snack heavily on their main paths.
I haven’t heard through my garden writing friends whether there is still a garden seed shortage this year, so I recommend getting your orders in early just in case. Prices are up in almost all the catalogs and shipping is outrageous so check locally first for your favorite varieties before ordering online. We have some amazing local garden centers here and they deserve your business. Online prices for seed garlic, onion plants and other vegetable starts are also high so check locally first when the plants are available in the spring.
If you want to grow your own, now is the perfect time to start planning. Each variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers will have a different range of weeks before out last frost date for seeding. Our last frost date which for Spokane is about May 15. Peppers, eggplant and onions from seed should be started by mid-February and tomatoes, early greens and flowers by early March and squash, cucumbers and melons around early to mid-April. Check the seed packet for more information.
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