Who knew container gardening could be so fun? Trisha Smith, Horticulture Aide with the UMaine Cooperative Extension Office does! This past week she brought her knowledge and enthusiasm to the Dover Low Vision Group who met at Thayer Parkway. Trisha shared how to make your own potting soil, we planted some micro-greens, and then went BIG with a tomato plant. Did you know you can drop a tomato plant directly into a bag of potting soil (some additional work required) and grow tomatoes for a whole season? If you want to learn more on tomato plantings tune in on Thursday for "Totally Tomatoes".
Trisha explained to us that, "you can plant in anything as long as you have drainage." Her first example was this beautiful turquoise teapot she brought with her. By the end of our time together it was an adorable planter filled with this gorgeous petunia! Notice the holes in the bottom of the teapot? That is the drainage.
Of course, along with drainage you need soil, water, and light. The beauty of container gardening, as long as the pot isn't too big and heavy, you can chase the light all day long in your yard. Fruits, veggies, and many flowering plants need 6+ hours of sunlight a day to maintain their beautiful colors, blooms, and to bear fruit.
After we learned about what you need to plant a container, we were introduced to micro-greens. Have you heard of micro-greens before? This was my introduction to them. Micro-greens are seeds from different leafy greens, such as lettuces, radishes, kale, and mustard greens. They are harvested from their containers when they are still quite small, after about 3 weeks of growing when they have about about 3" of growth past the Cotyledon leaves (first leaves or sprouting leaves--did you just learn something?). The Dover Low Vision Group planted their "spicy" micro-greens in recycled plastic containers which had once held greens from the grocery store. The lid had was sliced so that air could move in and out of the container. The bottom of the container was lined with coconut fiber (the brown stuff you see lining hanging baskets). This fiber was stretched and pulled on to the create the drainage space for our greens. Once that was in place, Trisha passed around a potting soil mix that she had created herself to add to the container. Seeds were added to the soil topped by just a tiny bit more soil. The soil was then moistened to start the growing process. Leon Vlasak really enjoyed planting his micro-green garden and exclaimed "It's a do-it-yourself Chia Pet!"