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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Seeds Are Sprouting in South End Montclair!

My Oh My! How did I miss last year of all this fun? Thanks Melina for telling my about this group and inviting me to join! 
All the seeds are planted plus a few extra well loved trays of my own!

My Niece was visiting and was so excited to help out! "This feels so GOOD!" she exclaimed with her hands elbow deep in the seed starter mix. 

She was amazed at how much the coco coir expanded. "It just keeps absorbing the water! WOW!!"

I'll be sending her photos weekly of the progress of the seeds. We also dug through my seed stash to plant a pot each for she and her brother to take home. (She planted flowers while he planted veg.)
Looking forward to the continued warming weather and our swap in a few short weeks! 

So far the Palla Rossa Radicchio, Tatsoi, Romain, Arugula and Easter Egg Radish have all sprouted!!
Come on seedlings --- GROW!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Continued growth

The butternut squash is gargantuan! Everything is growing nicely. The mustard greens are growling slowly, but still growing. It's really interesting to see how the plants point in different directions depending on where the sun is. I never knew that plants did that until now.

Monday, April 28, 2014

My first batch

From Left to right we have pesto basil, mustard greens, cilantro and an unknown seedling ( the package was hard to read what the seed was).  Letting the little sprouts get their tan on! I'll be potting them very soon. Open to any advice on keeping the mustard greens upright! I'm worried about them

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Novice Talking to My Plants Everyday

I joined Guerrilla Gardening Montclair last year when they had their free seedling swap. I threw my hat into the game because it was free. What did I have to lose? Gardening is possbile with whatever space you have. I live in a small apartment in Montclair with no ground to call my own, but there is always a way. I container garden. I grew basil, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. I have never tasted a better tomatoe than my own. They tasted like candy. I did so well with it that my Sacred Basil from last Spring is still alive and thriving. Sunday night pasta has always tasted better since!

So here I am, ready to take my next step. Seed promoter, nurturer, person who prayerfully watches over and hopes for change. The hardest thing was finding the right spot. One window got great morning sun, but another had a longer duration of sun.I chose the latter. Most people can attain a heat lamp from Guerrilla Gardening, but due to my space limitations. I had room for just one tray.

Error one...over excitement. I received supplies on April 9th let everything sit in my car due to the nasty cold spell then started on April 12th. I forgot everything mentioned the week before and started to pot my seeds without the special mix to promote germination and prevent fungus. I realized this only after I completed the entire tray. After about 30 minutes of thinking, staring and pouting...I took action. I scraped a little off the top and added the special mix.

Error one turns into a win. 1 week later, I come home and look at the big tray...I saw green. Whooooo Hooooo! I wasn't a waste to this project. Since then I've seen little sprouting here and there. My growth is slow going since I don't have a sun lamp and it's been on and off with April weather, but it's growing! I'm growing spinach and parsley in old strawberry containers. One thing weird about the strawberry containers is that I'm starting to see green growning out the side. That will be an adventure when it comes to move to a bigger space.

Thoughts since seeing green....Why is my spinach so skinny? The parsley took 1 1/2 weeks longer to show green. Does parsley really grow that slow? I did take pictures..I'll make a montage in the future. Good luck fellow gardeners.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Seedlings at Upper Mountain

Our seedlings emerged this week.  Some are starting off stronger than others.  This Metro Butternut Squash really broke through with some force.  

We are also growing Romaine Lettuce, Joi Choi Pac Choi, Superbo Basil, Edible Luffa and Black Mountain Watermelon.  The New Zealand Spinach seems to be the only thing really struggling.
Here are 4 raised beds in our backyard after the snow this week.  One cold frame remains with Kale, Spinach and Swiss Chard from last season.  This part of the garden has double fencing year round.  The large fence keeps out deer but not bunnies or groundhogs.  The raised bed fences keep out bunnies and groundhogs but not squirrels, chipmunks, rats ( yup- I actually caught the rat eating a gorgeous red Moskvich Tomato.  He tried to escape through an old chicken wire fence.  He got stuck and I had to help him get loose from the wire.) or birds.  The third layer of fencing is usually netting that is secured over the beds to keep out climbers and attacks from above.  So when there are veggies and fruit present, the third fencing even keeps us out!  This is our 6th season gardening in this location.  We learn from our mistakes and new intruders every year.  I wonder what adventures are in store for us in 2014.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My baby Plants

I was very nervous when I first started planting the seedlings .
Especially since I have never taken care of anything , not a pet or plant I almost thought I won't make it lol... But I Made it so far and I am so excited !

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Seedlings Started and Garden Growing

Alright!  All of our seeds are planted for Guerrilla Gardening Montclair here at the Forrest/Branski residence.  Thank goodness the weather cooperated for planting outside 
so my kitchen isn't covered in soil again this year.   

Here's a shot of our front yard raised beds.  Garlic growing from cloves planted last fall.  
Garlic, leeks and onions seem to be so easy and fuss free to grow.
No critters like to eat them and you don't have to do anything during the growing season!
Next post will show our other beds and how many fences we have protecting our hard work.  
I hope to have some seedings ready for photos as well!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Re-potting has begun already at my house on Sunday--perfect day for it. As you can see, my sprouts are somewhat out of control/ready to go.  Only thing I did not plan on was just how many pots and bags of soil I would need to get them all in there...also I have a lot of sprouts.
 ...So I met up with fellow classmate Natalie and we will continue repotting through the rest of the week.  Two people is definitely better than one on these projects.  Plus its fun!

Growing plants definitely creates community, even my landlord (who saw us struggling a bit in the front yard) came over and showed us tips on getting the plants comfy in their new homes.

Fun!  Looking forward to what the future holds for these plants!  Also getting them into the ground as they are now taking over my living room.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Team Hesitant Gardener at it Again

Well, I picked up my seeds, soil and pots for the second year in a row.  Last year I was a successful pioneer planter and was able to start many seedlings for the plant swap.  My garden did OK - not great.  Very shady yard.

Today, I'm planting tomatoes, winter and summer squash, lettuce, brussels sprouts and broccoli raab.  Wish me luck!

Good luck all you happy gardeners!  I look forward to swapping plants and stories with you all again this year!

Laura Torchio
The Hesitant Gardener

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Montclair High School STEM Students Try Planting

The students at the STEM program at Montclair High School got down and dirty last wednesday when we decided to plant seedlings for Guerrilla Gardening. 

The students were given many options of what to plant, varying from watermelon to parsley. The challenge was being in a room with 20-30 high school students and a huge bag of soil and not making a mess (needless to say, we did.) 
(Back, Florise Schwartz '15 front, myself, Tyler Nedzi 16' planting their seeds)

There were many other groups as well, working hard and getting their hands dirty planting their seeds. In the end we now have several seedlings planted, hopefully soon it will be warm enough to plant them outside!
 Florise and I planted cucumbers, parsley, bell peppers, zucchini, basil, and tomatoes. I will try to keep updated on the growth of the plants, but they have already started sprouting!

Sarah Forrest picks up her Pioneer Planting gear

She loves the gorgeous Black Watermelon Seed Pack!