Let’s talk salsa. Let’s talk herbs.
I recently moved across the country and had to bid farewell to all of my plants. This was a big deal – aside from my dogs Ranger and Hank, my plants were like my children. A couple of months into my new residence, I decided it was time to plant some roots – literally. In an effort to selfishly bring some green back into my life and share one of the most rewarding hobbies – this month we will start growing plants on your windowsill that will ultimately make their way to your table.
But most importantly, let’s talk about how to grow yourself a new hobby!
Your New Hobby Box includes:
- (2)Egg Carton Seed Planters
- (12)Wooden Stakes
- (1)Spray Bottle
- (4)Soil Pellets
- (12)Seed Packets
- (1)Salsa Recipe Book
*Notice that these materials are distributed between two egg carton planters.*
When exploring your materials, be sure to keep the herb seed packets apart from the salsa seed packets to eliminate confusion later 🙂
If this is your first time attempting to grow anything or if you have tried and failed, take a deep breath and know it’s going to feel great when you succeed. We realize that the New Hobby Box community spans the US and even other continents, meaning sunlight and temperatures vary – so if you ever have a question please feel free to comment below or message us on Facebook and we can figure out a good solution for you and your plants! Just look how many areas these gardens will be sprouting in:
With these materials, the ultimate goal is to start seedlings indoors and later transplant to containers of your choice indoors or even in a plot of land outdoors if you’re feeling daring.
Let’s begin with the salsa garden.
You have seeds (and later you will have beautiful healthy plants) of the following:
- Roma Tomatoes
- Beefsteak Tomatoes
These crops allow you to make multiple types of salsas – all of which you can find inside of your salsa recipe booklet.
*Please note that it is important to not empty out the seed packets until you are completely ready to plant them. They are small and very mischievous! Assuming you have already looked inside the container and set the contents aside, go ahead and grab a pair of scissors or simply tear off the top portion of the egg carton and then place the top portion underneath the bottom portion. This toughens up your container and collects excess water.
Now the fun begins! If you have young children in your life go grab them… because they will love this. Or maybe it just means I’m a child, because this blows my mind every time. Your container includes two soil pellets and it’s time to turn both of these magical things into soil. For this you will need the soil pellets, one cup of warm water and some sort of vessel. (I used a small plastic tupperware container) Remove packaging from the pellets and place them into your vessel. Next, pour the warm water directly on top of them, say abracadabra and watch them grow before your eyes.
Mix up the pellets after they are completely absorbed with water. As you can see, I used a chopstick but you are MUCH cooler if you use your hands.
Choose any one of your seed packets, one stake and grab your pencil. I chose to do one stake and one seed packet at a time because if I wouldn’t have, I would have cilantro stake with the beefsteak tomatoes.
Once you have emptied the seeds into your hand, you’ll want to distribute those seeds between two growing compartments. To do so, simply stick your finger in the middle of the growing compartment to make a new home for the seeds.
Evenly distribute the seeds in the holes then cover with soil. Repeat the process for the rest of the growing compartments.
Make sure that when watering the soil it is moist to touch, but no excess water. The spray bottle included in your kit holds the perfect amount of water for all twelve growing compartments, but you don’t actually need the sprayer for this part – unscrew that piece and just pour the first drink directly over your soon to be sprouts.
You can easily create your own greenhouse by covering your garden with saran wrap. It will keep condensation in. I live in Seattle – a city notorious for not so many sunny days and countless rainy ones. Going with the greenhouse method jumpstarted my seeds. You’ll want to check daily to make sure the soil is exactly how it is now – depending on where you live, this could mean watering daily. If you go with the greenhouse, simply lift up a corner and spray inside to create condensation. Checking that the soil is moist is the key to success here. You will want to repeat this whole process for the herb garden as well. My follow up post will focus in on their progress.
Your seeds will start germinating in about 7 days. I was most excited just seeing them peep up through the soil the first time and I can’t wait for you to have this same feeling!
Come back to this blog regularly to see how the process is progressing, including how to transplant them once they’ve matured and all the way to my kitchen! My garden is about 2 weeks ahead of yours, so you will have a good idea of what to expect.
