Greening Indoors (Because the Weather Outdoors Stinks!)

One of the nice things about recording our gardening adventures here is that we can easily look back upon our gardens of the past and compare them to the present. The downside to this is that when you have a cruddy year like the one we’re having now, looking back can be a little disheartening. Why is everything going to pot this year?? we wonder as we review our previous success with seedlings, for example. This year we can’t seem to get a single pepper seed to germinate, and the tomato seedlings aren’t having a good time at all. (In a perhaps ill-fated rush, we put some tomato seedlings outdoors at the end of April, as our planting calendar said that we could do for our zone — none of them survived.) In fact, after that crazy speed-growing that happened when we first planted out seeds, none of the seedlings are doing all that well. We’ve had better luck with in-ground planting, and now have some greens, peas, and radishes all making a pretty good showing outside.

Speaking of outside, to a certain extent, we think it’s safe to blame the weather — it’s been a perfectly rotten spring. Cool and exceedingly damp. (As of this post, it’s been raining here on and off for nearly a week, and there’s still a few more days of it to go.) It’s been difficult regulating the temperature in the house over the past month, let alone around the seedlings. We seem to only be able to make them too hot or too cold! We’re working now on changing up the lighting situation, which has been fair but not great. We’re hoping that some extra grow lights might help. We have been putting the seedlings outdoors to hardening them off, but the lack of sunshine overall has taken its toll. It’s tough when you feel like you’re doing your best, and yet nothing seems to be working. But to keep things in perspective, us having a “bad year” is nothing compared to folks who rely on their own gardens as their primary food (or income) source. We’re happy with (and spoiled by) the nearby grocery store.

In an effort to keep our spirits up, we have turned our attention to some of our indoor plants. We started growing a pineapple a couple years ago, and it’s still alive. We also have a ~4-year-old peace lily that we just transplanted into a larger pot. We also recently invested in a new aloe plant:

013aloe

We loved the aloe plant that we had before, but it got so big that it completely broke from its roots. We woke up one day to find most of it on the floor! Hopefully this one won’t meet the same fate.

By the way, that’s a blueberry plant in the purple pot next to the aloe. Exciting, no? 🙂 We’re eventually going to move it to one of the planters that held tomatoes last year, once the weather gets better.

We’re also giving air plants a try:

013airplants

If you’re not familiar with them, air plants (and there are many varieties of them) are plants that don’t need soil to grow. Due to their special leaf structures, they get all their nutrients from the air! Now, that’s not to say you can just stick them somewhere and forget about them; they do need care and water. We went through lots of videos on them before deciding to buy a few. The type of care they need depends on the season, so right now they are getting spritzed with water when they look really dry, and then we completely soak them in a water bath every 7-10 days. (It’s a cool process, because the plants get softer and larger after being soaked, and then they dry back up to their “normal” states.) These plants that we bought we all quite small when got them a few weeks ago, and they grown significantly, to the point where they no longer fit in the little glass bulbs we got for them. So it seems we’re doing something right! Eventually they should form “pups” that we can cultivate into new plants, but we’ve not seen any signs of those yet.

In just a few months, we’ve certainly gone through a number of ups and downs already this year. Here’s hoping that things even out as the weather gets better and warmer!

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