Getting Back To The Basics

A place to show the changes in our yard, our garden, our home, and our life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Figs and Greens

This year is the first year I have started a bunch of fig cuttings to add to my fig hobby. I feel like this makes me an official fig nut - the good kind. Believe it or not there is a very strong fig community online. Most of them are kind and incredibly generous. Many gave me plants last year free of charge. This year I've received many more cuttings. Some were free, some I paid for. All are treasured.

I invested in some grow lights and set up one of the ikea shelving units we had lying around. So far I have had 100% success and haven't lost a single one - not even to fungus gnats which seem to be the bane of most fig hobbiests' exhistance. Once you get them rooted and growing, those nasty little pests suck the life out of those same precious roots you nurtured and grew. Knock on wood, I haven't had a single problem with gnats. 

The main thing I did was avoided the miracle grow seed starter mix. The reviews basically said "GNATS GNATS GNATS!!" so I ran away. I did some hunting and found positive feedback on Hoffman Seed Starter Mix and there were reviews talking about the lack of gnats. Seemed like a no-brainer to me. I also put nylon sock booties over the cups. The way the gnats work, is in theory the eggs are already in the soil. So the nylon booties prevent them from migrating out, where they then breed and make more baby gnats and lay the eggs in the soil, thus completing the cycle. So the nylon socks stop that cycle by trapping them and they die. I also put fine sand on top of the soil which prevents them from laying eggs should they escape my nylon sock of death. 

The nylon sock booties in action. The cups on top acting as lids help keep the humidity up, which baby figlets like. There are drain holes drilled into the bottom cups, and holes drilled into the top cups for ventilation.

The sand in action

Overall? NO GNATS! Knock on wood and hope that theme continues because they are real bastards.

So my latest in rooting techniques involves rooting trays and the little rooting cubes that they come with, similar to this one. I use a little rooting hormone and while they haven't been in there long enough to see roots, they seem happy. I also snuck in some misc veggie greens into the rooting cubes and 2 days later I had this!

Baby romanesco broccoli

And today, a mere three days later, I have this

So needless to say, my veggie starts are starting very nicely. Tomorrow I will go out and buy one more tray to isolate them away from the figs - only because they will need the grow light closer to them to avoid leggy, weak plants. In a month I hope to have them transplanted outside with plastic covers to keep them warm and safe from frost.

Another update - while at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show I picked up a greenhouse for 20% off! Pretty excited about this. It is 4' deep and 6' wide. If we ever move and I have more room, there is an extension kit available to make it bigger. Perfect for all these baby figlets and seed starts.