We’re five weeks into our Ultimate Composting experiment here at 1840 Farm. We’ve hit a milestone in this project: it’s time to remove the first two specimens from water and plant them in soilless planting mix.
As you can see, the roots have really taken off over the last two weeks. Both the celery and romaine heart have established healthy roots and now I need to see if they are hardy enough to draw nutrients from a more solid substrate. If they can make it another two weeks in the kitchen window, I’ll be ready to add them to the raised beds in the vegetable garden.
Yesterday, I removed the two stubs from their water tray and planted them in small recycled yogurt containers. I used seed starting mix as their planting medium. This will provide a very airy, soft material and encourage vigorous root growth.
Seed starting mix tends to dry out quickly, but I’m planning to use that to my advantage. I don’t want the roots and crown of these plants to be too wet over the next two weeks. I think that they might be more likely to develop mold if they sit in wet pots on a daily basis.
I also want to transition these plants from their water bath where liquid water was available 24 hours a day to a more natural gardening environment where water will be added during my daily chores. These plants need to learn that water is available on a regular basis, but not constantly.
I am eager to see how these two specimens respond to their new pots. While it’s too soon to tell, they are looking great this morning. So far, so good.
Next week, I’ll be removing them from their pots to check on the root growth. I’ve also been using a modified container to discourage mold when starting new specimens. One week later, the plants are sprouting leaves and roots without showing any sign of mold. If that continues over the next week, I’ll be sharing the simple way I changed their container to combat the mold problem. Stay tuned!
Ultimate Composting – Week Six