40/352 - Urban Farming

eight minutes read

I’ve never had a green thumb but plants seem to be - mostly - David proof and I do enjoy the process of taking a tiny seed and watching as the machine work its way into a full grown plant - sometimes with delicious results.

It’s ironic that it’s only when I live in apartments that I feel the urge to plant stuff, for 8 years I had a back yard in Dublin - now there’s a lot of back and forth - and all I have to show is a failed Pinapple Experiment - yes nothing screams TROPICAL quite like Ireland.

Just the same, some of my previous hits include:

Now, with the current situation a lot of plans have halted and the future - which after basically the whole of last year and how bad it turned out to be - is muddier than ever, so while everyone’s making bread at home, I decided to give it another shot at making , errr , a Caesar Salad at home?

What’s more, I decided that while I would still apply the old David way of “this looks like something that might grow, I’ll throw it into some soil”, this time around, I would have records of it and I might actually learn something in the process. And that’s what I want to share here.

To have records, I would need to track stuff - I’m going to buy soil and vases if and when I can, and because I’m likely to use leftover stuff for seeds, things are going to come in whenever they come in, so I came up with a system to do it that even I can stick to.

Spreadsheets and Plant IDs

So my thinking is, I really don’t know much about how certain plants grow, when’s the best time to seed them, etc. I could read about it and watch Youtube videos, sure, but - and this is true - I have time and for a lot of things I prefer building an experimental knowledge base first - whenever possible or feasable - and then turning to proper resources with a clearer idea of what I need to find out. That’s the approach I’m taking here, I’ll do all sorts of newbie mistakes, so if you’re out there, don’t refrain from letting someone is wrong on the Internet - in this case, me.

Ok, so what I need to know:

Identifying and tracking a plant

So, first thing’s first, I need to know how to address each plant, from putting it in a vase until I inevitably do something wrong and kill it. I wouldn’t be able to label plants - it might be done, I’m just saying I can’t without posing a threat to them - so I decided to stick to things that are likely to live for a very long time, in this case my vases.

Vase 1 - it'll sort of hang from the side of leftover pallet - reserved for Stawberries
Vase 2 - the plan is to buy as many of these as it takes to fill out the top of the second pallet

So now that I can identify each vase, I just need to know what’s in it, so I took a permanent marker (🤷‍♂️) and not very carefully divided it into a grid

Vase 2 - can address at most 8 plants
Vase 3 - can address as most 32, but it'll never happen

Grand so, now as long as I respect the grid I can address any plant, and as long as I batch things - so that if a plant is replaced with a new one, I get a new number - I’m fine.

Looking good #121A, keep up the good work

You can also see what happens when I want to use more space in the grid, my wife got me some Romanesco broccoli seeds which I decided to throw immediatly into the soil, but from the pictures it looked big, so I thought maybe it needed more space than the garlics, so I reserved all four grid cells for the thing. We’ll see what #1212CD turns into :)

Now, there’s the case of plants that are still in the nursery, for those ones I decided not to do anything special, once they go into their final spot, they’re good and ready and I can track them - I don’t track plants from birth, I KNOW RIGHT?

Keeping a log

Ok, the other thing I thought might make sense is keeping a log of how things progress. So given I have a plant ID, and since Google Docs now lets me insert pictures into cells, I can keep a log of things, with pictures.

Other stuff

Since I’m at it and since it’s easy to write stuff down when you buy them, I’m also keeping track of how much I’ve spent. And since I’m at it I figured I better track when the soil went in, I guess I’ll eventually have to do something about it.

That’s it for now, I couldn’t think of anything else to log, but let’s be honest, none of this carries much weight, but it’s also low maintenance which is good, time will tell if this is useful or not, and most importantly, time will tell if I can get a meal out of this or not :) .

That’s it, David signing off, quarantine Day #41 — 🤔 maybe I should have lead with that