About Ka Malana - Fiestaestrellas.com

Building my altar to existence, designing the playhouse of my environment, and just bringing more presence and awareness into my life with every breath. *Welcome*

Our Green Peppers

Green Peppers

I managed to get a quick snap shot of our green peppers which grew on our TowerGarden. Once again, I am surprised by their size, and the quality of their taste – but most surprised that they didn’t end up reaching this stage until I was ignoring my garden for a while.

Cultivation sometimes requires leaving things alone for a while 🙂 Not as a plan, but as a matter of circumstance, things grow, and bring results unbeknownst to us.

 

 

Reddening Tomato 🍅

 

I took some quick snapshots to show the size of these tomatoes! Is it the size or the color that gives me that excitement? Hah! Neither!

I adore life; it’s a privilege to be a witness to such a marvelous development in my garden. This garden gives me that sense of continuity, commitment, and a reminder that I’m only in control of very little, if anything at all in life! That’s enough reason for me to celebrate.

“Garden as though you will live forever.” William Kent

 

Growing despite not getting attention


Despite having a packed schedule, and barely enough time to garden (and sleep well, lately) – such as clip off the erratically growing greens and prune and groom, I still have food. 4 nice sized peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes, oregano, chives, celery, parsley, green beans… etc.

We must have had 4 dozen or so salads from our romaine and it’s time to plant new ones, which will be in the works hopefully by the end of Sunday. 

The zucchini are finally starting to grow. I’m not sure that the artichoke will pan out, based on where it’s located on the tower, but we will keep working with it and rearranging as need be. It might be like the zucchini and need more time to get established. 

This garden is my joy. To me it represents my family – my grandmother’s number one priority outside of work, was her garden. It was the center of family activity. Its presence was consistent and ever-replenishing. To me my towergarden represents the hope of the future: hydroponic, healthy, space-saving. I look forward to the day that I have more time to “garden” and add another tower to my collection and have more to share as well. In the meantime – in my life – my nose is to the grindstone, while I stop to check out the garden from time to time – only to be very pleased!

Growing and Expanding: Learning from Watching

Being a plant must be interesting –
all the energy is not in the fruits
but in the growing, finding the sun,
shielding from too much sun,

finding a balance,
while being mostly stationary.

Attracting bees and the right critters
can be a matter of giving away all your
leaves to hungry caterpillars or
sending out signals to the nearby
plants, and having a good network to rely on.

I learned a lot more about plants from reading Daniel Chamovitz’s book, What a Plant Knows.

From own my gardening experience, on my tower at home, I’ve learned more about myself. I’m not a big fan of tomatillos; though they do look like monochrome green hot air balloons. That’s just their wrapping. You can see from the picture above, that they look like tiny green tomatoes. I’ve had one that tasted like parmesan, although that could have been my brain “filling in some data.” Then, I’ve had others that tasted like tiny unripened tomatoes. Many of them fall before I have a chance to eat them. The main reason why I am not a fan of them, particularly, is because they are monopolizing the space on the tower. At first I thought they just needed to establish themselves, but now I am wondering why, and if they need to establish THAT much space, while I’m not in-love with the crop, I might just switch out their spaces with something I eat more frequently and enjoy.

My favorite crop is the lettuce. They are starting to bolt. Those I’ll need to replace simply because I keep eating them. They replenish really quickly and I can eat salad everyday. Celery is great, but the thing to keep in mind with them is that the root system is really pervasive – so they start to monopolize the tower from the inside. All the plants seem to do really well. The green peppers are starting to form nicely, and the crook neck squash is still trying hard. I’d rather swap the green bean’s space with the tomatillos. However, I’m not making my decisions until next season, because I’m still mostly just observing right now.

One unplanned thing was adding a rock wool plug of butter lettuce that came half price at the farmer’s market. I ate it all and then planted the plug; so now it just keeps providing and providing.

 

Urban Garden Grows

We are looking forward to seeing what our spring gardening yields this year. After the strawberry issue, and a very unusual winter, we returned to the growing on the tower. I added fresh chives to my breakfast this morning. I love being able to forage from my tower. An added benefit of  my tower is that sitting outside to eat my morning breakfast allows to me to enjoy the water sounds from the fountain that recycles the water in the tower, showering the plants in intervals.

My rose bush has buds all over it, and the mint is making a comeback as it always does. I always feel at home when I have fresh mint growing in my garden.

 

Organic strawberries growing issue

When working with rockwool in the Towergarden. It’s possible to run into this:

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I had had my entire tower with organic strawberry seedlings.

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It’s a risk to take seedlings from a supplier and plant them in the Tower for a couple of reasons. First, the plants are introducing foreign materials, such as insects, to the garden and the natural growing environment of the garden, which can introduce more issues of a very varied sort. It’s easier for the gardener to protect the seedlings when in control of the whole lifecycle of the plant/seed. When our crop becomes our food, it is important to have the highest quality. Second, it’s a risk to use seedlings that we’re grown in soil and then transfer them to the tower. The tower is best used by growing the seedlings directly in the rockwool medium, for likely reasons seen in the picture above. The nutrient content that is added to the water is the perfect mineralization for our little growing seedlings. I’ve never seen plants grow so quickly like they do in my tower, in all my experiences, even in this case where an algae problem arose.

So, fortunately there were no prior problems, but this is quite a mess now. The reason behind the choice of using the soil grown seedlings from another supplier was simply a matter of saving time. In the past this worked wonders for my schedule. However, after emptying and scrubbing everything, I’m not sure if I will try again, or if I will wait until I have more time. I did get to enjoy some strawberries before the algae kicked in; and I love this tower so much, that it’s quite worth it to keep it going for my food needs. Sure, I already eat a healthy diet from the grocery store and farmer’s market produce. In the past I benefited from CSAs. But this tower is a learning experience that is well worth it over time. Can’t wait to see what we think of next, or what shows up to help us decide what to grow. I did read about a solution, from Hightimes: There are little caps that can be bought to add to the tops to keep the light out of the growing surface area, which supports the algae growth. Now, since I didn’t have this problem with any of my other plants (and plenty of light!), I’m wondering if the algae like the lower pH (more acidic) like the strawberries like. We shall see!  Happy growing!

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