SentinelAeon
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:23 pm

My container garden & some questions

Hello everyone :P

I live in the city, and like my grandma, i love plants. My garden, if you can call it that, is on 2 big windows shelves, each 90x60 cm (35x24 inches), i get a lot of the sun. I really like to grow things that i can eat. I tried to grow many different things, but so far i had best luck with basil, parsley and cherry tomatoe (Vilma), i planted Arugula and chicory this year, it grows fast but sadly the taste is so-so, very spicy. One thing i loved was Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), it would grow very fast, would have an awesome taste, if planted carefully i could probably eat it everyday since it grows very fast and when you cut it, it grows back. But sadly i had tiny green animals all over it and that is why i gave up on it. I did notice though that 1 plant was completely bug free, and it had a lady bug sitting on it. I wish i could have more ladybugs, then i could have bug free lettuce :P

Now my questions: I try to use all my bio waste from kitchen as fertilizer, but i am not sure if what i do is actualy ok for plants or if it is even harmfull, so i will put a number in front of different ways i use fertilizer and you can say if it is ok or not:

1) i put egg shells into a bottle and crush them, put some vinegar on them, then once a week i mix some of that with water and water the plants. I keep bottle in fridge.

2) i put banana peels into bottle, mix with water and water the plants once a week. I keep bottle in fridge.

3) I want to do same as above with all fruit and vegetable waste, put it in bottle, add water and keep in fridge, water once a week. Will that be ok ?

4) When i put soil into a container, sometimes i add some organic waste on bottom of it (egg shells, fruit peels, vegetable peels), then put soil over it. My idea is that it will slowly decompose and when plants grow and reach the bottom, they can have the nutrients they need.

5) when i drink coffe, what remains, i mix with water and pour over soil. Same with tea remainings.

6) Every once in a while i mix mealworm waste with water, and water the soil with it.

So what do you think ? I am most interested in point 3, i want to use all my waste to produce new food :P

At the end, some of the pictures of my little joy. Picking tomatoes and adding them to salat is such a pleasure, living in a town, i cant tell you how it feels. I am only using maybe 1/4 of the place i have on shelves, so next year i plan to plant even more tomatoes and maybe find a way to keep some kind of lettuce, and then produce as much of that as i can, instead of buying expensive vegetables in shop. If you have any advices on what else i could plant that grows fast and doesnt need much space, please do tell :P
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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
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Re: My container garden & some questions

SentinelAeon wrote:Hello everyone :P

I live in the city, and like my grandma, i love plants. My garden, if you can call it that, is on 2 big windows shelves, each 90x60 cm (35x24 inches), i get a lot of the sun. I really like to grow things that i can eat. I tried to grow many different things, but so far i had best luck with basil, parsley and cherry tomatoe (Vilma), i planted Arugula and chicory this year, it grows fast but sadly the taste is so-so, very spicy. One thing i loved was Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), it would grow very fast, would have an awesome taste, if planted carefully i could probably eat it everyday since it grows very fast and when you cut it, it grows back. But sadly i had tiny green animals all over it and that is why i gave up on it. I did notice though that 1 plant was completely bug free, and it had a lady bug sitting on it. I wish i could have more ladybugs, then i could have bug free lettuce :P

Now my questions: I try to use all my bio waste from kitchen as fertilizer, but i am not sure if what i do is actualy ok for plants or if it is even harmfull, so i will put a number in front of different ways i use fertilizer and you can say if it is ok or not:

1) i put egg shells into a bottle and crush them, put some vinegar on them, then once a week i mix some of that with water and water the plants. I keep bottle in fridge.

2) i put banana peels into bottle, mix with water and water the plants once a week. I keep bottle in fridge.

3) I want to do same as above with all fruit and vegetable waste, put it in bottle, add water and keep in fridge, water once a week. Will that be ok ?

4) When i put soil into a container, sometimes i add some organic waste on bottom of it (egg shells, fruit peels, vegetable peels), then put soil over it. My idea is that it will slowly decompose and when plants grow and reach the bottom, they can have the nutrients they need.

5) when i drink coffe, what remains, i mix with water and pour over soil. Same with tea remainings.

6) Every once in a while i mix mealworm waste with water, and water the soil with it.

