Sunday, August 8, 2010

Science Experiment Updates

An update from my post on June 6, 2010:

- The Garlic Experiment (aka Growing Garlic) - Win!

- Make seed start pots out of toilet paper rolls - Fail. I will try this again soon. I've just been lazy.

- Strawberry Popcorn - Neutral. The corn grew, it produced. Because of my own stupidity, they didn't produce as much as they could have. I planted I think 8 plants or so and got 6 good ears and about that many not good ears (I had stopped watering the plants well before I should have).

- Paper towel seed starting technique - Epic 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. The basil is still alive (the black eyed susans all died after I planted them). I also started swamp milkweed and butterfly weed (both from my own plant and from seeds I bought) by this method. I was successful enough that I gave away 2 swamp milkweeds and 3 butterfly weeds. The least successful was the butterfly weed seeds that I bought (only 1 survived and it's still just an inch tall or so). I haven't started any other seeds this way recently, but you better believe that I will.

- Lemon Balm + Nasturtium to repel Squash Vine Borer - Neutral. I don't know if it really repels the SVB, but I'll probably plant this again as the Nasturtiums are pretty and the Lemon Balm is well, lemony. I love lemony things. As mentioned earlier, when the lemon balm is crushed and rubbed on exposed skin it works as a decent mosquito repellent (for me and the hubby at least, I don't know if anyone else has tried this so I can't tell you if it works for everyone).

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

- Starting tomatoes/eggplant/pepper from seed - Epic Win! I got a handful of tomatoes from the green zebras and there are 2 eggplants on the Beatrice. I have yet to get peppers, but I blame the heat.

- Agave pups - In process. the agave plant at work sent up a bloom stalk and is dying so I took a handful of pups and have them sitting in a sand/soil mix at work. About half seem to be doing alright, the other half, not so much. The other people at work who took pups and put them in a pot with dirt right away seem to be having quite healthy looking cacti. I will pot mine up soon and bring them home for planting...somewhere...I'm not sure where yet.

- Pumpkins - Has not started yet. This will be a spring 2011 garden experiment. If it works out, we'll have white pumpkins for Halloween. I will draw Casper the Ghost on every one of them, too.

- Carnival Mix Carrots - Has not started yet. This will be a fall 2010 garden experiment. I believe I've read somewhere that people haven't liked this variety as much as some other single color varieties.

- Chef's Choice Cauliflower Mix - In process...sort of. This will be a fall 2010 garden experiment. White, green and purple variety cauliflowers...which reminds me, I should probably start more seedlings since the last ones are all bent funny.

- Tulle Bags to protect the tomatoes - Has not started yet. I'll make the call when I have more tomatoes growing and if there are still lots of stink bugs around. The gist is that you use those little tulle wedding gift bags and put your tomatoes in them (while still on the plant, duh), to protect the tomato itself from bugs. Note: As Annie in Austin has pointed out, this will not protect your tomatoes from other, larger varmints. Varmints with teeth.

- Potato box - This will be starting shortly since it is Fall Potato Planting Season now. I just need to convince the hubby that he loves me enough to go buy lumber and build this box thingy.

So, if you have any experiments ideas, let me know and I'll see if I can squeeze them in.


Iris said...

Can't wait to hear how the quinoa experiment goes! I haven't yet tried garlic either.

I had fairly good results w/the Carnival Blend carrots last year. The Chef's Blend cauliflower I tried last year was really pretty but had a pretty low yield of small heads, although tasty--am trying it again.

Anonymous said...

I've been superlucky and haven't had SVB issues yet. I understand the sticky yellow traps can help if you place them right when the squash emerges. I'm totally clueless on why nasturtium or lemon balm would repel them...maybe their in-soil larvae, but not the moth itself. Even then, it seems doubtful.

Toilet roll starters? I find they work better as a cutworm guard. The carboard can be too heavy for proper rooting...the same idea in newsprint works great, though.

Tina Poe said...

Great to know that you had good results with the butterfly weed in the paper towel method. I have some seeds from a friend that I tried to directly sow outside in late spring and nothing happened with them. I'll try it!

Amy said...

I just read that you moved to Austin from Colorado. We used to live in Highlands Ranch, CO and moved here three years ago. Colorado is such a pretty place!
I like all your experiments. They are all experiments for me, too. I did plant sunflowers next to my tomatoes and the stink bugs did seem to go to the flowers when they bloomed. Also, another handy seed tip that I learned was how to make paper seed holders from a blog: Happy Hobby Habit. Here is the link
I thought is was a great idea. I like the paper towel idea!

katina said...

@Amy, cool! I grew up in Parker. I miss the 4 seasons. I keep feeling like we completely skip over the "winter" part down here.