Sunday, June 6, 2010

Science Experiments

Maybe it's the engineer in me, or maybe I just like a good challenge, but I LOVE to do grand science experiments. Okay, they're usually not so grand, and very rarely are they even science experiments, but I stick with what I know.

This year I have done, or will do, a couple:
- The aforementioned Garlic Experiment - Win!

- Make seed start pots out of toilet paper rolls - Fail. I fried all the seeds. I'll have to try this one again in the fall when I'm starting my spring seeds.

- Strawberry Popcorn - In process. So far the corn is about 4' tall and starting to pollinate. I do, however, have a gray aphid problem. Actually I don't know if it's a problem--they seem to be just on the pollen stalks. I did also have a problem with the corn 'laying down' during the rain storm. So I propped them all up and lashed them to bamboo stakes. Fingers crossed that this experiment is successful.

- Paper towel seed starting technique - Win! I successfully managed to start 5-year old basil and black eyed susan seeds using the trick of sprinkling seeds on a wet paper towel, wrapping it up and putting it in a ziplock bag on the counter. I'm now trying two types of milkweed and a french marigold.

- Lemon Balm + Nasturtium to repel Squash Vine Borer - Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. Today I found the SVB eggs (8) on my squash plants, in all cases the eggs were in locations that were not close to the lemon balm or the nasturtium plants, so maybe it kinda actually works. Also, keep in mind that this is the first I've found the eggs and other gardeners I know started finding eggs weeks ago. (Jenny at RockRose has been keeping a very good running dialogue on the SVB and has some good pictures of both the eggs and the adults. Eggs can be seen here). I have found that the lemon balm works well as a mosquito repellent when I'm out there -- crush a leaf or two and rub over exposed skin. It probably doesn't have staying power, but it works fine for the amount of time that I'm outside in the evening checking on the plants. Plus it makes me smell all lemony!

- Quinoa - Has not started yet. This will be the fall garden experiment.

- Starting tomatoes/eggplant/pepper from seed - Okay so it's not really a great science experiment because a TON of people are able to do this successfully and have no problems. Not me. This is the first year that I have managed to grow tomatoes, eggplant, and sweet peppers from seed. Of course the experiment is ongoing because while I've successfully grown the plants, I still need to actually get some fruit from them.

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