Friday, January 20, 2012

With the gardening catalogues stacking up in the mailbox, my mind has turned to spring and it won't be long, okay, another month or so but that's not long, before I need to start plants for the garden. I'm also looking into growing wheat grass to put into fruit smoothers as a health booster. It would be inexpensive and high in highly digestable Vitamin C. 

So when I spied the book The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible by Edward C. Smith at the local library, I picked it up. I love his, The Vegetable Gardener's Bible book and own it. With this book his angle is towards container gardening but though I'm not planning on doing much of that, still, I do have herbs in pots  and I start plants for my garden in pots so I figured the book might have something for me.

It did. Somehow I've missed realizing just how important water is to a plant. Yes, they will die without it but when I saw the list.
1. Plants are mostly water.
2. Plants need water for photosythesis.'
3. Plant's nutrients pass through water.
4. Plants need water for transpiration. (Transporation is kind of like leaves perspiring but as the water seeps through the leaves outward, the process is drawing water up through the roots.)

Just how important hit home and I thought of the times I'd let a pot or the garden go dry. Letting a plant go dry will drop your fruit or vegetable production down the road to harvest or its not getting enough water. No water, no food, no processing of light, or anything else.  I'm going to try and do better in the future.

That is why for garden vegetables, it is eccential to have them in a self-watering container if you are container gardenging. Summer squash when full grown drinks a gallon of water a day. Not so much of a problem in a garden but a container, you'd have a hard time keeping up. Even with a self-watering one you'd have to be sure and keep the resevoir full. I know, I use to care for a neighbor's patio garden on her back deck. It was all in self-watering containers and I filled them at least twice a day and sometimes three times   when it was really hot.

Most vegetables are like summer squash, they need a self-watering container to reach their full potential, unless they are in a well watered garden that is. That means a traditional pot doesn't work too well and as for my garden plot, it has reminded me how important it is to not let it go dry.

There are a few things that do better in traditional pots. One is most herbs. The stress of lots of water and then not so much increases the flavor in the leaves.  Nice to know I'm doing something right even if it isn't on purpose.

Another biggy I learned was that dried leaves on a plant should be left alone. Don't let my grandmother hear that. She'd say he was a big fat lier. But he makes sence. Brown, ugly leaves may not have photosynthesis happening or water being processed through them but they do have stored nutrients. These nutrients the plant recycles and reuses. When the leaf falls, it is a signal that the plant is done with it and you can remove it at this time.

This book may not give my house enough light so that I can grow plants in the windows or maybe for the fourth time of trying to grow lettuce in the house I might fail AGAIN, but I've learned a bit more on the road to success.

Edison says that you have failed only if you have quit tryigng. All the rest is just lessons on the road to success. I've not failed in growing lettuce because I figure I just haven't the right kind of seed, the right kind of pot, the right kind of light set up for my situation. Someday, I'm going to grow lushous lettuce indoors.

Meanwhile, I'm going to take the tidbits I've learned from this book and incorporate it into starting vegetables in pots in the house. Instead of watering from the top, after the plant is up in size a bit, I'm going to try and set up some kind of water resevoir underneath a series of pots and see what happens. I know a few vegetable plants don't like to get their roots too wet. Too much water does cause a problem with their ability to breathe through their roots. The plant literally drowns. This is a common problem in our all clay soils.
And those plants who like it drying, I'm going to remind myself just who they are by reading my gardening notes along with adding notes I've taken from this book.

I'd recommend taking a glance at this informational book, The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible, and see where it takes you in your gardening persuits.

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