When we decided to use some old cinder blocks to build raised beds, the idea was to fill all of the blocks with dirt and use the spaces as bonus planting spaces for small plants like flowers and herbs. Functional and aesthetically pleasing. I never got far in that project — filled some blocks with dirt and lots of weeds. But no ring of herbs around the bed.
This year, I’m doing it! It’s a time consuming process to clear out the existing plant growth. I’m adding about two inches of rocks (we’ve got a lot of rock-covered beds that we want to de-rock), and filling up with soil. Anya started a bunch of herb plants, so she has been transplanting her seedlings into the blocks and adding some wood mulch (I expect these small blocks will warm up and dry out rather quickly otherwise).
Something like 20 years ago, I tried to grow a plumeria flower in my apartment. I had a broad-spectrum light, plenty of heat, and plenty of humidity. But getting the light turned on and off at the right times wasn’t easy (especially if I was at work all day!).
This seems like a really good use for home automation — our home automation system tracks the sunrise and sunset times for our zip code. It’s possible to essentially cron “stuff” off of these times — e.g. get the birds ten minutes before sunset. I could easily track sunrise and sunset in Honolulu then have my light turn on at sunrise (or first light) and off at sunset (or last light). Voila — “sunlight” that runs for the proper duration every day.
Not really — but we’ve had a random week of nightly freezes since the hop plants arrived. Instead of planting them outside and keeping them covered, I’ve got them in the pots I use for seed starting and we’ll get them planted in the middle of this coming week. It was also a bit of an experiment — can you keep hop plants in little pots for a week?
Hops + 2 days
Hops + 5 days
They’re not growing anything like the hops out in the ground that we’re covering at night … but they appear to be doing well. And they should be happy enough until Wednesday when it looks like the cold snap ends.
I ordered some hop plants from Great Lakes Hops — these are awesome. They ship actual plants, which are much more robust looking than the rhizomes I ordered years ago when we started growing hops. They came packed in what looks like wheat chaff – I assume it was moistened when they shipped the plants, but it was quite dry by the time I opened the box. The plants were a little wilted, but they perked right up when I got them into temporary pots with some more dirt and watered them. I love that the packing material can all be composted!