My partner says I have a green thumb, but this kit is awesome because it’s accessible for any level. I love plants and I’m so thrilled to share this hobby with you. Let’s turn this hobby into a community garden and learn tips and tricks from one another!
My salsa garden on day fifteen ^^^ As you can see, everything besides the jalapeños have really taken off. Today however marks the first sign of life for the unhurried jalapeño seedlings. Over the last fifteen days I’ve made sure to keep the soil consistently moist… an easy indication that your soil is in need of water is the color. Light brown and flakey = WATER!!! Dark brown, almost black (like pictured above) is what you are aiming for.
If you are having trouble keeping your plant babies properly watered, I would definitely suggest the the plastic-wrap green house method. I’ve kept plastic wrap on mine for the last seven days and every morning I wake up and see dark soil, condensation and water droplets on the leaves! Please feel free to drop me a line below or share photos of your garden via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter- I’d love to see them!! Our handle is @NewHobbyBox 🙂
Until next time,
Salsa garden day 32 ^^^ As you can see, the plant babies have had a rough time (I blame this on Seattle’s infamously gloomy weather). Jalepeños finally sprouted but the Beefsteak tomatoes have started to wilt. I feel like it’s not too late for them so today I have decided to transplant my seedlings so they have access to more water and soil.
*If your plants are getting close to being around 3 inches tall, I would recommend doing the same!
The amazing thing about your New Hobby Box gardening kit is that egg carton/growing vessel is bio-degradable! So those of you that live in perfect growing climates could literally transfer the egg carton into the ground without transplanting. (If you do this, I would recommend separating the compartments by plant type using scissors so they will have more room to grow.
Personally, I needed to transfer my plants to something small that would allow them to continue growing indoors. I found an 8-pack of 3inch pots for $1 (whoot whoot- I love deals) at Grocery Outlet. For my East coast hobbyists, I bet you could find something similar at Big Lots or The Dollar Store.
First step when transplanting, water your plants. The moist soil will make this process a bit more manageable, especially if you are doing this indoors! After watering, I went ahead and filled my pots half way with soil and watered that soil as well so it would be ready to hydrate my plant babies once they arrive. Next I used scissors to cut the edge of the egg carton to access the soil pod. Then VERY CAREFULLY I peeled back the carton. (As shown below) Notice: I lost major cool points for wearing gloves..
During this step I discovered that the roots of the Tomatillo plants actually semi rooted themselves into the carton! Not wanting to damage the root system and knowing the carton is bio-degradable I went ahead and left what ever was connected that I couldn’t remove safely. Next I gently placed both pods of the same plant in each of the containers like below…..
The last step is to add more soil. You’ll want enough to have an even firm layer that supports your plants. No need to over do it, you can always add more soil later!
I think my plant babies will love their new homes and I love how they fit perfectly on my windowsill.
I’m very interested in how your gardens are doing- I think it would be nice to compare our successes and lessons learned! Please share photos below or with us on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter 🙂 I’ve seen a few of your gardens and I am SO impressed. We’ll be harvesting our crops in no time!
WOW- 46 days. Can you believe it?!
These lovely plants started their lives in an egg carton with watered down compressed soil bricks and now look at them. I hope that yours are showing this type of progress- and doing MUCH better than my beefsteak tomatoes. As you can see, I still refuse to give up on them. (Far right- yikes)
I don’t have many new tips to share, other than keep your babies hydrated!
Also, Seattle has had a streak of lovely sunny weather so I have adopted the habit of rotating my pots to balance sun exposure to all sides of the plants. I’ve found the stakes to be a very useful resource for this. If you are forgetful (like me) you will want to commit to a counter-clockwise or a clockwise rotation and stick to it. Then, use the stakes as your clock hand and every time you water, advance your ‘hand’ 3 hours! This means you will rotate to hour positions- 12, 3, 6 and 9.
*Another easy way to think of it could be as a compass and point to the cardinal directions- North, South, East and West.
As always, I encourage you all to share progress with us- a few of you have via our social media sites and I am beyond proud of how far we all have come as horticulturists!!
Until next time,