So what do you think ? I am most interested in point 3, i want to use all my waste to produce new food :P

At the end, some of the pictures of my little joy. Picking tomatoes and adding them to salat is such a pleasure, living in a town, i cant tell you how it feels. I am only using maybe 1/4 of the place i have on shelves, so next year i plan to plant even more tomatoes and maybe find a way to keep some kind of lettuce, and then produce as much of that as i can, instead of buying expensive vegetables in shop. If you have any advices on what else i could plant that grows fast and doesnt need much space, please do tell :P
Hi and welcome to the Forum!

You can order ladybugs on-line if you want. They can be stored in the frig (in their bag or whatever they come in) and released a few at a time. But your "tiny green animals" would be aphids. They are vulnerable to soapy water spray. Just mix a little bit of soap (real soap not detergent such as dish detergent, which can burn your plants) in water and spray on the bugs.

1) I don't know about this. Vinegar is used as an herbicide/ weed killer. Better would be just to dry your egg shells and then pulverize them in the blender.

2) should be OK

3) not sure. Might get kind of nasty and take up a lot of fridge room. My suggestion for making use of your kitchen scraps would be to get yourself a worm bin.

Here's a couple of our past threads about worm composting:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... hp?t=18171
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... hp?t=35062

It can be done indoors, just with a plastic tote box.

4) sounds good. But if you had a worm bin, you could put a couple/few of your worms in your containers. Then they would help mix those nutrients into the soil and break them down into forms that are more available to the plants.

5) excellent. If you brew your own coffee, you can put the used coffee grounds into the containers (as long as it isn't a huge amount). If you have that worm bin, your worms will love the used coffee grounds!

6) Meal worm waste would be wonderful stuff. That is basically the point of the worm bin, is to turn your kitchen scraps into worm castings (waste). If you are already raising mealworms, can't you just feed your kitchen scraps to them? I read that they like some moist foods like potato, banana peels, carrot slices or apple. Sounds like you may already have a worm bin! :D

Best wishes!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

SentinelAeon
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: My container garden & some questions

Thank you for your reply !

1) When i put egg shells into the bottle i crush them with a stick, then i add tiny bit of vinegar so it disolves the shells so by the time i use it, it should be only water and shells, at least that is how i read online. I also have some already blended shells that i put on soil, but storing used shells in bottle takes a lot less space, that is why i have been using it.

3) I thought that maybe if i put it in fridge and replace water every week (and use old water as fertilizer) it could be ok. I would even go ahead and try it, but i am afraid it could be dangerous for plants, that is why i would rather be sure before i do it.


I do indeed have a mealworm farm but sadly it is very slow going so they do not eat lots of fruit. I have another type of animal, i shall call them "big beetles", i have quite a lot of them and they eat a lot of fruit/vegs and produce quite a lot of frass, but i don't use it as fertilizer because that frass, unlike mealworm frass, i am allergic to, so i didnt want to risk it.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My container garden & some questions

euwww.....

I'm trying to picture your "big beetle" farm (palmetto bugs, giant cockroaches ?? ) and it sounds very creepy. I hope you have a fool proof enclosure for it. Those big beetles can escape from amazingly small spaces.

Can I assume that you have some kind of large bird or reptile that you feed with all these farmed creepy-crawlies??

Your big beetle frass once it is applied to soil and well broken down will no longer be an allergen, but the process of collecting it and using it would be very difficult for you.

If you only have indoor space, a worm bin might still be a good addition for you. Would your whatever it is you are feeding the mealworms to also eat earthworms?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

SentinelAeon
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Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: My container garden & some questions

rainbowgardener: Your post made me smile, thank you for that :-P There is a reason why i called them big beetles and used quotation marks. They are extremely poor climbers and not used to our climate so it is pretty safe to breed "them".
Frass collecting isn't a problem, their container has small mesh in the middle so all frass is collected in a small plastic cup under the container, right now when it gets full i just throw it in the toilete, i could drop it in plant container just as easily. I have all my plant containers outside, on big window shelves, only during winter i have some small cups inside. For now i think i will stick with mealworm frass as fertilizer, this small "garden" is to bring me joy and relief, and having an allergen in those containers, even if it won't affect my allergies, it will make me worry. Problem with all this home fertilizers is that i never know if i put to little or to much. Dwarf tomatoes are doing fine though so i guess soil is ok.

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