The Green Suite

Green Classes, Kits, and Products.

The Green Suite is a small company that offers engaging hands-on classes as well as hand made kits and products made from up-cycled materials.   

Spring into Gardening

From the Archives. Originally posted April 26, 2013.

Just when we had almost given up, spring has finally decided to grace us with its presence. As the days grow longer and winter coats are returned to storage, there is a feeling of rebirth in the air. Both plants and animals reclaim the once frozen wasteland as the last of the snow melts away.

Now is the perfect time to start your garden for two reasons. Firstly, with longer days comes more sunlight and less need for artificial lights. Secondly, with the last frost behind us, outdoor gardening is now possible. Whether you plan to start an indoor or an outdoor garden or you will be growing in soil or hydroponics here are some tips to help you decide whats right for you.

What’s the plan Stan?

As with any project, it’s always best to have a plan. The first thing you must decide is are you going to grow insoil or hydroponics?

If you have limited space and know what you are doing,hydroponics is a great way to go (top right “The Vine Bottle” a hydroponic planter available in my store). Plants can grow larger and faster in a hydro set up but may requires some skill and equipment to maintain.

If you have access to a plot of land or enough space to keep a container garden, then a soil garden, which is easier to maintain, is the way to go. Keep in mind, you can start a soil garden in just about anything such as recycled jars or cans (below left and if you are handy you can build a window box or convert and old  palate into a vertical planter (below right  There are an infinite number of formats to choose from depending on your needs, skill level and what materials you have access to. Here is an article that might give you some ideas of what you can build.

Lets get growing.

Once you have decided on the type and configuration of your garden, it’s time to decided what to grow.  With enough light and space, you can grow anything. Here is a list of plants that grow well in small spaces.

Fruiting Plants- Okra, cherry tomatoes, scallop squash, small cucumbers, beans, strawberries, peppers, peas, japanese eggplant.

Leafy Greens- Arugula, bok choy, brocolli rabe, kale, chard, radicchio, watercress, chives, various microgreens, and many varieties of lettuce.

Herbs- Rosemary, cilantro, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, mint, and sage.

Seeds vs Seedlings

So now you have decided the “What” and the “Where,” now it’s on to the “How.” You have two options to consider,  starting from seeds (recommended/takes longer) or grow from seedlings (faster/may contain parasites).

Growing From Seeds:

-Soak seeds in a 10% Hydrogen Peroxide solution for at  least an hour beforeplanting in your growing medium

(ie grow plug or soil)

-Keep them in a warm and dark place until they sprout.

(You can use an ice cube tray to keep everything organized and labeled)

-Keep the grow plugs or soil moist but not sitting in a pool of water. (Too much water will kill your seeds, I use a spray bottle or a small plastic cup)

-Once they start developing leaves, keep plants under a grow light (24w CFL bulb with a 6500k range) for 10-18 hrs a day for at least a week.

-Once the seedlings have started to develop to the adult phase (with big green leaves and lots of roots) then they are ready to be placed in the garden of your choice.

Growing From Seedlings:

Soil Gardens

-Carefully remove the plant from its container.

-Place in properly sized hole and cover with soil and mulch.

Hydroponics Systems

-Carefully remove the plant from its container.

-Carefully remove the dirt from the roots. Make sure you don’t brake too many of the roots, this will kill the plant.

-Once you have shaken most of the dirt off rinse in room temperature tap water to remove all the dirt. (Be through, there should be almost not dirt at all. Excess dirt will clog you system and be a big headache later. It will take several minutes)

-Carefully add the plant to your growing basket and add the clay pellets to support the plant in a vertical position.

Now you know how to grow and hopefully have an idea of the best type of garden for you. So get started and good luck! And of course feel free to contact me with any questions and pictures you want to share.  Green on!